This is a preview feature on the Brighton University graduate degree show as featured in the June issue of the Verse. The last and most difficult piece I had to write for this issue. I estimate that I have written well over 10,000 words this month (not including the dissertation I completed the month before), so this was the most difficult 500 words I have ever had to write. Unless it is on a topic that I am really passionate about, I really struggle with the formal writing style that news writing commands. I guess I am getting a little too used to writing provocative tosh to flirt with one’s mind.
Burt Brill & Cardens Graduate Degree Show
Grand Parade has been a hive of activity recently as final year students of the Faculty of Arts erect their degree shows. Every year, the building is transformed from a bustling teaching building of 25 courses to the largest
art gallery in the South East, showcasing the work of Brighton students. The title of this year’s show is Hook, Line and Sinker, revealing the time and patience involved for the students to put on a show of this level, and the sense of achievement that they will face after.
The show, sponsored by Burt Brill and Cardens Solicitors, gives over 500 students the opportunity to showcase their work to over 15,000 visitors. For many of these students, it is the first opportunity for their work to be seen and be purchased by the public. In some ways, the private view on the 4th June is as important as graduation day in July.
Brighton is well known for its forward thinking and eclectic artistic talent; previous arts graduates include Turner prize-winning artists Rachel Whiteread and Keith Tyson. Fashion graduate and founder of the Biba label Barbara Hulanicki returned to Brighton last November to give a rare talk on her life as a legendary fashion designer. More recent fashion graduates have also embarked on successful careers since leaving Brighton. Julien MacDonald was voted British designer of the year in 2001, alongside Gresham Blake who has now become a tailor to the stars.
Eyes are again on the Fashion graduates for the annual fashion show that taking place in the Sallis Benney theatre, which has always has sold out in advance. One student to look out for is Steven Woodward, who has already showcased some of his garments in London fashion week after entering a competition through Vogue.com. Highlights of the knitted Textiles show also point to Sophie Penn and Debbie Holman who have both won bursaries from ‘The Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters’.
Other popular shows include Editorial Photography, based in the Gallery, and Architecture, which has moved this year to the garden. The rest of the shows are based where the courses are taught: first floor houses the fashion and sculpture disciplines, the second floor showcasing the fine and performance arts, while the third floor is home to the majority of graphics, illustration and printmaking.
Third year Graphic Design students Pete Dungey and Miles Gould created the visually striking poster for the show. Responding to the open brief set at the beginning of the year to all graphics and illustration students, Dungey and Gould wanted to come up with a design that encompassed the release of tension that graduate students get at the end of their final show. The pair settled on a fishing theme with the idea that the final year show is about catching the attentions of the public.
Many students are hoping that their work will reel the public in to commission future work to kickstart of their artistic careers. However, it is not just the examiners that decide the fate of these students. The public can also vote for their favourite work to receive the Peoples Award. The winning student will receive a cash prize and local media exposure through Juice FM and Latest Homes magazine. Your vote also enters you into a draw to win an original artwork.
During this busy time, it is easy to overlook the degree show by students from the school of Historical Studies. That show is located just down the road towards the sea front, at Pavilion Parade. Third year students on these courses will also be putting on exhibitions, relating to their research for their dissertations completed earlier in the year. Their private view is a day later than the show at Grand Parade – on the 5th June. The exhibition will then be open to the public from 6th – 10th June.