During the Degree Shows, our Senior Marketing Co-ordinator Amanda Gockmann works with students who are nominated for the Nova Awards. The Mullen Lowe Group’s Nova Award recognises individuals whose work represents original creative thinking.
What can people expect to see at the Degree Shows?
It’s amazing to see the range of creativity and I’m always impressed by the students’ obsessiveness and professionalism. I love all the mad creative energy just before the shows, especially outside the workshops – the music’s on and there’s a real frenzy.
As you walk around you constantly spot amazing projects. There’s always talk of ‘have you seen this or that’. With over 1,000 student projects on display, it takes real discipline to leave a studio. There’s constantly something sucking you back in.
What’s it like to be involved in the shows?
It’s such an exciting time, that tipping point of three-years’ hard work and then overnight it seems to come together. A lot of UAL staff are creative and while setting up the shows nearly kills us, everyone really enjoys them.
It’s great knowing students just at the start of their careers – you know shortly you’ll hear they’ve created their own co-operatives and startups, had exhibitions and residencies, received awards, and created new work or books.
What have been past Degree Show highlights?
One of my favourites was Conall McAteer, Nova Award winner in 2012 and Catlin Art Prize nominee in 2013. His project for the Catlin was an amazing pixelated Notre Dame stained-glass window.
I loved Emil Ásgrímsson’s 2012 BA Graphics: Moving Image work, which was a satire of the Icelandic education system. Caroline Kernick of BA Jewellery, Nova Award runner up in 2012, was another. She made the most amazing hand-painted necklaces, crafted from a single sheet of A4 paper, that look like precious jewels until you get close. The painstaking patience is incredible.
I also loved Georgia Gendall’s work for the BA Fine Art: XD pathway, entitled ‘Arg. No. Plz. I Want to go There. Plz’. Nominated for the Nova Award in 2014, it offered a postmodern virtual experience of ‘being-in’ surrogate landscapes.
There’s always so much to see at the shows, and it’s a brilliant opportunity for future gazing. I know at some stage I’ll see the students’ ideas on the high streets or in the news.