Artist Ruby Wroe, who graduated from BA Photography at Camberwell this summer, has been announced as the recipient of the first ever Jonathan Harvey Studio Award, for which she will receive a rent-free studio for 12 months plus a stipend of £2,500 – £7,000 per year.
The award, which is run by Acme in partnership with the Tomart Foundation is open to final year students on fine art courses at four UAL colleges: Central Saint Martins, Camberwell College of Arts, Chelsea College of Arts and Wimbledon College of Arts.
The winner’s rent-free space is located in purpose-designed studios, located at Acme’s Warton House in Stratford where the adjoining spaces are designed with the aim of fostering and encouraging a greater degree of peer support. This, together with a programme facilitating professional input from artists, curators and experts supports an environment of growth, risk taking and excellence. These awards have been carefully developed with Acme’s partners to provide a valuable and effective bridge between college and continuing professional practice.
We spoke to Ruby about the award and what it means to her as she develops her career after graduation.
Tells us about what winning the award means to you.
“The Jonathan Harvey Studio Award is an amazing opportunity: it offers a studio, a bursary and a mentorship programme. Just getting nominated and then an interview was a huge boost for me, and the interview meant I could have a 20 minute conversation about my work with a group of people who hadn’t previously known my practice.
“I’m so excited to move into my studio. When previously thinking about my post-Camberwell plans, a studio wasn’t really on the cards for me – there are so few affordable studio spaces in London. My work relies on being in dialogue with others, so this award has meant I can continue to be part of a community, and continue processing and developing my practice with the momentum that I have built up in my final year at Camberwell.”
What was your experience at Camberwell like?
“My favourite thing at Camberwell was the Thursday morning lectures from visiting artists. This lecture series is not to support an essay or a grade, but is purely for interest, and to build up your knowledge of other people’s practices. Waking up, cycling into Camberwell, getting a cup of tea, and listening to these lectures was a always a nice way to start the day.
“The other thing I really liked was a seminar series we started in the final year. It was optional and took place in South London Gallery cafe next door to the college, in the morning. There were about ten students who regularly attended, and it was the perfect way to provide an alternative to the core curriculum: a chance to read and discuss a more diverse range of writers.
“I’m also grateful for the extra time that the BA Photography tutors granted their students – things like these seminars go beyond what they have to do. The tutors are really committed to the course and their students, which in turn encourages the same commitment from the students.”
Do you have any advice for Camberwell students who have just started their third year?
“It can be daunting with the dissertation/live project to complete followed by the preparation for the final show – it’s easy to absorb the stress. But my advice is to just take each day as it comes, doing what you can, when you can. It’s a really busy year, but there’s always time for breaks, days off, and general self care.”
Besides moving into the studio, what else do you have coming up in the near future?
“I’m working on a new project called Getting to the Bottom of Things (in a round about way), which is considering the woman body in public spaces. I’m really excited to be working with Matilda Reith for this project, who’s a friend and actor/director based in Sheffield.
“I’ve also been writing a lot over the summer and have produced a few short scripts for performances so I’ll be developing these more once I’m settled in the new studio.”
All images © Ruby Wroe.
Visit the BA Photography course page
Find out more about the Jonathan Harvey Studio Award
Visit Ruby Wroe’s website