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Nurturing and evolving a creative practice

Written by Monica Biagioli
Published date 24 July 2020

When we started planning for Origins Creatives 2020, we brought professional curator Monica Biagioli on board to help with the selection and curation process of the exhibition. Whilst the exhibition won't be going ahead as planned, Monica is sharing her knowledge and awareness of curation with us through a series of blog posts. Read all about her thoughts on continuing and evolving practice - using college online exhibitions and student work as examples!

The online exhibitions put together by colleges all over the UK serve as a showcase, as a means to celebrate and promote the works students produced.

Craven College produced a series of Performing Arts Playlists. It included Craven College Virtual Choir’s rendition of “You Will Be Found" — a beautifully presented expression of the distance created at a time of lockdown that breaks through that dislocation in a carefully choreographed multi-voice composition. Blackburn College also featured music performance in their Level 2 Music Performance Showreel.

At Heart of Worcestershire College, Gemma Williams and Nat Price’s exuberant stop motion music video and Amy Farrer and Olivia Pearce’s piercing video narrative demonstrate promise and commitment. Blackburn College’s Level 3 Technology Showreel consists of a pixel colour field moving image used to great effect in support of the audio work presented by Britt Fairclough, Jay Walsh, Morgan Vickery, Isaac Wingfield, Molly Knock, and Sam Smith. It is a great example of how this moment in time has put focus for many of the students and colleges into how to most effectively package their work for viewing online. This can, in turn, help the students develop the skills necessary to showcase and promote their creative output to enable them to sustain their practice long term. The remote-access only communication proved to be an excellent means of demonstrating process.

In the introduction of its online exhibition, Shape of Our Lives, Oldham College celebrates “work [that] may include a small experiments, independent samples, workshops and finished (or unfinished) pieces.”

Digital Saint Music, Media and Broadcasting’s Facebook page features experiments and tests, such as “Playing with the vintage tape delay” and demonstrations, such as “Working progress on Oli's Synth Room which will be mostly used by EMP students this coming year”.

3D Design & Architecture students at North Kent College were able to provide a visual narrative of their design process. Works made there, such as Robert Roth’s Vitrified Nuclear Waste Recycling, unfold through a series of schematics and paper prototypes.

Experiments

Students at Blackburn College and Suffolk New College highlighted experimental practice: Charu Mistry’s textile prints; Lareb Syed Nadeem's fashion and fashion promotion pieces; Aml Nayef’s handmade type on fabric; Zaynab Ukaye’s compositions; and Heart of Worcestershire also featured examples, such as Summer Lipscombe’s textures.

Tests

Textiles by Blackburn College’s Maria Cockerill; Elliot Connor’s schematics and Molly Eddy’s fashion illustration at Heart of Worcestershire.

Prototypes and compositions

Even though online, many colleges celebrate material and process in the works on display. Suffolk New College’s Postponed exhibition includes printmaking works by Alice Eddington and Fredy Rompao.

Heart of Worcestershire’s range and depth is seen through works by: Isaac Beard, Helena Szachniewicz, Jimmy Mills, Alex Cadle, Charlotte Bernard-Lumsden, Sam Hill, Holly Hughes, Alex Lawrence, Callum Nightingale, Katherine Roadknight, Henry Warr, William Adeboye and Abigail Jelley.

Blackburn College features interiors by Misbah Zaheer, and textile art by Mitchell Lawless.

Edinburgh College created self-contained narratives as part of their end of year showcase. These are in-depth explorations of the works developed and produced during the academic year and include two fashion shows and a powerful showreel of works produced by the Contemporary Art Practice Moving Image cohort. The college's piece on Art and Design Sketchbooks is a standout. With not a single word, it states emphatically the importance of nurturing and evolving a creative practice through the use of sketchbooks and iteration, repetition, experimentation, tests, and re-workings of visual directions. It is through a continuing and evolving practice that a creative career is made.

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