The Venice Fellowships – Falmouth Partnership with the British Council

Venice Art Biennale 2017, Alicja Kwade – photo: Richard Christensen

Falmouth School of Art at Falmouth University is delighted for the third year to be a partner in the British Council’s Venice FellowshipsThe programme is a unique opportunity for students, graduates and researchers to spend a month in Venice during the world’s most important art and architecture biennales. Working with others on invigilation and developing their own study and research, graduates receive an excellent grounding in engaging a professional, public and international audience with the British Pavilion, and develop teamwork, leadership and networking skills.

We will shortly be inviting our final year BA(Hons) Fine Art and BA(Hons) Drawing students to apply for a funded month-long Fellowship at the 2019 Art Biennale. Meanwhile, 2018 BA(Hons) Drawing graduate Hannah Berrisford has recently arrived at the Architecture Biennale for her month-long Fellowship, alongside others from disciplines including fine art, architecture, design, curation and anthropology. We look forward to hearing more about Hannah’s experience on her return, and asked her about applying and preparing for this opportunity…

“The Venice Fellowship is an opportunity to live in Venice for a month, working alongside the British Council, invigilating at “la biennale de venezia” and spending free time exploring the city, developing your practice within your own personal project.

The application asked questions about why you felt you were suitable for the event, and how your personal experiences would aid you in your time out there. I was also asked what sort of work I wanted to produce in my own time, following their theme of “freespace”. I was a student of the Drawing degree, and had chosen watercolour as a medium to specialise in. I wanted to continue developing my skills as a painter in Venice, so I interpreted freespace as an investigation of the relationships between the buildings of Venice and light, and how that would translate in my watercolour paintings.  

Architecture Biennale 2018, British Pavilion, (c) British Council

Two of us on the Drawing degree were selected for an interview – there was no competitive atmosphere, only genuine “good luck”s. Because I am living in the South West of England, and the interviews were being hosted in London, the British Council were excellent and offered me a Skype interview. I had done quite a bit of research about past Biennales just in case they wanted to test if I had done any background research, but they themselves explained a brief history of the biennale, which was nice. It felt like they were wanting me to succeed in the interview and were very open. I responded to all their questions with similar answers to what I had included in my first application. I also mentioned how the themes I wanted to explore in Venice tied into my dissertation topic.

A mandatory induction involved two days in London, meeting other fellows and the groups we would be travelling with. I was placed in the final group to go to Venice – October 24th to November 26th. There are 10 of us in this group, and a significant age range and a diversity of artistic backgrounds. Even though we were all from an academic institute, everyone seemed to be studying a different branch of art varying from architecture to interpretive dance.

The weekend was centred around seminars that discussed the exhibition we would be invigilating. We were offered advice about finding accommodation and about interacting with the public. The groups got into teams and we met one another properly; it was during this time that people began sparking ideas about flat sharing/renting, as well as discussing individual research projects and when it might be appropriate to help one another. Another teammate and I have decided to flat share whilst we’re in Venice, staying close to another two teammates also flat sharing. This way, friendships will get a chance to grow, and as we’re all artists, we will have opportunities to bounce ideas off one another, helping our own projects develop.  

Even though I’m entering a biennale centred on Architecture, drawing and painting buildings is actually one of my weakest skills. I threw myself in at the deep end, to force myself to address this problem. I didn’t want to arrive in Venice and begin the project with zero architectural experience so, over the last month, I have been engaged with the “Inktober” challenge. To merge this challenge and my own personal project, I decided to relate each day’s title to an architectural theme. Forcing myself to create works like this every day has helped me feel a little more prepared for the work I’ll be creating during my time in Venice”.

2017 Fine Art graduate Abbie Hunt wrote a piece for us about her experience spending a month as a Fellow at the 2017 Art Biennale.

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Drawing staff and students present at Symposium

Artist, drawing researcher and lecturer in BA(Hons) Drawing Dr Joe Graham, and some of his Falmouth School of Art students and alumni,  presented papers and workshops at The Embodied Experience of Drawing event at The Drawing Symposium, Plymouth.

The event responded to the increasing proportion of artists in the South West working in performative drawing practice. It gathered contributors, to acknowledge and interrogate this movement and to discuss ideas around the future of drawing research, philosophy and practice.

Dr Joe Graham discussed his paper The Utility of Drawing: Drawn and Withdrawn.  “This paper sketches a nascent ontology of drawing, one that uses Heidegger to explore the idea that drawing is a fundamentally useful type of thing for those who draw. Within this understanding however, the utility of drawing appears withdrawn, so to speak. It requires being ‘drawn out’ (freed) when drawings are viewed for some purpose – as pictures, diagrams, maps, plans or other forms intended for use.”

Kayleigh Jayne Harris, a recent graduate from BA(Hons) Drawing at Falmouth University, primarily focused on the identity of line within contemporary drawing practices. Her paper  Drawing line through performance: does the drawing live as an immaterial trace, a material document, or both, through the experience of line? explored whether performative acts be identified as a form of drawing, through the acknowledgement and experience of the lines generated during and by gesture.

Bhuvaneshvari Pinto a current student of BA(Hons) Drawing and Ralph Nel (Alumni) presented a joint workshop Drawing as a Tool in Cultivating Awareness – A Workshop in Observational Drawing.  The workshop explored the idea that observational drawing nurtures mental stillness and sharpens our awareness of ourselves and our surroundings.

Video with kind permission of Stuart Bewsey

SCOOP: 3rd Year BA(Hons) Illustration Students Published !

Four 3rd year BA(Hons) Illustration students – Lucy Rivers, Katherine Harris, Jasper Golding and Sam Hinton – have had their work published in SCOOP magazine, ‘The Human Body’ issue.

The students made an industry visit to London in April 2018 and the industry connection was made with Luana Asiata, Creative Director & Designer of SCOOP magazine. All the illustrations were then completed whilst studying at the Falmouth School of Art .

Scoop is a magazine aimed at 7 to 12 year olds that publishes all forms of story, told by the most fantastic authors and illustrators and designed to inspire and nurture a love of reading. William Boyd in The Guardian called the magazine ‘A transforming experience.’

 

Falmouth School of Art student exhibition at Porthmeor Studios, St Ives

Following a month long residency at the historic Porthmeor Studios in St Ives, six second year BA(Hons) Fine Art students are opening their studio space to the public for an exhibition of their resulting work.

Exhibition - Artists in Residence - Porthmeor Studios July 2018

Olivia Brelsford-Massey, Holly Doran, Sofia Fernandes, Samuel Morris, Sophia Rosenthal and Edward Spencer were selected for the opportunity of a month long artist residency at Portmeor Studios. With the cost of studio hire and a materials bursary funded by Falmouth School of Art, the residency will provide these students with an invaluable experience of working within a professional studio culture.

As well as being home to acclaimed contemporary artists, Porthmeor Studios has a long history of prestigious inhabitants. The studio provided for this student residency – Studio 5 – has perhaps the most compelling heritage of any artists’ studio; it appears to have been constructed around 1895 for Olsson’s School of Marine Painting, but is best known as the studio used for 50 years by two of the most influential painters of their generation – Ben Nicholson, followed by Patrick Heron.

The residency is delivered by Falmouth School of Art in partnership with Borlase Smart John Wells Trust, as part of a series of residencies and professional practice opportunities offered to students studying BA(Hons) Fine Art at Falmouth University.

The exhibition will feature an Opening Evening on Saturday 28 July between 5-9pm, and continue with two further days on Sunday 29 and Monday 30 July between 10am – 5pm.

Falmouth Illustrators Create Mural for Penryn Primary Academy

Second year BA(Hons) Illustration students Elleanna Bird, Sophie Freestone and Amelia Brooks recently completed  work on a mural to transform some of the interior space at Penryn Primary Academy.

The project, carried out at the school over three weeks, was a voluntary commission, enthusiastically taken up by the three friends. Elleanna commented, “We were all very keen to get started and we had lots of ideas to share. Our ideas encouraged the Head Teacher, who seemed very pleased and excited about what we had planned”. Elleanna says she feels grateful to have been involved, describing an atmosphere of encouragement and motivation; she feels that their enthusiasm in creating the work was kept high by the positive reactions of members of the school community who popped in to see how the project was coming along.

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Sophie reflects on the process of creating the pieces: “The three of us were working together on one painting, which meant all of our bizarre and strange ideas were multiplied by three! The murals happened in quite an organic way; although we had developed plans to work from, a lot of the visual elements came to life in the moment when we were drawing and painting straight onto the boards”.

Elleanna, Sophie and Amelia with Penryn Primary Academy Head Teacher James Hitchens, at the unveiling of the mural panels.

The result is a feast for the eyes – a vibrant panorama depicting creatures of land and sea, as well as Cornish motifs and legends. Sophie says, “I really enjoyed this project because of the unlimited amounts of colour and creativity we were permitted to use. In the paintings, if you look hard enough, you can spot a sea monster, a sloth playing the drums, a pair of feet belonging to a giant and a couple of dinosaurs wearing high heels!”.

The murals received a fantastic response from pupils when unveiled by the artists at a school assembly. Of the experience, Sophie said, “We had a fantastic few weeks painting the murals, and I would recommend anyone who gets the opportunity to get involved in a project such as this – local or afar – to say yes!”.

BA(Hons) Illustration Course Coordinators Natalie Hayes and Keryn Bibby have since met with Head Teacher James Hitchens and Assistant Head Chris Lee, to discuss possible future projects. They were shown around the school and discussed opportunities to involve Illustration students; from the possibility of murals for the walls of the swimming pool, production of inspirational imagery to enliven library spaces, or Illustration students working with Penryn Primary pupils on a series of creative workshops. Natalie commented, “Developing the bonds between Falmouth’s Illustration course and Penryn Primary Academy will provide our students with further excellent professional practice opportunities, and we hope will enhance the school experience for the primary pupils”.

Circle Triangle Square presents ‘Remades and Readymades’

Bronwen Anwyl, Daniel Bethell and Edward May graduated from BA(Hons) Fine Art at Falmouth in 2017. Recent work by the three artists is being shown in Peckham, London, this July.

Remades and Readymades is presented by Circle Triangle Square, an art platform set up by Edward May following his degree. The exhibition explores the aesthetic and theoretical themes surrounding man-made objects and the natural environment (and the crossover between them), in the context of the art gallery.  

Fine Art students’ residency at CAST, Helston

BA(Hons) Fine Art students Ella Schlesinger and Nicholas Sanderson recently secured one of Falmouth School of Art’s studio residencies, at CAST, Helston, where they have been working together for the past month. The result is England your England, an installation comprising sculpture and video, to be shown to the public at an open studio event to mark the end of their residency.

Ella says, “The piece presents a search for a more democratic and honest space to create a conversation about Britain. We see a massive emphasis put on verbal and written language: in other words, the tyranny of the spoken and written word. With the cultural weight of the English language and its global historical context, it leaves us with a predefined and therefore limited platform to connect with and express our individual selves. We want to challenge this vacant gap these words leave and how, using the language of materials we can reown the identity to our country. Humans, as multi-sensory organisms, are constantly reacting against spaces and places, objects and feelings, so why do we settle on such a single faceted form of communication? And how can we create a more immersive and inclusive form of communication through art?