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Degree Shows Guide/2019

Felicity Beaumont, Sunshine, 100x150cm, acrylic on canvas. BA (Hons) Fine Art, University of Suffolk

Making an exhibition

Larry Achiampong

+ Details of Degree Shows across the UK

Class of 2019 students on the ‘passion, motivation and chaos’ of degree show time

The artist on the impact of art school on his practice and approach to teaching.



The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design London Metropolitan University Old Castle Street London E1 7NT

Opening times 20 – 30 June Monday to Friday 10am – 7pm Saturday and Sunday 11am – 6pm Tube Aldgate, Aldgate East londonmet.ac.uk/thecass Image by Angela Blazanovic, Photography BA (Hons)

Emelia Kerr Beale, BA (Hons) Painting

11.00 – 17.00 Saturday 1 – Sunday 9 June


DEGREESHOW/19 FREE ENTRY Late nights Wednesday 5 June – Thursday 6 June 11.00 – 20.00




Lauriston Campus 74 Lauriston Place EH3 9DF

West Court 74 Lauriston Place EH3 9DF

Minto House, Adam House & 7 – 8 Chambers Street EH1 1JZ

For full details: www.eca.ed.ac.uk/degreeshow


Welcome www.a-n.co.uk/degree-shows

Interviews: Jack Hutchinson and Ellen Wilkinson Production editor: Stephen Palmer Advertising: Robin Bootes and Jennifer Picken Online listings: Richard Taylor Publisher: Gillian Nicol Design: wearefounded.com © writers, artists and a-n The Artists Information Company 2019 ISBN 978-1-907529-23-8 Published by a-n The Artists Information Company Registered in England Company No 1626331 Issuu ANartistsinfo Download the Issuu app for IOS or Android for best reading experience on phone or tablet. 1

an_artnews ANartistsinfo anartistsinfo

What is an art education for? “It provided the foundation for the way I practice now as an artist,” is how Larry Achiampong sees it, speaking in a wide-ranging interview that kicks off this year’s a-n Degree Shows Guide. Achiampong completed a BA in Mixed Media Fine Art at the University of Westminster in 2005. He speaks candidly about his experience of higher education, acknowledging both positive and negative experiences, and also the important role his MA in Sculpture at the Slade played in honing his practice. Elsewhere, as their BA degree shows get nearer, 10 students from art schools across the UK share thoughts and expectations about completing their courses. The buzz of excitement and sense of pressure is palpable. As Olivia Jones from Plymouth College of Art says: “With my show I want to achieve a quality of work that exceeds my ambitions – beyond simply being a student, but as an artist.”

As well as students’ own thoughts on their shows, we also ask five lecturers and curators what they think makes a great final-year exhibition. And, in our Next Steps feature, we talk to recent graduates about the support they have found as they transition from academia to the reality of being a practising artist. Included in the guide are details of more than 40 shows across the country, plus find extensive listings for over 70 shows online at a-n.co.uk/degree-shows. We’ll also be sharing more views and pictures from this year’s shows on the site and across social media using the hashtag #andegrees19.


Plymouth College of Art, BA Fine Art Summer Degree Show, 2018. Photo: Dom Moore


Swan Colleg sea e of Ar t, U W T S


May 17th - 31st 2019


Degree Shows www.uwtsd.ac.uk/art-design

FA Degree Show AN Advert Mar 19 R 2 AW.qxp_Layout 1 21/03/2019 08:52 Page 1

Preview Thursday 16th May, 18:00 – 21:00

Fine Art BA (Hons) Degree Show 2019 6

Open Friday 17th to Thursday 23rd May • Weekdays 11:00 – 18:00 • Weekends 11:00 – 16:00 Talks Walkabout talks with a selection of exhibiting students Tuesday 21st May, 17:30 – 20:00

Semi-Skimmed: Works from Degree Show Future Artists Exhibition: Art by Year 10 & 12 students West Sussex and Hampshire 7th to 22nd June 2019 University Open Days 2019 29th June, 12th October, 21st October, 16th November Find out more • c.hilton@chi.ac.uk • chi.ac.uk/fineart

artOne, University of Chichester, Bishop Otter Campus, PO19 6PE


Slade Shows 2019 Undergraduate Show 18 –23 May 2019 Private View 17 May 6 – 9pm

Slade School of Fine Art UCL, Gower Street London WC1E 6BT www.ucl.ac.uk/slade/shows/2019 @SladeSchool #SladeShows2019

SWEET FA DEGREE SHOW 2019 GUEST SPEAKER Bob and Roberta Smith Private View 18th May 13.00-18.00 Open to the public 19 20 22-24 May 10.00 - 17.00 School of Music and Fine Art University of Kent Chatham Historic Dockyard ME4 4TZ +44(0)1634 888 980


Graduate Show 6 –16 June 2019 Private View 5 June 6 – 9pm

Slade School of Fine Art

Contents 11-14 LARRY ACHIAMPONG The London-based artist discusses the cultural and class-based issues he experienced in education, the impact of art school on his current practice, and how his education has also influenced his approach to teaching. 17-22 CLASS OF 2019 Ten students from across the UK reflect on how their work and ideas have developed during their time at art school, and discuss their degree show plans.


27-29 WHAT MAKES A GREAT DEGREE SHOW? “Exciting.” “Often unpredictable.” “A carnival atmosphere!” Artists, lecturers and a curator give their views on what makes a great show. 33-36 NEXT STEPS What happens when the degree show’s over? Four emerging artists discuss how they have benefitted from schemes in Bristol, Wakefield and London that support early-career artists to take their next steps.




More online at www.a-n.co.uk/degree-shows CLASS OF 2019 Read expanded interviews with the Class of 2019 graduating artists, including Degree Shows Guide 2019 cover artist Felicity Beaumont discussing her upcoming BA (Hons) Fine Art show at University of Suffolk. NEXT STEPS Extended features exploring programmes around the UK that support new graduates through subsidised studio space, bursaries and professional development opportunities.


Larry Achiampong, Relic 3, 4k colour video with stereo sound, 2019. Courtesy: the artist and Copperfield London. 2

Next Steps, The Art House graduate residency group crit. Photo: Jules Lister

UPCOMING DEGREE SHOWS UK degree shows listings plus interactive map view of for over 70 upcoming shows. PLUS LATEST DEGREE SHOWS NEWS Including updates from this year’s #andegrees19 Instagram takeovers.


Class of 2019, Aidan Stephen. 4

What makes a great degree show? Plymouth College of Art, BA Fine Art Summer Degree Show, 2018. Photo: Dom Moore


Summer Show 2019 29 May - 4 June

Llandaff Campus, Western Avenue, Cardiff, CF5 2YB @CardiffMetCSAD www.cardiffmet.ac.uk/csad See website for opening hours n

BA (Hons) Animation


BSc (Hons) Architectural Design & Technology


BA (Hons) Artist Designer Maker


BA (Hons) Ceramics


BA (Hons) Fine Art


BA (Hons) Graphic Communication


BA (Hons) Illustration


BA (Hons) Interior Design


BA (Hons) Product Design


BSc (Hons) Product Design


BA (Hons) Textiles

Degree Show 2019 Preview

30 May 17.30 – 20.30


New Adelphi Building

The Crescent Manchester M5 4BR

Free Entry www.salford.ac.uk/degree-show

General Viewing 31 May – 7 June 10.00 to 15.00 1 June 12.00 to 16.00


Larry Achiampong: “Success is learning to adapt to your environment”


London-based artist Larry Achiampong uses film, sculpture and performance to create work that draws on his own Ghanaian heritage, colonial history, and his experience of growing up in Britain. Known for exploring ideas around class, race and cultural identity, previous commissions include the Jerwood Visual Arts 3-Phase programme, PAN AFRICAN FLAG FOR THE RELIC TRAVELLERS’ ALLIANCE at Somerset House, and the Diaspora Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. He was also nominated for the 2018 Jarman Award for his collaboration with artist David Blandy. Here Achiampong discusses the cultural and class-based issues he experienced in education, the impact of his degree on his current practice, and how his education has also influenced how he approaches teaching. 1

Larry Achiampong, Relic 3, 4k colour video with stereo sound, 2019. Courtesy: the artist and Copperfield London.

Where did you study and how did you find the experience? I did my BA in Mixed Media Fine Art at the University of Westminster between 2002 and 2005, which was followed by a Masters in Sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art between 2006 and 2008. Looking back, the time I spent on both courses really helped to push but also shape the way that I think as an artist. It was almost an incubation stage, from situations such as having conversations with other peers, through to having the space and time to consider what you want to do – it was a great place to experiment with ideas. There’s also the time you have when you’re not studying, and even that is a new thing in the whole process of development. I still approach things in the same way now. You are always learning – whether that be the way that you make films or are collaborating with other practitioners or partners. Doing that at art school on those courses, there were some things that I learnt that helped to push me further and begin to frame the way that I think about my practice. How well did you engage with the other students on your course? I’ll be totally frank with you. I knew 11


loads of people on both courses but on my BA I spent more time working on my own. I didn’t feel like many of the other students got me or understood me. Also, I was studying in a place where there were fewer people of colour and from working-class backgrounds. That was a culture shock for me. Some people were there to just piss around, and that made me quite angry. Before I started my BA, I was helping my mum out with cleaning jobs and it was drilled into me the importance of working hard to try and get somewhere in life. Then you get onto the course and for some people it’s not much of a vocation, it’s just that their parents wanted them to do a degree and they can afford it. In the MA, things opened up a bit more and I spoke more to other people. But even then, there were aspects of my practice that I wouldn’t bring to the Slade. During the day I was working on certain aspects to do with writing, drawing, performance and sculpture. But when I got home and in the evening I would learn beat making and instrumentation such as the bass guitar. These things were happening side by side, but one was selfguided whereas the other was taught. This was important for me, being able to see how things worked within an institution, but then also thinking on a very independent basis about things that were guided by my curiosity. The latter still inspires my creative process. 12

I got on with my tutors across the board, but that doesn’t mean we weren’t occasionally at loggerheads. Particularly on the BA, they wanted me to explore my identity through different projects, but at that stage you’re really only at the beginning of developing your thought processes. By the time I reached the MA I’d learnt to drive myself much more. This didn’t mean I avoided tutorials, but there were certain things that I wanted to do and I felt more confident about what I wanted to get out of the course. On the BA it was much more a process of listening and learning about what contemporary art actually is. I mean, I didn’t visit the Tate until I was 18, so a lot of that stuff was very new. On the BA, the learning process was very much directed by the tutors, whereas on the MA I was certainly more confident or willing to drive my own developmental process. What was the worst and best thing that occurred on your BA? Apart from one particular tutor who I am still good friends with, I don’t think most of the tutors really got me. That really came down to a cultural and class-based point of view. I was a young black man from Dagenham in east London, so I was in a minority not just in terms of the students, but also who was teaching me.


Larry Achiampong, Relic 3, 4k colour video with stereo sound, 2019. Courtesy: the artist and Copperfield London.


Larry Achiampong, PAN AFRICAN FLAG FOR THE RELIC TRAVELLERS’ ALLIANCE (MOTION), banner flag, 2018. Courtesy: the artist and Copperfield London.


It would have been great to have a person of colour who was teaching on the course from the beginning to the end. We had one black tutor who had us for one module, and that was it. Representation in that respect can be important for a student, whether that be from a similar background to my own, or LGBTQ, or class. You need someone there to have empathy in relation to your situation and have a conversation around ideas and what you are thinking about. When we talk about art practice, a lot of it is mental and if we are not approaching the environments that surround the people who are studying, then it becomes very ignorant of what those students have to deal with. So, for me, that was definitely a negative thing. The positive thing that I pulled out from the course was seeing the varied approaches that I could apply as a practising artist. Under the title Mixed Media Fine Art we could really explore a range of things. At that time, editing film from a manual perspective was still around so I got to experience those approaches. On the course we literally only had one module that looked at the possibilities of film making, and that only lasted six weeks, but I was so glad that I had that little nugget. Even with my own personal interest in films, whether that be lo-fi art house through to big Hollywood productions, the course had a range of different things going on that allowed me to think ‘I don’t have to be a painter, I can do many different things’. It provided the foundation for the way I practice now as an artist. I don’t call myself a filmmaker because I make sound works as well as objects and a range of other things. The course allowed me to think about the fluidity of being an artist and creative person. Did they teach you much of the business side of the art industry? Not really, but that is probably across the board for art schools. Some people might read this and think ‘come on, you just have to be creative’, but I’d argue there is a lot to deal with. Things like management of personal time and being self-employed,

through to assessing what is a good offer or deal in terms of a commission and being paid appropriately - you don’t get taught any of that. I had to learn so much myself and I got burnt a lot when I left art school. I wish that we had had even a module that looked at this. On the BA we had a work experience module, but with that we were pretty much just used as free labour. Being able to learn the hustle of the game would have been useful. I’m still doing my thing, but it took a lot of unnecessary mistakes. I’m not saying that there isn’t space to make mistakes because we are always learning, but there were ones that I could have avoided. You now teach at the Royal College of Art. Have these experiences enhanced your abilities as a teacher? I remember back when I was being assessed, we used to get into arguments about what I’d made, and I thought, ‘If I ever get chance, I’m going to teach like this’. I see it as being similar to chatting to peers, in that I’m there to have a conversation and work out the groove that the student is in. I’m not there to tell them what to make, because that isn’t useful for anyone. I don’t want anyone else to make my work, so why should they? In many ways it also keeps you on your toes because students are constantly looking for references, so it pushes you to expand your own. I do see myself continuing to teach, at least on a part-time basis, if those opportunities continue. It probably won’t be full-time, because I want that focus on my practice. Do you think the cost of education has resulted in a shift in the mindset of students? If I was being critical, there’s almost this thought that if you put money down on something then you should have that qualification. But it doesn’t work that way. It creates a very exclusive environment and I’m not sure a younger version of me would be able to do a degree right now. I did my BA at a point when you could get a decent student loan and it was before the tuition fee hike - the tuition was £3,000 a year whereas now it’s £3,000 a term. 13

With my MA, I got that through an AHRC bursary. If I hadn’t had it, there is no way that I’d have done that course. I think the atmosphere has changed and you’ve got more privileged people there. The unfortunate thing is the government doesn’t seem to care. They are driving up the prices and universities are playing for the big business now. It’s a big problem. Does art education need to change? I think the approach to education in general has to change and universities could look at how the presentation of art has had to change in the last few years. Basically, the internet is the place where people are having conversations, and there’s definitely more of a level ground for people to have a voice. In contrast, universities offer the opposite. Part of my own journey has been an example of this. I learnt music production and scoring by watching YouTube videos and using the internet. It would be great for lots of different types of people to be able to study in a place where there are loads of other people making. But the fact is that isn’t going to happen. The changes that are happening will instead be across the internet. Nowadays, you don’t need to spend £100 on a book, you can just get things online. It opens up that possibility of access to information. Did you see your degree show as the end or beginning of something new? With my BA I was so green. It was at that time of New Labour and there was an attitude of if you get a degree then you are going to make it. I felt I was going to sell work as an artist and I’d done the thing that would give me the credentials to do it. But it didn’t happen. Not many people came to our opening at the Westminster campus in Harrow and I felt a lot of disillusionment, quite a bit of anger and also some depression. I ended up unemployed and on the dole for about a year.

teaching kids who had been excluded from mainstream education how to make films. I would either have the late evenings when I was cradling my son, or literally one day a week to make work. Although it was tough, it’s all experience and I don’t think I’d be where I am today without it. Ultimately, there are things you don’t get taught in art school that in a weird way you bring from your own experience. But that is what makes you who you are. What current projects are you working on? I’ve got my first comprehensive solo show at Primary in Nottingham which runs from 25 April until 22 June. I’m also in a show at Somerset House called ‘Get Up, Stand Up Now’, which opens 12 June. It’s a big seminal show that brings together a lot of black British-based activity, particularly in regards to what is happening now. I think it’s going to be quite a groundbreaking show. I’m also really excited about a commission I’ve been given from Art On The Underground. I’ve been asked to create work for Westminster underground station, and specifically to redesign the London Underground logo. I’m thinking very much about the designs that I’ve realised as part of the ongoing ‘Relic Traveller’ project, which looks at ideas of displacement, fallen empire and lost testimonies. I visited the Transport for London archives recently and noticed that the colours of the logo – red, blue and white – are imperial colours. Going through the archives you realise there is a lot of propaganda, and I’m interested in opening that up and questioning who gets placed in history, or is erased.The logo and design for the London Underground is amazing as it’s so synonymous with travel, but there is a lot going on in there that can be opened up. Larry Achiampong was speaking to Jack Hutchinson.

I didn’t know what the hell was going on at times and felt like I’d got this degree that was supposed to allow me to do things that I couldn’t do without it. I had to go back to the drawing board and was thinking ‘What am I doing this for and what does it mean?’. I didn’t know whether I would ever study again. By the time I decided to do an MA I came back with the mentality that I’d learnt through growing up in east London and Dagenham, which was to hustle. I thought about the environment and how it works, and what I needed to do to be successful within it, which meant rethinking what success means. Success is way more than just making something that looks good or saying the smart thing at the right time. It is also listening and learning to adapt to your environment. I had my first child quite early on and some of my peers said it was impossible to be a successful parent as well as an artist. In order to support us, I got a part-time job 14


Larry Achiampong. Photo: Roger Sinek


Institute of the Arts, Brampton Road, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA3 9AY 0845 606 1144


Degree Show Foundation Show Kingston Onstage

1 – 9 June 24 May – 5 June 6 – 7 June

For more information, please visit www.kingston.ac.uk/ksaevents



Class of 2019 As students across the UK work towards their final shows, ten artists from this year’s graduating cohort reflect on their art school experiences and look forward to their shows. Interviews by Jack Hutchinson and Ellen Wilkinson. Read more from the CLASS OF 2019 graduating students – go to www.a-n.co.uk/degree-shows

“My degree has taught me how to be persistent, experimental and to challenge myself ” Olivia Jones 1

Olivia Jones out on Union Street, Plymouth, recording the sounds of the area. 2019.

Olivia Jones BA (Hons) Fine Art, Plymouth College of Art



Olivia Jones, Screen shot of geotagging map, showing where the sound is located, 2019.

Aaisha Ali, Insta Hands.

“As my course has progressed my work has become more ambitious. I’ve been encouraged to push myself, to experiment with scale and use more challenging mediums. My practice has become outdoor and location-based, including working with sound and geo-tagging software to re-map Plymouth and explore how audiences can interact with their city. Plymouth is a place made complex with issues around its post-war heritage and now tourism. For my degree show I’m collecting audio in non-tourist areas of Plymouth and recording myself narrating while I move around the streets. I then manipulate and compose the sound, relistening and editing ‘visually’ to create unrecognisable but specifically located pieces. I’ll then place these back into their original locations using a geotagging app, through which the audience can experience the sound. The show will include an installation and performative ‘tourist/information’ counter, offering my audio tour in the form of headphones and maps with QR codes. My degree has taught me how to be persistent, experimental and to challenge myself. With my show I want to achieve a quality of work that exceeds my ambitions – beyond simply being a student, but as an artist.” 1

Degree show: 15-20 June. www.plymouthart.ac.uk

Aaisha Ali BA (Hons) Glass and Ceramics, University of Sunderland “After much experimentation, during my Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Sunderland I was encouraged to follow my family heritage and interest in Islamic geometry. For my BA I’ve been given the support I need to create large-scale contemporary geometric installations based on Islamic shapes and patterns. Over the last two years I’ve worked with the aim of making my work contemporary by altering the Islamic pattern. This year I’m introducing chaos by extruding the clay for a second time. I’m currently using a range of different clays such as stoneware, terracotta and white earthenware. With my degree show, I want my work to draw people in and question what type of pattern is embedded within the clay. I want people to see how beautiful Islamic geometry is and really appreciate its complexity. 18


I feel as though I have found my passion; I’ve pushed myself greatly for the final degree show. Although I struggled at the beginning, after experimenting I’ve gained numerous techniques. I now understand what I can do as an artist.” Degree show: 15-23 June. www.sunderland.ac.uk


Aidan Stephen

Aidan Stephen BA (Hons) Painting, Edinburgh College of Art “My work has changed in the time I’ve been doing my course due to the education I never had where art is concerned. I was in my 40s when I started the course; I wanted to learn how to paint, but instead I learnt something completely new. For the show, I am working out how I place 222 paintings and numerous sculptures in a space – learning from Rauschenberg and alumni and tutors about space and moments within it. It’s titled ‘above and beyond’, which may give some context. I work with oil on 70mm film aspect ratio, creating western and Australian landscapes. My own time in the desert, my experience of war and Bedlam, are not visible to visitors to ECA except through my work. As paintings they are somewhere else, not here and now. So is my degree show, transient as shadows. I would be happy if someone walks away feeling different about life, that someone looks and sees what is above and beyond. Small changes can alter things. I would feel a sense of achievement if other veterans with trauma found art.”


Emily Gardner BA (Hons) Fine Art and Contemporary Cultures, Warwickshire College “My work is focused on the physical relationship we have with food and the ways in which this can manifest in our methods of consumption, and looking at how the domestic allows for this – or if not, how I can manipulate it.

Degree show: 1-9 June. www.eca.ed.ac.uk

Perhaps a Masters will follow my completion of the course. If not, I will be working on integrating myself into the community of artists and into artist-led spaces in Birmingham and Coventry.” Degree show: 17-22 June. www.wcg.ac.uk

For my degree show I will be presenting a body of work exploring the grotesque nature of the body in relation to food. This will be shown in a short video as well as a selection of sculptural pieces. I want to be able to showcase the multidisciplinary practice that I have spent the last three years building on. My degree show is an opportunity to concentrate on an audience’s perspective of a body of work, as well as practise for logistical planning which is something that will benefit me in any shows I am part of in the future.

4 4

Emily Gardner, Lick Plate. Photo: Lewis Owen


Evie Morris BA (Hons) Fine Art, University of Gloucestershire “In my first year I was introduced to etching and printmaking, which have given me a new visual language and allow me to spend time in the process of making. I have developed an interest in place and memory, and have begun to explore conversations between the historic meanings of landscape and our current interactions with particular places. For my degree show I am creating a set of etchings that take a contemporary approach to landscape and attempt to evoke the sense of rediscovering its lost layers of history and lore. The prints are fragmented

through stencilling and multiple layers that suggest something transitory, similar to what I feel when recalling – but not being able to clearly see – places in my mind. My hope is that an audience will be able to understand the disorientation that comes through this recollection, but also feel the presence of the landscape. This will be the first large-scale show I’ve been a part of. I’m looking forward to seeing my works in the space and to working with my peers to curate a show that exhibits our work to its full potential.” www.glos.ac.uk



Evie Morris, Masts of Cleeve Common, 10x29cm, etching, 2018.

Felicity Beaumont, Just More Me, 50x25cm, acrylic on canvas, diptych.


Felicity Beaumont BA (Hons) Fine Art, University of Suffolk “During my time at university my painting practice has developed enormously. Initially result-based and focused on representational works, now there’s an incredible interest in process, materiality and the indepth exploration of a subject.

Working towards our degree show has encouraged me to reflect and examine my practice in more detail than ever before. At the beginning of my degree, I struggled to convincingly define my practice. Now I feel I have developed a strong artistic identity by exploring what interests and inspires me, how I work, and why I am motivated to paint.” Degree show: 11-17 June. www.felicitybeaumont.com

For my degree show I will present a collection of acrylic paintings that blur the line between figurative and abstract representation. Working with a variety of source photographs, I have been exploring the re-situation of the human body within contemporary painting, the effect of an unknown image provenance, and the socially engrained relationships we have to the nude in art. I hope my degree show will be a celebration of the power of painting – to show how paint is still an important medium for us to explore complex concepts and subjects which are often private or taboo. 20


Gary Mitchell BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting, University Centre St Helens “At the start of my course my paintings tended to be exact imitations of the photographs from which I worked, and my reasons for painting them were superficial. My current body of work is more theory based, and is painted in a freer style with less regard for detail or the mimesis of my photographic source material. For my degree show I’m producing a series of oil paintings, on card and board, based on family photographs. The works, which feature objects and family members past and present, are distorted representations of the photographs and highlight themes relating to memory and time. During my degree show I hope to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t, but ultimately I want to enjoy the experience and learn from it. Producing and presenting your work for an audience can be stressful, but it’s exciting too. The degree show is a chance to showcase work to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience. I particularly enjoy the moment when I relinquish control of my work and it’s then for the viewer to find within it their own meanings.” Degree show: 15 May – 20 June. www.sthelens.ac.uk


Jacob Hoffman BA (Hons) Contemporary Art Practice, Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen “Looking back on the course I can see my development as a creative. There has, however, been certain aspects or themes that have continued to feed into my work, such as an engagement with historical and allegorical imagery and an exploration of my own personal experiences. For the degree show, I’m planning to create an immersive installation. I work with a variety of media and approaches, most often with digital photography, video and Photoshop collage. I would like to collate all of these ideas together in one space. The work I’m currently doing has links to performativity and an expression of identity, so I would like the show to reflect this and incorporate elements that allow my audience to hopefully be involved too.


Primarily, I want to be able to consolidate all of the ideas I have been researching and developing and bring them all together. The show will be an important testing ground. I hope the process will be a valuable learning curve and allow me to understand how I can further develop as an artist and creative. And also, what my potential next steps will be.” 7

Gary Mitchell, Isaac Study 1, 15x15cm, oil on board.


Jacob Hoffman, Judith, 2018.

Degree show: 14-22 June. www.rgu.ac.uk/degreeshow 21

Jessie Davies

Parham Salimy

BA (Hons) Fine Art, Hull School of Art and Design

BA (Hons) Fine Art, Manchester School of Art

“When I arrived at art school I had a very commercial “My work has become more complex, multi-layered and narrow understanding of what an artist does, but and informed. Experimentation and risk taking the tutors, artist talks and programme here taught me have improved my skills. I have a much greater alternative ways of being an artist. The safe space of the understanding of critical/analytical perspectives in visual culture which now informs my reflective practice. school provided the opportunity to make mistakes and figure out what I don’t want to be. My approach to art Titled ‘Wetlands’, for the degree show I will present became much more in-depth and critical. a series of 18 textural paintings and an ambient For the degree show, I’m making small-scale oil soundscape made in response to my direct experience paintings inspired by the aesthetics of diagrams, vintage of two freshwater reed beds. For the past year I have illustrations and manuals. My works depict catastrophic been ‘immersed’ in the foliage of these environments, tests and games with a failed cartoonist sense to them. drawing, painting and taking sound recordings above I’m very much engaged with political and historical and below water. Through my experience of lived subjects. disability, I view and encounter these wetlands from the ground up. I see the show as a protected space to test how my latest studies sit in a wider context in relation to the works of I will create an immersive, reflective space which my classmates. I’m looking forward to the reaction and raises awareness of the threatened fresh water perception of the audience. wetland ecologies. This work has required extensive research into the reed bed ecology, field-recording and The degree show is a way of coming to a solid improvisation, observational and intuitive painting. conclusion regarding what I’ve been doing for the The degree show has involved the bringing together of past three years. What I’m presenting clarifies my various different strands of my practice into a cohesive expectations and goals in my art career, which defines body of work, on which I hope to build in the future.” who I am now.” Degree show: 31 May-19 June. www.no44artscollective.co.uk 9

Degree show: 7-19 June. www.degreeshow.mmu.ac.uk/2019 10



Jessie Davies, Reeds 11, 51x51cm, acrylic on canvas. 10

Parham Salimy, Studio. 11

Parham Salimy, Studio.


UWE BRISTOL DEGREE SHOW Creative Industries 7–12 June 2019 uwe.ac.uk/FOTB

City Campus Arnolfini Bower Ashton Spike Island




09 JUNE 2019


Image: Anna Keomegi, BA (Hons) Fashion Design 2019



BATH SCHOOL OF ART AND DESIGN undergraduate Degree show 2019 Venue

Public View Courses

Bath School of Art & Design Sion Hill, Bath BA1 5SF

Saturday 8 June – Sunday 16 June 10am – 5pm Contemporary Arts Practice Ceramics Fashion Design Fine Art Graphic Communication Photography Textiles for Fashion & Interiors Three Dimensional Design bathspa.ac.uk/degreeshow

Wolverhampton School of Art Degree Show 2019 1969–2019 Celebrating 50 years in The George Wallis building Private view 7 June 17:30—20:30 Open from 8—19 June Mondays to Saturdays 10:00—16:00 Closed Sundays

The Wolverhampton School of Art Degree Show 2019 Wolverhampton School of Art and The School of Media The George Wallis building Molineux Street, WV1 1DT

01920 322 898 arts@wlv.ac.uk wlv.ac.uk/degreeshow /WLVArts


8-19 June 2019 Monday-Saturday 10am-4pm Closed Sundays Wolverhampton School of Art George Wallis Building, Molineux Street Wolverhampton, WV1 1DT Follow us: @WLV_Arts /WLVArts Tel: 01902 322 898 email: arts@wlv.ac.uk or visit: wlv.ac.uk/degreeshow #wlvartsfest


Poster Designed by Ryan Jones, Alumnus 1991– 94

1969-2019 Celebrating 50 years in the George Wallis Building



What Makes A Great Degree Show?

We asked five lecturers and course leaders to share their thoughts. Interviews by Jack Hutchinson. “There is no such thing as a ‘bad degree show’” Each individual degree show – whether that is in fine art or any other creative discipline – represents several years of experimentation, risk, failure, success and growth. Every show is an independent triumph for the student concerned. In that sense, there is no such thing as a ‘bad degree show’. But a really great degree show is exciting and unpredictable. It captures the difference and community of a really good course. As tutors, we build and maintain a catalytic surface for learning and experimentation. We are skilled at asking the right questions. But students learn at least as much from each other as they do from the staff. Art students are challenged to find their own creative path, and they respond and react to each other, often in surprising and unpredictable ways. That’s the sort of chemistry that can’t be planned for. It’s the mucky magic of British art schools. And as a result – in the best degree show – the work will be genuinely new and surprising. That is what’s great about working with fine art students: the opportunity to keep on learning.


Manchester School of Art, MMU, degree show 2017 featuring work by Liam Fallon.

Benedict Carpenter, principal lecturer on BA (Hons) Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University 27


“The most exciting degree shows are often underpinned by diversity”

“Don’t follow trends, they’ll be over before the show opens”

The degree show is a key moment in the calendar to celebrate students’ achievement, and the climax of years of hard work in the development of individual and collaborative practices.

Treat your degree show like the professional opportunity that it is, albeit with a safety net. Make the signage clear and consistent and if you can have a card or something memorable to give out that can help.

It is rewarding for students and tutors alike to see the exhibition spaces looking their best, showcasing a professional level of making in the realisation of ideas, as things come together in a way that reflects professional life beyond the art school.

Make sure you are using social media to its best advantage. People may well be instagramming your work so have a readymade # they can use – that way you can see who is following you and your work, and start to engage with them. Push your practice and take risks. We are looking for fresh ideas and approaches, works that ask something more of us.

The most exciting degree shows are often underpinned by diversity, a sense of camaraderie and peer support, and frequently include students learning new skills in curating and public engagement. Dr Daniel Pryde-Jarman, course leader BA Fine Art and MA Fine Art, Hereford College of Art


Don’t follow trends, they’ll be over before the show opens. Be present, be engaged and prepared to talk about your work. Talk it through with your peers, and practice if you need to. We don’t expect finessed speeches, but if someone is curious enough to ask a question about your practice it’s good to have a considered answer. Make the most of it and enjoy every moment!  Lucy Day, independent curator, director and curator at A Woman’s Place Project CIC, and visiting practitioner for University of the Arts (Wimbledon College of Art)


Plymouth College of Art, BA Fine Art Summer Degree Show, 2018. Photo: Dom Moore



Nottingham Trent University Degree Show 2018 with work by Alison Squires, BA (Hons) Fine Art.



“Not simply mirroring their tutors’ thinking” Primarily it is the students and of course the work that they exhibit. Everything they learn up to that point filters in to the level of ambition and the quality of the work made. I think good art schools have been able to maintain a focus on enabling students to make with attended critical and conceptual rigour. Alongside this it is important to get a sense that the students’ own ideas and vision are central to the work and that they are not simply mirrors of their tutors’ thinking, or making the kind of work they think a gallerist wants to see. At Manchester we are lucky to have beautiful studios to exhibit in which brings something to the work and adds to the sense of occasion. And being part of an art school with 3,000 students that occasion is a big one – we are part of the city’s cultural diary and attract incredible visitor numbers over the course of the show. There is an almost carnival atmosphere in the university district on the opening night, heightened by the naked bike riders who choose the same day to assemble on the park outside the Grosvenor Building and the Samba bands in the side streets. Finally, we try to add to that sense of occasion through a series of awards that are presented by curators, artists, gallerists and businesses, that include mentoring, residencies, materials and bursaries. I know the students really value that and it is one way we are able show how much we value them.​ Magnus Quaife, senior lecturer and programme leader of undergraduate fine art at Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University

“The work should not attempt to be a complete answer, how can it be?” Degree shows are always a tricky balance for the soon to be graduate student and burgeoning artist. They operate as multiple mini solo shows clumped together, complicated by the necessity of placing what could be disparate and unrelated work in the same vicinity. But this potential disruption can be dynamic, enhancing and highlighting differences, experimentation and continuities. The challenge for the viewer is to not make anything of what might appear to be connections or common outcomes. What I hope to experience is a nuanced and thoughtful staging of work, where the students have been clearly supported to realise the work in the best way they can. The work should not attempt to be a complete answer, how can it be? It should provocatively or boldly disrupt a status quo, subtlety reorienting the viewers understanding of contemporary art practice, and be memorable for longer than it takes to walk around the show. The show should be pointing, or at least leaning towards, what we should be paying attention to next. Steven Paige, senior lecturer, course leader BA Fine Art, Plymouth College of Art


Nottingham Trent University Degree Show 2018 with work by Agil Abdullayev, BA (Hons) Fine Art.


Nottingham Trent University Degree Show 2018 with work by Emily Stollery, BA (Hons) Fine Art.


DEGREE SHOWS 15 - 20 JUNE 2019 Uncover the spirit that drives everything we do and explore work from the freshest in creative talent. Discover our BA & MA courses and see what you could be creating if you study with us at our OPEN DAY, SAT 15 JUNE plymouthart.ac.uk/open-days


Student work: Florence Moore, BA (Hons) 3D Design Crafts



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Opening Night


20 June, 6pm - 8.30pm






The Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts event will showcase talent across a range of degree subjects including Fine Art, Design, Film and Theatre. Visitors can expect to see painting, drawing, sculpture, new media work, innovative design projects, performances and film and theatre screenings.




21 - 29 June 2019 Weekdays: 11am - 5pm Saturday: 11am - 4pm

Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts Lancaster University Lancaster LA1 4YW For more information visit https://coordinatedegreesh.wixsite.com/lancaster




What Happens When The Degree Show is Over? After the hard work is done, the degree show is de-installed and the opening night hangover has worn off, graduates face the task of adjusting to life after university. There are many challenges to negotiate: finding affordable studio space, maintaining creative momentum, sustaining a supportive and critical peer group, applying for opportunities and writing funding applications. Ellen Wilkinson speaks to four emerging artists who have benefited from schemes in Bristol, Wakefield and London that, by subsidising studio space and providing bursaries and professional development opportunities, support early-career artists to take their next steps.


Unn Devik, Closer to the Sun, 285x110cm, oil on canvas, 2018.

Unn Devik, graduate fellow at Spike Island, Bristol Spike Island is a former tea packing warehouse that is home to a gallery and affordable studios for over 70 artists, as well as workspace for designers, creative businesses and fine art students from the University of the West of England (UWE). Each year Spike Island offers free studio space as part of three-month and year-long fellowships to promising graduates, selected from an open call to students at partner universities. In recent years the scheme has expanded from supporting two UWE graduates and one from Falmouth University, to offer additional fellowships to graduates from Bath Spa University and Plymouth College of Art (PCA). This opportunity aims to support and encourage young artists in Bristol as they begin to develop their professional practices. Unn Devik, whose main discipline is painting, applied for a graduate fellowship in her final year at Falmouth University. “Studios can be hard to come by in Bristol and being given a space after graduation has been invaluable,” says Devik. “Isolation is one of the most difficult things to face when leaving university, but becoming part of the wider creative community at Spike Island has helped me to stay motivated.” Graduate fellows also have free access to Spike Island’s programme of workshops, talks and events, and participate in ‘Night of the Fellows,’ a professional development event in which the current and previous year’s fellows give a public presentation about their work. Being part of a peer group of other graduate fellows offers chances to collaborate, as Devik explains: “We organised a dinner party with Polly Maxwell, UWE’s MA Curating placement at Spike Island, as an introduction to people involved in the Bristol art scene 33

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Unn Devik, Sounds of Life, Test Space exhibition private view. 3

Unn Devik, Test Space exhibition private view.

beyond Spike Island. I also worked with Shannon Watson, the PCA graduate fellow, on a collaborative exhibition in Test Space, a project space run by Spike Island studio holders.” Reflecting on the impact of her fellowship, Devik comments: “The biggest difference between a residency like this and being a student is the independence. Developing your practice is entirely up to you. If you want a group crit or a tutorial you have to find the people – and you will find them if you start the conversation. The fellowship increased my confidence in my practice and how I approach people.” Devik has now moved back to her native Bergen, Norway and hopes to start an MA at the Art Academy there. “If I don’t get in, I’ll find a studio and a community here regardless. It’s hard to operate as an artist without a community to spark ideas and to feed the imagination.” spikeisland.org.uk


Anthony Jennison, studio holder at Artists Studio Company (ASC), Brixton, London Artists Studio Company (ASC) is a registered charity that provides over 350 affordable workspaces to artists and makers across Greater London. Its core aim is to support creative practitioners and to promote the arts through exhibitions, events and an education programme. In 2019 ASC introduced a recent graduate scheme, offering workspaces in its Brixton, Croydon and Rotherhithe studios at subsidised rents to artists who have graduated in the last three years. There is no competitive selection process and ASC meets the costs of the scheme without external funding. ASC’s CEO Peter Flack notes that “price is the defining factor when young artists look for studio space”. Anthony Jennison, a studio holder at ASC’s Brixton site, agrees that “as a young artist, every penny counts” but also recognises further benefits of being in an established studio. “ASC supports young creatives through events such as open studios and networking with fellow artists in other studios. I have the chance to make contact with like-minded artists in London, who may have more experience and who I can learn from. ASC offers a community that will benefit my future career.” Since April 2019, through Cultural Enterprise Zone funding, ASC has offered eight studios in Croydon at a 40% discount to artists under-25. Finding affordable workspace after graduation is a particular challenge for emerging artists and Flack recognises the impact of high studio rents in London. “We are now paying ridiculously high rents for our leasehold buildings,” he says. “In order to remain




sustainable we have had to increase studio rents to levels that are pricing many artists out of the capital. Our long-term solution is to purchase buildings at a discounted price, but it will be some years before we own enough property to make a difference. In the meantime, we can support a small number of emerging artists with financial discounts.” Jennison is studying for an MA at the Royal College of Art. His tutor recommended ASC as being particularly good value for money for the size of the studios. For Jennison, working from ASC Brixton has been important for his artistic development. “I specialise in sculptural installation and create largescale, multi-sensory work for audiences to enter,” he explains. “Being able to work at an increased scale in my studio has made my practice more experimental, with more theoretical depth as I’m less concerned with material restrictions. Ideas that have been trapped inside sketchbooks for months can now become visual and tactile. With all my work in one space, I have gained a greater understanding of my own practice.” ascstudios.co.uk

Elizabeth Gray and Rhian Cooke, graduate residents at The Art House, Wakefield Since 2016 The Art House has run an Arts Council England supported graduate residency with five partner universities across the north of England. The residency offers recent fine art graduates the chance to spend four weeks at The Art House developing their practice. Participants have a studio, access to workshops, tutorials and free on-site accommodation. They also receive a bursary towards materials and living costs while on the residency. Leeds Arts University graduate Rhian Cooke says: “The Art House created this non-pressured environment and gave me concise time and space to really concentrate on my work.” She also appreciated working and living closely with the other residents. “It was good to spend the residency with other graduating artists, seeing how they work and opening up our studio together for Wakefield Art Walk to show the work we’d developed over the residency. The Art House was really good at introducing us to other studio holders and artist-led organisations, so for me it was particularly useful to make connections beyond Leeds.” As part of the recruitment process, The Art House programme team visits each final-year fine art class to deliver professional development sessions and hold one-to-ones. They then visit the degree shows.


Anthony Jennison, Biotic Tenancy, 841x1189mm, digital print, 2018. 5

Anthony Jennison, Default, brick, audio and video projection, 2019.

“When we receive an application from a student we already know their work, have an idea of what they’re interested in and what tailored support we can offer,” says programme producer Simon Boase. “We visit a lot of degree shows and each has a different character. Within a cohort of graduate residents we’re looking for artists who are being honest in the work they’re making, 35




Rhian Cooke, Once in a Moon Boot, (image size variable), moving image projection, 2017. Photo: Jules Lister 7

Rhian Cooke, Once in a Moon Boot, Prop, 7x7x5cm, faux leather, suede, thread, plasticine, 2017. Photo: Rhian Cooke 8

Elizabeth Gray, Dandy Lion, 2018. Photo: Jas Eccles

not just imitating a style. They might still be working things out or struggling with presentation, but you can quickly see who is using their art to say something.” Elizabeth Gray, a graduate of The University of Lincoln, describes her time as a resident as giving her “complete freedom to develop work”. She was encouraged to experiment with new mediums, including performance. “Showcasing my work at the end of the residency increased my confidence with performing to an intimate audience and I am still working with performance now,” she explains. “The residency also gave me time to think about my practice and how I want to work as an artist. The four weeks I spent there had a significant positive impact on my practice and my mental health.” The Art House was established by disabled and nondisabled artists who wanted to create a place where they could work together. Purpose-built, fully accessible facilities – including artists’ studios and a threebedroom flat with kitchen, living room and en-suite bathrooms – mean that the organisation can provide opportunities without physical barriers. “For artists who are disabled, graduating is even more difficult to navigate than for non-disabled artists,” notes Boase. “A typical next step for a graduating student is to get a space in an artist-led studio, but it’s common for those spaces to be inaccessible, so the options for graduating artists who are disabled are significantly reduced at their very first step out of art school.” The graduate residency programme includes workshops and tutorials on topics such as applying for funding, project management and budgeting, alongside talks from visiting artists, covering a range of career paths and practical advice on how to survive as an artist. Boase recognises the importance of giving graduates 36

a realistic view of what it is to be an artist. He says: “We try to build residents’ confidence while providing real-life advice on what makes them selectable in competitive applications and how their career may fluctuate, with successes and quiet periods. That knowledge doesn’t always come through traditional educational routes, which can be aspirational and focus on employability, whereas artists’ careers rarely follow a linear trajectory.” the-arthouse.org.uk


Rosie Green, BA (Hons) Fine Art

Norwich University of the Arts BA Degree Shows 2019 25 June - 3 July For opening times and more information www.nua.ac.uk/degree-shows #NUAdegreeshows




















ONLINE DIGITAL RESOURCE Find a show near you Interactive map and expanded listings make it easy to plan a visit.



Longer reads

New graduate resources

Expanded interviews with the Class of 2019 graduating artists, plus more insights into what makes a great degree show.

Including in-depth Next steps features plus guides and resources to support graduating students to sustain practice and explore options after study.


Felicity Beaumont, Sunshine (detail), 100x150cm, acrylic on canvas. BA (Hons) Fine Art, University of Suffolk.


Aaisha Ali, Islamic Art.

News and views Keeping attention on degree shows from May to July, a steady flow of new stories, reviews and Instagram takeovers.


Elizabeth Gray, The Stripper Clown, 2018. Photo: Jas Eccles


Profile for ANartistsinfo

a-n Degree Shows Guide 2019  

Highlighting the best graduate art and design shows around the UK, with commentary and insight from artists and graduating students, an in-d...

a-n Degree Shows Guide 2019  

Highlighting the best graduate art and design shows around the UK, with commentary and insight from artists and graduating students, an in-d...