West Dean College students go online for summer show

Students on the fine art programmes at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation are hosting their annual summer show online this year.

John Collett Graduate Diploma Fine Art. West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, photographer Christoper Ison
John Collett Graduate Diploma Fine Art. West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, photographer Christoper Ison

This is the first time they will be presenting their work on a new website, dedicated to the graduating class of 2020, launched on Monday, July 13.

Spokeswoman Rachel Aked said: “The site features dedicated pages for each student, showcasing their work in a diverse range of media – including drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, textiles, photography, and video – as well as projects made in response to the worldwide lockdown.

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“It includes documentation of the academic year as a whole, referencing research, images of work in progress, and selected essays. Contact information will allow the public to reach out to graduates for commissions, exhibitions, professional opportunities and more.”

The COVID-19 outbreak presented numerous challenges for students midway through their graduate diploma and MFA programmes, as David Stent, fine art subject leader, explains: “This cohort of students has risen to the challenge of remote working, finding inventive ways to adapt and extend their studio practices while maintaining and celebrating the closeness of the studio community even at a distance.”

Philippa Clarke, MFA Year 1 student, said: “Lockdown has been hard. But finding creative responses to challenging situations is what artists do best. We’ve found new ways of working, turning our domestic spaces into ones of production, seeking inspiration with limited resources and connecting with one another online for virtual coffee and biscuits. The exhibition website is something new for all of us and when we get to show our work for real in London next year, the feeling is going to be immense.”

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