Falmouth School of Art has become a partner in the British Council’s Venice Fellowships Programme, and we are very pleased to announce that our first Fellow, attending the 57th Biennale Arte this autumn, will be final year BA(Hons) Fine Art student Abbie Hunt.
The Venice Fellowships is a steward-research programme which brings together students and volunteers from partner universities and organisations across the UK, and provides them with a month at the Venice Biennale, where they split their time between invigilating the British Pavilion exhibition and conducting independent research.
Abbie has already taken part in a two-day induction in London, where Fellows received training in the practical aspects of stewarding and received support in developing their research ideas. She reflected, “Even after the induction, having this opportunity still doesn’t seem real. I’m very excited and nervous but after meeting the other Fellows I will be invigilating with in October I feel a lot more settled. The Fellowship has given me an instant network and I feel installed into another family as everyone was confident and friendly. There was a real buzz during the induction, as collectively we were positive and willing to learn and make these connections”.
Falmouth School of Art’s Director, Dr. Virginia Button, said, ‘I’m delighted that through our partnership in the British Council’s prestigious Fellowship programme, Abbie will be spending a month at the Venice Biennale this year. It’s so important for our students to continue thinking and engaging globally, and immersion in Europe’s most established international contemporary art exhibition is sure to be really inspiring. I think it’s great that the Fellowship supports both professional practice and research, allowing graduates to really get the most out of the experience.’
For Abbie, the Venice Fellowship will come soon after graduation, but her success in securing her place has already had an impact: “The Fellowship came at such a good time, as I come to the end of my degree, because it has given me a new sense of confidence and aspiration for when I finish and enter the real world. Having this amazing opportunity has really made me consider the pathway of working within a gallery context whilst still having the freedom to develop my practice”.
To secure her place on the Fellowships Programme, Abbie had to complete the British Council’s written application, from which a small number of candidates were shortlisted by a Falmouth School of Art panel to be interviewed by the British Council. Abbie’s research interests already aligned with this year’s Biennale – her dissertation included research on this year’s British Pavilion artist: “In terms of the Fellowship research, I am massively interested in expanding on my dissertation, as this surrounded Phyllida Barlow’s work. Being able to interact with the public and observing their responses to her exciting unseen exhibition will definitely take my understanding to a completely new level”.
Falmouth School of Art plans to keep in touch with Abbie and hear more about her experiences during the autumn. “I really don’t feel like I can anticipate the experience I will have in Venice until I’m actually living there”, she adds, “but it’s going to keep me going in the last few weeks before deadline!”.