SPArtan B AT H S P A A L U M N I A N D F R I E N D S M A G A Z I N E I S S U E O N E S P R I N G 2 0 1 3
REMEMBERING THE PAST AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE PAGE 10 HONOURING AN ARTISTIC LEGACY PAGE 09 THE VALUE OF VOLUNTEERING PAGE 06 EMPLOYABILITY WHAT DOES IT MEAN? PAGE 05 FROM YBA TO PROFESSOR GAVIN TURK PAGE 14
Hello from our President elcome to the first issue of SPARTAN, the new Alumni and Friends magazine for Bath Spa University. I am delighted to be writing to you as President of the Alumni Association and I hope you enjoy reading about the experiences of your fellow alumni alongside news about the University.
I was very pleased to accept the invitation to be President of the Alumni Association. My time at Bath College of Domestic Science was wonderful and gave me a good start to my career. I recently re-visited Newton Park to film a documentary for BBC2 and it was wonderful to delve into my old academic records with the Vice-Chancellor and explore the campus again. It certainly brought back lots of very fond memories. As alumni of Bath Spa University we are a varied bunch with a whole host of different experiences. As well as my own College of Domestic Science, we can include among our number those who attended Bath Academy of Art, Bath College of Education, Bath College of Higher Education, Bath School of Art, Bath Spa University College, Bath Teacher Training College, City of Bath Domestic Science Training College and Newton Park Training College, as well as the various other names these colleges went by over the years. The one thing we all have in common however, is a shared history with what has become Bath Spa University, a place where students are supported in their creative efforts and cultural endeavours and enterprise is encouraged. It provides a wonderful community for the students of today where careers begin and friendships flourish. In this first issue of the magazine, we explore enterprise, what it has meant for graduates and the impact it has on students today. The experiences we gain at college and university can shape our future lives and it is inspiring to read about the successes of my fellow alumni. The University today has foundations built on a multitude of different experiences, some of which are expressed in this magazine. I hope you will join me in becoming active members of the Alumni Association and sharing your inspirational stories for friends old and new to enjoy.
Mary Berry, CBE Bath Spa University Alumni Association President
Competition: 31 May 2013* To win a copy of Mary’s book ‘At Home’ please answer the following question:
What was the name of the College, now part of Bath Spa University that Mary attended? a) Bath College of Education b) Bath College of Domestic Science c) Bath Academy of Art Please email your answer to email@example.com by 5:00pm on Friday 31 May 2013 *Competition is only open to alumni of Bath Spa University
Building a career on portfolio working Alice Atkinson-Bonasio on collecting skills, experience and contacts to boost career prospects.
SPARTAN is published twice a year. The opinions expressed in its editorial are those of the writers concerned and not necessarily those of Bath Spa University. Editor-in-Chief Rob Armstrong Haworth r.armstrong-haworth@ bathspa.ac.uk Features Editor Jane Wakefield firstname.lastname@example.org
Employability-what does it mean? Adam Tobin discusses the importance of work experience in todayâ€™s competitive job market.
Features Writer Rob Breckon email@example.com Alumni enquiries Ruth Russell firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising enquiries Ruth Russell email@example.com
The value of volunteering Johnny Booth on his experience of volunteering and the impact it can have.
From a digital revolution to 21st century advertising Luke Williamson talks about his career in a fast changing sector.
Honouring an artistic legacy
Letters Please write to us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing to: Alumni Association Bath Spa University Newton Park Newton St Loe Bath BA2 9BN Cover Cover image by Andrew Joyce. Andrew graduated in 2010 with a BA (Hons) in Graphic Communication. He is now based in Japan and works as an illustrator specialising in cityscapes, hand drawn lettering and observational illustration. More information is available at www.doodlesandstuff.com
New Academic Chair in the name of artist and alumus Howard Hodgkin.
Remembering the past and investing in the future The history of Somerset Place and how its sale will benefit students today.
University news Keep up to date with whatâ€™s happening at Bath Spa.
Notorious YBA to Professor New Professor of Art and Design, answers our questions.
Alice AtkinsonBonasio graduated from Bath Spa University in 2006 with a BA Media Communications with Cultural Studies.
n enterprising attitude is, I believe, a key factor to succeeding in today’s ever-changing, fast-paced world. By enterprising I mean an attitude that is flexible, creative, adventurous, resourceful, and - perhaps most importantly – persistent.
My professional life now spans over 11 years, many of which were spent studying as well as working. I’ve had 16 different job titles in eight distinct industry sectors, got funded for an Erasmus year in Italy, a Master’s Degree, and a PhD, and became fluent in three languages. The great management philosopher and guru Charles Handy coined the concept of the “Portfolio Worker”. These are people who collect a suite of relevant skills, experience and contacts and bring them together in a flexible way to meet the requirements of opportunities that come their way. This dynamic way of working has become increasingly dominant in the past decade, and it is likely to become the norm rather than the exception in years to come.
Building a career on portfolio working By Alice Atkinson-Bonasio
My own career progression embodies this concept, and the unique combination of skills I’ve acquired and flexibly deployed over the years is what led me to my current role as PR and Communications Manager at Mendeley – a global research social network with over 2.1 million users worldwide. If it hadn’t been for the writing skills I developed as a freelance writer, combined with experience working at other tech start-ups such as Badoo and The Filter – backed by musician Peter Gabriel and based right here in Bath – and my academic background as Research Assistant and Research Associate at Bath Spa and UWE, I would not have been the right fit. But while collecting skills and experience is crucial, keeping an open mind, being constantly on the lookout for opportunities, and understanding how to combine and leverage your skills and contacts is just as important. Opportunities often present themselves when you least expect, and often in ways you don’t expect, so keeping an open mind lets you take advantage of them, as long as you’re agile, because they usually don’t hang around for long. The best way for universities to help students prepare for this new and exciting environment – especially when it comes to working in the creative industries – is to encourage them to seek out and cultivate a network of contacts. University is the ideal place to plant those seeds, which can often lead to mutually beneficial opportunities. The key is to think in terms of skills, resources and opportunities rather than jobs, because in today’s world of work each person and their career is an enterprise in their own right. If you would like to help students expand their professional networks or find out more about our mentoring programmes and networking events, please email email@example.com or visit ww.bathspa.ac.uk/business
is the latest recruitment ‘buzz-word’ Ethemployability used by Human Resources departments across country and whilst the term itself may be relatively new, the concept has always existed alongside a competitive jobs market. Employers naturally want to attract and appoint the best staff. Employability, I believe, is simply about developing a range of skills, capabilities and experience which make you stand out from the crowd. In the 1970’s, 80’s and early 90’s, having a degree made you ‘employable’ and was generally seen as a passport to a decent job. Today the situation is very different – since 1990, according to research conducted by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills, ‘student volumes have more than quadrupled’ and a degree is the ‘norm’ for most candidates. Therefore, employers have to look for that ‘little bit extra’ to differentiate between them.
Employabilitywhat does it mean? By Adam Tobin
Your degree acts as an indicator of your understanding and knowledge in a specific topic area and capability to learn, but how does this translate into the workplace? Employers have now recognised that whilst candidates may have this knowledge, they also need the skills and capabilities to apply it successfully in the workplace. Employability has therefore evolved and many companies now adopt capability driven interviews to reflect this. So how can an undergraduate ensure that they stand out from the crowd as ‘employable’ when they graduate? In my experience, the answer to this question is work experience. When I was in my second year at Bath Spa, I was able to secure a work placement with the Environment Agency. Fortunately, I made a good impression and was offered a paid summer job and subsequent part time employment throughout my final year. This experience in the workplace enabled me to develop the generic capabilities discussed and therefore made me stand out from the crowd as ‘employable’. Within six months of graduation I had been appointed to a full-time position within the Environment Agency’s Geomatics team and have not looked back since. So why write this article in an alumni magazine? Well many alumni have the ability to influence their employers on their approach to recruitment and development. The UK’s top business lobbying organisation, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) highlighted the importance of both business and universities alike when it comes to facilitating work experience, saying: “Universities and employers both have an important role to play in providing work placements, internships and opportunities which can assist in the development of these (employability) skills.”
Adam Tobin studied Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems at Bath Spa University College from 2001 – 2004 and is now a Senior Geomatics Analyst with the Environment Agency’s Geomatics team, specialising in Flood and Coastal Risk Management data.
I am pleased to see that Bath Spa University continue to offer an open Work Placement Module to all students, allowing them to take their learning into the workplace. I have supported four undergraduates through such work placements, each of whom have successfully been offered employment upon graduation, two within the Environment Agency. I am now developing a programme offering a formal sandwich year work placement within our Geomatics department, to a group of universities, including Bath Spa. This will not only support the student, enhancing their ‘employability’, but also bring the benefit of their fresh skills and enthusiasm to the organisation. Perhaps you could do the same? If you would like to know more about how students and graduates can support and develop your business through placements, projects or internships, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bathspa.ac.uk/business
iven the pressure of the job market in the UK today, there is a lot of emphasis placed on students getting as much work experience as possible while studying for their degree. There is an expectation that without gaining the relevant experience it will be very difficult to get a job after graduation.
During my time at Bath Spa University I found that volunteering proved to be as valuable as the more traditional work experience I undertook as part of my course. A module in my second year involved a placement in an informal education setting and I volunteered with the British Red Cross. This was to have a rather large impact on my life after university. While on placement I carried out some research for an essay and this led to me being introduced to Jenny Martin, the Youth and Schools Manager at Oxfam South West. My discussions with Jenny not only helped with my essay, they also resulted in a six month internship with Oxfam as School Engagement Campaigner. This experience proved to be invaluable and the skills I learnt encouraged me to apply for a role with the British Red Cross Youth and Schools, Education and Engagement. I was subsequently offered and accepted a ten month contract at the British Red Cross as Humanitarian Education Project Manager. Without Bath Spa giving me the opportunity and encouragement to approach other educational institutions, I would never have thought about entering the Third Sector and working with some fantastic people for a great cause at two of the best and biggest charities in the UK! I would encourage all students today to get as much experience as possible, be it through internships, placements or volunteering. You not only gain vital skills and make valuable contacts, you also learn more about yourself and what you are capable of. If you would like to find out more about how the Universityâ€™s Volunteering team help students, contact the Just V team within the Studentsâ€™ Union by emailing email@example.com
The value of volunteering Jonny Booth graduated from Bath Spa University in 2010 with a BA (Hons) International Education.
I wasn't confident about the direction I wanted to take, so I spent two years working on various projects from packaging, annual reports and accounts, shop signage, environmental design and branding. It was a vital step to finishing my education and it helped me discover that I wanted to work for myself. Advertising is very different from the world of design. It's much faster, less precious and much more open to experimentation. I loved it! I now work as Creative Director at Fabula London, a creative advertising agency I founded with my friend and colleague Yan Elliott in Jan 2012. Our aim is to operate an agency that is creatively driven and works for clients. I really enjoy doing things on our own terms, making decisions about the business based on shared agendas with clients who are ambitious. I'm learning about how to run a successful creative business where people want to work and creating a culture which is enjoyable and helps shape the future careers of the people who work here.
From a digital revolution to 21st Century advertising By Luke Williamson was a student at a time when everything was changing and new technology was emerging. My course in design included illustration, animation, graphic design, photography and various printmaking and production processes. The mid 1990s saw the beginning of the first digital revolution and it was exciting to be able to explore traditional technologies alongside new ones.
I made some very good friends whilst at Bath Spa and we seemed to share a real hunger to make things, to be different and have a point of view on the industry we would soon be a part of. A number of us embraced the older equipment such as PMT (photomultiplier tubes) cameras, various printmaking techniques, letterpress and bookbinding among others, to help us develop our ideas.
Luke Williamson graduated from Bath School of Art and Design in 1995 with a BA (Hons) Design.
Our business is still in its early days and we've only recently started hiring staff, but I have always sought out talent from art and design schools. The job market has always been hard for graduates, but today they have so much more to offer employers in the creative industries. I'm the same as most other employers in this industry in that I look for hunger, passion, skills and a willingness to try anything. Additional skills can be taught to an extent, but creativity is something you either have or you don't. My advice to graduates today would be make sure you attack whatever you’re doing with your full personality. Be realistic about what to expect when meeting prospective employers, you’re not going to like everyone you meet in real life, the same rules apply to finding somewhere you work, it takes two to tango and sometimes you just can’t force it. If I could give any advice to my 19 year old self I would say finish more things. Hindsight is a great thing, but I wish I had put the extra bit of effort in to just finish a few more things off. Having said that I've worked hard throughout my career and hopefully through Fabula, Yan and I will be able to help the next generation of creative designers on their path.
Shortly after I graduated I realised that unless I drove myself to do the things I was interested in, nothing would happen. I learnt that real design was about knowing what you are trying to achieve. Many a project was either purposeless or indulgent, and therefore not good and also hard to finish if you didn’t know where you were going. 7
FEATURING: Scottish Chamber Orchestra Hebrides Ensemble Florilegium Bath Philharmonia Seth Lakeman Dido and Aeneas
Norma Winstone BBC Singers Danish String Quartet Alexander Janiczek Alasdair Nicolson Jessica Walker
Measha Brueggergosman Brandenburg Concertos Meow Meow Flat Earth Society Brittenâ€™s Women
WEDNESDAY 22 MAY - SUNDAY 2 JUNE 2013 Bath Box Office 01225 463362 bathfestivals.org.uk
oward Hodgkin is an artist of international repute. His work has been shown in galleries around the world and in 1985 he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale and won the Turner Prize. In 1992 he was knighted for his services to the arts.
In September 2012 the University awarded Howard an Honorary Doctorate recognising his outstanding contribution to British painting. The ceremony took place at Corsham Court, his former academic home, and guests included colleagues and students from his time at the Academy. In his acceptance speech, Howard spoke of the creative freedom that Corsham Court had given him, stories of his mentors and their teaching methods and tales of when he himself taught students at the Court. Howard was first a pupil and then later a tutor at the Bath Academy of Art. While a pupil he was taught by Clifford and Rosemary Ellis who ran the Academy, as well as William Scott and Peter Lanyon from 1950 to 1954. As a tutor he worked alongside fellow painters Michael Craig-Martin, Robyn Denny, John Ernest and Adrian Heath between 1956 and 1966. A name synonymous with British art, Howard uses bold colour and abstract forms in his paintings and prints to represent emotional moments, memories and experiences. His work is instantly recognisable and he is regarded as one of the greatest British colourists. Commenting on the award, Vice-Chancellor Professor Christina Slade said: “Our long and illustrious history as a foremost centre for creativity and artistic talent is reflected by the notable persons who have made it so. One of these individuals is Howard Hodgkin, one of Britain’s most influential and respected artists.
We are honoured to award him an honorary doctorate in recognition of his outstanding contribution to, not only British art, but also the Bath Academy of Art and now Bath Spa University.” Throughout his time at Bath Academy of Art, Howard helped create an unprecedented output of creativity. Today, the University still nurtures the talent of young artists. To ensure this can be sustained, Howard has kindly consented to an academic Chair being created in his name. The Chair will be advertised internationally and the University looks forward to attracting new artistic talent. The cost of such a prestigious Chair is being met partly by the University and partly from donations and fundraising activities. The first donation to the Chair has been made by Burges Salmon and the University would like to thank them for this generous contribution. It will greatly help in allowing the Chair to be established in 2015, as we celebrate over 150 years of teaching art and design. Burges Salmon is one of the UK’s leading law firms and is committed to providing support for educational organisations within its corporate responsibility programme. If you would like to know more about the Howard Hodgkin Chair and how you might be able to support it, please email the Development and Alumni Relations team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Indian Sky, 1988-1989 Oil on wood 21 3/8 x 27 3/4 inches 54.1 x 70.2 cm ©Howard Hodgkin
As pupil and then tutor at Bath Academy of Art, Howard Hodgkin inspired a generation of artists, so the University sought to honour that achievement.
Honouring an artistic legacy
omerset Place will be fondly remembered by a large number of former students who may have lived or were taught there and enjoyed picnics and barbeques in the grounds. Even though it has now been sold, the property remains a significant part of our history and the story of graduates who shared in it.
The classical Georgian crescent was built in the 1790s and stands on the hillside overlooking Bath. The Grade 1 listed buildings were gradually procured by Bath College of Domestic Science, one of the three founding colleges of Bath Spa University, in the late 1940s. In 1949 the College purchased land on the site of Winifred House on Winifredâ€™s Lane which had been destroyed in the Bath Blitz of April 1942. The Domestic Science College was housed at the time in Brougham Hayes (now Hayesfield School) and this new land was intended to provide sports facilities and a market garden for the College. This idea was soon expanded and plans were developed for a new building on the Winifredâ€™s Lane site to allow the College to relocate from Brougham Hayes. The Sion Hill campus, as it is known today, now houses the Bath School of Art and Design.
The facades, designed by the architect John Eveleigh who went bankrupt during the building works, were started in 1790 but were not completed until the 1820s.
The sale of Somerset Place has allowed Bath Spa University to invest in new facilities for future students.
Remembering the past and investing in the future
Somerset Place in the 1970s.
In 2012 the University began work on a major re-development project at the Newton Park campus. The first phase of the development is a new stateof-the-art academic building which will provide outstanding teaching and learning facilities for all students. It is situated in the middle of the campus next to the Michael Tippett Centre and will be completed and ready for use by spring next year. The second phase of the development is new student residential accommodation which will be situated at the top of the campus near to the Students’ Union. Nine new halls of residence will provide 561 additional bedrooms and allow nearly all new students to live on campus. The new residences should be complete in time for the start of the academic term in September 2014. Together these developments will transform the Newton Park campus and provide superb facilities which students today expect from their university.
While the new College building was under construction, individual houses in Somerset Place were purchased to provide hostel accommodation for students. Gradually, the College acquired the whole terrace, and alterations were made to the interiors to suit student and staff needs.
Somerset Place was home to numerous students during its time as part of Bath Spa University and its sale is helping the University expand. The legacy of Somerset Place will ensure future generations of students benefit from excellent facilities and have a wonderful experience while at Bath Spa.
Hostel rooms then became a selection of flats where students could learn how to run households within fixed budgets as part of the ‘Home Management and Household Science’ curriculum. Alumni who were students in the 1950s recall that the ‘smartest’ flat had the largest budget, so full scale dinner parties could be held. By contrast the so called ‘family’ flat had a restricted budget, and students had to work with strict economy measures. Somerset Place was also used for tutorial and teaching rooms as well as staff offices. Further alterations were made following the official opening of the new College on the Winifred’s Lane site in April 1960 by HRH the Queen Mother. As times and expectations moved on, Somerset Place became more difficult to maintain and following the transfer of Home Economics courses to the Newton Park campus in 1975 its use became more limited. The soon to become Bath Spa University was expanding and a review of facilities was needed. After careful consideration and much consultation, the decision was taken to sell Somerset Place in 2006.
A 21st century university Bath Spa University was formed in 2005 bringing together all its various colleges into one institution. In the years since it has continued to grow and welcome more students across a diverse range of subjects including visual and performance arts, digital media, humanities, teacher training, social sciences, science and business studies.
Top: Artist impression of the new residential accommodation Bottom: Artist impression of the new academic building including outside amphitheatre. Both at Newton Park. 11
UNIVERSITY NEWS artistic partnership The Holburne Museum, Bath
A celebration of musical talent Five years of Bath Spa’s Music Think Tank marked at a special event.
ath Spa University and the Holburne Museum have entered into a new partnership to promote academic and cultural collaboration. Bath Spa University is well known for its study and research in the areas of creativity, culture and enterprise and this partnership with the Holburne recognises the strategic alignment of the two organisations. The collaboration builds on work the Museum and Bath Spa have done together over several years, including teaching initiatives and creating innovative and exciting performances, exhibitions and concerts.
The partnership will develop this relationship in a number of ways. Firstly, by providing opportunities for collaborative research, exhibitions, publications and projects; secondly, to support taught academic programmes, specifically in the areas of art and design, history and arts and heritage management; and thirdly, to provide opportunities for students and staff to expand their personal and professional development. Commenting on the new partnership, Vice-Chancellor Professor Christina Slade said: “Bath Spa University is a creative hub of culture and enterprise and we support our students in their endeavours to develop their practice. Our various project partnerships with the Holburne Museum have continued to expand over the years, so it is fitting that we now work more closely together to further develop our relationship.” Dr Alexander Sturgis, Director of the Holburne Museum added: “Education is at the core of what the Holburne is about. We are delighted and proud to be working in partnership with Bath Spa University. I can’t wait to see the ways in which our collaborations will develop and flourish over a wide range of museum activities and academic disciplines.” To celebrate the announcement, the University sponsored a recent Holburne exhibition: ‘Painted Pomp: Art and Fashion in the Age of Shakespeare’. The exhibition featured nine exceptional full-length Jacobean portraits by William Larkin, painted around 1613-18. Bath Spa Alumni receive half price admission to the exhibition on production of the advert on page 8. 12
Commercial Music graduates came together with current staff to celebrate five years of Bath Spa’s Music Think Tank at a party at the Groucho Club in Soho in January. Every year, eight or more keynote speakers from the music industry come to the event to talk to Commercial Music students. The party in London was held to celebrate these guests, their continuing connection with Bath Spa and Commercial Music graduates currently working in the music industry. The event included speeches from Nigel BeahamPowell, Subject Leader in Commercial Music at Bath Spa University, Paul Brindley of Music Ally and Joe Bennett, Dean of the School of Music and Performing Arts at Bath Spa University. The evening was rounded off with a performance by Mike Dawes, a former Commercial Music student who has achieved huge YouTube success with his cover of Gotye. Guests at the event included Robert Ashcroft the current CEO of PRS for Music along with William Booth of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Chris Carey of EMI and Florian Koempel of UK Music. A number of graduates working in the music industry also attended including Jessica Keeley-Carter of Universal Music Group, Jon Blake of EMI, Sarah Doe of Atlantic Records and Neil Martin of Abbey Road Live, among others. Developing links with the music industry is a key part of the Commercial Music course and it has already helped one recent graduate, Barnaby Bowles-Bray, find a job with Sony. This year in Music Think Tank two Commercial Music graduates will be talking about their careers in the music industry. It is hoped that within five years, all keynote speakers at the events will be Bath Spa graduates.
Students' Union Old Boys and Girls events Hockey Old Boys Sunday 5 May, 12:00 Beechen Cliff School, Bath Football Old Boys Saturday 11 May Bath City Football Club If you have any questions please email email@example.com If you would like to arrange a reunion, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Careers and Enterprise Support for Graduates areer planning and development is not just an on-going process while you are at Bath Spa – you will probably be repeating this sort of self-assessment throughout your working life.
You are eligible to access the Bath Spa Careers service remotely for up to three years after graduation. What's more, within your first year after graduating we can help you with a range of guidance, events and workshops specifically designed to support your search for that important first step into the job market. This includes: • Facilitated sessions to help you understand what you might want to do in the future and where to find opportunities that will get you there.
Creative Futures ollowing the success of Creative Futures 2012, the season of events is set to run again throughout May and June this year. Creative Futures is a celebration of all that the University, its students, graduates and staff have achieved this academic year. Last year saw events held by groups of staff and students across the various schools of study and featured students work from the creative and cultural industries including heritage, design, fashion, film, music, performing arts, photography, textiles and visual arts. More information is available at www.bathspa.ac.uk/creativefutures
Bath School of Art and Design Degree Show
• Careers guidance and workshops on keeping your CV up-to-date and making successful applications. • Seminar sessions with practical advice on how to freelance, start a business or do both as part of a portfolio career. • Workshops on how to find an internship for work experience or a business mentor to help your professional development. The University also has schemes and opportunities that could support your own personal and professional development, add to your CV and also benefit the organisation you work for. For example, join our growing pool of Bath Spa Graduate Mentors and pass on the benefit of your experience to current students. You can also participate in one of our 'Industry Insights' panels as a speaker and share top tips about the career path you followed since graduating. The Bath Spa CareerHub is also an efficient and free way to recruit the staff your organisation needs for part-time jobs, placements, graduate vacancies and internships. So, if either we can help you, or you can help us, drop us a line at email@example.com or follow us on Twitter @bathspacareers
The annual School of Art and Design Degree Show will run from Friday 7 to Sunday 16 June. The preview evening with drinks and nibbles will be held on Friday 7 June at Sion Hill from 6:00 to 9:00pm and at Dartmouth Avenue from 7:30 to 10:00pm. A shuttle bus will be running between Sion Hill and Dartmouth Avenue from 7:30 to 9:00pm. The preview evening for industry guests will take place on Monday 10 June from 5:00 to 8:00pm. 13
notorious YBA to Professor
Gavin Turk joined Bath Spa University as Professor of Art and Design in September 2012. He has pioneered many forms of contemporary British sculpture now taken for granted, including the painted bronze, the waxwork, the recycled art-historical icon and the use of rubbish in art.
LAege dOr A Georgian internal door in a doorframe, open at 45 degrees. It becomes a standalone door in the landscape, almost closed or almost open. Itâ€™s all about inside being outside, and all sides being outside.
avin Turk’s installations and sculptures deal with issues of authorship, authenticity and identity. Concerned with the ‘myth’ of the artist and the ‘authorship’ of a work, Turk’s engagement with this modernist, avant-garde debate stretches back to the ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp.
Nail sitting between the gleam of 21st century glass and the historic facade of St Paul’s Cathedral. ‘Nail’ represents the dialogue between these two monuments, and the extraordinary changes that have taken place over the centuries in an area rich in history and heritage.
In 1991, the Royal College of Art refused Turk a degree on the basis that his final show, ‘Cave’, consisted of a whitewashed studio space containing only a blue heritage plaque commemorating his presence ‘Gavin Turk worked here 1989-91'. Instantly gaining notoriety through this installation, Turk was spotted by Charles Saatchi and has since been exhibited by many major galleries and museums throughout the world. In 2013 a major new book assembled under Turk’s direction will be published by Prestel, showcasing more than two decades of work. How are you enjoying your new Professorship at Bath Spa? I am delighted to be a new Professor at Bath Spa. I am finding the whole thing a learning experience, to share my thoughts and experiences and in some ways collaborate with the students and University. Did you have any tutors or teachers who inspired you when you were younger? I had several. My teacher from when I was thirteen to sixteen recently contacted me with my O-level submissions and sent me some of my work after hanging on to it for all these years. That was at the end of the 70’s, beginning of the 80s. Strangely I do still remember the lessons. As a young artist did you have a career plan of action? No. Not really. What advice would you give young artists today about how to best promote their work? Make sure you show your work however possible, even if it is just to friends and peers. Because what you’re trying to do is encourage a dialogue around, and through the work that you make. Do you think it is more difficult for art and design graduates today? Is the market more competitive or are there more opportunities for them? I would say it is because there are so many more artists and people looking for work. But maybe there are more people buying art as well. There are definitely more people on the planet.
What's your favourite food? Choco Leibniz. More chocolate than a biscuit. When the Royal College of Art (RCA) decided not to award you a degree, did it make you more determined? No. But obviously I was able to convert the negative energy from failing my degree into some sort of positive. Who are your main art influences? More or less everyone. Are there any artists you would want to collaborate with that you haven't already? I would like to go to the West coast of America and hang out with Bruce Nauman. But I am a bit allergic to horses. If you had a super power what would it be? I would quite like to time travel, but I’d settle for x-ray eyes. What’s the focus of your new exhibition at the David Nolan Gallery in New York? In the exhibition there are several casts of exhaust pipes. There are drawings made from exhaust fumes and human size images of smoke.
Did you always want to be an artist from a young age? For a while I thought I might be a cartoonist, which is a kind of artist.
MASTER CLASS Bath Spa Universityâ€™s postgraduate courses provide the ideal opportunity for study that is both academically rigorous and vocationally relevant. AHRC funded studentships available. So, how far do you want to go?
For more information visit: www.bathspa.ac.uk/pgrad
ce to achIEve
The spring 2013 issue of SPARTAN alumni magazine