The University for the Creative Arts: Celebrating 150 years of arts education
CREATIVE UPDATE October 2017
Head of Communications Charlotte Ellison
Media Relations Officer Jayne Horswill
Content & Communications Officer
Anniversary Issue 04
Sam Heasman 14
Get in touch
150 Years of Arts Education Revealing a Regeneration Rebecca Marsh 18
The Art Of Absurd Travel Priscilla Lamont 22
Drawing on Childhood Dreams Richie Maughan 24
Communications Manager firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Designed by UCA alumni She Was Only
shewasonly.co.uk Printed by Belmont
Welcome to Issue 16
Melissa Rogers 50
From dazzling diamonds to designing in Dubai, we’ve spoken to some of our most ambitious and inspiring alumni for the latest edition of Creative Update. This issue takes us through 46 countries on a shoestring with Fine Art graduate Rebecca Marsh, behind the scenes at the biggest fortnight in British tennis with Animation graduate Stewart Powers, and onto the red carpet of this year’s Transformers: The Last Knight world premiere in Leicester Square with Fashion Textiles: Print graduate Claire Tagg. In addition, as we prepare to celebrate offering art and design education for 150 years, Creative Update takes a reflective look back at our founding colleges and the changes that UCA and art education have seen over the past century and a half. We also explore some of the outdated attitudes that still exist towards art education today, despite the ever-increasing demand for highly-skilled, creative individuals within the creative and noncreative sectors. Creative Update is only possible with the generous contributions of our alumni and we’re always eager to hear of the varied and exciting careers that you have gone on to launch. If you’ve got a story to tell, or an interesting issue you’d like to discuss, please do get in touch.
The UCA Alumni Team firstname.lastname@example.org
Emma Mitchell 26
Clarissa Beveridge 32
One Year On...
Hazel Lubbock 34
An Adventurer’s Account Ali Mapletoft 38
The Age of Reason Claire Tagg 42
Graduate Collection Takes Off Stewart Powers 44
Serving Up Ace Animations Brian Catling 46
A Rogue, and an Unruly and Dangerous Influence Helen Kirwan 48
Teatro Di Memoria COVER Image by Mike Abrahams
Content & Communications Officer
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Image © Liz Carrington
UCA breaks into the top 21 of UK universities Professor Bashir Makhoul appointed as Vice-Chancellor In April this year, we announced the appointment of conceptual artist Professor Bashir Makhoul as our new Vice-Chancellor. With an academic career spanning more than twenty years, Professor Makhoul is a prolific writer, editor and artist. He maintains a studio in Beijing and has exhibited at a range of highprofile venues and events including the Hayward Gallery, Tate Liverpool, 2013 Venice Biennale and the Aichi Biennale in Japan. Currently his work is on show in Australia, Liverpool and Beirut, with a large exhibition in Mexico planned for next year. He is a published author who has written several books about Palestinian art and themes of conflict and
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identity, including the ‘The Origins of Palestinian Art’ and ‘Conflict and Compassion.’ Professor Makhoul said: “I’ve been extremely impressed by the level of staff commitment at the University for the Creative Arts. The quality of education on offer is extremely high, and the facilities students learn in are first rate. Further work now needs to be done to make these great attributes more visible, particularly internationally. “The creative industries are rapidly evolving to encompass a range of technological and management disciplines. Universities need to ensure that their portfolio maximises these growth opportunities and continues to empower students from all cultures and backgrounds to make a contribution in their chosen field globally.” Professor Makhoul joined UCA from Birmingham City University, where he was Deputy Vice-Chancellor with strategic leadership for academic development, student recruitment, marketing and internationalisation. Previously, he was based at the University of Southampton as the Head of School for the Winchester School of Art.
UCA student secures public vote to win GFW People’s Choice Award After wowing on the Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) catwalk, BA (Hons) Fashion Design student Yingi Goma was named the winner of the event’s SmartFocus People’s Choice Award for her street hawkerinspired menswear collection.
The 25 finalist GFW collections were put to the public vote online after featuring on the catwalk at the Gala Awards Show. The UCA Rochester student said: “It feels absolutely amazing to have won and I am so grateful. It is incredible to see your hard work gain recognition. I know that this is just the beginning of my journey as a young fashion designer and I am looking forward to a groundbreaking fashion and art career.” The annual four-day Graduate Fashion Week event, which celebrates exciting new talent, attracts around 30,000 guests each June and sees more than 1,000 students and graduates from around the world exhibit their work.
This year, UCA has continued to make major gains in national league tables and, in May, was identified as one of the country’s leading universities, ranking 21st in the Guardian University Guide 2018. Rising an impressive 18 places since last year, the latest ranking by the Guardian adds to the University’s exceptionally strong performances in major UK league tables over the past 12 months and marks the second time this year that UCA has been recognised as the country’s top specialist university for the creative industries. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Resources) Alan Cooke, said: “We are incredibly proud that UCA has not only been identified as one of the top universities for a creative degree, but as one of the best places in the country to study the creative industries. “To be ranked 21st of all UK universities is an incredible achievement, which is testament to the calibre of our staff and the excellent links they have to the creative industries and research in their fields.”
Image © Simon Armstrong
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The University for the Creative Arts: 150 Years of Arts Education Image by Mike Abrahams
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As we prepare to celebrate 150 years of providing arts education across Surrey and Kent, Creative Update takes a look back at how art, and the need for education, has transformed over the past century and a half.
The meaning of ‘art’ has changed over time. The term ‘work of art’ as we use it today would have been mystifying to earlier cultures, including the civilisations of Greece, Rome and Western Europe. As ‘art’ itself has evolved, so has the education of it. But for as long as the arts have existed, practitioners and audience members alike have been educated in them. One of the biggest issues within arts education - and one that remains today - is access. Throughout history, access to instruction has been affected by a multitude of elements, including class, gender, and the general social status of the visual arts as a subject for study. Through time, while some societies have regarded knowledge of the arts as the privilege of the social elite, others have thought the visual arts were subjects fit only for slaves and the children of artisans. In nineteenth century Europe for example, it was acceptable for working-class women to study the decorative arts, while study of the fine arts was only for men.
In the UK, as education acts and policies were introduced in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to improve the quality of education as a whole, there was little importance placed on the development of imagination and creative thinking. Teaching within the arts was often something that individual schools and teachers would take upon themselves to provide. As literacy levels started to rise throughout the country, government efforts began to introduce art and music into public education. But even as the importance of educational development in the arts increased, throughout the 1920s and 30s there was still a considerable gap in the curriculum between boys and girls. UCA’s founder colleges were part of this movement, and this year the institution is celebrating 150 years of nurturing and developing artistic talent in Kent and Surrey.
Photographs from the UCA archives
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ABOVE & LEFT Images by Mike Abrahams TOP Image from the UCA Archives
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Now a top 40 university, UCA began as a number of smaller art schools which were spread across Southeast England. UCA’s Surrey origins began with the Farnham School of Art (1866), Guildford School of Art (1870) and Epsom & Ewell School of Art (1896). The three schools merged in 1969 to form the West Surrey College of Art & Design, which evolved into the Surrey Institute of Art & Design (SIAD) in 1995. Our Kent founding schools were Maidstone College of Art (1867), Canterbury School of Art (1882), Medway College of Design (1886), and Canterbury School of Architecture (1948). The four schools joined together in 1987 to become the Kent Institute of Art & Design (KIAD). By the 1940s, the British government had begun to invest in the arts. In an era of increased opportunity following the Second World War, the Arts Council England was established. The aim was to make arts and culture accessible to all, developing a thriving art culture that could offer everyone the chance to enjoy, participate and create. This was reflected in the national curriculum, as new reports and initiatives paved the way for further creative development. CREATIVE UPDATE 09
Innovation and development are now a key priority throughout the modern world. The need for creative thinkers continues to grow in all areas of industry and over the past decade alone, industries and businesses, both creative and otherwise, have shifted dramatically. In a report on arts education, UNESCO found that 21st Century societies are increasingly demanding a workforce that is creative, flexible, adaptable and innovative. Those with an education in the arts are equipped with these skills, enabling them to express themselves and critically evaluate the world around them. The UK’s creative economy alone contributes £133.3 billion and represents more than eight percent of the overall economy. The creative industries are now growing at a faster rate than the wider economy, a testament to the influence of art, design and media in our everyday lives. With such a strong need for creative minds, more value is being placed on qualifications and higher education within the arts. With increasing demand for a highly skilled, creative workforce, UCA has developed and adapted the education it offers to meet the needs of industries as well as students themselves. 10 CREATIVE UPDATE
In 2005, SIAD and KIAD came together to form the University College for the Creative Arts, and, in May 2008, it received its full university status from the Privy Council, changing its name to University for the Creative Arts in September that year. In 2016, UCA evolved further when the Open College of the Arts (OCA) joined the fold, furthering the reach of creative education. From its origins as a collection of humble art schools in the South East 150 years ago, UCA has grown into the UK’s top specialist university for the creative industries. Inspiring filmmakers, animators, artists, designers and architects to name but a few, UCA is educating a workforce fit to take the rapidly growing creative industries forward into the unknown.
ABOVE & BOTTOM RIGHT Images by Mike Abrahams TOP RIGHT Image from the UCA Archives
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Sam Heasman was the
think that the change in gender is out of the realms of possibility in a sci-fi show! I think any negative reactions are just people afraid of change; watching a show like Doctor Who is all about escapism and if you feel like you can’t relate to it anymore, you get scared. Personally, I think it’s a great step for the show, because the whole theme of it is reinvention and change. It’s all been a bit surreal for me because I keep coming across it in unexpected places. I’ve seen reaction videos on YouTube of people watching my work, to even printed screenshots of it being sold at Comic Con! That was a really strange one. It was pretty cool to think, hey, I’ve made it to Comic Con.
cinematographer for the top secret Doctor Who reveal trailer for the newest incarnation of the Doctor, to be played by Jodie Whittaker. We spoke to him about what it’s like working on a project that is kept secret for so long, and how his career has led him down this path.
Do you have any tips for recent graduates wanting to establish themselves in cinematography?
Revealing a Regeneration Talk us through your career path since graduating.
I graduated from Digital Film & Screen Arts in 2010, but I had really already started working in the industry from when I was still a student. I collaborated with Will McGregor (Director, ‘Poldark’) as we were students together and worked on a film with him. I worked as a spark* and eventually as a gaffer** on a lot of low-budget features, and things just kind of grew from there. I took a break as a student to work on a bigger feature for a while but came back and finished the course. By the time I graduated I was a gaffer in another film that took me up North straightaway – very convenient as I was just about to move out of student digs! Things really took off four or five years ago when I came back from New Zealand after being out there for a while and looking for work. I got a job as a spark on ‘Misfits’ and was only supposed to be there for an episode or two but next thing I knew I’d stayed for the rest of the season. Since then I’ve worked on some big titles like ‘Paddington’, ‘The Double’ and ‘Black Mirror’, and quite a lot of commercial work too. My plan going forward is to move towards drama in film and TV. I feel like there’s so much to explore there. 12 CREATIVE UPDATE
It’s tricky – you could do what I did, and go in all guns blazing and shoot as much as you can. I learned most of what I know on set – even when I was filming projects as a student. You have to keep practicing, all the time. It’s alright to make mistakes, but only make them once. Every time you learn something new, use it. I even still make low-budget short films to practice – in the industry you’ve got to be fast and you’ve got to be good. A big part of the challenge is getting both of those skills in the same place. Keep shooting, and you’ll get there.
How did you get the gig?
Sam Heasman, BA (Hons) Digital Film & Screen Arts, Farnham, 2010
The director that was offered the role was someone that I’d worked with before. He called me up and said “Hey, I have a job for you… I can’t really tell you much about it, but we’ll have to go to Wales.” I agreed, but didn’t know what I was working on until the rec trip the week before the shoot – all I knew was it was for the BBC and it was high-profile. It wasn’t until I was with the new head writer Chris Chibnall walking through some woods that I was finally told. I didn’t know who the Doctor was going to be either until we were on set, it was all very hush-hush. As my Dad is a big Doctor Who fan, it was really cool to find out that’s what I was working on - and to be able to create something I know he’d love and be proud of. Talk us through the project and your role.
My role is to interpret the director’s vision to screen, creating the image through camera and lighting. It was a very small setup in the woods with limited people and resources, so we had to work on setting the mood. Also on set with us was another UCA graduate Doug Walshe, who filmed the entire trailer on Steadicam. It can be really difficult to film in a forest because depending on the weather you get shots with completely different tones. Luckily the weather was on our side and we created the mysterious atmosphere we were looking for – and managed to create the trailer you saw.
What’s your favourite memory from UCA?
What was the most rewarding element of the project?
Giving the images to the audience, and finding the perfect shot have always been the most satisfying part to me. We had different elements in the trailer, from the flower at the beginning right through to showing Jodie’s face at the end, and I find it so rewarding when those shots marry together in the right way. When it all comes together and you think, “Yes, that’s the shot we want.” – that’s the best bit, when you all collaborate to make something great and you walk away pleased and happy. How’s it been watching the reaction to the first female Doctor?
ABOVE Screenshots from the ‘Doctor Who’ reveal, courtesy of Sam Heasman and the BBC
I did love the nights out at the Students’ Union – I worked there too so it was a major part of my student life. The biggest thing to me though has been the people; in this industry I’m forever crossing paths with UCA Farnham graduates from the past, and I still visit Farnham regularly to catch up with friends, too. The beauty of the film industry is that you get to work with your mates - I work with the people I met at university and they’ve become some of the best friends you could ask for. You help each other, too – a project comes along and you can call someone up and say hey, are you interested in working on this? I wouldn’t have that relationship if I hadn’t been at UCA when I was. I’m so pleased I went – I hesitated before applying as it was such a big step, but I’m so glad it’s the choice I made. Take a look at Sam’s portfolio of work at samheasman.com * A spark is an electrical lighting technician ** A gaffer is the chief lighting technician
I sort of expected the reaction – overall I think it’s been positive. It does make me laugh when people CREATIVE UPDATE 13
Just two years ago, Rebecca Kellett was gowned in the black and green robes of UCA at the Royal Festival Hall, preparing to walk across the stage in celebration of her accomplishments over the previous three years. Today, Rebecca is a Textiles Design Manager, living and working in Dubai and managing a team of 20 designers.
The Fabric of Success Rebecca Kellett, BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Print, Rochester, 2015
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On the side, Rebecca’s own fashion line is growing in popularity, and she is set to exhibit work at the Museum of Fine Arts in San Francisco next year. Creative Update caught up with Rebecca to find out what she’s been working on in Dubai, how she’s adjusted to living in a different country, and what advice she’d pass on to future students. “My role involves hand-drawing all the embellishment, laser-cutting designs and print embroidery designs for my team to then copy and sample,” Rebecca explains. “I select the materials to use to create the sample from our archive of more than 1,000 different embellishment materials. I also select the exact crystals to use and the amount needed and then once my team have put the samples together, I will either approve the design or change it before making the final garment. “Other aspects of my role involve attending client meetings, where quite often I’ll draw textile designs in the meeting so that the client can visualise what the garment will look like. I’ll also drive to suppliers to source fabrics across Dubai when we need new materials that we haven’t worked with before. I’m responsible for overseeing embroidery development in India too, so it’s a busy and varied role.”
Image by Mark Kelly
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LEFT Images by Dina Abuqaoud RIGHT Images by Mark Kelly
“It’s difficult combining both roles. At the moment I’m focusing more on the company that I work for in Dubai. I do get contacted on my private email accounts about my own work and showcasing it in showrooms and fashion weeks around the world, but it’s important not to rush into things and make the correct business decisions without wasting a lot of time and money. “In September 2018, the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco will host Muslims and Fashion Now, which looks at how Muslim women have become influential trendsetters. I’ll be showcasing a floor length dress from my 2015 graduate collection.” With an incredibly successful two years under her belt, Rebecca says that university really is the best time for students to prepare themselves both creatively and otherwise for the future. “When at university, collaborate with as many people as you can who aren’t in your own field. Work with those studying film, music, woodwork and all the other creative disciplines that will be available at your fingertips. The different fields are vital in the growth of your individual practice. And don’t beat yourself up after graduating if you don’t get your dream job straight away. You won’t. Take time to learn the industry. Have patience but work hard – positive things will happen.” www.rebeccakellett.com
The couture collection that Rebecca has been working on is launching this month (September), exclusively at Robinsons, the largest department store in Dubai. “We do bespoke client work all year round, as do other couture houses. The dresses can vary depending on the client’s budget and how detailed they would like the design, but the minimum cost is around £5,000 for a bespoke garment. We also work on a number of collaborations with all kinds of companies – some have included Mercedes and Swarovski.” It’s certainly been a fast-paced journey for Rebecca, who has also worked as a freelance designer for seven different brands, as well as a design manager for a fashion supplier for two years. Every opportunity has opened up a new and exciting possibilities for her career. “The job at the fashion supplier wasn’t my dream job but I used all the extra money for working on my own fashion line and marketing and promoting that. I designed all the garments for Piers Atkinson s/s17 millinery presentation at London Fashion Week (LFW), showed my graduate collection at the Houses of Parliament last year, and then a second collection at the Saatchi Gallery in February earlier this year.” 16 CREATIVE UPDATE
Now based in Dubai, Rebecca notes the changes as exciting but not without their challenges. “The language and cultural barrier is probably the most challenging aspect. Being a woman and a manager at 24 and managing male workers who are twice my age is not without its difficulties. I have had to show authority, patience and talent from day one to earn respect. The hardest part of my role is to communicate my designs to staff who speak four different languages to me, hence why patience is very important when managing the department and why translating the designs visually has to be extremely precise. “Dubai is very different culturally – you have to be respectful and aware of the culture. It isn’t strict in terms of dress as people generally assume; you can really wear what you like – it is very relaxed, as it is in the UK. I’m used to living in a city and it’s very futuristic and similar to London in that respect. The nightlife is incredible and better than some of the clubs in London.” Still passionate about developing her own designs, which draw inspiration from architecture, science and are always three-dimensional, Rebecca is gaining an invaluable industry network through her work in Dubai. CREATIVE UPDATE 17
The Art Of Absurd Travel
Rebecca Marsh, BA (Hons) Fine Art, Farnham, 2014
Imagine being able to spend a year traveling the world, exploring remote locations and undertaking exciting adventures, while developing your creative skills and earning money at the same time. It sounds incredible. Something that everyone would love to do, but for the vast majority of us, it’s a pipe dream. However, UCA alumna Rebecca Marsh, and the core group of five explorers for Global Convoy, made this a reality. “We drove through a total of 46 countries, across four continents, in two cars that cost under £200 each, with a bunch of filming equipment and some adventurous people!” Rebecca says. The intention was to show people that travel and adventure are accessible to anyone, on any budget. Rebecca said: “I personally think a big issue we face in our generation is the concept of travelling with a large budget that we have to save for, booking and organising through official tour companies. We wanted to prove that the idea of just getting up and going with a group of friends, with minimal money and planning, was doable.” The reality of what their adventure turned into, however, was so much more.
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TOP Camping in the desert, Peru. Photo by Rebecca Marsh ABOVE Salt flat of Bolivia by Global Convoy LEFT Japanese street art by Rebecca Marsh
Not only did they travel the world as they’d hoped, they also picked up creative work along the way. While inspiring others to get out and see the world, they’ve built an unusual portfolio for themselves and had some incredible life experiences throughout the journey. They’ve discovered stunning architecture and beautiful history along the Old Silk Road in Uzbekistan, the natural hot springs of Canada, Mexico and Guatemala, and learnt of the legends of El Dorado in Columbia.
They’ve hiked the Andes to reach Machu Picchu and learn about the Incas, visited buildings from the time of Genghis Khan, stayed in mud-walled towns which were once part of the slave trade, and takenin the astonishing beauty of the Mayan temples of South America. “We’ve seen so many beautiful places and experienced so much that my list of favourites is pretty long, but one thing that I will say, is that there isn’t one place that I felt unsafe. Everyone we’ve met across the globe has been friendly, welcoming and helpful.” Rebecca and her group have been offering photography, videography, drone filming, and promotional video production whilst on the move through these incredible locations. “We proposed various filming opportunities to businesses throughout the world. Some, we would just turn up and pitch our ideas, others we would contact in advance,” Rebecca explains. “We did a lot of work in South America. Being a core team of five with a lot of equipment, including two drones, there was a lot that we could offer.” From boosting tourism and brands, to hostel and product promotions, the team have used their skills in film, photography and social media to benefit local businesses in return for accommodation or food from Budapest to Peru. But it wasn’t all about the digital technology. “We also took the time to help out with our physical working skills as well. In Belize we helped to build an orphanage. CREATIVE UPDATE 19
ABOVE Mayan temples in Mexico. Photo by Rebecca Marsh LEFT Mountain passes in Canada. Photo by Rebecca Marsh
We were a group of 16 with four cars at that point, so we helped to make considerable progress with the project.” Travelling so freely and at such minimal cost meant that creativity wasn’t only needed with their work. “Travelling in the most affordable way possible meant there were often problems with electricity and Wi-Fi, particularly in the ‘stans’,” Rebecca explains. “Investing in a few car converters was also one of our better ideas, giving us mains power on the road which was essential for editing our footage on the move.” Beyond digital issues, the group encountered other problems along the way. “Our cars stood out as being foreign so we were often a target for police. We’d be pulled over only to be told that something we were doing, or had, was illegal and there was a fine. “In Argentina, at a police check point, we were told that tow bars were illegal and they needed to be removed immediately. But they were welded on! It was physically impossible. For the most part, we were able to talk our way out of these kinds of fines, or at the very least, reduce them. It was pretty stressful at the time, but looking back, they’re now great stories to tell.” Now back home in the UK, the group has plans to travel around Europe, touring adventure film festivals throughout August, September and October. Giving workshops, talks and advice on travel and documentaries, they’re hoping to build up some funding for their next project. On top of all that, they’re aiming to bring out a full length documentary of their experiences next year, as well as continuing to build on their idea and expand into more areas. To find out more about the Global Convoy, visit their website Globalconvoy.com, or find them on social media: Facebook.com/globalconvoy Youtube.com/c/ConquerEarthTravel
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Priscilla Lamont’s studio, complete with creative
chaos, a garden gate instead of a door, and a friendly, cosy atmosphere with studios of friends on all sides, is just the kind of space you’d imagine a children’s book illustrator to work in.
Drawing on Childhood Dreams Priscilla Lamont, Graphics, Canterbury, 1970
LEFT Nursery Rhyme Crimes by Priscilla Lamont ABOVE RIGHT Animal Games by Priscilla Lamont
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After living in London as an illustrator for over 15 years, Priscilla left the hectic capital environment to set herself up as a freelance children’s illustrator first in Suffolk, and then in the picturesque location of Faversham. “I moved back to Kent in 2003 to join my husband, the artist David Hayward. We were both at The Canterbury College of Art back in the day, and it’s fascinating to see how much has changed,” Priscilla tells me. “I think being given the chance to develop your skills in the exciting environment of an art college is a wonderful advantage – there are a lot of talented young artists who deserve that opportunity.” “Printed books are beginning to make a comeback over their digital counter parts, and I think that’s fantastic. There’s nothing to compete with the experience of reading a book with a child, turning the page and engaging with the characters. Looking at a screen just doesn’t compare.” “When children read a picture book with a parent, or teacher, there’s a special bond they can develop from sharing those moments. Whether it’s humour and daftness, traditional fairy tales, or even something a little more sombre, they’ll start to develop their own judgements. They’re the first pictures a child will consciously consider - they can help that child make sense of what’s around them. It’s like introducing them to a wider world. “Illustrating children’s books is definitely a big responsibility, you’re giving children a wonderful experience as they enjoy the pictures as well as the story, and that’s important.”
During her career, Priscilla has worked with the likes of Michael Rosen, author of We’re going on a Bear Hunt, the poet Adrian Mitchell, a prolific author who also wrote poetry and plays for children, and the popular children’s author Julia Jarman. Priscilla’s work includes much-loved children’s titles such as Secrets of the Garden, Will there be Polar Bears? and The Troublesome Pig, which was nominated for the Kurt Maschler award. Jotting down ideas and working up rough drawings, Priscilla likes to take each project as it comes. “My ideas always start with the text, then I’ll produce a lot of rough sketches which I’ll talk over with the publisher and, with luck, the author too. Once we’ve got a good idea of what we’re looking for, I’ll embark on the finished artwork.” Still working with traditional tools, Priscilla prefers to work with pen or pencil, and watercolour, using a computer to help with rough drawings or to test out colours, but rarely for the finished art. “I do enjoy using my pens, brushes and a trusty box of watercolours,” she explains, “although the scanner and tablet can be useful too.” “So all in all being an illustrator for children’s books is certainly fun, if sometimes precarious. I also think that getting children to enjoy reading and enjoy books is pretty important, whether for fun or education, sometimes both,” says Priscilla. To find out more about Priscilla’s books, visit her website at priscillalamont.com, or find her on twitter @lamontpriscilla.
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Twenty years on from graduating from the West Surrey Institute of Art & Design, interior designer Richie Maughan has worked on projects ranging from 10-bedroom mansions to high end spa and leisure facilities, as well as stores including Waitrose and Jack Wills.
Interior Insight Images courtesy of Richie Maughan
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Richie Maughan, BA (Hons) Interior Design, Farnham, 1997
Now a specialist retail and hospitality interior designer for architects Lyons + Sleeman + Hoare, Richie tells us about some of the most exciting projects he has worked on to date, exactly what goes in to designing a space, and what to expect from the latest design trends. “Usually the biggest challenge is getting everything to fit and still allowing enough circulation space, but sometimes it’s just hard getting all the information you need from the client,” Richie says of the obstacles he comes across when getting started on a new project. “We all know the brief is gospel and should evolve and be kept relevant, but that is rarely the case and things change, so projects suffer from what we describe as ‘scope-creep’ and ‘options breeding options’, all of which can throw the budget out. So the secret is almost always to ‘keep it simple’. “It’s definitely a multi-skilled profession, where many hats need to be worn at different times. These days, I’m a direct link to the client and enjoy building those relationships. The quality of your communication is vital, although being more client-focused can mean doing less of the drawing work, which is not for everyone.”
Having spent several years working in marketing and advertising roles, but feeling as though he wasn’t fulfilling his creative potential, Richie made the decision to take a step back and work as a store planner. “I got to learn Computer Aided Design (CAD) which was a big tick for me as it was something that had been holding me back before. I then went and worked for DK Architects in Bath. That role taught me all kinds of things from building regulations and control to procedures and processes within the industry. It was after this that I got my first real interiors role. “I’ve had the opportunity to work on some incredible projects. It’s fun and rewarding getting your teeth into the DNA of a brand, digesting the customer insight to understand shopper profiles and turning that into a design language or identity for a physical space or ‘experience’ as they like to call it. But it’s also fun designing uber-houses and hotels with pools and spas – and in some cases even hair salons – working with architects, developers, as well as private clients, to make the interior flow and adjacencies work better from an occupant’s point of view, as well as maximizing the light and sense of the building’s architecture from the inside. “The trend at the moment is to have a contemporary look but with a twist of something industrial or classical as well. We seem to have gone from an industrial trend to an arts and crafts trend, and now things have become very botanical, with big palms and birdcages everywhere!” With so many unique and interesting projects to be proud of, from designing a new Jack Wills store located in the Red Sea Mall, to a high-end spa and fitness facility with a juice bar for a Hilton in Prague, Richie cites the design of a contemplation room last year as a particular highlight. “The contemplation room – or prayer room – needed to be understated and minimalistic. The ablution rooms were required to be neutral and suitable for different faiths, so it was a real challenge to create something simple without it being boring. I’m really pleased with how it turned out. I’m currently working on some highend VIP lounges for the same client.” “When I first set out to start a career as an interior designer, I wasn’t necessarily prepared for the fast-paced commercial challenges out there, so in a nutshell it was challenging and demanding, full of peaks and troughs. But ultimately it’s been a long but satisfying learning curve with lots of proud and rewarding moments. Once you’ve put the hard work in, it does get easier but every day is still a school day! That’s what’s good about this industry, you’re constantly learning new things about everything from materials to construction methods and even your own creative design capabilities.” CREATIVE UPDATE 25
Emma Mitchell, BA (Hons) Goldsmithing, Silversmithing & Jewellery, Rochester, 2009
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Over the last eight years, BA (Hons) Goldsmithing, Silversmithing & Jewellery graduate Emma Mitchell has been striving to establish herself in the world of luxury jewellery design. Now, eighteen months on from launching her own business, Decadent Diamonds, Emma tells us about what it’s like to specialise in the fascinating stones; how she offers a personalised service to her clients; and the exciting plans that lie ahead for the company.
“Decadent Diamonds is based around word of mouth recommendations, which I find to be the strongest and most reputable way of gaining clients,” says Emma, a self-confessed diamond lover, on how she attracts new business. “I will sit with my clients and use the technical knowledge I have learnt both through my degree and from hands-on experience to create a design, which I typically hand-draw in front of the client. This is really useful as some customers have an idea which simply won’t translate into what needs to be a durable but aesthetically pleasing item, so we work together to refine their design. “I then educate my clients about diamond quality, explaining where the value and appearances differ in order to select what is right for the customer. Once we have finalised the design and diamond selection, I launch the item in the workshop, to be either handmade or CAD designed and hand-finished, depending on the complexity of the piece.” A family-run workshop team translates Decadent Diamonds’ designs into the fine jewellery pieces they become. “I oversee and quality control the item at every stage before making a personal delivery to the client,” Emma adds. After graduating from UCA, Emma worked in a jewellery shop near to where she lived and completed a GEM-A diploma, through which she learned everything from how to grade diamonds to the ethics behind the trade. The course further uncovered her passion for diamonds and she took up a post at a family-run jewellers based in the centre of the UK’s diamond trade, Hatton Garden, soon after. 28 CREATIVE UPDATE
“The hands-on experience you gain teaches you things that you simply can’t learn in textbooks or by research. In 2015, I got married and decided that if I didn’t make the leap into starting my own business then, I probably never would. Within two weeks, I had handed my notice in and the Decadent Diamonds journey had begun.” The first eighteen months have seen Decadent Diamonds go from strength to strength, and has certainly unlocked Emma’s true creative passion. “It’s definitely been a journey,” she says. “From flicking through a UCA prospectus in search of an interior design course all those years ago and stumbling across the Goldsmithing, Silversmithing & Jewellery degree, to now having my own fine jewellery business and getting to do exactly what I love every day.
PHOTO CREDITS Malcolm SK Fitt Photography RIGHT Decadent Diamonds Tropical Shoot
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“The hands-on experience you gain teaches you things that you simply can’t learn in textbooks or by research.”
ABOVE A family-run workshop team translates the designs into fine jewellery. LEFT Decadent Diamonds Bridal Shoot
“The most rewarding aspect has to be going on the journey with the client from start to finish and seeing the joy it brings them. I enjoy the challenge of achieving what a client wants from a ring, be it design or diamond, within a limited price range. I love the moment I show a client, typically men, the engagement ring for the first time, when you can see the excitement in their eyes and when the penny drops that they now need to propose – or, more dauntingly, ask permission for her hand! “I love melting down or reusing inherited items, which have sat unused in a box for years, to create a modern looking piece which will be worn fondly and still retain the sentiment. I also love receiving clients’ engagement and wedding photos. You really do feel included in a special moment in their lives.” But it’s not just the quality of the diamonds and jewellery pieces that have made Decadent Diamonds so popular. “Decadent Diamonds specialises in fine jewellery, however, it offers more than any other jeweller,” explains Emma. “Lifestyles have changed over time and we are increasingly busy nowadays, so in addition to the honest expertise, guidance and design advice, which result in stunning lifelong pieces, my appointments are incredibly flexible and are tailored to suit the needs of the client. Appointments in the comfort of a customer’s own home or office, at any day or time convenient to them, means that they get a truly personal, hassle-free service.” Now looking to expand the business, Emma is on the hunt for wedding ring consultants around the M25. “I hope to locate Decadent Diamonds’ first representative within the Guildford area. They will solely advise and sell wedding rings, allowing me to focus on the diamond side of the business. All going to plan, the intention is to recruit a new representative every three to six months who will generate business from their own networks, local area and wedding fayres, keeping the balance between becoming even more accessible to clients, while remaining a small, local independent jeweller.” To find out more about Decadent Diamonds, visit www.decadentdiamonds.co.uk
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For several years, Professor Emeritus David Buss has funded the Invicta Scholarship, designed to provide financial assistance to talented UCA students in their second and third years of study. One of the recent beneficiaries was Clarissa Beveridge, who went on to achieve a first class degree in fine art. David caught up with Clarissa...
One Year On
Having followed Clarissa’s development as a student at Canterbury, I was interested to find out how she was adjusting to life after university, and arranged to catch up. Whilst studying at Canterbury, Clarissa met the British artist Ann Carrington ARCA who has her studio in Margate. Clarissa worked for Ann as a Studio Assistant whilst at University, a relationship that has continued on an occasional basis during the past year, helping her gain further insights into the working life of a successful professional artist. Shortly after graduating, Clarissa was shortlisted for a Crate Graduate Project Space Award and she exhibited work as part of the Margate Festival 2016. Crate Studio and Project Space is one of several new art venues in the seaside resort that has contributed to the regeneration of the town. Most notable of her activities over the past year has been her involvement with the Turner Contemporary. As a Gallery Assistant, Clarissa meets and talks with visitors and conducts tours of the exhibitions with small groups. In this role, Gallery Assistants have the opportunity to see at first hand the complex process of ‘hanging’ an art show. When I met Clarissa, the main exhibition at the Gallery was ‘Every Day is a New Day’ which explores ‘the role of art and creativity in society and its capacity to empower all of us, across generations and cultures’. It featured the work of British sculptor Phyllida Barlow, who represented Britain at the 2017 Venice Biennale, and BritishKenyan painter Michael Armitage, Exhibitions provide opportunities for the Gallery Assistants to meet some of the artists and curators during the preparations for their exhibitions, and for the current exhibition, Clarissa participated in an artist-led tour by Michael Armitage. 32 CREATIVE UPDATE
On the day we met at Margate, Clarissa had attended the first session of a Trainee programme designed for ‘Kent based practitioners who are interested in arts education, socially engaged practice and collaborative learning to develop their skills’. It aims to encourage and support experimentation with different ways of including artists, communities and families in the cocreation of the Turner Contemporary’s learning programme. What, I asked Clarissa, have been the most difficult issues during your first year after University? Her response highlighted two matters. The first was maintaining contacts with art communities – something we agreed is vital for the developing artist. In addition to her contacts with the growing creative communities and audiences in East Kent, Clarissa has maintained links with her former tutors and some of her peer group. The second issue has been the difficulty of getting a studio space to continue her own practice. Suitable spaces are difficult to find, even in a creative community such as Margate. And rental costs are high. So what does Clarissa hope to do next? Completing the traineeship is a priority, one that will open up other opportunities for her. She worked as part of the Whitstable Biennial 2016 and when we met, she was about to start working as a Host at Folkestone Triennial 2017. She’s also going to be returning to UCA as a Graduate Teaching Assistant on the Foundation programme. Having observed her progress over the past three years, I am very confident that Clarissa, like so many UCA graduates, will build a successful career within the Creative Industries.
Clarissa Beveridge, BA (Hons) Fine Art, Canterbury, 2016
Detail from Clarissa’s degree show in the Herbert Read Gallery, UCA Canterbury
David Buss — Emeritus Professor
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Switching the catwalk for the runway, Fashion Journalism alumna Hazel Lubbock has spent the past seven years exploring some of the world’s most awe-inspiring destinations as a travel journalist.
An Adventurer’s Account
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The beaches of Brazil
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Hazel Lubbock BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism, Epsom, 2010
Since tweeting her final major project to luxury travel magazine Condé Nast Traveller just before she graduated in 2010, Hazel Lubbock has gone on to secure herself an internship, leading to a job, with the publication. And after more than six years of reporting on the top destinations around the globe for the magazine, Hazel decided to become her own boss earlier this year, beginning her journey as a freelance journalist. “I had always wanted to be a travel journalist,” Hazel recounts, “but I chose to study Fashion Journalism because I thought it would be more interesting than just Journalism on its own. I geared all my coursework towards travel and interned at Wallpaper* magazine and Wallpaper* City Guides during my third year. While at Condé Nast Traveller, I worked my way up to Deputy Online Editor before deciding to go freelance.” From the luscious green backdrops lining the Nile, to the South Pacific state of Papua New Guinea, Hazel has certainly sampled some of the most diverse and interesting places, cultures and experiences that the world has to offer.
Kerala, South India
All images © Hazel Lubbock
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Now working on a freelance basis for the video team at Lonely Planet, Hazel still has the passion and drive to see more and share her experiences with others. “I had a strange moment when I realised that I had been to Papua New Guinea before I had been to Scotland or Wales, which has led me to explore more of the UK in recent years. There’s Caribbean-blue beaches, a rich cultural heritage, a dynamic food scene; the list goes on – and it’s all on the doorstep. That said, diving in the Maldives is spectacular, and I’ve never been made to feel more at home than when I was in the middle of the desert in Jordan. “The dream is to continue to learn and develop as a journalist while exploring the world. Working freelance has given me the opportunity to spend more time researching and writing. When I was a staff writer, I had more strategy, commissioning and editing to worry about, so I definitely have more freedom now.” As for the more challenging aspects of her jobs, Hazel says: “It’s sounds ridiculous, but actually it’s a challenge to go on a normal paid-for-myself holiday and properly switch off and not think about working. Especially as a freelancer, you never know when an editor is going to ask for a review or feature on a place you have been to.
“When starting a new piece, a different angle or news hook is imperative. But the availability of strong visuals is also often a decider for editors – especially on magazines.” But it’s not just the places she has travelled to that have stood out for Hazel during her career so far. “I had the opportunity to speak about travel and technology on panels at Soho House’s Intersection and FashTech summits,” she says of some of the highlights to date. And for budding journalists hoping to follow in her footsteps and establish themselves as trusted travel writers, Hazel offers the following tip: “If you’re freelancing, invest in an accountant – you’ll save time and money in the long run.” hazellubbock.co.uk
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Ali Mapletoft is a woman who means business.
And she’s on a mission. A mission to end ‘sweatshop fashion’ by designing items that are unique and sustainable, and she’s not afraid to put herself on the front line to find the best ways to achieve that.
Age of Reason models. Photograph by Emma Gutteridge
Running her studio from Sussex, Ali dedicates her time to unique and sustainable designs in womenswear and home accessories. Designing for all ages, Ali is making her styles accessible to everyone.
The Age of Reason
Ali Mapletoft, BA (Hons) Animation, Farnham, 2001
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Growing up in the small kingdom of Lesotho in Southern Africa, with its thriving craft tradition, Ali’s family were friends with weavers, knitters and artisans of all kinds. She says: “I’ve always seen things being made and had a curiosity about that process.” After years of being drawn to styling and art direction, but struggling to find items that she could know and understand the story behind, Ali decided to make a change for herself. Leaving a career as an animation director, she set about starting her own business that followed her own values and ethics. She called it Age of Reason, a fitting title for a company that was looking to bring about just that for its customers, tackling the idea of mass production. She said: “It’s logical to me that things don’t need to be made in a factory environment at all, let alone a sweatshop. There are a lot of ways of getting things made and I’m all for the methods that empower both the maker and the wearer rather than enslave them. For me, it’s about making playful prints for cushions, scarves and womenswear in an ethical and sustainable way.” CREATIVE UPDATE 39
TOP Ali Mapletoft by Emma Croman ABOVE Black lips & gold tooth Age of Reason
As her passions for this concept grew, Ali wanted to put things into action. Beginning with a little project for herself. She spent an entire year only buying clothes if she could meet the people who had made them. “It was incredibly hard to only buy my clothes, shoes and accessories directly from the makers for a whole year. I called my challenge “No Meet No Treat”. But I immediately wished I hadn’t included knickers!” Ali explains. “The point of it was more to educate myself on the process of how things are made than anything else. I don’t think it’s an achievable thing to do all of the time. But what it did do was curtail my shopping habit enough for me to realise the value of waiting for something great, spending a bit more, and valuing that thing for longer.” Her business is one that believes in inclusivity and sharing. They do as much as they can within the UK and use sustainable products as far as possible. They’re not exploiting anyone. They’ll even share supplier details with anyone who wants to know. “We’ll tell them, because we believe in moving that ethical community forward,” Ali says. “Some people view that as sharing trade secrets, but that’s not the secret. The secret is the creativity. That’s the bit that’s important.” But when it comes to balancing business and creativity, Ali is rigorous in making sure she keeps her creativity flowing. “It’s virtually impossible to get into a deep creative flow with texts, alerts, calls and the whole of the internet distracting you, so I make sure I turn my phone off at least once a week to focus,” Ali says. And in that time, she likes to draw. “Something very special happens in the brain when you use your hands. I’m no neuroscientist, but most artists can identify that feeling of creative emersion. To stay creative, I just make sure I do the drawing.” Looking to the future, Ali wants to grow Age of Reason. Already offering a range of silk cushions - stuffed with the wool of seaweed eating sheep of Orkney no less – with designs from lips and eyes, to pugs and pills, Ali wants to include more home décor pieces. “My vision is to partner with great small independent homeware stores around the country. Home is a growing sector and I think the time is right for Age of Reason to grow with it,” says Ali. And with current plans underway to develop a range of rock and roll art prints, there’s little doubt that The Age of Reason is certainly expanding in that direction. You can find out more about Ali’s journey and fabulous range of designs at: www.age-of-reason-studios.com
LEFT Age of Reason models by Emma Croman
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Graduate Collection Takes Off
When third-year Fashion Textiles: Print student Claire Tagg was putting the finishing touches to her final collection, she had no idea that the air travel-inspired dress she had created would be hitting the red carpet at the world premiere of Transformers: The Last Knight just a few weeks later.
Claire Tagg BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Print, Rochester, 2017
LEFT Image courtesy of Claire Tagg RIGHT Hatty Keane wearing Claire’s dress on the red carpet
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Worn by British singer and songwriter Hatty Keane, the striking design uses aeroplane seatbelts as straps drawing plenty of attention at the Leicester Square event for the blockbuster film, featuring Mark Wahlberg and Josh Duhamel among its cast. “I was contacted by Hatty on Instagram,” Claire says. “She loved the design as it was a dramatic look that attracted a lot of attention at the event. She looked beautiful in it and I have had a lot of lovely comments about how elegant my work is. “I was absolutely pinching myself when the photos started coming out. It’s crazy to see something you have made and spent so much time on being worn at an event like this.” Just weeks prior to the request from Hatty Keane, Claire’s collection, which draws inspiration from her former career as an air stewardess, impressed on the Graduate Fashion Week runway, featuring in the GFW Gala Awards Show. The head-turning collection highlighted Claire’s journey from air stewardess to full-time Fashion Textiles: Print student, and draws on the outfits that led her to originally pursue a career in the travel industry.
“When I was younger everything about the air stewardess fascinated me. I thought they were more glamorous than anything else in the world. However, after years of chasing my dreams, I finally became an air stewardess to realise that the job was not so glamorous after all. “I did not turn into a beautiful and respected woman, as I imagined. Instead I had to work extremely hard. I did not look beautiful; I looked exhausted. For my collection, I created a series of illustrations to show how I perceived myself as an air stewardess, looking elegant whilst wearing my airline uniform with pride. The illustrations are combined with destructive textures to represent how my dream got torn apart when I experienced the harsh reality of this difficult job. “The cut of my collection explores the airline uniform that I once admired, inspired by structured airline jackets which are combined with softer fabrics. The garments are heavily embellished to show elements of glamour contrasted against rich destructed textures to reflect the collection concept.” Creating a collection that is capable of standing out from a crowd filled with outfits put together by world-renowned designers is certainly a tall order, but Claire relished the challenge. “There is so much drawing that has to be produced to start a print collection and even more experimentation. Working with mixed media and using techniques learnt in the print room with an open mind is vital. Once my print work started to come together, I began to experiment with draping fabrics onto the mannequin to think about the shape of the garments that would work well with the prints. “I enjoyed the freedom and diversity of my course as it allowed me to be as creative as I wanted. I loved having the freedom to be experimental in my print work and the opportunity to transform my own drawings into wearable pieces.” And having finally landed on the right career path, Claire’s collection has continued to impress following Graduate Fashion Week and the film premiere. She received the Hainsworth Statement Award at this year’s New Designers for her work, and has recently been on placement for Marks & Spencer. www.clairetagg.com
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Serving Up Ace Animations “It’s my first time being here at Wimbledon in any capacity and it’s very exciting to be working at such a major event,” Animation graduate Stewart Powers said from the heart of the action at this year’s grand slam tennis tournament.
The graduate, who completed his studies just over a year ago, now works as an Animator for LiveWire Sport, a digital and social media agency that provides services to some of the biggest sporting events, including the Premier League, NFL UK and RFU. And as the sport’s superstars descended on SW19 for a fortnight of tennis at its very best in July, Stewart was there to witness the drama unfold and create illustrations and animations for Wimbledon’s official social media accounts. “My brief for the Championships was to produce diverse content for Wimbledon’s social media channels. Along with our creative team, I was tasked with coming up with ideas and more often than not they received the thumbs up and it was time to get to work. I had the opportunity to dedicate time to a variety of things while I was based at Wimbledon, but my main focus was creating round-up videos of each day’s play. 44 CREATIVE UPDATE
ABOVE RIGHT Stewart was tasked with creating innovative content for Wimbledon’s social media Stewart Powers, BA (Hons) Animation, Farnham, 2016
LEFT Stewart was on hand to document the tournament’s events
“Interacting with an audience of such a global sports event is incredibly rewarding, but you have to be inventive to keep people engaged. We came up with a variety of ideas to show highlights but in an interesting, visual way. This led to us producing a series of comic strips tailored to each day of the tournament. To keep the idea fresh, we changed it up half way through and visualised the highlights through VHS tapes, referencing different eras through each video.” In addition to giving a daily run down of the action, Stewart was also on hand to document quirky or particularly noteworthy events as they happened during the matches. “Whenever something interesting happened, I was there to animate or illustrate it which we then shared to Wimbledon’s social media accounts for the followers to see. “Working at Wimbledon has been an amazing experience. The brand is so distinctive and established - it’s an honour to be involved with
such a prestigious tournament. The audience and reach is so large too that it’s surreal to have your work published on a global scale.” Since working as an intern for animation and motion production studio Grizzle in June last year, just prior to finishing his degree, Stewart has gone on to work as a freelance animator for LiveWire Sport, where he was made a permanent Animator a few months later. Now, with a string of major sports illustrations and animations under his belt, he’s looking forward to an exciting future at the London-based company. Wimbledon hasn’t been the only highlight of the year for Stewart, either. In January, his student film Dinonsaurs in the Playground, which he created during the third year of his degree at UCA Farnham, was nominated for a Royal Television Society Southern Centre award. www.stewartpowersanimation.com
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A Rogue, and an Unruly and Dangerous Influence by Emeritus Professor David Buss
Professor Brian Catling RA, Foundation, Maidstone, 1968
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I first met Brian Catling when I taught him as a Foundation student at one of UCA’s founder colleges, the Maidstone College of Art in 1967/68. It was 50 years later before I met him again. Brian, who was elected a Royal Academician in 2015, was giving a short performance before talking about his recent work to a packed audience in the Academicians’ Room. After his year at Maidstone, Brian progressed to North East London Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art. He subsequently achieved national and international recognition and acclaim for his work as a sculptor and a performance artist. In 2001, Brian founded the international performance group ‘The Wolf in the Winter’. For Brian, Performance Art is the medium that “breaks the boundary between artwork and audience.” Brian also writes poetry which has been published in solo collections and anthologies, and in 2015 he won a Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors for his distinctive contribution to British poetry. His written work now embraces novels, and earlier this year the second volume of a trilogy was published. This artist of many facets says: “I am obsessively engaged in the collision of separate activities that sometimes fuse together in a hybrid event - they being the writing of poetry, the constructing of sculptural installation and the
action of performance. Most recently they have fetched up as video works.” Currently Professor of Fine Art and Head of the Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford, teaching has been an important activity for Brian. He says: “Teaching is an essential element of my imaginative spectrum. Being a reflector to others’ potential and talent is a privilege and challenge, and it helps to keep me sane.” Brian has received several prestigious commissions for his work. He conceived and constructed a memorial for the execution site at the Tower of London where, amongst others, three of Henry VIII’s wives were beheaded out of the public gaze. The memorial employs glass and metal elements. The central feature is a glass pillow with the impression of a head. Around its perimeter, the circular glass top bears the names of some of the famous people who were executed at this site, while the base incorporates this short poem that Brian wrote specifically for the Memorial. Gentle visitor pause awhile: where you stand death cut away the light of many days: here jewelled names were broken from the vivid thread of life: may they rest in peace while we walk the generations around their strife and courage: under their restless skies.
TOP Detail of the memorial showing the glass pillow MIDDLE Processional Cross, St Martin-in-the-Field Church, London LEFT Front cover of Brian Catling’s novel ‘The Erstwhile’ with image adapted from William Blake
Another significant commission came from the Arts Advisory Panel, which commissioned Brian to design and make a processional cross for St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square. The cross is made from simple materials – three pieces of contorted wood tied together with string and then cast into permanent aluminum and gilded on ‘Moon Gold’. It stands behind the altar where it can easily be viewed by visitors to the famous church. Revd Dr Sam Wells, the vicar of St Martin-in-the-Field, said: “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a cross that does fuller justice to both the agony and the glory of Calvary.” The trilogy of novels that Brian has authored started with ‘The Vorrh’ which was followed by ‘The Ertswhile’. Volume 3 is yet to be published. The Vorrh is a dark fantasy epic that embraces Surrealism, Magic Realism, Horror and Steam Punk and is populated by demons, angels, warriors, priests and more. The cover of the second volume features a figure drawn by an artist Brian admires greatly - William Blake. His achievements with the written word are all the more astonishing when you know that in his teens Brian was “seriously dyslexic”. His many admirers include Terry Gilliam, the screenwriter, film director, animator, actor, comedian and member of the Monty Python comedy troupe. Of ‘The Voorrh’, Gilliam wrote: “Brian Catling is simply a genius. His writing is so extraordinary it hurts, it makes me realize how little imagination I have.” In an interview with Fiona Maddocks, published in the Autumn 2016 issue of the RA Magazine, Brain referred to his time at comprehensive school in SE London: “The School was full of yobs and thugs. I was in the gutter stream but they found me in the library reading Rabelais while everyone else was doing woodwork, preparing to be policemen or criminals … I was saved by my imagination. Art got me out.” In the same interview, he claimed that at Maidstone, “they thought I was a rogue, and an unruly and dangerous influence.” I think we were right. But it was these characteristics that helped him to become the fascinating, original and creative sculptor, performance artist, poet and novelist that he undoubtedly is. David Buss Emeritus Professor ‘The Vorrh’ and ‘The Ertswhile’ are published in Great Britain by Coronet. To find out more about this fascinating alumnus, visit: www.briancatling.net
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ALL IMAGES Screenshots from 'Memory Theatre' by Helen Kirwan
Helen has this year unveiled her new twochannel video installation entitled ‘Memory Theatre’ as part of a group exhibition at the European Cultural Centre at the 57th Biennale di Venezia. This is her third participation at the European Cultural Centre at the Biennale – but as she tells us, it is a different encounter every time.
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Helen Kirwan, BA (Hons) Fine Art, Canterbury, 2000
Memory Theatre is a series of filmed performative pieces undertaken by Helen while in self-imposed isolation in Merzouga in Morocco, Dungeness and Joss Bay in Kent and The Burren and Connemara in Ireland. The artist, dressed in black, repeatedly undertakes futile tasks. In Joss Bay, she attempts to measure the sea with buckets; in the desert dunes of Morocco, she documents the passing of time by pouring grains of sand into the dunes. These endless repetitions express the physical traces of mourning, which manifest themselves through absurd and futile activity. The filmed pieces are a record of the event, and Helen has edited over 27 hours of performance into a 44-minute video installation. A lot of the work Helen creates, combining performance with natural elements, stems from a drawing trip to Dungeness in her first year at UCA. Helen’s inspiration also comes from her personal history in the landscapes of Kent, where she spent 30 years, as well as her connection with soil, stone and sea, which feature heavily in her work. Being part of the Biennale again “presents a great opportunity to develop and expand the work,” Helen told Creative Update. “It’s a challenge but being in such an arena with other artists and artworks - it’s tremendously enriching and inspiring. “The underlying themes of my practice remain the same from when I last exhibited at the Biennale in 2015 but ‘Memory Theatre’ is a more ambitious and complex project than ‘Fragment and Trace’, my piece from the last exhibition.
A major challenge was how to distill a great deal of raw material from five different locations into a coherent piece, making it work visually and dynamically as a large two-screen installation at Palazzo Mora.” Even though the exhibition is still underway, the next project is already starting - Helen wrote to us about the Biennale while on the road in India: “For the whole month of August I am in southern India, carrying out a large research project on memory and archive, which I plan to develop into a new video installation and eventually a book.” Lastly, we asked Helen about her memories of studying Fine Art at the Kent Institute of Art & Design (now UCA Canterbury). “I am proud to have studied at UCA and have very many fond memories of being there. “Our tutors - many of whom were practising artists gave us a rigorous grounding in studio practice and theory; creativity was nurtured and developed to a level at which we were well-prepared for practice in the art world beyond university.” Discover more of Helen’s work at: helenkirwan.com ‘Memory Theatre’ is being displayed as part of a group exhibition at the European Cultural Centre at the 57th Biennale di Venezia.
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Kind Couture Melissa Rogers, BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles: Print, Rochester, 2016
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“I moved to New York because it felt right for what I wanted to achieve for my business,” explains Melissa Rogers, who, since graduating a year ago, has immersed herself completely in fashion culture. Beginning her career with a stint at highend womenswear brand Marchesa, Melissa is now concentrating on her own couture collection, with an investor eager to help her take her designs from the sketchbook to the runway. “My collection specialises in couture gowns and garments and I want my work to really send a positive message to all women in terms of things such as body shape and size,” she says. “I’m not just designing for the sample size on the runway with my collection – I want real people to see my garments and want to wear them.” With such ambitions for her collection, Melissa tells us why the buzz of the Big Apple is the right environment for her to launch her work in. “London is amazing for fashion, but to get to explore the industry in New York – another of the biggest fashion capitals in the world – was an opportunity I couldn’t pass. I love the creativity, the energy and the rush of working here. I’m a city girl at heart and moving out here has brought me nothing but joy! “I’ve been building the concept and general aesthetic of my brand for nearly a year now and have secured the right support to build and develop it. Networking and meeting the right person at the right time has certainly helped. “I’m trying to create something different within the way I design by using illusions and different print processes that replicate fabrics using original art work. It will mean a lot in terms of developing and strengthening the brand if the styles and techniques I use are successful, and I’m hopeful that it won’t go unnoticed. With hard work and passion, I believe I have what it takes to launch the brand and for it to do well.
“My ultimate ambition is for my work to be as unique as possible. For the concepts of the designs to really be seen, so that people will want to wear the garments. I not only want my brand to be known for its unique creative design, but I also want it to be known as having a powerful message. The brand aesthetics are dark and beautiful, but I want it to portray a positive message to women that regardless of your size, shape or race, the designs I create will work for you.” While the past year has certainly been a bit of a whirlwind, filled with amazing experiences and lifestyle changes, Melissa pays credit to UCA for shaping her creatively and enabling her to begin her career as a professional designer. “The course itself allowed me to be very free and expressive,” she says of her three years at UCA Rochester. “The media that I was able to use was limitless. In my final year, the collection that I pushed myself to make was a real challenge for me and it really shaped the kind of designer that I knew I was going to be. “I’ve always loved couture and gothic design. So to be able to use print to create a dark gothic couture collection and include a lot of embroidery and bead work was amazing. UCA was a big part of my life and the specific course that I did truly was a blessing!”
TOP & LEFT Designs from Melissa’s graduate collection All images © Melissa Rogers
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Putting the Spotlight on Art Education Jayne Horswill, Content & Communications Officer. BA (Hons) Journalism, Farnham, 2013
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There is a strong likelihood that most UCA graduates remember a time, either before or during their studies in art and design, when someone questioned their choice of degree and whether they’d get a ‘valid’ job from it – or even build a career at all. Some may have questioned whether the degree was ‘worth it’, perhaps even referred to it as a ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree. Sadly, I’m still on the receiving end of these kinds of comments towards my own BA in Journalism from UCA - it has become a common misconception that choosing to pursue a degree in the creative industries leads only to tenuous job prospects – but I disagree. The evidence has been continually mounting to prove the opposite is true. The government has released statistics in the last few years indicating that one in 11 jobs in the UK are in the creative economy, that the creative industries are growing at twice the rate of the wider UK economy, and as a whole are worth £97 billion a year. So, why is there still such a negative attitude towards choosing to study crafts, or film, or design, but people rarely question decisions to study maths, physics or engineering? I think – as do the rest of us here at UCA - that many of these misconceptions take root either at home or within secondary education. Parents will always want what is best for their children and traditional, clear and stable paths for their careers are a desired choice. Perhaps in the past, it was valid to say that choosing a career in art and design was a risk, but with the massive new industries such as gaming and graphic design, alongside the success that independent artists can have using the internet, these careers are no longer the risk they once were. It is true, however, that when it comes to a career in graphic design, or film, or television, or art, the paths aren’t always as clear as they are to become for instance, a doctor or a lawyer. The journey of each artist can be an individual experience and takes them in different directions.
Therefore, when it comes to careers advisors in schools, they struggle to inform their students effectively on how to achieve their goals. To resolve this, we’ve launched a new campaign called Thrive, looking to re-educate those who are responsible for guiding students into careers in art and design, providing evidence for why choosing a career in the creative industries can be a very fruitful decision for students and helping to demystify the paths they can take. We began with a conference in June of this year, where we invited careers advisers from local schools to our Farnham campus with a day of speakers ranging from graphic designers, to fine artists to music journalists, to talk about their unique journeys to their careers and how choosing a career in art and design is an incredibly rewarding decision. “There is no wrong or right way into art,” said speaker and fine artist Emma-Leone Palmer at the conference. “Just make sure you demonstrate your passion every day, and that you love what you do. Just don’t expect it straightaway — I’m an overnight success twenty years in the making.” For Thrive’s next steps, we’re looking for success stories of graduates who have been successful in their careers – and most importantly feel like the work they are doing is fulfilling, with a plan for the future. We’d like to showcase some of the diverse careers that can be accomplished through art education – and to dispel some of the myths about whether a career in the creative industries is achievable. I’m really proud to be part of this campaign. I’ve experienced first-hand the comments about having a Batchelor in the Arts instead of other degrees, as if somehow mine is less valid. It’s a frustrating attitude to be faced with and I am eager to clear up the misconceptions – and it would be great to have your help. If you are interested in participating in the Thrive project, please get in touch with us: email@example.com
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The UCA Alumni publication - Issue 16