This summer, globally, art schools have had to move their Degree Shows online. The rapid transition from physical to digital has required a spirit of innovation and resilience – resulting in inspiring virtual portals. Be transported into a world of imagination with these 10 exhibitions. Each one highlights a fresh wave of talent, responding meaningfully to today’s world.
Norwich University of the Arts
Norwich University of the Arts invites audiences to discover where creative curiosity has taken hundreds of talented artists, designers and makers. This year’s online Graduate Showcase is an immersive experience, revealing final projects across a breadth of subjects. Compelling Fine Art, Photography and Fashion comes together with Illustration, Film, Animation, Graphic Design, Gaming and more. This is an opportunity to explore showreels, lightboxes and digital portfolios: to see the world through the eyes of an emerging generation of fresh talent. From 16 July – March 2021.
Buckinghamshire New University
Bucks New University’s Art & Design Summer Show encompasses an array of courses: from Product Design and Fashion Design to Textile Design and Graphic Design. This year, they’re taking influence from a range of cultures, movements and ideas, from The Memphis Group – founded by Ettore Sottsass – to Pakistani calligraphy and William Morris-inspired wall hangings. They draw from the climate crisis, issues of accessibility and gender, as well as digging into the process of making – examining each step from start to finish. Live now.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Leeds School of Arts, part of Leeds Beckett University, has been pushing the boundaries of possibility. They present the first ever Leeds School of Arts Festival, a digital platform celebrating an incredibly innovative group of creators, artists, performers and designers. Architecture, Art and Design, Creative Technologies, Film, Music and Sound and Performing Arts students present work that responds to an evolving world and challenges our preconceptions about the future.
Leeds Arts University’s imaginative students question, experiment and respond to the world in radical ways. The first virtual undergraduate degree show features over 500 pieces of contemporary art, animation, illustration, graphic design, fashion, textiles, advertising and photography. “The digital format presents an opportunity for many more industry professionals – and those looking for creative inspiration and stimulation – to experience this visually stunning and ambitious online exhibition,” says Vice-Chancellor Professor Simone Wonnacott. Live now until 30 September.
London College of Communication
For 2020, London College of Communication’s (LCC) graduates have responded to a variety of timely themes: lockdown, national identity, sexuality, isolation and connection. Using a mix of analogue and digital, they cross boundaries and genres – exploring narrative, fine art, photojournalism and documentary. Each year, LCC’s future-facing crop goes from strength to strength – harnessing lens-based media to capture a rapidly changing world. Available to view on the Aesthetica website from 21 July.
Titled, Glimpse, Hereford College of Art’s (HCA) showcase encourages viewers to log on and take an exclusive look at works in progress. It is a celebration of eclectic and diverse degree and MA level pieces across a variety of subject matter. As an independent specialist arts school, HCA is wholly focused on creative education. This comes across in the exhibition, which presents everything from illustration and media to textiles, crafts and blacksmithing. Read an interview about the HCA experience and new postgraduate courses here.
University of the West of England (UWE Bristol)
UWE Bristol’s Degree Show is an annual highlight for the city of Bristol and wider art world. Their 2020 digital showcase takes a global and inclusive outlook, spotlighting hundreds of final-year students from 25 creative industries programmes across art, design, animation, photography and moving image. With the potential to reach audiences around the world, Showcase 2020 is both a visual spectacle and a means to help graduates launch their professional careers. From 1 August.
Aesthetica has teamed up with York St John University to present a collection of student work from across the entire department. It reflects on this moment in time – a period that will be remembered. It has been a time defined by stopping everything with immediate effect. We will tell our grandchildren “we were there.” There are a diverse array of themes to browse, reflecting on the impact of melting ice caps and plastic waste whilst examining body image and identity. Hear insights from the Class of 2020.
The work within Glasgow School of Art’s roster represents a variety of unique journeys – signalling the start of many young professional lives. Shown above is Kimia Witte from Fine Art Photography, who brings science into focus through curious images. Other intriguing courses include Sculpture and Environmental Art and Interaction Design. Director Penny Macbeth describes the exhibition as a space “to reflect on the importance of creative people and creative education in complex and challenging times.”
University for the Creative Arts
The pages of UCA’s online portal are testament to “the effort, talent and sheer determination” of third years across 60 programmes. The show highlights how art touches every element of our lives – from business to gaming, film, TV, music and performance. Designers combine traditional craftsmanship with new technologies, whilst architects take an “activists’ approach” to making environmentally-considerate spaces. These practitioners are responsive to the world around them.
Lead image: Emily Mitchell, Norwich University of the Arts
1. Ameer Al Ashhab, Norwich University of the Arts
2. Natalia Gasior, BA (Hons) Graphic Design, Buckinghamshire New University.
3. Mo Dukali, Leeds Beckett University
4. Dan Commons, Leeds Arts University
5. Dan Commons, Leeds Arts University
6. Andrew Simmons, BA Photojournalism and Documentary, LCC, UAL
7. William Pettit, Hereford College of Art
8. Sophie Howard Akuna Matt Ayyelos, Creative BA Fashion Comms, University of the West of England Bristol
9. Jesse McMahon, York St John University
10. Kimia Witte, Glasgow School of Art
11. Sharon Obot-Golden, UCA