I can sense before I even start that this could be contentious! In years gone by, the UK photographic event was Focus on Imaging. For non-UK members, it was a large show held in a couple of large halls in the NEC at Birmingham. All the major photographic companies were usually represented, so you could compare Canon/Nikon/Hassleblad (and even large format cameras on occasions) without dealer pressure. Books and sundries were also available from the stands, talks were given, different papers could be compared etc. etc. Many magazines also had stands. So far, so good. The organiser retired from the event, and it was replaced by another show, The Photography Show. Same venue, pretty much the same exhibitors, except... Focus on Imaging normally had some universities and colleges manning stands, showcasing the students' work and having both staff and students on hand, presumably in part to attract new students. I've seen it said that The Photography Show is more expensive to hire a stand, but whatever the reason, universities and colleges don't seem to attend (or I've missed them). And I do miss them. The photographs on display might or might not be to my taste, but they were always thought provoking. And I'm always saying that the like/dislike antithesis has nothing to do with the good/bad one, so the fact that I didn't like some of the work is irrelevant - even to me. In contrast, I've visited local exhibitions by camera clubs/photographic societies and generally haven't found them very stimulating. I once had it pointed out to me that this was actually deliberate - the annual exhibitions allowed everyone's work to be displayed, partly to involve everyone and partly to encourage new members who wouldn't think that the standard was beyond them. Which is fair enough, so far as it goes. Yesterday I visited the annual exhibition of a reasonably local club and found that in the main the work was of a high technical standard (unlike one exhibition where some resin coated prints were visibly laminating) but very few appealed to me. They almost all seemed to be as devoid of imagination as I imagine my prints are (I'm aware that I'm treading a well trodden path with my photographs). Today, I visited a different exhibition. This time (it was at the Arundel Museum) it was the work of 16-18 year olds, both paintings and photographs. And it was chalk and cheese. This exhibition did exhibit imagination as much as the images that were derived from it. (And in case anyone asks, there were some I didn't like, but they were still good.) So, as a discussion question: do you find the work of students more stimulating that that of the average camera club exhibition? If so, why do you think this is?