Ok so I've picked up some literature and reference books for Python as it has started to interest me in the past few weeks. Now a project has rolled around at uni and I was wondering if I could use Python for what I need to do and then learn it at the same time, killing 2 birds with one stone so to speak.

What I want to do is create a sort of online social network for a university or college that is specific for that uni/colleges users. It will share some similarities with facebook in that every user will have an account, a place to upload photos, a place to post messages; but it will also have an area where users can store work and access there work via this site.
Originally I was thinking of doing something simple with PHP/MySQL but I am now wondering if this is possible using PHP/HTML and Python?
Or another combination of things...

Any help or insight into this would be greatly helpful.

If you're one of those people who can learn that way, the go for it.

You can actually do it with Python/MySQL using mod_python for apache. Although I think PHP is a better fit for web development (although I think it is an absolutely horrible language, but that's what python does to you).