Archive for the ‘Staff’ category

New names to know at Art15

Thirteen artists destined to define the new art landscape will exhibit at Art15; selected from UAL’s class of 2014, the exhibiting artists are drawn from nearly 10,000 graduating students. At Art15 these rising star artists will appear alongside established galleries from around the globe, through SEE’s UAL Now initiative. Here, we bring you an exclusive preview of the work which will be exhibited at Olympia, 21-23 May.

Jon Baker, BA (Hons) Fine Art, Chelsea College of Arts
Jon Baker, Gape 58

Sophie Birch, BA (Hons) Fine Art, Wimbledon College of Arts
Sophie Birch, 9'03

Alexander Burgess, BA (Hons) Photography, Camberwell College of Arts
Alex Burgess, Gulf

Fiona Eastwood, BA (Hons) Painting, Camberwell College of Arts
Fiona Eastwood, Poised

Mia Faithfull, BA (Hons) Fine Art, Central Saint Martins
Mia Faithfull, iPad Series

Hiba Ismail, BA (Hons) Drawing, Camberwell College of Arts
Hiba Ismael, Curb

Jeff Ko, BA (Hons) Fine Art, Central Saint Martins
Jeff Ko, Yder Series

Jim McLernon, MFA Fine Art, Wimbledon College of Arts
Jim Mc Lernon, Orang Pendek

Ragna Mouritzen, BA (Hons) Drawing, Camberwell College of Arts
Ragna Mouritzen, Slice

Chloe Newman, BA (Hons) Photography, London College of Communication
Chloe Newman, End of Genesis

Miroslav Pomichal, MFA Fine Art, Wimbledon College of Art
Miroslav Pomichal, Green Figure

Daniel Silva, MA Photography, Central Saint Martins
Daniel Silva, UNTITLED [beeswax and wood]

Mette Sterre, MA Performance Design and Practice, Central Saint Martins
Mette Sterre, Hummelmania

Many of the selected artists have already attracted the attention of media, collectors, awards and prizes, including selection for the Catlin Art Prize, Saatchi New Sensations, and the Hans Brinker Painting Prize.

The works exhibited by UAL Now represent an opportunity to spot future stars and support emerging artists, offering an unrivalled chance to invest in pieces by the next generation of masters.

Stephen Beddoe said: “UAL:NOW at Art15 is a fitting legacy for our previous fine art showcasing programme, Future Map. The UAL:NOW stand will showcase some of the best new works emerging from fine art at UAL, launching the careers of some of our exciting new graduates to curators, collectors, buyers and audiences at the world class Art15 fair.”

Led by SEE, UAL Now is a showcasing and exhibition programme that highlights the most exciting emerging talent from University of the Arts London. UAL Now showcases recent graduates’ work at the best fairs and industry exhibitions across art, design and communication; in order to launch their work, products, ideas, services and companies. It enables and prepares them to connect to curators, buyers, collectors, manufacturers, agencies and specialist audiences, so that they can sell work, network and advance their practice and careers in the creative and cultural sector.

As an official partner of Art15 London, we have a special 2 for 1 offer on entrance tickets. Simply quote ‘UAL’ when booking online to redeem your ticket. Book your tickets www.artfairslondon.com/ticketoffer

UAL Now at Art15 runs 21-23 March at Stand D4, Olympia, Olympia Way, London, W14 8UX. All works are available for sale, for more information or sales enquiries please contact showcasing@arts.ac.uk

Take a six second tour of the stand at Art15 on Vine

See some the works on show at Olympia on Instagram

Read more about UAL: Now 

Search art courses at UAL

 

 

Thomas Tait takes Fashion prize in Designs of the Year

Thomas Tait

Thomas Tait’s fluidly tailored womenswear has won him the Fashion category for Designs of the Year 2015. The youngest ever graduate of Central Saint Martins’ MA Fashion, Tait has already attracted acclaim with nominations from the British Fashion Council for their Emerging Designer Award and NEWGEN sponsorship, as well as scooping the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize as early at 2010.

The Design Museum announced this week that the Designs of the Year judging panel, which includes UAL honorary fellow Anish Kapoor and associate lecturer Hilary Alexander, had chosen Thomas from a shortlist of eight contenders for the 2015 award. Thomas’s AW13/14 collection secured him the nomination, which saw the designer send sportwear-influenced designs down the runway. Vogue described the collection as: ” It’s utility, it’s uniform, austere and slick and quite the palette cleanser… it was agility futurist.”

The Designs of the Year exhibition has been extended, now running to 31 March at the Design Museum.

Read more about Designs of the Year

Search fashion courses at UAL

Read more about the UAL nominees for Designs of the Year

Ones to watch from Foundation 2015

As UAL’s summer shows season begins, we share some of the highlights from this year’s Foundation Diploma in Art and Design graduating class.

Marlen Rau
Marlen Rau, Central Saint Martins

“In everyday life most objects we interact with go unnoticed, they serve their purpose and only get attention when faulty or broken. The aim of my project was to provoke reflection upon this relationship by confronting the user with a design inspired by the human body and human mannerisms. The Introvert Lamp is based on the posture of people who try to rest and shelter themselves from the environment by laying their heads down onto folded arms. When switched off, the fragile bulb is supposed to be pivoted down and to rest in a bespoke made depression within thick, protective concrete walls.”

Hannah Bottino
Hannah Bottino, Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon

“For my final major project I was really captivated by plant life within the city. I wanted other people to feel the same way about urban greenery as I did. My goal at the end of the project was for the work to get people to look at urban greenery in a lovelier light. A book lent itself best to a subtle narrative of falling in love with urban greenery.”

Marlee King, Lewis Bush

Marlee King, London College of Communication

“Bowie’s Alphabet is a little homage to one of my biggest inspirations – Mr David Bowie. His love for influencing others through music is what made me direct my attention to him for my project. I adore the way he shifted so easily through his characters, and it fascinates me to watch clips of him perform and totally be immersed with who he is on stage. The screen prints you see are an eclectic mix of various characters I particularly love, such as Ziggy Stardust to the right, and the Thin White Duke with Jareth the Goblin King left. I wanted to assemble the prints as if they were part of a fanatic’s bedroom wall inspired by my own childhood room. The alphabet itself is illustrated through sound, with each letter found phonetically in his music. Put on the headphones and be transported to the mind and room of a Bowie fan!”

Thomas Fung

Thomas Fung, Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon

“The idea of the work is based on the exploration of cross-dimensions,  I started my research through taking some photos in Oxford Circus, after that I deconstructed the photos into 2D drawing forms. After that, I make it as a sculpture in such form. For the strings I described it as the lights and the traffics in Oxford Circus. Finally the Light I applied is to make relationships between the exhibition site and my piece.”

Anne Elmhort

Anne Elmholt, Central Saint Martins

“I was inspired by the way, in which the main character, Alex, of A Clockwork Orange, befriends his reader; I’ve designed an immersive experience, where the audience move through a world coloured by Alex’s romanticised version of violence. Alex and his friends will coerce the audience to join them for a night of horrors. While being confronted with the hooligans’ lack of moral, the audience might find themselves in situations where their own morals are challenged.”

Linnet Van Veen photo by Lewis  Bush

Linnet Van Veen, London College of Communication

“The title of my show is ‘The Unspoken Truth’. I took inspiration from aboriginal art from the oceanic reign. Aboriginal art is consisted of abstract symbols, dots and lines. I decided to adapt this to the modern world, specifically social media sites. I explored the internet and social media sites for symbols that represented our fixation with it, as well as its influence on us. I took the symbols and turned them into patterns. I took the patterns and screen printed them over one another using vibrant colours.”

Ming Sau Wu
Ming Sau Wu, Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon

“I have noticed that the surroundings actually are not like what we usually think they supposed to be. I have experimented with micro-lens to take photographs of my pet, I was shocked when I saw the detailed texture of her hair. I realised there are many interesting things in our life we would never notice because of their scale. I am also inspired by the films, Microcosmos and The Powers of Ten, as it changed the angle how we look at the world. Everything would change if the tiny objects become massive, and it makes me changed the attitude toward things. So I want to deliver this message visually to make people see the world in a different way.”

Babachuwe Tabase photo by Lewis Bush

Babachuwe Tabase, London College of Communication

“For my final piece called ‘Something out of nothing’ I considered sketching out my old walking frame as artwork that means a lot to me personally. My walking frame was a significant part of my life and artistic practice. I remember clinging portfolios on to my frame whilst I was struggling to walk and becoming an art project in motion. Hanging large bits of work on the handle bars to tying work on the back of my frame and completely utilising the space that was given to me. I had used it for eight long years and because of the intensive course I got rid of it. During my foundation I became stronger and more confident physically, mentally and emotionally to be able to live out my dream. I initially began by documenting my most memorable achievement with a large scale mixed media sketch, I reconsidered how a response any form of disability in general needs to be more discreet and subtle.

The outcome was four large A0 prints of an abstract and figurative interpretation of my walking frame. My work in itself is a celebration of how far I have come as an individual and an art student. By using O’s, U’s, the backs of I’s and exclamation marks I managed to create an abstract image of my Kaye walker. I planned to make it more figurative in the style of Tom Ekerlesley by using letterpress. I stopped looking at actual shapes of the Kaye walker and instead found myself concentrating on the negative and positive space. The medium of letterpress has more of a professional finish and it shows the smudges and detail of wrapped object. This is what I wanted my final piece to have because it shows how a wrapped object can be translated into figurative artwork.”

Nicolas Canal Tinius
Nicolas Canal, Central Saint Martins

“I started out by looking at the boundary between our consciousness and the physical world, comparing it to the boundary between our virtual lives and our physical lives. That developed into an exploration of the analogue and the digital, where I focused my interest in our recent tendency to over document our own lives. More specifically, I was interested in the amount of information that we hoard in the form of photographs and text, and how hesitant we are to delete anything. With that in mind, my project developed into an exploration of various interruptions to that seemingly inevitable thought process, which ended up taking shape as hole punched film. The most interesting, and unexpected thing that happened with that was the interaction between people in the photographs and the holes which ended up looking like voids in space.”

Fredrik Tjærandsen
Fredrik Tjærandsen, Central Saint Martins

“My garment is based on an obsession with seeing the Minions in everyday objects. I photographed my associations and from that I have been working on extracting information – putting it on the body and at the same time considering movement. I decided to work with playful materials in order to truly catch the Minion essence.”

Watch a video on the Minions project.

Samantha Ridgway
Samantha Ridgway, Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon

“In my photography, I seek to capture the unfound beauty in the world.  Aftermath is a phenomenon I have adopted to represent my search of this unfound beauty. It is a term deriving originally from agriculture referring to the grass that grows again after the harvest. In previous projects I have captured the beauty of new life in devastation, desolation and death. This time, I decided to pursue darkness.  For my final project I wanted to roam the city at night when no one was around, when everything was still. I wanted to capture the feeling of isolation and darkness in a city that is so rich and alive showing that through darkness comes light, out of darkness comes beauty.  Life is made up of many difficult dark times but through those times, you grow stronger and more beautiful than ever before. There will always be happiness, there will always be light, but you are always in control of it. You are surrounded by beauty yet you do not see it. Close both eyes, open the mind. Only then will you feel it. Only then will you see it.”

Tamara Ibrahim photo by Lewis Bush

Tamara Ibrahim, London College of Communication

“The aim of the project was to convey the delivery of the lines in the film through typography, colour and screen prints. The idea for using only two colours came from when I created the first quote being “I know this because Tyler knows this” as my aim was to show the dual personality of the narrator. As I started taking note of quotes to use I found that the less I thought about it, the clearer the designs would be. To contribute to the simplicity of the designs, I thought it best to keep the colours to a minimum as the series of prints would look cluttered. I chose to challenge myself throughout this project as I usually go into plenty of detail in my final outcomes, however by sticking to using Helvetica I was able to play with layout and how the placement of text on a page has an effect on the viewer.”

Jessie  Heung

Jessie  Heung, Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon

“I was first inspired by Cornelia Parker, Mona Hatoum and Wenda Gu, which they both created a starling atmosphere with lighting and shades surrounding in a space. Then, I created an installation of the reflection of shadow made by hair in a semi- abstract scale. The designs were influenced by the line composition of the construction buildings, which I discovered that outer beauty attracts, but inner beauty captivates. I do not view things the way men do but to investigate the unseen side of the beauty through darkness.”

Find all the information on this year’s summer degree shows on the dedicated site summershows.arts.ac.uk

Follow the shows on social media and share your favourite works with the hashtag #UALsummershows

Join the tweet out as the first of the BA summer shows open – on Tuesday 26 May at 11am share “See you at the #UALsummershows summershows.arts.ac.uk

 

 

 

Summer shows site now live

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The UAL summer shows site is now live listing the summer degree shows from each of the Colleges. Visit the website for all the information on who, what, where and when at http://summershows.arts.ac.uk/.

Share the website link with friends and family and peek behind the scenes, meet the artists and share your favourite finds on social media at #UALsummershows

Follow the summer shows on Facebook Twitter Tumblr YouTube Instagram G+ Pinterest Periscope

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Etta Voorsanger-Brill talks build up to Foundation Show 2015

Etta Voorsanger-Brill

With the Foundation Show just two weeks away, we spoke to Foundation Graphic and Communication Design student Etta Voorsanger-Brill about how she has been working towards the show over the past ten weeks.

Tell us a bit about your work and the inspiration behind it.

Etta: As a graphic designer, communication is really key. You have to show your work all the time to an audience who don’t know you and don’t know the thoughts behind your work. I like to reflect on personal experience and use a lot of humour within my work. If someone sees something amusing or personal it instantly becomes more relatable. I think this form of communication is really something that I base my work on.

How have you been building up to the Foundation Show?

Etta: The initial stages really began with a lot of research. We started with an open brief so a lot of the process has been about trying to find my niche. For me this meant a huge focus on research. I wanted to really know my stuff before I got into it. After research it became more about thinking how I wanted to display my work and finding a way to link all the research I had done with a medium that could best display it.

How did you feel about the brief being open?

Etta: There were things that I really wanted to look at that I hadn’t had a chance to within the other briefs we had been given. I wanted to do something quite personal with a bit of humour. I wouldn’t exactly describe myself as a hoarder but I do like to collect things. I’ve got tickets, old diaries and receipts that I wanted to use to create a more personal project, which I wouldn’t have been able to do if the brief had been restricted.

How are you currently preparing for the show?

Etta: Now the initial wave of work is done it’s about finalizing my ideas and making one last piece to sum up what I have done over the course. I am also considering how I am going to communicate my project to an audience that I have never met before.

How are people feeling within your course now that the show is only two weeks away?

Etta: I think everyone feels prepared. We’ve had a strong backbone of help and support behind the build up to the show. At the same time there is also an air of feeling slightly sad about the show. It is the last thing we will be working on as a foundation course. There’s a bittersweet element to it in this respect.

How does this show differ from ones you’ve previously worked on?

Etta: It’s been a ten-week build up, so that in itself has made it a very different experience. The finality of the show is also quite different. It has helped me to decide what I feel really passionate about and create my own body of work based on that for the first time.

What are your post-show plans?

Etta: I am really excited because I am going on to study BA Graphic Design at CSM. It was something that I had kind of had my heart set on when I started the foundation but throughout the course it increasingly became what I really wanted to do and what I felt I was best at.

More information: 

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Etta Voorsanger-Brill
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UAL at the Venice Biennale 2015

The 120th Venice Biennale will open this weekend with Great Britain represented by UAL alumna Sarah Lucas, alongside works by UAL Chairs Isaac Julien, Sonia Boyce, and Lucy Orta, as well as UAL PhD student, Samson Kambalu, course leader Tania Kovats, and alumni Charles Lim and Tsang Kin-Wah.

L-R: Isaac Julien, Samson Kambalu, Lucy Orta and Sonia Boyce.

Left to right: UAL’s Isaac Julien, Samson Kambalu, Lucy Orta and Sonia Boyce.

“How can the current disquiet of our time be properly grasped, made comprehensible, examined, and articulated?” This is the question that Okwui Enwezor, curator of the 56th International Art Exhibition, poses in his introduction to this year’s Venice Biennale. Taking the title All the World’s Futures, the politically-charged exhibition proposes “a project devoted to a fresh appraisal of the relationship of art and artists to the current state of things.”

Invited by Okwui to participate in All the World’s Futures, UAL Chair Sonia Boyce will present Exquisite Cacophony, a filmed, live, improvised vocal-led performance featuring performers Astronautalis and Elaine Mitchener, at Padiglione Centrale, Giardini di Castello. Filming for the piece took place at the V&A, supported by UAL.

Lucy and Jorge Orta Glasstress Amazonia

Exhibiting in Glasstress 2015 Gotika, a collateral exhibition at the Palazzo Franchetti, Academia, UAL Chair Lucy Orta will present a new large format sculpture in bronze and glass. Combing historical works from the Hermitage collection with commissioned works with a Gothic theme from contemporary artists, the exhibition “explores how medieval ideas and communication methods have imperceptibly crept into our modern conscience despite our technological advances and how the Gothic concept influences contemporary art”. Lucy + Jorge Orta’s commissioned sculpture Arboreal, is an “imposing bronze cast from a fallen tree-trunk from which, four exquisite glass seed pods are blossoming. The contrast between the dark patina of the bronze and the ethereal quality of the delicate hand-blown Murano glass, speak of the resilience of nature to overcome the most barren environments”.

In response to the 1974 la Biennale di Venezia, in which part of the programs were dedicated to Chile to in a gesture of solidarity, the All the World’s Futures will introduce the ARENA, “an active space dedicated to continuous live programming across disciplines”. The epicentre of the ARENA will be an epic live reading of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. Okwui explains: “here, Das Kapital will serve as a kind of Oratorio that will be continuously read live, throughout the exhibition’s seven months’ duration. The ARENA will serve as a gathering-place of the spoken word, the art of the song, recitals, film projections, and a forum for public discussions. Taking the concept of the Sikh event, the Akhand Path (a recitation of the Sikh holy book read continuously over several days by a relay of readers), Das Kapital will be read as a dramatic text by trained actors”, directed by artist and filmmaker, and UAL Chair Isaac Julien.

Samson Kambalu, Runner, film still, 2014

Spotted by Okwui in Johannesberg, Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon PhD student Samson Kambalu will present three projects for the Biennale: a live performance that attempts to re-stage Michelangelo’s The Last Judgment, a film installation, and a second installation based on his research at Yale. He spoke to the Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon blog ahead of the Biennale, revealing that appearing at the Biennale for the first time feels “otherworldly”.

Former Olympic sailor, artist and Central Saint Martins graduate Charles Lim Yi Yong is representing Singapore, with a body of work titled Sea State. The ongoing work explores “notions of borders, histories and everyday life, and how these may be generated through our perceptions of the sea.”

Charles Lim SEA STATE 2 as evil disappears 2014 Sajahat Buoy

The Infinite Nothing, a text and light installation from Tsang Kin-Wah, represents Hong Kong at the Biennale. A graduate of  Camberwell MA Book Arts, Tsang’s work for the Hong Kong pavilion is his largest and most complex to date.

Tsang Kin-Wah, The Infinite Nothing

Appearing at the Biennale for the second year, Azerbaijan presents Vita Vitale, an exhibition which looks to Azerbaijan’s future, and beyond its geographic borders, to spotlight the artists and scientists confronting the ecological challenges we face globally, including Wimbledon MA Drawing course leader Tania Kovats.

Tania Kovats, Arctic Circle Islands, 2014

“I am a feminist, and it is a feminine show” asserts Sarah Lucas in The Guardian this week, discussing I Scream Daddio, her solo exhibition representing Great Britain. The London College of Communication alumna presents a show of sculpture and paintings depicting her “muses” against the backdrop of the British Pavilion entirely repainted in buttercup yellow paint. “The sculptures are set in a sea of custard,” Lucas tells The Guardian “Crème Anglais in other words.”
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015, Photo by Cristiano Corte copyright British Council

The Venice Biennale runs 9 May to 22 November.

Read more about the Venice Biennale

Read the full interview with Samson Kambalu

Read more about the UAL Chairs

Search courses at UAL

 

Tara McDowell – Pure Information: Conceptual Art at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design

Image: John Baldessari, I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, the Mezzanine Gallery, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1-10 April 1971

Image: John Baldessari, I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art, the Mezzanine Gallery, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1-10 April 1971

Talk by Tara McDowell

‘Pure Information: Conceptual Art at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design’

Tuesday 26 May, 2-4pm,

Central Saint Martins, Room D113

In 1970, the coastal Canadian city of Halifax became an unexpected hotbed of conceptual art when a small art school, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, threw its doors open to a number of young artists who had decided that the idea mattered more than the object. Conceptual art often took the form of instructions, so it became an ideal vehicle for experimental education. Vito Acconci, Dan Graham, Lee Lozano, Yvonne Rainer, Simone Forti, Sol LeWitt, James Lee Byers, Lucy Lippard, Robert Barry, and many others retreated to Halifax for a time, and some especially influential conceptual artworks were made there. This lecture considers the Petri dish of Halifax circa 1970, and maps the everyday terrain that structured one of the most radical moments in the history of art. Rather than an aesthetics of administration or a politics of publicity, rather than artmaking as purely dematerialized, mechanized, or philosophized, imagine conceptual art circa 1970 as a site of draft dodging, game theory experiments, acid dropping, relational psychodramas, divisions and alliances, power plays, boredom, loneliness, and isolation at the end of the world. And all this at an art school.

Tara McDowell’s paper begins with a close reading of John Baldessari’s ‘I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art’ (1-10 April 1971), which was an exhibition at the Mezzanine Gallery, a small space founded in response to David Askevold’s Projects Class, an extraordinary experiment in conceptual art as pedagogy. Overall, her research has been into NSCAD as an expanded social site of making and showing, in some ways anticipating current hybrid research projects and spaces, albeit in a looser, less programmatic way. The Mezzanine is of interest less for any one exhibition that took place there – although shows such as Lee Lozano’s ‘Infofiction’ (27 January-13 February 1971) and Vito Acconci’s ‘Accessibilities’ (1-15 December 1970) perhaps stand out - and more for its relation to other forms of practice occurring simultaneously, with visual art, performance, teaching, printmaking and the NSCAD press all testing and nurturing each other.

Tara McDowell is Associate Professor and Director of Curatorial Practice at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. She is Editor-at-Large of The Exhibitionist, a journal on curatorial practice and exhibition making for which she served as Founding Senior Editor, now published and distributed by The MIT Press. She holds a Ph.D. in the History of Art from the University of California, Berkeley and has held curatorial appointments at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

Anyone interested in attending this event from outside CSM should email Lucy Steeds directly for further details: l.steeds@csm.arts.ac.uk

Graduate Shortlisted for Creative Enterprise Award

Resignified by FruitionsElla Quiogue, a 2014 graduate from our MA Applied Imagination course, was recently shortlisted in the design category of the Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Enterprise.

This prestigious award has been helping creative entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality for over 20 years.

Ella was shortlisted for her social enterprise Fruitions Creative Collaborations, which is based in the Philippines. Fusions aims to form a creative collaboration between the Philippines’ indigenous artisan communities and established contemporary designers across disciplines including illustration, graphic design and jewellery design.

It is a design-led initiative that helps indigenous artisan traditions thrive, while also providing a new way for established designers to create.

ArtisanConventional handcrafted products from indigenous artisan communities are re-imagined by contemporary designers. These re-imagined designs are then made by the artisans, who use their traditional tools and crafts to create premium products.

The first project, called Resignified, is an eight-piece homeware collection. Consisting of weavings and woodwares, it features reworkings of the traditional patterns and iconography of the Ifugao tribe of Benguet, Philippines.

Ella has developed Fruitions with a team of creative industry professionals, strategic advisors, and a growing network of talented designers. Her enterprise developed from her research project as a student on MA Applied Imagination in the Creative Industries. She hopes the project will generate economic and social benefits for indigenous communities of the Philippines.

More information:
- Applied Imagination in the Creative Industries

Rob Kesseler Speaks at Puerto de Ideas, Chile

RK Convergent Territories

Rob Kesseler, BA Ceramic Design Lecturer and UAL Chair of Art, Design and Science, was recently invited to participate in the second annual Puerto de Ideas in Antofagasta, Chile.

Rob delivered a keynote lecture titled Conversion Territories, and showcased an exhibition at Minera Escondita, which included photographs, drawings and specimens collected in Chile during the weeks prior to the festival.

Collecting and documenting are a core part of his work, and exhibiting this local collection enabled him to open up and help people understand his process. With the support of the British Council, he led a popular series of creative workshops for young people, drawing specimens selected for the group.

Sponsored by the mining company Minera Escondida, the festival of science and culture brings together scientists, artists and humanists from all over the world to speak, showcase work and lead workshops. Over 10,000 people attended the three-day festival. Speakers included Nobel Prize winner, Ada Yonath and Gilles Boeuf, President of the Natural History Museum, Paris.

After the festival Rob explored connections in the Chile, visiting the young design studio GT2P in Santiago, the stunning Centro de Arte Curaummilla – a ceramic workshop and artistic residency, and the Natural History Museum in Valparaiso, where his exhibition will be shown next.

Rob Kesseler will be speaking next Thursday, 7 May as part of the UAL Chairs Present Series.

More information:

Victorian Futures: Culture, Democracy and the State on the Road to Olympicopolis

On 14 and 15 May 2015, Chelsea College of Arts is hosting the conference Victorian Futures: Culture, Democracy and the State on the Road to Olympicopolis, in collaboration with Middlesex University and the Victoria and Albert Museum. We asked Professor Malcolm Quinn, UAL Associate Dean of Research and Director of the Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Graduate School, to tell us what the conference will involve and why it is relevant today.

Taking place a week after the UK General Election,Victorian Futures will focus on how the agenda for state-sponsored access to the arts in Britain has developed since the Reform Act of 1832 and the Victorian Era. We will use history to think about the future, and show how calls for greater public access to the arts in the 1830s led to the democratic visions of the Great Exhibition and Albertopolis in 1851, which were reprised in the Festival of Britain in 1951 and are now re-envisioned in plans for the ‘Olympicopolis’ site in London. I spoke to a selection of our high-profile speakers who will be appearing at the conference to discuss how the cultural movement of Victorian era continues to influence our society.

Victoria and Albert Museum Director Martin Roth said:

“The success of the ‘Albertopolis’ complex of Victorian cultural institutions in South Kensington, of which the V&A is one, continues to illustrate the strength of Victorian policies on cultural democracy and the importance of state support for the arts. But as we develop a new vision for ‘Olympicopolis’ in east London, we must not only look at Victorian achievements but also at the goals they did not reach. Henry Cole believed, for example, that international exhibitions should promote international peace and intercultural understanding, or in his words, ‘stop nations going to blows as hastily and foolishly as they are wont to do’. Are we any closer to achieving this difficult goal today? I hope that this conference will give us the opportunity to read Victorian history not as a comfort, but as a challenge.”

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Interior painting of The Great Exhibition, Crystal Palace, London

Lucy Kimbell, AHRC Design Research Fellow, Policy Lab and principal research fellow at the University of Brighton, says that Victorian Futures will show us how: “The history that is shaping our collective future in the UK includes both the visible, aesthetic and material but also the processual and infrastructural.” Kimbell also argues that the conference will help us to address an important question: “What comes with our Victorian educational, political and cultural institutions and how do they enable particular kinds of learning and participation and exclude others? The analytical task is to work out what we need to keep and what to change or adapt.”

Kieran Long, Senior Curator of Contemporary Architecture, Design and Digital V&A, one of two keynote speakers on the first day of the conference, said:

Victorian Futures is vital for us right now, at a time when the whole notion of the public realm is at stake and under pressure, to think again about the lessons our Victorian forebears can teach us about education and civic pride in the context of the complexity of the digitally enabled 21st century.”

Our other keynote speaker on day one of Victorian Futures is Charles Saumarez Smith, Secretary and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts, who sees the conference as a chance to engage with some vital issues for public culture and the arts that have remained unresolved over the past hundred and eighty years. Saumarez Smith said:

“It’s interesting to look back on the decade of the 1830s, immediately following the Great Reform Bill, and to see how many of the questions asked then in parliament were the same questions which need to be asked today: how can public money be used to enhance the arts? what is the role of government? and what is the role of museums?”

However Graeme Evans, Professor of Urban Cultures and Design at Middlesex University, who is a member of the closing panel of Victorian Futures which examines the route from Albertopolis to Olympicopolis and beyond, says that history offers a cautionary lesson: “If history teaches us anything, cultural democracy should be a right; futuristic masterplans and grand place-making on the other hand (as recent history shows) is anything but democratic – or cultural.”

The event promises to answer and discuss many of the questions raised above, with lively debates and the chance to meet and network with organisations such as the Royal Academy, V&A and the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), who are responsible for delivering the ‘Olympicopolis’ project. A two-day student pass is available for £36 and can be booked through the UAL website. We’ll also be tweeting at @VFutures. We hope you’ll be able to join us.