Acknowledging Future Talent: Class Of 2016 Goes Live

UCLan (University of Central Lancashire): Sam Pickett

Inspired by our annual article, Class of 2016: The North-West’s Top Fine Art Graduates Revealed, the featured artists — nominated by their tutors — have teamed up to put on their own exhibition! We speak to the instigator, and original Class of 2016 nominee, UCLan’s Samantha Pickett, about her first big show and the impetus behind going live…

The Double Negative: We’re so thrilled that you and the other graduates —  Elizabeth Lindley (Lancaster University), Anna Glinkina (Manchester Metropolitan University), Helena Denholm (St Helens College), Stephanie Miello (Liverpool Hope University), Steve Wilson (Blackpool and The Fylde College), Jackie Owen (University of Cumbria), Cecily Shrimpton (University of Salford), Jade Stowell (Wirral Metropolitan College), Amy McSavaney (Liverpool John Moores University) — have taken our Class of 2016 article forward into a group exhibition. When did you first have the idea?

“The response from the course leaders was overwhelmingly positive”

Samantha Pickett: Your article highlighted brilliantly the scale and scope of artistic output emerging every year from the North-West art institutes — I think it also demonstrated the range of academic fine art courses on offer across the region and current trends as a multi-disciplinary subject. I recognised some of the themes covered, such as the impact of man-made detritus on the environment, which resonated with my own work.

As a nominee, the idea to translate the feature into an exhibition seemed a good way of celebrating the accolade and showcasing the quality of work being produced by North-West graduates. The response from the course leaders was overwhelmingly positive — I think they all recognised the opportunity to advertise the area as a creative hub and forge links between the institutions. Once I’d contacted all of the nominees, I realised that most of us felt adrift after graduation and we all jumped at the chance to develop connections and maintain the momentum.

“If Class of 2016 becomes an annual event it will give the nominees and participating colleges the opportunity to meet, network and merge resources”

You say that the exhibition is “a unifying event” that “symbolises a punch in the air from the Northern art hubs of Carlisle, Blackpool, Preston, Manchester, and Liverpool”. It’s interesting because it goes some way to express the rationale for writing this annual article in the first place. Jack Welsh and I were discussing the fact that there are 13 NW HEIs who provide full-time Fine Art BA Hons, and we didn’t think enough people really knew that. We were intrigued to see what the tutors would nominate, and what the final selection would look like.

I think it’s a good idea to acknowledge future talent and it provides incentive. Your article gives graduates the chance to recognised for their commitment and originality, and if “Class of 2016″ becomes an annual event it will give the nominees and participating colleges the opportunity to meet, network and merge resources.

Do you think that there needs to be more of a focus on outstanding graduate talent from these areas?

The principal reason for organising the exhibition was always about bringing the graduates together to share ideas and experiences whilst developing links between  Blackpool, Preston, Lancaster, Carlisle, Manchester and Liverpool. The choices will produce — I hope — a show that’s rich in diversity and context.

“This will be my first independent curatorial role and I’m a bit nervous!”

What can visitors expect from this (hopefully first of many) Class of 2016 exhibition at Hanover Projects, UCLan?

Firstly, I’m a graduating Fine Art student who simply recognised the opportunity to produce an exhibition. I’ve co-curated on a number of occasions but this will be my first independent curatorial role and I’m a bit nervous! It will be a challenge but there is a good combination of media, including moving image, sculpture, ready-made and installation which will make the space visually interesting. There will also be two site specific installations which will make planning ahead difficult. Thematically, there are a number of links I’m keen to emphasise.

What do you think, if any, are the threads of the selected work?

The thread weaving its way through the work will probably be the fact that we are all Class of 2016 graduates; as contemporaries we’ve all been exposed to the same cultural influences and this should be evident in our outcomes — we’ll have to see! I think we all feel responsible for raising awareness in some way, personal, social or global… these factors unify us and unavoidably filter into our work.

Laura Robertson, Editor

See the Class of 2016 exhibition from 10am-5pm (Mon-Fri) Thursday 15-29 September 2016 at Hanover Project, UCLan, Preston — FREE

Closing Party 29 September 2016, 5-7pm

Read Jack Welsh’s article Class of 2016: The North-West’s Top Fine Art Graduates Revealed

Posted on 06/09/2016 by thedoublenegative