From Dec. 17 to 19, Swinburne Vietnam held the photography exhibition The Gala: Swinburne Greats with the theme “Reflecting on a Chapter: Visualizing the pandemic learning experience.” The exhibition received numerous submissions with high quality and intriguing backstories, getting attention from students, parents, and art lovers in Hanoi.

A pleasant surprise with students’ highly artistic submissions

As an opportunity to share stories about the Covid experience, The Gala: Swinburne Greats surprised viewers with the high quality of submissions from student and amateur photographers. With topics ranging from portraits, landscapes, city views, the submission pool was praised for its diversity and high quality in content, layout, and lighting.

Some of the notable works include: Hanging in the middle air, Father and Son, Fishing in the afternoon by Chu Quoc Anh, and Seek help by Nguyen Trong Bao. Both are currently sophomores at Swinburne Vietnam.


“Seek help” – A father-and-son pair coming back home on a late train.

A considerable number of the submissions featured landscapes and stories from the hustle and bustle of city life. Nguyen Trong Bao – the author of Seek help featuring a father-and-son pair coming back home on a late afternoon from Long Bien station – shared: “I love street photography because it captures everyday, every-life moments but can still stir us to the core.”


“Hanging in the middle air” shows hardships of the working class in urban areas

“Photography nurtures the soul and reflects our worldview”

Apart from creating an opportunity for students to express themselves, “The Gala: Swinburne Greats” also aimed at spreading positive vibes among students and the greater community. Dr. Marisha McAuliffe, Director of Student HQ at Swinburne Vietnam, shared about the purpose of the exhibition: “Photography is an incredibly important way to represent a moment in time; those moments can be from joy to solitude, peacefulness to frustration, contentment to feeling lost, satisfied to overwhelmed, or anything in between. The exhibition aims to express through photography, our students’ personal perspective of their pandemic learning experience through, for example, the view outside through the window whilst they were studying, in the streets around their home and neighborhood, or in the city itself.”

“After the pandemic, regulations, personal and professional lives, as well as other aspects of our lives, have changed drastically. This is an opportunity for our students – to tell their stories, through photography, their feelings and challenges, and how their lives have changed during the global pandemic,” Dr. McAuliffe stated.


“Fishing in the late afternoon” capturing the tranquillity at the end of the day


Speaking about his hobby with great enthusiasm, Chu Quoc Anh stated: “I saw a lot of changes in myself since I started picking up photography. I learned how to be meticulous and pay more attention to small details, such as using and caring for my camera. In particular, I become more observant of my surroundings and seek to enrich my worldview.”

Besides students, the exhibition also received recognition from parents, most of whom were proud and amazed at the quality of the photos and the students’ mature views on life and social issues.

Mr. Pham Quang Tien, a parent of a Swinburne Vietnam student, expressed: “Looking at my daughter’s work being exhibited here, I was very touched that her efforts are being recognized. I always knew that Swinburne Vietnam students are very active. But with this exhibition, I can see that they are very hardworking and inquisitive, and I was quite impressed by their profoundness.”

So, The Gala: Swinburne Greats can be seen as a meaningful gift to students, parents, and art enthusiasts in the midst of the Covid pandemic. After the success of this exhibition, Swinburne Vietnam revealed that it would host more future events to send love and positivity to students and the community.