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#ArtsEdMatters – UAL Awarding Body Conference 2017

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Published date 16 February 2017

Thanks to all who came to the UAL Awarding Body Conference at Mary Ward House on 10 February. The event was our biggest to date – with over 350 people in attendance!

Instead of running separate conferences, this year’s event brought all subjects together under one roof. Delegates from Art & Design, Music, Performing Arts and Fashion came together in the morning, before separating for subject-specific breakout sessions in the afternoon. The Foundation (FAD) conference had a separate agenda, but delegates joined those from the other subjects during the breaks and post-conference networking session.



audience_james-hopkirkGrayson Perry’s lively presentation. Photo James Hopkirk.


UAL’s Vice Chancellor Nigel Carrington opened the main conference and introduced Grayson Perry (UAL Chancellor), who delivered a lively presentation on why arts education is so important. There were also policy updates from Naomi Nicholson (Ofqual) and Helen Thorne (UCAS).

Subject-specific speakers included: Posy Simmonds (newspaper cartoonist, writer and illustrator), Jenny Mollica (Barbican), Jenni Sutton (Fashion Capital), Sam Summerson (Global Academy) and Dave Randall (composer/producer). Delegates then re-grouped for a moving presentation by Helen Marriage, Director of public arts company Artichoke.

Great to hear from a fantastic student @UALawardingbody conference, this is what it’s all about! #ArtsEdMatters – Sam Summerson, Global Academy

helen-marriage_james-hopkirkHelen Marriage from Artichoke. Photo James Hopkirk.


Posy Simmonds starting with “dots for eyes.” Quirky, gentile and beautiful; another great talk at @UALawardingbody annual conference – The Oxfordshire Creative Academy

posy-simmonds_james-hopkirkPosy Simmonds live drawing her presentation on a visualiser. Photo James Hopkirk.


The FAD conference included presentations on: digital portfolios (Neil Manning, Edinburgh College); writing project proposals (Elspeth Mackie, SEM); the student experience (Natasha Parker-Edwards, former Barton Peveril College student); and the growing emphasis of digital portfolios (Georgia Steele, CSM). There was also an insightful keynote speech by sculptor John Humphreys, who brought several works – including an alien in a body bag – along for delegates to see!

natasha-parker-edwards_ludovicaFormer FAD student Natasha Parker-Edwards. Photo Ludovica Galeazzi.


I believe that process is more important than the…outcome – ace talk by Natasha Parker-Edwards, FAD Barton Peveril Col – CityLit FAD



john-humphreys-sculptures_ludovicaFAD delegates admire sculptures by John Humphreys. Photo Ludovica Galeazzi.


Guests were also treated to live performances by talented students from the Academy of Contemporary Music, West Suffolk College and BSix throughout the day.





george-nash_james-hopkirkLive student performances by West Suffolk College, BSix and George Nash from Academy of Contemporary Music.


Thanks again to all of our guest speakers. You can view the full agenda for the conference here and the full list of speakers can be found below. Click on the hyperlinks to view and download speaker presentations where available:

Grayson Perry – Why arts education matters
Naomi Nicholson – Ofqual
Helen Thorne – UCAS
Helen Marriage – Working the streets: life in the fast lane

Art & Design
Martin Vella – Yearly catch-up
John Kelly/Wendy Breakell – Links to industry
Posy Simmonds MBE – Why drawing matters
Ian Badger/Steve Dixon – Digitalised sketchbooks

Creative Media Production & Technology
Tim Hetherington – Yearly catch-up
Bradley Cocksedge – The student experience
Sam Summerson – Roles within the media industry

Performing & Production Arts

Marc Mollica – Yearly catch-up
Beth Atkin – The student experience
Nigel Hooper – CPD digital platforms
Jenny Mollica – Barbican Box

Music Performance & Production
Andy Sankey – Yearly catch-up
Toby Powell – The student experience
Dave Randall – Politics and music, music and society
Nigel Hooper – CPD digital platforms

Fashion Business & Retail
Sarah Atkinson – Yearly catch-up
Karinna Nobbs – Innovation in digital marketing
Jenni Sutton – Compliance and sustainability

Diploma in Art & Design – Foundation Studies (FAD)
Sue Cook – Yearly catch-up
Neil Manning – Digital portfolios
Natasha Parker-Edwards – The student experience
Elspeth Mackie – Writing project proposals
Georgia Steele – The growing emphasis on digital across all pathways
John Humphreys

Everyone who attended the conference has an event evaluation form via email. We will use the feedback from the form to inform future UAL Awarding Body events therefore please do take the time to complete it if you can spare a couple of minutes.