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A retrospective look at the HYPE UAL Showcase

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Published date 11 October 2013


By Alicia Laishley, 3rd Year, BA Fine Art

The recent HYPE showcase exhibtion was formed out of a desire to create more opportunities for collaboration, networking and conversation between students, staff and alumni from the six colleges of the University of the Arts London. The show presented a unique snapshot of the wealth of talent that shapes the University, with contributions from over eighty people from a diverse range of courses and occupations.



Conceived, planned and executed by five students, from BA Fine Art and BA Interior Spatial & Design at Chelsea College of Art and Design, and BA Theatre and Screen: Theatre Design at Wimbledon College of Art. It all began in April this year, when I decided I really wanted to learn more about the people who are integral to the University: students, staff and alumni. After a discussion with one of my tutors, I gathered a team together, with our first meeting on the 25 April. The planning of HYPE included a four week call for proposals of work for the show, open to everyone in the University. This resulted in a diverse amount of applications, consisting of more than sixty projects, including several group works.

As we went into the summer break, the HYPE activity increased. This included the design and production of the two publications, meetings with the Deans/Heads of colleges, the organising the set-up and designing the publication material. Our advertising was implemented with the help of several University staff, and we applied for funding which allowed the show to be run as an entirely free opportunity for all of the participants and visitors, thereby opening it to a much wider audience.


The show was open from 23 to 27 September at Chelsea College of Art and Design, culminating with a vibrant open Private View on Friday 27th. This was a collaboration between SUArts, the UAL Student Union, and the HYPE team, forming an evening of workshops and conversations between the artists and designers showcasing their work and visitors to the show. The showcase formed an integral part of Freshers Festival, providing an opportunity for new and prospective students – as well as current students and staff – to taste the possibilities whilst studying at UAL.

Personally, it has been an incredible experience to run this project: endlessly exciting and rewarding, and very challenging, particularly with regard to organising it around the other commitments. Instead of negatively affecting my own coursework, I have found it has helped me greatly improve a variety of skills, which in turn have helped to develop my work. I feel more certain about a career path after my course finishes, which is to work in event management for the creative industries as part of my work as an artist.

My hope for the longer term future of HYPE will ideally be that the project will be run by students every year, with the show being held at each of the colleges in turn. If you are interested in being a part of this in any capacity, including being on the next planning team, do contact me at

With thanks to the University of the Arts London and SUArts, including the Student Initiative Fund, for their support and sponsorship in making HYPE 2013 a reality.