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•	Matt – one of the people whose photograph and story features in the Sober Exposure exhibition. Image copyright Tamsyn Warde.

Entitled ‘Sober Exposure’, the exhibition is the work of social documentary photographer Tamsyn Warde.  The people in the exhibition speak with honesty and bravery about their reasons for not drinking, which include mental health, physical health, relationships, addiction, religious commitments and spirituality.

Tamsyn explained: “The intention of the exhibition is to offer sober role-models for university aged people, to challenge the idea that life without alcohol is boring, and to encourage the audience to reflect on their own relationship with alcohol.”

Dr Wendy Dossett from the University’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies researches recovery from addictions. She secured the funding to bring this exhibition to Chester, where it will be shown on several University campuses. Wendy said: “We hope that Tamsyn’s wonderful exhibition will form part of a wider discussion about alcohol within the University. By featuring ordinary people who have decided for various reasons not to drink alcohol, it normalises a sober or non-drinking life-choice and makes space for it within student culture. National research, conducted by the National Union of Students, tells us that more than 70% of pre-university students think university students get drunk on a regular basis and that peer-pressure is big factor. While healthy alcohol use can be life enhancing, this kind of pressure can be quite the opposite. Mental health can be compromised when life choices are constrained. This exhibition makes visible lifestyles which may otherwise be hidden or even stigmatised. It shows that not drinking is a legitimate choice that individuals are free to make.”

The University of Chester supports non-drinking students during its Welcome Week, by facilitating a variety of alcohol-free activities. Any student with alcohol-related issues who presents themselves to the University’s Student Welfare team is also supported to access the appropriate help and support.

Sober Exposure will be launched on March 9 in the Binks First Floor Lobby, on the University of Chester’s Parkgate Road Campus.

The exhibition will then be open to members of the public to attend, and can be visited at:

The Binks Building on the University’s Parkgate Road Campus during March and April.

The Contemporary Art Space Chester (CASC) Gallery on the Creative Campus, Kingsway during May and June.

The University’s Queen’s Park Campus in July and August.

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