Degree Shows Guide 2014 NEW TECHNOLOGIES / PERSPECTIVES / PREVIEWS LISTINGS / COLLECTING / ONE YEAR ON
COLLECTIVE BA (HONS) FINE ART
DEGREE SHOW PREVIEW: Friday 13 June 2014
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: Saturday 14 June Monday 16 June Tuesday 17 June Wednesday 18 June Thursday 19 June
10.00–17.00 10.00–19.00 10.00–19.00 10.00 –17.00 10.00–16.00
Southampton Solent School of Art and Design Below Bar Studios, Level Two, 9 Castle Way, Southampton SO14 2BX Tel: +44 (0)23 8031 9000 Email: email@example.com
Welcome It’s 15 years since the first a-n Degree Shows Guide. A lot has changed in that time, much of it down to digital technology. In 1999, many people were still strangers to the internet, Google was run from a garage, and mobile phones were mainly used for talking to people. The iPhone wasn’t even a twinkle in Jonathan Ive’s eye and Apple were best known for desktop computers that came in different colours. As for social media, Facebook was five years away, Twitter seven – people did things differently then. In his introductory essay to this year’s guide, Justin McKeown picks up on the nature of our changed world and the challenges and opportunities it presents artists, asking if art education and the degree show is keeping pace with digital developments. As head of both fine art and computer science at York St John University, he’s well placed to comment.
There’s plenty more thoughtful consideration of degree shows – what they do, what they don’t do, and what they might try to do a little more or less of. We solicit views from the directors of New Contemporaries, Situations and Craftspace, and get the perspective of a practicing artist from a champion of artist-led activity, Kevin Hunt. In the same section, four graduating students – all regular a-n bloggers – give some insight into the student mindset at this always frantic and exciting time of year. Elsewhere, academics ponder what a ‘successful’ degree show should do, there are tips on buying work, and we catch up with a 2013 graduate one year on. There’s also a listings section featuring over 60 shows across the UK. If you’ve got something to share about any shows you get along to, use the hashtag #andegrees14 – we’d love to hear your views.
Twitter: @an_artnews @an_artstudents
Ali Reed, 2013 degree show, Staffordshire University 2
Sean Brattan, York St John University, 2014 3
Students at Falmouth University 2013 degree show 4
Fiona Masterton, Concrete Glass, Wimbledon College of Arts, 2014 5
BC System Public Art Solutions, 2013, commissioned by Situations for New Situationists 5
Cover image: Fiona Masterton, Concrete Glass, digital montage and oil paint on canvas, 123x60.5x2cm
Winchester School of Art
Fashion & Textile Design Fine Art Graphic Arts Fashion Marketing/Management
University of Southampton, Park Ave, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8DL T: 023 8059 6900
16.06.2014 18.00 â€“ 20.00
21.06.201422.06.2014 11.00 - 16.00
17.06.201420.06.2014 10.00 - 20.00 Private View
18.00 - 20.00
Contents 09-11 FIRST THOUGHTS Justin McKeown, head of fine art and computer science at York St John University, explores the role of art education in a world transformed by digital technology. 13-26 PERSPECTIVES We talk about the pros and cons of degree shows with Kirsty Ogg (New Contemporaries), Claire Doherty (Situations), Deirdre Figueiredo (Craftspace) and artist and curator Kevin Hunt. Plus, four graduating students discuss their work.
29-33 PREVIEWS In partnership with Birmingham Institute of Art & Design; The Cass, London; and Falmouth University.
35-39 LISTINGS Highlights from across the UK, featuring over 60 degree shows.
Bristol Fine Art degree show, 2013. Photo: Steve Norton 2
Falmouth University degree show, 2013 3
Claire Doherty, director, Situations 4
Natalie Willis, York St John University, 2014 5
Ophelia Finke, Everest, Bloomberg New Contemporaries, 2013
43 COLLECTING Ten things to do if youâ€™re planning to buy work at a fine art degree show. 45 DEFINING SUCCESS Tutors and art school directors on what makes a successful degree show. 47 AND FINALLY... One year on, we catch up with 2013 graduate Ali Reed, winner of the New Art West Midlands 2014 award.
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Value judgements: the degree show in a changing world As new technologies transform how we interact with and understand the world around us, is the degree show keeping up or is art education turning its back on a new social reality it simply doesn’t understand? By Justin McKeown
In terms of the art world’s own internal sense of time, the degree show is in many ways the equivalent of New Year’s Eve; it is a point at which to collectively celebrate the birth of the future, while taking stock of the events of the past year. Reflecting on the 2013-14 academic year, it’s clear that one of the most pressing subjects is the issue of value and the need to continually defend the arts in respect of this.
is very much becoming part of art school rhetoric. As this pressure manifests itself within educational institutions in such phenomena as the removal of government funding for all but STEM subjects and continual space auditing of fine art programmes, the question must be asked: to what extent can these programmes and their degree shows persist in their current form?
With this in mind, it is interesting to note the difference between making art for yourself – an act that holds value for you as an individual – and pursuing a career as an artist by studying for a degree in fine art or a related field. By doing the latter, you are implicitly deciding that your creativity also holds value for other people.
My consideration of this matter is informed by an awareness of technology; I am not only head of fine art at York St John University, I’m also head of computer science and a member of the Internet of Things Council. (The Internet of Things is an umbrella term used to describe a next step in the evolution of the internet; an internet of augmented ‘smart’ objects, accessible to human beings and each other over network connections.)
Ten years ago, when it came to discussions of creative processes, the question of value for others was not on the table. Today, however, as a result of continued pressure on the arts to justify its worth to society, the notion of value
Underpinning the Internet of Things is the ever-increasing proliferation of networked
Tom Skinn, York St John University, 2014 2
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Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design Degree Show 2014 University of Dundee 16 May â€“ 25 May dundee.ac.uk/degreeshow
devices in everyday usage, including laptops, smart phones, smart meters, RFIDs (radiofrequency identification), etc. The number of these in use is set to increase worldwide from the current 4.5 billion to 50 billion by 2050 and may even include human implants. Life as we know it is undergoing a multitude of minuscule but incredibly significant changes that are altering not only how we relate to each other and the world, but also how we conceive of ourselves as beings within it. If the Internet of Things is a dominant emerging social reality in which our graduates will find themselves, how will they contend with it? And what is the place of art within such a reality? Four years ago I introduced computer programming as a core mandatory skill taught to all our fine art students, alongside more traditional skills. It is interesting to see how, as they approach their degree show, some of them have been able to apply creative coding to augment their existing practice in other media. Just as installation art was a paradigm of 20th century art, one wonders what the emerging paradigm of the 21st will be, and whether it will involve using code to enhance the already interactive aspects of artworks. Maybe this year’s degree shows will offer us some clues. Aside from the Internet of Things revolution, we live in a world where our effect on the ecosphere is causing the climate to become ever-more extreme, and there are now five billion more people on the planet than there was at the start of the 20th century, putting
increased pressure on resources. How are today’s art programmes engaging with these issues and how is this engagement articulated through this year’s degree shows? Is the material we are teaching in terms of history and theory the most relevant discourses we could be feeding our students in this new emerging reality? Are the arts losing the debate on value because we don’t understand the argument?
“What will the emerging paradigm of 21st century art be and will it involve using code to enhance the already interactive aspects of artworks? Maybe this year’s degree shows will offer some clues”
When considering art programmes and degree shows, I sometimes wonder if we are not witnessing the last throws of an old cultural order too confused by the enormity of the historical moment we are living through to effectively engage with our emerging social reality. Art, after all, is a material means of thinking about the world around us. What makes art valuable is its ability to apprehend the conditions of our lives and articulate them in such a manner that they become tangible as propositions and questions to be inhabited. The extent to which our graduates can manage to do this will determine the future value of art and its place within society. So, at this year’s degree shows, congratulate our young artists’ labours and let them know how much you appreciate their efforts. The world is becoming a more volatile place and the road ahead for graduates seems much more difficult than it was – we owe them our support. Justin McKeown is head of fine art and computer science at York St John University, York
Glasgow School of Art, Fine Art degree show, 2013
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Views on show What makes the degree show season such a vital and exciting time, and an important point of reference for all those working in the visual and applied arts? We get the views of four arts professionals, from the recently appointed director of New Contemporaries to the long-standing head of Craftspace, plus four of a-nâ€™s student bloggers talk about their work and degree show expectations. Interviews by Chris Sharratt
Kevin Hunt, Empty Space (detail), wood soaked in ink, 2012
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DEGREE SHOW 2014 PUBLIC VIEWING: 21ST TO 24TH MAY Contemporary Art and Design Interior Architecture and Design
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Kirsty Ogg, director, New Contemporaries Degree shows have always been important to Kirsty Ogg. But after joining New Contemporaries as director at the end of 2013, she’ll be looking at this year’s shows through slightly different eyes. “Degree shows are a kind of barometer for what new artists are thinking about and how they are approaching the making of work,” she says. “The reason that’s important is because it’s something that changes on a generational basis – people grow up in a different socio-economic, political context, surrounded by a specific cultural framework, and that absolutely informs their practice.” Previously curator at the Whitechapel Gallery, the Londonbased Glaswegian has in the past focused her attention on degree shows in the capital – in particular Goldsmiths, the Slade and the Royal College of Art. This year, she expects to get to far more shows across the UK. “What I’m looking for is innovation, interesting research; I want to be surprised and challenged by something rather than have my assumptions reinforced. Sometimes, you can look at work and very clearly see the artists that have influenced it. To me, that always feels a lot less satisfying than seeing something that is more open, that gives you a sense of an identifiable, individual practice being developed.”
Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition 2013, Spike Island, installation view 2
Kirsty Ogg. Photo: Eloise Parry 3
Hannah Regel, Tender Hooks, Bloomberg New Contemporaries exhibition 2013
The annual New Contemporaries exhibition consists of work by new and recent graduates of fine art from UK art schools, selected from open submission by an independent panel. This year – its 65th anniversary – the selectors are Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Goshka Macuga and Enrico David. “There’s been around 1400 submissions for 2014,” says Ogg. “The final show will feature between 30 to 50 artists.” Ogg graduated from the sculpture department of Edinburgh College of Art in the early 1990s, and from 1993-1996 was involved in running Transmission Gallery, an artist-run space in Glasgow. Much has changed in the UK’s contemporary art scene since then, not least the growth of the art market. This, believes Ogg, has had a profound impact on the presentation of work at degree shows. “The rise of the commercial art market has changed how graduating artists view success and how they view the level of professionalism they need to have when they’re making a show. So of course you get a lot of work that looks very slick, very proficient and is recognizably ‘art’ – work that sits within a particular trajectory of art making and exhibiting.” For Ogg, though, it’s individuality and inventiveness, not presentation skills, that leaves a lasting impression. “I’m looking for work that shows a little break; a diversion down a different path.”
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Fiona Masterton, Blue Bayou 2
Fiona Masterton, The Vagrant
SHOW & TELL
FIONA MASTERTON, BA PAINTING, WIMBLEDON COLLEGE OF ARTS
look. I aim to intrigue, inspire and stimulate the imagination.
How would you describe your work?
Do you hope to sell any of your work and are sales important to you at this stage?
I combine photography, digital art and paint; mainly on canvas, although I’ve been known to venture onto both found and other objects. My work is about crossing borders, not only in process, but in image juxtaposition, mark-making and between reality and the imagination. I try to convey a sense of suspense and fluctuation and portray indefinable forms that suggest different points of departure depending on who is looking at it. How has your work developed in your final year?
I have become a lot more honest in my practice in that I acknowledge that process has become much more of a leading force. The inspiration in terms of subject matter for the actual work may shift but the one continuum is the dynamics and patterns within the digital and painting processes that I use. What are you doing for your degree show?
I am working on paintings that best illustrate my current concerns in terms of the ebb and flow between the digital and the painted mark, between the abstract and the figurative, of the idea of a perpetual shift in reality. I use the mundane and the vernacular as starting points to do this. What would you like your degree show to achieve?
I’d like my degree show to attract people from a distance and then draw them in to have a closer
I would very much like to sell my work but the most important thing for me is to raise its profile and get it known.
“I am working on paintings that illustrate my current concerns in terms of the ebb and flow between the digital and the painted mark, the abstract and the figurative”
Are you nervous?
Yes, I am nervous and excited as well. I am fretting a little, too. There is so much to do in preparation. Have you shown your work in public before, outside of an art school context?
Yes, I have been involved in a number of exhibitions outside of college – all group shows, but with friends, other students or alumni from the art school. Long may this continue. What’s next after graduation?
The stark reality is that I have to focus on getting some money coming in, so I will be looking for employment. I have done a little commercial work creating electronic book covers, so I may develop this further. Alongside that I will carry on developing my practice and exhibiting when I can. I would like to apply to do a Masters in the not too distant future. BA Painting degree show, 13-21 June, Wimbledon College of Arts, Merton Hall Road, London SW19. Fiona Masterton is an a-n student blogger 17
Claire Doherty, director, Situations
“I’m not shopping when visiting degree shows – I’m not looking for a needle in a haystack. Rather, the pleasure is that I’m going with my eyes open.” Claire Doherty, director of Bristol-based public art producers Situations, has a degree shows hit list that includes the Slade, Central St Martins, the RCA, Glasgow School of Art and UWE (University of the West of England). “I tend to start by looking at tutors and lecturers and where they are – I’ll always follow Phyllida Barlow!” Doherty’s focus on art in the public realm means that she approaches students’ work in a very particular way. She is interested in artists who demonstrate an awareness of context and how their work communicates with an audience. “In degree shows, artists are vying for attention amongst their peers, but in the public realm art is vying for attention with absolutely everything else around it – so it’s actually harder. 18
The question is, what is the artwork’s significance, what is its value in a given context, how is the artist communicating what they want to say? It may be that an artist’s visual language is quite conventional, but what I’ll be doing as a curator is looking for the potential for work to resonate outside of the gallery.” Doherty describes what you see in degree shows as “the tip of the iceberg”; she is always looking for what lies beneath. “The degree show is this ultimate moment of display that is really tough for a student. Essentially, they have to articulate everything they’ve learnt and also their potential, and for most artists it’s really the luck of the draw whether it happens for them at that particular time. So I’m always aware that what you’re trying to do is be generous as a viewer and to think what lies behind this moment in their artistic maturing.” Doherty believes there is still a lot that needs to be done when it comes to preparing students for the possibilities of working
Mary Wood, Unstable Self, compressed charcoal
SHOW & TELL
MARY WOOD, BA FINE ART, UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM How would you describe your work?
Drawing is central to my art practice. Throughout the degree course I have experimented by making drawings that are mediated by my senses; this work has led me to question the definition and possibilities for drawing itself. As my line of enquiry relates to process I prefer to use simple drawing materials – cartridge paper, charcoal, biro and felt-tip pens. 2
How has your work developed in your final year?
I began this year by making a series of self-portraits informed by my perceptions; this led to an exploration of my movements within a domestic space. Currently I am developing a more conceptual body of work that investigates the drawing process and alludes to structures, boundaries, absence and space. What are you doing for your degree show? 1
Alex Hartley, Nowhereisland, 2012. Photo: Max McClure, maxmcclure.com 2
Claire Doherty 3
Futurefarmers, Flatbread Society, 2013. Produced by Situations for Slow Space Bjorvika, Oslo
in the public realm. “There is a certain reticence amongst a number of emerging artists to work outside the gallery, or to contemplate working in different ways and looking at different approaches to engaging with an audience,” she says. Through initiatives like its recently launched Public Art Now events and New Situationists commissions for emerging artists, Situations is attempting to dispel myths around working in the public realm and encourage more artists to work in this area. Doherty’s experience, however, suggests that a lot of students may have other things on their minds. “The presentation mode of many degree shows falls into the art fair model; there’s a lot of pressure on young artists to be seen and heard by the market as one route to success. But I’m most interested in artists who are thinking about how their work might unfold beyond the marketable object – about how they begin a conversation between their peers, their work and their audience.”
I believe that making work specifically for the degree show is a constraint that would inhibit the development of my thinking. I draw on a daily basis and as a result have built up a large body of work during the last year. For the degree show I plan to critically review my work and choose a group of strong drawings that demonstrate my conceptual ideas. What would you like your degree show to achieve?
I hope that the degree show will give me the chance to build up a network of contacts and look for opportunities at the start of my career. I’m also building an online presence as I think this is important. Do you hope to sell any of your work and are sales important to you at this stage?
I’m not interested in selling my work at this stage. Are you nervous?
I react well to deadlines – the degree show therefore provides an exciting challenge. I’m well up for it! Have you shown your work in public before, outside of an art school context?
I’ve already shown my work at two contemporary art venues in Nottingham: the Surface Gallery and Carnival of Monsters. I learnt a lot about exhibiting from taking part in these shows. What’s next after graduation?
I’m currently looking for opportunities following graduation. I’d like to get a studio and apply for a residency. BA Fine Art degree show, 25 June–6 July, Djanogly Gallery, Lakeside Arts Centre, University Park, Nottingham. Mary Wood is an a-n student blogger 19
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Kevin Hunt, artist and curator “I made quite a lot of sculptures that contained huge amounts of wet paint, and then they’d dry over a period of months or weeks. They weren’t particularly eloquent!” Kevin Hunt is remembering the work he made as a BA fine art student at the North Wales School of Art and Design, Wrexham. He graduated in 2005. “I was grappling with the idea of making an art object with a sense of mutability,” he says. “I’m quite pleased in retrospect I was at a small college and there weren’t lots of people seeing my work – the pressure was very much just about me and the work rather than me and the world.” Based in his hometown of Liverpool since graduating, Hunt is a former director of The Royal Standard, an artist-led studio, gallery and social workspace where he also now has his studio. A champion of artist-led activity, he is a practicing artist, curator and visiting lecturer across the country. And while he has some reservations about his own degree show – “Looking back, I wasn’t really making the work I want to make now” – he has a keen interest in what’s coming out of the UK’s art schools, particularly those outside London.
“Degree shows are bit like a circus – all kinds of peculiar things happen, some of them utterly dreadful while others can be amazing. The thing that I love is when you see something that is great and you think, if this is what they’re doing at this point in their career, what will they do in the next two, three, five years?” As for what makes a memorable fine art degree show, Hunt is adamant that it’s the students who are already thinking as artists – who aren’t bound by educational requirements – that are most likely to impress. “The most interesting students at a degree show are the ones that bypass the idea that it’s this culmination of the last three years and instead just treat it like another show. What’s really exciting is when you meet students who are already operating as artists, presenting work, putting on shows, working with other artists away from their close set of peers at art college.” That said, Hunt acknowledges that the weight of expectation generated by the degree show season is hard to resist. “There’s a sense of momentum that leads up to it which is just exciting,” he says. “But when a student rests all their hopes on the degree show, their own expectations aren’t likely to be met. It’s just a fleeting moment, a tiny part of an artist’s career. And of course you’re also limited by your own knowledge at that time – you don’t really know what is possible yet.”
Easy does it, installation view, David Dale Gallery, Glasgow, 2013, curated by Kevin Hunt 2
Kevin Hunt, The Money Cactus, pre-painted wood and tempered steel, 2013 3
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Slade Shows 2014 BA/BFA Fine Art Saturday 24 – Thursday 29 May weekdays 10am–8pm weekends 10am–5pm
MA/MFA Fine Art Thursday 12 – Wednesday 18 June weekdays 10am–8pm weekends 10am–5pm
Postgraduate Summer Shows Camberwell College of Arts 16-23 July 2014 (not Sunday) arts.ac.uk/camberwell Chelsea College of Arts 6-12 September 2014 (not Sunday) arts.ac.uk/chelsea Wimbledon College of Arts MFA Fine Art: 4-10 July (not Sunday) MA 5-12 September 2014 (not Sunday) arts.ac.uk/wimbledon
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The Mary Andrew Charitable Trust. The James Wood Bequest Fund. Julie Claire Florist.
“I am very nervous, but I’m also excited because this exhibition is the beginning of my future as a fine artist”
SHOW & TELL
CATHERINE WYNNE-PATON, BA FINE ART, HEREFORD COLLEGE OF ARTS How would you describe your work?
I’m absorbed by text and the physical process of writing. I have been trying to find and record the moment, the liminal place where writing no longer communicates any information yet is still clearly writing. Listening plays a central role in my work in the form of paying attention to the relationship between the marks and the surface. How has your work developed in your final year?
I think I have begun to develop confidence in the unknown. I don’t feel quite so afraid working with uncertainty. At least, I still feel afraid but I have begun to realise that being scared is actually quite exciting. It’s taken me nearly three years to realise that work is about asking questions I don’t know the answer to. What are you doing for your degree show?
The exploration of the way that writing and text breaks down at a certain point is really exciting and the act of listening is also important. My degree show will show how far I’ve explored all this. What would you like your degree show to achieve?
Long term, I would like the degree show to be one of many exhibitions I take part in. I also hope, of course, that people will see my work and that further opportunities to exhibit will develop out of it. Do you hope to sell any of your work and are sales important to you at this stage?
Having someone interested enough in what I’m doing (and/or the result) to think about buying a piece of my work would be uplifting, but what is more important to me at this stage is the opportunity to get my work seen.
Are you nervous?
Yes, I am very nervous, but I’m also excited because this exhibition is the beginning of my future as a fine artist. What’s next after graduation?
I am one of the directors of Framework in Hereford – a new organisation that I have been involved in setting up. Framework will support emerging artists in the area by initiating artist socials, increasing opportunities to exhibit, hosting critique sessions and promoting a collaborative atmosphere. These activities will evolve and change as the group does. I also want to study at MA level, because the degree has really just whetted my appetite for more. I’m very aware now of the type of environment I thrive in and a support network of fellow creative people is vital to me sustaining my practice. I am interested in teaching at Foundation level; I know I’ll have to make a living and I enjoy working with other artists.
Catherine Wynne-Paton, Unnamed 2
BA Fine Art Degree Show, 13-21 June, College Road Campus, Hereford College of Arts, Hereford.
Catherine Wynne-Paton, Retrieve
Catherine Wynne-Paton is an a-n student blogger
Catherine Wynne-Paton, Stone Writing
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Image courtesy of Claire Winstanley BA (Hons) Fine Art student.
10.00am-4.00pm (closed Sunday)
SUMMER EXHIBITION 2014
All welcome – register for complimentary tickets at www.cumbria.ac.uk/exhibition
31 May – 6 June
Featuring work of BA (Hons) Fine Art students
Private view Friday 30 May 6.00pm-8.00pm Newcastle Street, Carlisle, CA2 5UH
ART AND DESIGN DEGREE SHOWS 2014 Celebrating 170 years of Art and Design expertise and creativity, Nottingham Trent University launches a showcase of final-year student exhibitions, shows and events.
SHOW TIME 2014
PUBLIC OPENING: 30 MAY - 7 JUNE (ADMISSION FREE)
Mon - Fri: 10 am - 5 pm Sat: 11 am - 5 pm / Sun: 11 am - 4 pm Locations: Across the NTU City site. BLACKBOX PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL: 26 MAY - 6 JUNE
The 18th Annual BA (Hons) Photography exhibition at venues around Nottingham. www.blackboxfestival.com OPEN DAYS
Visit us, meet staff and students, and find out more about studying Art and Design: Weds 2 July / Sat 13 Sept / Sat 11 Oct / Sat 8 Nov 2014 To book a place: www.ntu.ac.uk/opendays All further information: www.ntu.ac.uk/degreean14 #newtalentunleashed Image: degree show work by Abigail Hubbard, BA (Hons) Fine Art
Deirdre Figueiredo, director, Craftspace
Plenty has changed in applied arts in the time Deirdre Figueiredo has been going to degree shows – particularly in the last decade. “Ten years ago we would have focused on ceramics, glass, furniture, textiles,” says Figueiredo, director of Birmingham-based development organisation Craftspace. “Now, because we’re working in what I call ‘craft in an expanded field’, we’re not limiting ourselves. Craft makers are working in many different areas – video, animation, digital media – so we’ve widened the scope of where we’re looking for talent quite dramatically.” The last few years have seen major changes in craft education, with discipline-specific courses closing down and new, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary courses replacing them. “People are working across media in different ways and practices are much more blurred than they ever were,” adds Figueiredo. The loss of specialist courses has made it increasingly difficult for new makers to learn age-old craft skills. Yet while Figueiredo laments their closure, she also believes that craft is in an exciting place as it responds to the changes and embraces new technologies. “In craft, using new technology stretches from fantastic access to all sorts of digital tools that a lot of labs are now equipped with – digital sewing machines, jack looms, etc – to the use of social media and interactive and open source technology. It also cuts across into performance craft, which goes beyond just demonstrating and into something that explores making in a live way.” Degree shows, says Figueiredo, offer a first-hand insight into how these developments are influencing makers, providing a perspective on new trends. “I really enjoy them – it’s just good to see a sense of renewal and something fresh coming through every year.”
Deirdre Figueiredo 2
Work by Penny Allen, part of the Craftspace/Hereford College of Arts collaborative project, Field Notes, led by artists Matthew Harris and David Littler, 2014 3
Amber Wakely, Lace Tree, produced at Craftspace’s In:Site festival for new graduates, 2013
The shows also form a key part of the Craftspace research cycle. “What we do in terms of strategy is informed by what our interests are, but of course our interests are really informed by what makers are doing. So visiting degree shows is a very important part of a research and planning process, and thinking about who we might be working with in three to five years time.” Figueiredo’s focus tends to be on shows in the West Midlands, with Birmingham’s School of Jewellery singled out for its vision, direction and open approach. (“I know there’ll be a range of conceptual works there,” she says, “it’s not just jewellery as you’d imagine it to be.”) A trip to the New Designers exhibition in London covers a lot of the other new talent. Crucially, though, she believes that what you see at a degree show often doesn’t tell the full story. “Applied art students are much more savvy than they used to be about using degree shows as an opportunity to sell work. What a student might show is something they hope will be a selling range, while actually their interests lie elsewhere, such as socially engaged practice. So it’s important to look beyond the object, to delve a little deeper.” 25
SHOW & TELL
Justina Urbon, Untitled, 2014
JUSTINA URBON, BA FINE ART, MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY How would you describe your work?
The delicate nature and the organic aesthetic of my sculptures is created by challenging the material properties of thermoplastic – commonly known as hot glue. A lack of a permanent place to exist adds to the sensitivity of the sculptures, thus requiring some form of support to rely on. How has your work developed in your final year?
The final year has been overshadowed by many side projects. However, my sculptural work developed significantly in the second year, and in the third year I have been exploring alternative ways of displaying these sculptures. What are you doing for your degree show?
I can’t reveal the details. All I can suggest is that it will be a sculptural work and you should come see it! What would you like your degree show to achieve?
I strive to use the degree show to present an elevated outcome of what I have been developing since the start of my degree. I believe that for a degree show to be ‘successful’, it is important that it retains an essence of a journey that the three years have taken, and it is irrelevant whether your friends and family like the final destination. In fact, the less they like it the better. Do you hope to sell any of your work and are sales important to you at this stage?
A part of me thinks that art should remain an entity of its own and should not be used as a commodity. There seems to be this ‘arrangement’ between artists and the ‘outside’ world that says: “OK, we will allow you to do whatever it is that you do, that we don’t quite comprehend (or want to). However, for this ‘freedom’, you have to return the ‘favour’, and agree to an ‘exchange’.” Of course this exchange comes in a form that society can understand: money. I am not immune to it, I understand the concept. So the answer is yes, I hope to sell my work. However, the reality, and especially for freshly-baked art graduates, is that this exchange is not an equal one. This needs to change – labour has to be paid for. Are you nervous?
I feel nervous, but I think the anxiety is directed more at the unknown that awaits after graduating. Have you shown your work in public before, outside of an art school context?
Yes. A group of like-minded students and I have formed an art collective called The Common. We held a site-specific exhibition at Islington Arts Factory in September 2013, and had a short film screened at an ICA/Middlesex University symposium. We have two definite projects that we will embark on after graduation. What’s next after graduation?
To remain in London: experience the struggle that ensues after graduating and choosing not to move back in with one’s parents. BA Fine Art degree show, 29, 30 May & 2 June, The Grove Building, Middlesex University, The Boroughs, London NW4.
Justina Urbon is an a-n student blogger 26
“It is important that a degree show retains an essence of the journey the three years have taken. Whether your friends and family like the final destination is irrelevant”
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School of Creative Arts Degree Show 2014
2 – 7 June 2014 Our graduates are making Headlines – Be part of their story!
Previews a-n in partnership with Falmouth University; The Cass, London; and Birmingham City University
AMATA Festival 2
Illustration, The Art & Design Degree Show
FALMOUTH UNIVERSITY DEGREE SHOWS 2014
Spread over multiple sites in the South West and London, the Falmouth University Degree Shows are an opportunity to preview the finest emerging creative talent in the areas of art, design, media, performance and writing. Taking place from 12 May – 23 July, over 1,000 graduating students will descend upon venues as varied as multi-storey car parks and former police stations in a programme bursting with exhibitions, shows, performances and events. Falmouth alumni are regularly featured at international institutions, from New York’s MOMA to London’s National Portrait Gallery. In the last year alone former students have secured nominations and wins for the Turner Prize, Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, Threadneedle Prize and Carnegie Medal. Throughout their studies, students are encouraged to produce distinctive practices in preparation for working in the creative industries or for postgraduate education. A fresh, forward-thinking and entrepreneurial spirit is woven through the courses and will be evident in this year’s shows. www.falmouth.ac.uk/degreeshows #discoverF Colours of the Earth 12 May – 12 June The Island, Nelson Street, Bristol Final year BA (Hons) Marine & Natural History Photography students present investigations around the theme of marine and natural history. Expect a wide variety of prints and short films inspired by the natural world. Free, daily 10am-7pm.
Graduate Fashion Show: Show 5 21 May NCP Car Park, High Cross St Clements, Truro,Cornwall Show 5 celebrates the fifth graduating cohort of Fashion at Falmouth and the final collections of over 40 Fashion Design and Performance Sportswear Design students. Fashion at Falmouth's principal aim is to encourage curiosity, creativity and innovation in every student, along with a shared ethos of producing aesthetically considered designs that are functional and practical. £5 for 3pm show; £20 for the gala event at 7.30pm. AMATA Festival 27 May – 6 June The Performance Centre, Falmouth University, Penryn Campus, Cornwall The AMATA Festival is a combined platform for practitioners emerging from our Dance, Music, Theatre and Cultural Management & Production courses, and features performances, talks, events and networking opportunities. Free, daily 10am-10pm. For a full programme visit www.theperformancecentre.org Animation Open Studios 9 June – 13 June Animation Studios, Falmouth University, Penryn Campus, Cornwall Artwork, current projects and final-year films from BA (Hons) Animation & Visual Effects students. Featuring stop-motion sets and models, students will be in the studio and available to discuss their work. Free, daily 10am-5pm. 29
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Bath School of Art and Design Sion Hill Bath BA1 5SF
Bath School of Art and Design Dartmouth Avenue Bath BA2 1AS
Saturday 7 June — Sunday 15 June 10.00am — 5.00pm
Saturday 7 June — Sunday 15 June 10.00am — 5.00pm
Fashion Design Creative Arts Fine Art Graphic Communication Photography Textile Design Three Dimensional Design
Art, Design and Humanities End of Year Show University Campus Suffolk 6 - 15 June 2014 www.ucs.ac.uk/degreeshow2014 Image © www.alb-images.com
The Art & Design Degree Show 13 June – 17 June Falmouth University, Penryn Campus & Falmouth Campus, Cornwall Spread across both campuses, The Art & Design Degree Show incorporates final-year undergraduate work from The Falmouth School of Art, the Fashion & Textiles Institute, the School of Communication Design, and the Academy for Innovation & Research. Various exhibitions feature: Contemporary Crafts, Creative Advertising, Drawing, Digital Media, Fashion Design, Fashion Photography, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Performance Sportswear Design, Sustainable Product Design and Textile Design. Free, daily 10am-5pm.
Colours of the Earth 4
Fashion: Show 5
Photography Degree Show 18 June – 24 June The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London Final year BA (Hons) Photography students will be exhibiting their work as part of the Free Range season of graduate art and design shows. The event showcases the best new fashion, design, photography, art, interiors and architecture from across the country. Entrance is free, open Friday–Sunday, 10am-7pm and Monday 10am-4pm. Pixelate Film Festival 19 June – 21 June The Poly, 24 Church Street, Falmouth Encompassing fiction, documentary and experimental narratives, Pixelate is an annual celebration of work created by BA (Hons) Film students. Focusing on those graduating, with highlights from first and second year students, it is an opportunity to see high quality drama, comedy and various other forms of cinema. Students from BA (Hons) Animation & Visual Effects will also be screening their work. Free, showings 6pm-11pm. To book, call: 01326 319461
English & Writing Showcase 20 June Falmouth University, Penryn Campus, Cornwall Now in its sixth year, the showcase celebrates the work of graduating students from BA (Hons) English with Creative Writing and BA (Hons) English with Media Studies. Expect a diverse range of performances, publications and readings that pay tribute to the achievements of graduating students. Free, 7pm onwards.
BIRMINGHAM CITY UNIVERSITY ART AND DESIGN GRADUATE SHOWS 2014
Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD) at Birmingham City University is hosting its Graduate Shows 2014 across Birmingham from June 9-14. Art Three distinct shows showcasing final-year undergraduate fine art, visual art and design, and foundation art and design work. Painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, moving image and photography will all feature in these incredibly diverse shows.
Ryan Savage, BA (Hons) Fine Art 2013 2
Vicky Sprigg, BA (Hons) Art and Design 2013
10-14 June, Fine Art and BA (Hons) Art and Design, School of Art, Margaret Street, Birmingham; Foundation Diploma Art and Design, School of Art, Maple Road, Bournville, Birmingham Fashion, Textiles, Three-Dimensional Design Harnessing everything from paper and fabric to plastics, metals and non-traditional materials, this show is a fascinating tour through product design, textiles, fashion design and retail, and interior design.
9-14 June, School of Fashion, Textiles and Three-Dimensional Design, The Parkside Building, 5 Cardigan Street, Birmingham Visual Communication Flickr, YouTube, camera phones, branding, televised debates – everything around us points to a world where visual communication is king. This year’s graduates are saying it through photography, illustration, graphic design, theatre and performance event design, and film and animation. 9-14 June, School of Visual Communication, The Parkside Building, 5 Cardigan Street, Birmingham Architecture/Landscape Architecture Showcasing both undergraduate and postgraduate work, the architecture showcase ranges from the reassuringly responsible to the
outrageously dreamy. While new landscapes and new buildings are proposed, students are encouraged to keep sustainability, retro-fit solutions and urbanicity in mind. 9-14 June, Birmingham School of Architecture, The Parkside Building, 5 Cardigan Street, Birmingham Jewellery The diversity of the Jewellery show combines sophisticated forms inspired by nature with electronic technology. This definitive exhibition is in the heart of Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter. 9-14 June, School of Jewellery, BIAD, Vittoria Street, Birmingham For full information visit: www.bcu.ac.uk/biad/grad-shows14 31
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Bucks End of Year Show 14-19 June 2014
The Cass Summer Show 2014 School of Art Central House 59-63 Whitechapel High Street London, E1 7PF
Wedenesday 11th - Saturday 21st June www.thecass.com
Image by Rolina Blok
Art and Design Graduate Exhibition High Wycombe Campus
Find out more at bucks.ac.uk/bucksshows
An extensive exhibition featuring work by 60 new artists including painting, sculpture, print, drawing, artists’ books, sound installation, film and animation. The exhibition takes place in the fine art studios over all three floors of the Hanover Building and in the Hanover Project Gallery space. Work in the exhibition is for sale. Private View Fri 13 June, 6 - 9pm Public View Mon 16 June – Sat 21 June, 10am - 6pm Guided tours available for curators and arts organisations Call 01772 894106 or book online: www.uclan.ac.uk/cf @UCLanCF // #ds14
Image: Michael Howlett BA (Hons) Fine Art
THE CASS SCHOOL OF ART SUMMER SHOW
The Cass Summer Show opens on the 10 June and for two weeks will see the studios in Central House, opposite the Whitechapel Art Gallery in Aldgate, transformed into a busy exhibition and performance space. The exhibition will showcase work from over 80 graduating Fine Art students who have been studying within the school’s innovative thematic ‘studios’.
“The Cass benefits from a highly active and diverse group of students and some exceptional artist-tutors, leading to a dynamic and exciting studio culture. Cass’s own Patrick Brill (aka artist Bob and Roberta Smith) has referred to the new Cass faculty as the ‘Aldgate Bauhaus’ and there is a vibrancy, sense of possibility and an openness to dialogue and collaboration that is hugely refreshing.”
The studio system supports students to develop their own practice in a studio group where shared themes become a focus for discussion, field trips, screenings, seminars and live projects.
The Cass Summer Show opens with a private view on the 10 June and then runs from 11-21 June at Central House, 59-63 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7PF. An online catalogue will be available at www.thecass.com
Studio themes and leaders exhibiting this year include: Public Acts (Patrick Brill and Oriana Fox), Materiality / Immateriality (Ben Cain and Francesco Pedraglio), Conversations with Culture (Pil and Galia Kollectiv and Nicola McCartney), Others and the Self (Rosemarie McGoldrick & Pete Fillingham), Image-Object, Object-Image (Mel Brimfield and Andrea Medjesi-Jones), and Narrative, Anti-Narrative and Photographic Practice (Sue Andrews and Mick Williamson). The merger less than two years ago of the former Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Media and Design with the award-winning Faculty of Architecture and Spatial Design, to form the Cass, has continued to deliver many positive developments and opportunities. New Fine Art studio spaces designed by Cass’s own Architecture Research Unit were unveiled in December 2013 at Central House. This scheme also provided new flexible project spaces, lecture/ screening halls and seminar rooms. The project will continue with a stunning new ground floor gallery set for completion later in 2014 and permission recently granted for a rooftop garden to showcase sculptures and installations.
The Cass is progressing with its approach to live projects and externally facing events, engaging students with the local cultural quarter as well as developing important projects further afield in Moscow, Brazil and Sierra Leone. Michael Upton, Academic Leader at The Cass said: "I’m really looking forward to the Cass Summer Show this year, which promises to be another lively and eclectic mix of thought provoking and visually powerful work.
Opening night of the new Cass studios and ‘Turbine Hall’. Photo: Stephen Blunt 2
The Cass Summer Show 2013 at Central House. Photo: Stephen Blunt 3 3
Music performance during Cass Summer Show party. Photo: Bumsuk Chung
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Undergraduate Summer Shows Camberwell College of Arts including MA Conservation 16-21 June 2014, (not Sunday) arts.ac.uk/camberwell Chelsea College of Arts 14-21 June 2014 (inc. Sunday) arts.ac.uk/chelsea Wimbledon College of Arts 13-21 June 2014 (not Sunday) arts.ac.uk/wimbledon
knock knock Hello
Undiscovered talent Neatrastas talentas Leeds College of Art End of Year Shows An A-Z of stereotypes Το Α και το Ω των στερεότυπων May 22nd - 28th 2014* A break from the mundanity of life 素敵なものでいっぱいの壁 June 13th - 19th 2014** www.leeds-art.ac.uk *
Foundation Diploma in Art & Design
BA (Hons) Degrees; Extended Diploma in Art & Design; Access to Higher Education in Art & Design
cambridge school of art degree show 2014 13 th - 22 nd june ruskin gallery and surrounding studios monday to friday
10 am - 8 pm saturday to sunday
10 am - 4.30 pm
Anglia Ruskin University East Road Cambridge CB1 1PT www.cambridgeschoolofart.com #CSAdegreeshow14
Luc Jones, York St John University
There are hundreds of degree shows happening across the UK throughout May, June and into July. This selection of over 60 exhibitions provides a snapshot of some of the highlights, big and small. The dates listed start from when the shows are open to the public â€“ most will have a preview event the evening before.
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SIA ALAND-PATHS.indd 1
BA (Anrhydedd) Celfyddyd Gain - Arddangosfa Gradd BA (Hons) Fine Art - Degree Exhibition
14/06/14 - 25/06/14
arddangosiad preifat / private view 13/06/14 18:30
Northumbria University will bring together Architecture, Arts, Design and Media as we REVEAL our graduating students to the world. Media Production Gala Screening Tyneside Cinema Tuesday 10th June
byd a ddaw
Architecture, Arts and Design Northumbria University 19th â€“ 27th June For further details visit: www.northumbria.ac.uk/degreeshows2014
01248 674 341 Coleg Menai, Parc Menai, Bangor LL57 4BN firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Rosa Hewitt, From Rotterdam with Love, film still, 2014, UWE Bristol 2
Tom Plumptre, The Round Room, film still, 2014, Oxford Brookes University
OXFORD BROOKES UNIVERSITY 10-16 May www.obudegreeshow2014.co.uk UNIVERSITY OF WESTMINSTER 12 May – 22 June www.westminster.ac.uk/ madshows14 FALMOUTH UNIVERSITY 12 May – 23 June www. falmouth.ac.uk/ degreeshows DUNCAN OF JORDANSTONE COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN 16-25 May www.dundee.ac.uk/degreeshow
YORK ST JOHN 16-31 May www.yorksj.ac.uk/create UNIVERSITY OF CHICHESTER 17-25 May www.chi.ac.uk/department-fineart CANTERBURY CHRISTCHURCH UNIVERSITY 20-31 May www.transition-exhibition.com WRITTLE COLLEGE 21-24 May www.writtle.ac.uk/design UNIVERSITY OF WORCESTER 23-27 May www.worcesterdegreeshows.co.uk
CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS UAL 23-27 May www.arts.ac.uk/csm
UNIVERSITY OF EAST LONDON 29 May – 3 June www.uel.ac.uk/adi
SLADE SCHOOL OF FINE ART 24-29 May www.ucl.ac.uk/slade/ shows/2014
UNIVERSITY OF CUMBRIA 30 May – 6 June www.cumbria.ac.uk/exhibition
UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH, EDINBURGH COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN 24 May – 1 June www.eca.ed.ac.uk/degreeshow UNIVERSITY OF KENT 24 May – 2 June www.kent.ac.uk/smfa/events/ degree-show-2014.html COLEG SIR GAR 24 May – 5 June www.colegsirgar.ac.uk NORTH WALES SCHOOL OF ART & DESIGN (GLYNDWR UNIVERSITY) 27 May – 6 June www.nwsad.co.uk LIVERPOOL SCHOOL OF ART AND DESIGN 29 May – 13 June www.ljmu.ac.uk MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY 29-30 May & 2 June www.thefutureisleaving.com
NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY 30 May – 14 June www.newcastleart2014.com NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY 30 May – 7 June www.ntu.ac.uk/degreean14 UNIVERSITY OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE 30 May – 8 June www.glow.ac.uk KINGSTON UNIVERSITY 31 May – 6 June www.kingston.ac.uk UNIVERSITY OF LINCOLN 31 May – 16 June www.lincoln.ac.uk JUNE
UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE 2-7 June www.herts.ac.uk/headlines 37
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Zeus, Lexx Adair, BA Photography
Summer Degree Show 11-18 June
See outstanding creative work at our Art, Design & Digital Media summer shows Foundations, BAs, MAs & more plymouthart.ac.uk
& T AR Design eS e r g
01 2 w
OPENING EVENT Friday 13 June 2014, 5.30pm, City Campus, Sunderland
DESIGN CitySpace, Chester Road, SR1 3SD. 13 - 25 June. 9am-5pm (closed Sundays, 4pm closure on 25 June) FINE ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY Priestman Building, Green Terrace SR1 3PZ. 13 - 20 June. 9am-5pm (closed Sundays)
0191 515 3258
UNIVERSITY OF THE WEST OF ENGLAND 6-12 June www.uwe.ac.uk/degreeshow UNIVERSITY CAMPUS SUFFOLK 6-15 June www.ucs.ac.uk/degreeshow2014 CARDIFF SCHOOL OF ART AND DESIGN 7-13 June www.cardiff-school-of-art-anddesign.org/summershow UNIVERSITY OF BRIGHTON 7-15 June www.arts.brighton.ac.uk BATH SPA UNIVERSITY 7-15 June www.artdesign.bathspa.ac.uk BIRMINGHAM INSTITUTE OF ART AND DESIGN 9-14 June bcu.ac.uk/biad/grad-shows14 PLYMOUTH COLLEGE OF ART 11-18 June www.plymouthart.ac.uk THE CASS, LONDON METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY 11-21 June www.thecass.com
UNIVERSITY OF SUNDERLAND 13-25 June www.sunderland.ac.uk/ degreeshow BUCKINGHAMSHIRE NEW UNIVERSITY 14-19 June bucks.ac.uk/bucksshows LEEDS COLLEGE OF ART 14 -19 June www.leeds-art.ac.uk HEREFORD COLLEGE OF ART 14-21 June www.hca.ac.uk STAFFORDSHIRE UNIVERSITY 14-21 June www.staffs.ac.uk/degreeshow 1
GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART 14-21 June www.gsa.ac.uk/life/gsa-events/ events/d/degree-show-2014 MANCHESTER SCHOOL OF ART 14-25 June www.art.mmu.ac.uk/degreeshow SHEFFIELD HALLAM UNIVERSITY 14-27 June www.shu.ac.uk/degreeshow
Danni Cordery, Writtle School of Design 2
WIMBLEDON COLLEGE OF ARTS 12-21 June www.arts.ac.uk/wimbledon UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE 13-16 June www.uclan.ac.uk/cf SOUTHAMPTON SOLENT UNIVERSITY 13-19 June www.solent.ac.uk CHELSEA COLLEGE OF ARTS 13-21 June www.arts.ac.uk/chelsea CAMBRIDGE SCHOOL OF ART, ANGLIA RUSKIN UNIVERSITY 13-22 June www.cambridgeschoolofart.com COLEG MENAI 13-25 June www.gllm.ac.uk/menai
CROYDON COLLEGE 16-20 June www.parfittgallery.croydon.ac.uk MORAY SCHOOL OF ART 16-21 June www.moray.uhi.ac.uk CAMBERWELL COLLEGE OF ARTS 16-21 June www.arts.ac.uk/camberwell WINCHESTER SCHOOL OF ART 16-22 June www.southampton.ac.uk/wsa WESTON COLLEGE 17-24 June www.weston.ac.uk UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS 17-25 June www.mattersleeds.tumblr.com LANCASTER UNIVERSITY 17-25 June www.liveatlica.org/whats-on
Annelisse Pfeifer, School of Jewellery, Birmingham Insitute of Art & Design
ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART 18-27 June, 28-29 June www.rca.ac.uk/show2014 DONCASTER COLLEGE 19 June www.don.ac.uk NORTHUMBRIA UNIVERSITY 19-27 June www.northumbria.ac.uk GOLDSMITHS, UNIVERSITY OF LONDON 19-23 June www.gold.ac.uk GRAY’S SCHOOL OF ART AND DESIGN, ROBERT GORDON UNIVERSITY 21-28 June www.rgu.ac.uk/DegreeShow14
CITY & GUILDS OF LONDON ART SCHOOL 25-29 June www.cityandguildsartschool.ac.uk
NORWICH UNIVERSITY OF ARTS 2-8 July www.nua.ac.uk/degreeshows THE ART ACADEMY, LONDON 9-13 July www.artacademy.org.uk THE HEATHERLEY SCHOOL OF FINE ART 22-25 July www.heatherleys.org
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flux Stoke-on-Trent – Tableware designed by Staffordshire University MA Ceramic Design students. www.fluxstokeontrent.com
& TE LL
Ar t and Design
Degree Show 2014
Open to the public Saturday 14 – Saturday 21 June www.staffs.ac.uk/degreeshow
College Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DE
LATITUDE 53°N, LONGITUDE -2°E
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THE GRAY’S SCHOOL OF ART DEGREE SHOW OPEN YOUR EYES JUNE 2I - 28 rgu.ac.uk/degreeshow14
GRADUATE SHOW 2014
The Art Academy Mermaid Court 165A Borough High Street London SE1 1HR
Private View: Wed 9th July 2014 (6.00pm - 9.00pm)
Open: Thu 10th - Sun 13th July 2014
w w w. a r t a c a d e m y. o r g . u k
FINE ART DIPLOMA - FINE ART FOUNDATION & CERTIFICATE 41
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HEATHERLEY SCHOOL OF FINE ART CHELSEA EST.1845
ANNUAL EXHIBITION Work from the diplomas in
SCULPTURE PORTRAITURE Private View
July 22nd 2014 • 6.30pm-8.30pm
Show continues until July 25th
75 Lots Road, Chelsea, London, SW10 0RN
020 7351 4190
Buying art at degree shows: 10 tips for new collectors You’ll see some fabulous work at this year’s degree shows, some of which you might just want to take home with you. Contemporary Art Society North offers some useful advice on how to go about it. Do your homework: Find out about the art school or university. Does it have a good reputation? Have any alumni achieved wider success within the mainstream art world? Who is teaching there and what do they specialise in? 1
2 Ask around: Get the views of art world professionals such as commercial dealers, curators, artists and critics. The endorsement of these individuals will play a pivotal role in an artist’s career success. 3 Talk to tutors: If possible, talk to the tutors and ask which students they think are the most promising, are continuing on to MA courses, or have already made plans to continue their practice by organising studios or residencies.
Know your budget: Decide in advance how much you’re willing to spend. This isn’t just about the money – it will also help to determine the scale, media and placement (floor or wallbased) of works you consider. 4
5 Think about how you’ll display the work: You could buy something, keep it in storage and look at it admiringly when the mood takes you – but much better to make sure beforehand that you’ve got somewhere to display it.
Make notes: When visiting degree shows, allow time to look round all the work and make notes of artists who particularly interest you and why. See if someone who knows the place well can take you around. 6
Don’t rush into things: You can register an interest in work without committing to a sale. Say you are excited by the work, but would like a second look. Talk again to the artist and get a deeper sense of their influences, creative process and future plans. 7
Be patient: Deciding how to price an artwork is often very difficult for students as they balance the time invested in making it with the desire to sell it. Don’t worry if they haven’t yet decided on a price – allow them the time to seek advice. 8
Don’t be put off: If the asking price seems too high, this may just be down to a student’s inexperience or wishful thinking. Graduates who are serious about being an artist would generally rather see their work in someone’s collection than unsold. But don’t pressure 9
the artist into selling for less than they are comfortable with, either. Ask to see other works, or consider commissioning a new piece to match your budget. Follow your instinct: After all that careful research, it still comes down to the art itself and what you feel about it – always make sure you buy something because you love it and are happy to live with it. 10
This article is based on advice provided by Contemporary Art Society North. The organisation runs a membership scheme and welcomes anyone with an interest in contemporary art and collecting to join and participate in the exclusive Members’ events programme of artist studio visits, curator-led exhibition tours, and opportunities to meet with other collectors. For more information, contact Mark Doyle, head of collector development North, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.contemporaryartsociety.org/members/north
Lauren Charlton, BA Fine Art degree show, Manchester School of Art, 2013 2
MFA degree show, Glasgow School of Art, 2013 3
UWE Bristol, Fine Art degree show, 2013. Photo: Steve Norton
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Supporting student learning and employability in the visual arts a-n specialises in helping new graduates make the transition to professional artists. Join us by becoming a member to get access to practical guides and resources. Contact us to find out more about our talks and professional and development programmes.
“Keep the wilting flowers away from the visitors” What do tutors and art school directors think a degree show needs to do for it to be considered successful? We asked around for some thoughts. What makes a successful degree show? Linda Drew, deputy director of Glasgow School of Art, has been to quite a few and knows what she likes: “I think there’s a kind of alchemy of (un)predictable parts; above all, good art and design work. I prefer a well-curated selection with captions rather than lots of extraneous material. I love to see excited students who are able and willing to engage with you about their work.” Ginny Button, director of The Falmouth School of Art, says: “A degree show should enable students to put themselves on the line, and provide a real experience of what it means to engage with an audience. It is a pivotal as well as celebratory moment, looking backwards to reflect on what they’ve achieved during their degree, as well as looking forwards to continue with their practice. It should never be a finale, but more of a springboard to the next stage.” For Sarah R Key, joint award leader, fine art, at Staffordshire University, the degree show is about bringing together the many strands of a course – and not being afraid to take a few risks. “It should reflect the breadth of practices that emerge from a broad-based course and the richness that comes from diversity within the studio environment. It pulls together the many threads of individual artistic enquiry to create an exciting platform from which tomorrow’s artists can emerge.” Steve Hawley, Associate Dean Research at Manchester School of Art, believes a degree show should deliver the unexpected: “A successful show shouldn’t be concerned with polish necessarily, although professionalism and attention to detail are important. The main thing is to see work that takes risks within an awareness of the past – and that produces an involuntary thrill of surprise.” Dean Hughes, director of undergraduate studies at Edinburgh School of Art, says degree shows “are for me synonymous with a change in the weather. It’s a light and optimistic time.” He continues: “At their worst they bring out the drain pipedividing megalomaniac. As a high point, they sometimes bring forth a truly memorable experience which is free from the dominant mercantile culture industry.”
“Something for everyone and many things for anyone” is what Paul Harris, head of Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen, expects from a degree show. “[It should hold] challenges and rewards, both sensual and intellectual, and should do exactly what it’s meant to do – launch the newest generation of society’s most creative minds and talent into the world.”
Wayne Lloyd, fine arts course leader at UWE Bristol, adds: “People look on degree shows as if they take place at the beginning of an artist’s careers. But significant things have already happened to these new artists. Experiences from an artist’s early life continue to be a source of material for decades to come, but being older doesn’t make you smarter. Their art is good right now...” Even good art, though, can be let down by bad presentation. Glasgow School of Art’s deputy director has a view on that: “Each students’ showing space need not be curated to resemble a ‘mini me’ show. Keep the wilting flowers, personal stash of wine and other artefacts away from the visitors; it really does detract. The best degree shows feel great on the night and continue to have a strong student presence into the following week – after all, this is practice for art practice.”
UWE Bristol, Fine Art degree show, 2013. Photo: Steve Norton
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One year on: Ali Reed, BA Fine Art, Staffordshire
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“If I was giving advice to myself a year ago, I’d probably say: ‘Keep calm.’ I got very stressed during my degree show.” Ali Reed is talking one year on from graduating with a BA in fine art from Staffordshire University. It’s been an eventful 12 months that has included setting up a studio space in Stoke city centre, a three-week residency in Wakefield, and in March winning the New Art West Midlands prize. “I’m still getting used to juggling part-time work, managing the studios and doing my own practice,” she says. “One of the first things I did was set up Majestic Studios in Stoke with two other graduates – it gives me a secure space in which to do my art work and keep my practice going.” Originally from nearby Newcastle under Lyme, Reed has no plans to leave the area. “I’m quite sick of people saying, ‘I want to get out of Stoke’,” she says. “Most recent graduates just want to move away, so to have that studio environment where you can work with other artists, I think that’s really important.”
Ali Reed, New Art West Midlands exhibition, installation view, 2014 2 2
Ali Reed, New Art West Midlands exhibition, installation view, 2014
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Reed received a £1000 cash prize for winning New Art West Midlands, along with a residency at A3 Project Space in Birmingham from 4 March to 3 May. Her practice draws on architecture and the built environment; she’s yet to sell any work though, perhaps because it is largely installation-based. “It’s quite difficult to buy and I still don’t feel very clued up on that side of things.” For the time being, then, it’s working three days a week that pays the bills. “I’m painting clay figures for a little family-run pottery company in Stoke,” she says. “I’m glad it’s still creative in some way.”
FIRST THOUGHTS / PERSPECTIVES / PREVIEWS / LISTINGS / COLLECTING / AND FINALLY...
Cover image: Fiona Masterton, Concrete Glass, digital montage and oil paint on canvas, 123x60.5x2cm
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AIRTIME Spike Island 2013
Published on Apr 30, 2014
Published on Apr 30, 2014
2014 Degree shows publication highlighting the best graduate art and design shows around the UK, with commentary and insight from artists, c...