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Darkroom Manual

  • Published 31/08/2020
  • Author: Emily Sewell
  • darkroom

We are currently negotiating access to the darkroom with the SU. Once we are able to resume darkroom access, the following information will apply.

Darkroom safety

Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, there are a few extra measures we ask darkroom users to carry out in order to ensure the safety of all those who wish to use the space. On entrance to the darkroom we ask that you use the hand sanitiser provided and wipe down all surfaces touched on departure. Please note, due to the size of the darkroom, only one member may use the darkroom at one time (unless they are of the same household, in which case the maximum capacity of the darkroom is 2 people) to ensure that social distancing can be carried out.

Many darkroom processes include the use of dangerous chemicals so we must ensure that all members are trained in their safe use. Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is provided for your use, you must wear disposable gloves, protective glasses and an apron when handling chemicals. PPE equipment can be found in the cupboard labelled PPE. Food and drink are not permitted in the darkroom, please remove PPE, wash hands and step outside if you wish to eat or drink.

If chemicals come into contact with bare skin, wash the area immediately to avoid irritation. In the unlikely event that any chemicals come into contact with the eyes, you must immediately go to the walk-in centre located at Rockingham House, 75 Broad Lane, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1 3PB and take the red Materials Safety Data Sheet folder with you which details the chemicals used so that medical staff can see exactly what has been in contact with the eyes.

Accessing the darkroom

Once your membership fee has been paid, your name added to the members list and your training has been completed, you will be able to access the darkroom. The darkroom is accessed by key which can be collected at the information desk at the Students Union. You must bring your Ucard with you (or photographic ID) and sign in at the desk to gain access. The darkroom is located on the balcony floor in the media centre. Don’t forget to lock the door, sign out and return the key to the desk when you’re finished.

How do I get darkroom access?

In order to gain access to the darkroom, you must first become a registered member of the society, have paid your membership fees and completed an induction.

How do I arrange an induction?

To arrange an induction, please email the society on with the subject 'Darkroom Inductions' with your name and the type of process you would like to learn. A darkroom officer will then get back to you with more details to arrange when you can be inducted. The processes we currently offer are black and white and colour film developing, black and white printing and cyanotypes. If there is a particular process of interest you have which we do not yet offer, please email to ask and we can see if that can be made available to you.

What happens in an induction?

At present all inductions will be virtual in order to maintain social distancing policies. Online inductions involve reading the developing and safety guides which will be made available to you, along with some short videos on how to access the darkroom and using the equipment. Training will take approximately an hour and there will be a short quiz on completion to assess knowledge.

What should I bring to an induction?

For film inductions, make sure you bring along a used film canister so this can be developed in the induction as an example. Make sure the film you bring corresponds to the type of process you will be being taught (e.g. B+W or colour) and if it is a printing induction bring along some black and white negatives for printing.