The show must go on

In 2021, the Slade School of Fine Art will be 150 years old. Time to celebrate the past? Or to think critically about the future?

A still from the film Tito’s Dog (2020), with a woman wearing a prosthetic nose and animal ears

Marianna Simnett, still from the film Tito’s Dog (2020)

Marianna Simnett, still from the film Tito’s Dog (2020)

Marianna Simnett, still from the film Tito’s Dog (2020)

This article first appeared in issue 7 of Portico magazine, published October 2020.

Director Kieren Reed explains how the school is adapting to change – while four of the school’s artists reflect on how lockdown has influenced their work and futures.

If the Slade has helped continue the canon of Western art history, then I think that now it’s our responsibility to support change going forward. How do we think about our curriculum? What do we think about the systems that we need to change within our teaching? How do we support our black, Asian and minority-ethnic students and staff?

We’re at a turning point and it’s appropriate that it’s coming just before our 150th anniversary.

Looking back at our history, we had innovations, such as the first computer arts course in the world, and are renowned for artists who are part of the canon, but it’s vital that we look beyond that. We need to be considering new ways of working and making so that everyone who wants to work with us is welcome. Even our building, beautiful though it is, can be perceived as a bit grand and intimidating. So how do we make it feel more accessible and approachable?

All of this is what we’re working on for our anniversary.

Making connections

Our whole programme is the same size as one year group in other art schools. That has a lot of advantages, when you start thinking about what can be made at UCL and our connections with the other faculties.

The Slade was interdisciplinary from the start: mathematicians taught geometry to painting students and anatomists explained the body in life classes. Henry Tonks, a medical doctor, became the Slade Professor of Fine Art and the school originally shared its premises with the UCL Department of Chemistry. Here, Sir William Ramsay discovered the noble gases, while Kenneth Mees, a PhD researcher in photographic theory, was working on film transparencies that would be adopted by Kodak.

Our students really benefit from this interdisciplinarity.

We have a triennial exhibition with the Grant Museum of Zoology and a scientist-in-residence project. We also have creative partnerships – with dancers visiting from Sadler’s Wells, for example – and outreach projects. This spring, two of our PhD students ran a widening-participation taster course in east London, introducing school students to ways of working through arts and ecology. While trying to take responsibility for introducing creativity to people without a formal education, we’re also engaging with the UK Government on how arts subjects at GCSE and A Level are supported.

This article first appeared in issue 7 of Portico magazine, published October 2020.

Director Kieren Reed explains how the school is adapting to change – while four of the school’s artists reflect on how lockdown has influenced their work and futures.

If the Slade has helped continue the canon of Western art history, then I think that now it’s our responsibility to support change going forward. How do we think about our curriculum? What do we think about the systems that we need to change within our teaching? How do we support our black, Asian and minority-ethnic students and staff?

We’re at a turning point and it’s appropriate that it’s coming just before our 150th anniversary.

Looking back at our history, we had innovations, such as the first computer arts course in the world, and are renowned for artists who are part of the canon, but it’s vital that we look beyond that. We need to be considering new ways of working and making so that everyone who wants to work with us is welcome. Even our building, beautiful though it is, can be perceived as a bit grand and intimidating. So how do we make it feel more accessible and approachable?

All of this is what we’re working on for our anniversary.

Making connections

Our whole programme is the same size as one year group in other art schools. That has a lot of advantages, when you start thinking about what can be made at UCL and our connections with the other faculties.

The Slade was interdisciplinary from the start: mathematicians taught geometry to painting students and anatomists explained the body in life classes. Henry Tonks, a medical doctor, became the Slade Professor of Fine Art and the school originally shared its premises with the UCL Department of Chemistry. Here, Sir William Ramsay discovered the noble gases, while Kenneth Mees, a PhD researcher in photographic theory, was working on film transparencies that would be adopted by Kodak.

Our students really benefit from this interdisciplinarity.

We have a triennial exhibition with the Grant Museum of Zoology and a scientist-in-residence project. We also have creative partnerships – with dancers visiting from Sadler’s Wells, for example – and outreach projects. This spring, two of our PhD students ran a widening-participation taster course in east London, introducing school students to ways of working through arts and ecology. While trying to take responsibility for introducing creativity to people without a formal education, we’re also engaging with the UK Government on how arts subjects at GCSE and A Level are supported.

This article first appeared in issue 7 of Portico magazine, published October 2020.

Director Kieren Reed explains how the school is adapting to change – while four of the school’s artists reflect on how lockdown has influenced their work and futures.

If the Slade has helped continue the canon of Western art history, then I think that now it’s our responsibility to support change going forward. How do we think about our curriculum? What do we think about the systems that we need to change within our teaching? How do we support our black, Asian and minority-ethnic students and staff?

We’re at a turning point and it’s appropriate that it’s coming just before our 150th anniversary.

Looking back at our history, we had innovations, such as the first computer arts course in the world, and are renowned for artists who are part of the canon, but it’s vital that we look beyond that. We need to be considering new ways of working and making so that everyone who wants to work with us is welcome. Even our building, beautiful though it is, can be perceived as a bit grand and intimidating. So how do we make it feel more accessible and approachable?

All of this is what we’re working on for our anniversary.

Making connections

Our whole programme is the same size as one year group in other art schools. That has a lot of advantages, when you start thinking about what can be made at UCL and our connections with the other faculties.

The Slade was interdisciplinary from the start: mathematicians taught geometry to painting students and anatomists explained the body in life classes. Henry Tonks, a medical doctor, became the Slade Professor of Fine Art and the school originally shared its premises with the UCL Department of Chemistry. Here, Sir William Ramsay discovered the noble gases, while Kenneth Mees, a PhD researcher in photographic theory, was working on film transparencies that would be adopted by Kodak.

Our students really benefit from this interdisciplinarity.

We have a triennial exhibition with the Grant Museum of Zoology and a scientist-in-residence project. We also have creative partnerships – with dancers visiting from Sadler’s Wells, for example – and outreach projects. This spring, two of our PhD students ran a widening-participation taster course in east London, introducing school students to ways of working through arts and ecology. While trying to take responsibility for introducing creativity to people without a formal education, we’re also engaging with the UK Government on how arts subjects at GCSE and A Level are supported.

“It’s exciting to imagine that the technology and ways of making... may not have even been created yet”
“It’s exciting to imagine that the technology and ways of making... may not have even been created yet”
“It’s exciting to imagine that the technology and ways of making... may not have even been created yet”

At UCL East, we’re developing a programme around the future of art making. Here, we’ll have students working alongside areas such as robotics engineering and the built environment. It’s exciting to imagine that the technology and ways of making that will be used when UCL East opens may not have even been created yet.

Via UCL Innovation & Enterprise, we’re also working on the South East Creative Corridor, a partnership including the Bartlett and the Institute of Education, to develop creative industries in the region to boost the area economically and socially.

Collaborations such as these improve our teaching and research by opening new avenues that lead in excitingly unknown directions.

Supporting students

More than any other art school, our students become practising artists.

This happens through both our teaching and the platforms that we give them. The first time our undergraduates have a public exhibition is at the end of their degree. But how do you host a degree show under lockdown?

We’ve shared our students’ work on the Internet since 1996. Essentially an online calling card, each student gets space for three images and a CV. But the degree show itself is a vital opportunity for students to network and meet collectors (4,000 people attend the private views). For 2020, the students can upload more work online and, crucially, a price list, so that people can buy from them directly. For them to survive as artists, it is essential that they make those connections.

At UCL East, we’re developing a programme around the future of art making. Here, we’ll have students working alongside areas such as robotics engineering and the built environment. It’s exciting to imagine that the technology and ways of making that will be used when UCL East opens may not have even been created yet.

Via UCL Innovation & Enterprise, we’re also working on the South East Creative Corridor, a partnership including the Bartlett and the Institute of Education, to develop creative industries in the region to boost the area economically and socially.

Collaborations such as these improve our teaching and research by opening new avenues that lead in excitingly unknown directions.

Supporting students

More than any other art school, our students become practising artists.

This happens through both our teaching and the platforms that we give them. The first time our undergraduates have a public exhibition is at the end of their degree. But how do you host a degree show under lockdown?

We’ve shared our students’ work on the Internet since 1996. Essentially an online calling card, each student gets space for three images and a CV. But the degree show itself is a vital opportunity for students to network and meet collectors (4,000 people attend the private views). For 2020, the students can upload more work online and, crucially, a price list, so that people can buy from them directly. For them to survive as artists, it is essential that they make those connections.

At UCL East, we’re developing a programme around the future of art making. Here, we’ll have students working alongside areas such as robotics engineering and the built environment. It’s exciting to imagine that the technology and ways of making that will be used when UCL East opens may not have even been created yet.

Via UCL Innovation & Enterprise, we’re also working on the South East Creative Corridor, a partnership including the Bartlett and the Institute of Education, to develop creative industries in the region to boost the area economically and socially.

Collaborations such as these improve our teaching and research by opening new avenues that lead in excitingly unknown directions.

Supporting students

More than any other art school, our students become practising artists.

This happens through both our teaching and the platforms that we give them. The first time our undergraduates have a public exhibition is at the end of their degree. But how do you host a degree show under lockdown?

We’ve shared our students’ work on the Internet since 1996. Essentially an online calling card, each student gets space for three images and a CV. But the degree show itself is a vital opportunity for students to network and meet collectors (4,000 people attend the private views). For 2020, the students can upload more work online and, crucially, a price list, so that people can buy from them directly. For them to survive as artists, it is essential that they make those connections.

A piece from the Slade degree show

Sarah Fortais, R.U.S.S.E.L.L. (2016)

Sarah Fortais, R.U.S.S.E.L.L. (2016)

Sarah Fortais, R.U.S.S.E.L.L. (2016)

With a recession looming, how do we support our graduates going forward?

In September 2021, at the beginning of our 150th anniversary, we will host a curated exhibition celebrating the students whose final year was impacted by the pandemic. We’re also developing our website as a mechanism for students to have a legacy, where we can support them better in that crucial year after graduation.

And we’re opening our doors to our alumni, whether here five or 50 years ago, to help us learn from each other in supporting this next generation of artists who are beginning careers in a changed world. We’re building an alumni community of practice that can help each other to get to the next stage in their careers.

Instilling a sense of community starts the moment students enter the Slade. We’re working throughout the summer of 2020 to find ways to help our new students feel that same connection.

Online, we can teach and share our ways of working, but our students most recognise their identity within the studios of the Slade itself, so it’s key that they can return after lockdown. It will be different, but every artist in the world is experiencing this at the same time, so exciting new ways of working and new practices will evolve from this pandemic.

Visit the degree show

Kieren Reed is Director of the Slade School of Fine Art.

With a recession looming, how do we support our graduates going forward?

In September 2021, at the beginning of our 150th anniversary, we will host a curated exhibition celebrating the students whose final year was impacted by the pandemic. We’re also developing our website as a mechanism for students to have a legacy, where we can support them better in that crucial year after graduation.

And we’re opening our doors to our alumni, whether here five or 50 years ago, to help us learn from each other in supporting this next generation of artists who are beginning careers in a changed world. We’re building an alumni community of practice that can help each other to get to the next stage in their careers.

Instilling a sense of community starts the moment students enter the Slade. We’re working throughout the summer of 2020 to find ways to help our new students feel that same connection.

Online, we can teach and share our ways of working, but our students most recognise their identity within the studios of the Slade itself, so it’s key that they can return after lockdown. It will be different, but every artist in the world is experiencing this at the same time, so exciting new ways of working and new practices will evolve from this pandemic.

Visit the degree show

Kieren Reed is Director of the Slade School of Fine Art.

With a recession looming, how do we support our graduates going forward?

In September 2021, at the beginning of our 150th anniversary, we will host a curated exhibition celebrating the students whose final year was impacted by the pandemic. We’re also developing our website as a mechanism for students to have a legacy, where we can support them better in that crucial year after graduation.

And we’re opening our doors to our alumni, whether here five or 50 years ago, to help us learn from each other in supporting this next generation of artists who are beginning careers in a changed world. We’re building an alumni community of practice that can help each other to get to the next stage in their careers.

Instilling a sense of community starts the moment students enter the Slade. We’re working throughout the summer of 2020 to find ways to help our new students feel that same connection.

Online, we can teach and share our ways of working, but our students most recognise their identity within the studios of the Slade itself, so it’s key that they can return after lockdown. It will be different, but every artist in the world is experiencing this at the same time, so exciting new ways of working and new practices will evolve from this pandemic.

Visit the degree show

Kieren Reed is Director of the Slade School of Fine Art.

THE UNDERGRADUATE: Georgia Kerr

THE UNDERGRADUATE: Georgia Kerr

THE UNDERGRADUATE: Georgia Kerr

Stills from a film, Pushed Meats. They show someone opening a car door and 2 people stood in a field

Stills from Pushed Meats, an ongoing 16mm film project

Stills from Pushed Meats, an ongoing 16mm film project

Stills from Pushed Meats, an ongoing 16mm film project

The installation that I was preparing for my degree show included metal-based sculptures with cast objects that were to be accompanied by projections of my own 16mm films and animations – essentially, the three key parts of my practice. When lockdown was announced and the Slade’s studios closed, I left my flat in Finsbury Park and moved back to my family’s home.

I’ve had to abandon a lot of my initial plans. My sculptures are stuck in the studio. I’m considering how to rework all of these elements in an interesting way, but there’s a limit to how much you can do in your family’s spare room!

During lockdown, we had to submit our online portfolio for assessment. A lot of things were half-finished, but we’re assured that allowances will be made.

On the night that should have been the private view of our degree show, the undergraduates were feeling emotional. So my friend Anna and I uploaded pictures of everyone’s work to Instagram Stories. It was like running through the show; a simple way to acknowledge everyone’s hard work. We’re optimistic that next year’s show will allow us more freedom to turn it into whatever we want.

This period has been a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve found myself questioning everything. However, having the time to sit and really think has helped me to reflect on my work. While appreciating that some older pieces are better than I realised at the time, I’m also recognising where I could have pushed an idea further.

At the studio there was no such time for reflection. I would get in at 9am and work until 10pm. We undergraduates would set ourselves five things to make; no matter how bad they were, you just got on with it. It was manic but exciting going with your gut instinct.

The installation that I was preparing for my degree show included metal-based sculptures with cast objects that were to be accompanied by projections of my own 16mm films and animations – essentially, the three key parts of my practice. When lockdown was announced and the Slade’s studios closed, I left my flat in Finsbury Park and moved back to my family’s home.

I’ve had to abandon a lot of my initial plans. My sculptures are stuck in the studio. I’m considering how to rework all of these elements in an interesting way, but there’s a limit to how much you can do in your family’s spare room!

During lockdown, we had to submit our online portfolio for assessment. A lot of things were half-finished, but we’re assured that allowances will be made.

On the night that should have been the private view of our degree show, the undergraduates were feeling emotional. So my friend Anna and I uploaded pictures of everyone’s work to Instagram Stories. It was like running through the show; a simple way to acknowledge everyone’s hard work. We’re optimistic that next year’s show will allow us more freedom to turn it into whatever we want.

This period has been a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve found myself questioning everything. However, having the time to sit and really think has helped me to reflect on my work. While appreciating that some older pieces are better than I realised at the time, I’m also recognising where I could have pushed an idea further.

At the studio there was no such time for reflection. I would get in at 9am and work until 10pm. We undergraduates would set ourselves five things to make; no matter how bad they were, you just got on with it. It was manic but exciting going with your gut instinct.

The installation that I was preparing for my degree show included metal-based sculptures with cast objects that were to be accompanied by projections of my own 16mm films and animations – essentially, the three key parts of my practice. When lockdown was announced and the Slade’s studios closed, I left my flat in Finsbury Park and moved back to my family’s home.

I’ve had to abandon a lot of my initial plans. My sculptures are stuck in the studio. I’m considering how to rework all of these elements in an interesting way, but there’s a limit to how much you can do in your family’s spare room!

During lockdown, we had to submit our online portfolio for assessment. A lot of things were half-finished, but we’re assured that allowances will be made.

On the night that should have been the private view of our degree show, the undergraduates were feeling emotional. So my friend Anna and I uploaded pictures of everyone’s work to Instagram Stories. It was like running through the show; a simple way to acknowledge everyone’s hard work. We’re optimistic that next year’s show will allow us more freedom to turn it into whatever we want.

This period has been a rollercoaster of emotions. I’ve found myself questioning everything. However, having the time to sit and really think has helped me to reflect on my work. While appreciating that some older pieces are better than I realised at the time, I’m also recognising where I could have pushed an idea further.

At the studio there was no such time for reflection. I would get in at 9am and work until 10pm. We undergraduates would set ourselves five things to make; no matter how bad they were, you just got on with it. It was manic but exciting going with your gut instinct.

Being in lockdown, I’ve also had more time to spend on animation and learning digital tools. Getting more confident with them has given me room to manoeuvre creatively. And I’ve been absorbing wacky animations from the Soviet era that I hadn’t had the time to dig around for before.

Lockdown has also made me re-evaluate the value of artists in challenging times. How can we facilitate and support change in a pandemic? How can we be helpful?

I’m intrigued to see how we as artists adapt and change to the new normal. There’s a lot of improvisation and a move back to basics; for example, we just did an animation exhibition on the live-streaming platform Twitch. It was so simply put together. Things like that are really exciting.

See more of Georgia’s work

Being in lockdown, I’ve also had more time to spend on animation and learning digital tools. Getting more confident with them has given me room to manoeuvre creatively. And I’ve been absorbing wacky animations from the Soviet era that I hadn’t had the time to dig around for before.

Lockdown has also made me re-evaluate the value of artists in challenging times. How can we facilitate and support change in a pandemic? How can we be helpful?

I’m intrigued to see how we as artists adapt and change to the new normal. There’s a lot of improvisation and a move back to basics; for example, we just did an animation exhibition on the live-streaming platform Twitch. It was so simply put together. Things like that are really exciting.

See more of Georgia’s work

Being in lockdown, I’ve also had more time to spend on animation and learning digital tools. Getting more confident with them has given me room to manoeuvre creatively. And I’ve been absorbing wacky animations from the Soviet era that I hadn’t had the time to dig around for before.

Lockdown has also made me re-evaluate the value of artists in challenging times. How can we facilitate and support change in a pandemic? How can we be helpful?

I’m intrigued to see how we as artists adapt and change to the new normal. There’s a lot of improvisation and a move back to basics; for example, we just did an animation exhibition on the live-streaming platform Twitch. It was so simply put together. Things like that are really exciting.

See more of Georgia’s work

A sculpture made from aluminium, steel, pine and upholstery foam

Lunokhod I, sculpture made from aluminium, steel, pine and upholstery foam

Lunokhod I, sculpture made from aluminium, steel, pine and upholstery foam

Lunokhod I, sculpture made from aluminium, steel, pine and upholstery foam

THE GRADUATE: Marianna Simnett

THE GRADUATE: Marianna Simnett

THE GRADUATE: Marianna Simnett

A still from the film Tito’s Dog (2020), with a woman wearing a prosthetic nose and animal ears

Still from the film Tito’s Dog (2020)

Still from the film Tito’s Dog (2020)

Still from the film Tito’s Dog (2020)

When lockdown began, my show at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane shut, a summer residency in Singapore was cancelled and others, such as the British Art Show, were postponed. So many cancellations meant a loss of income, but at the same time I had just taken on an assistant.

I decided to give up my studio and move to my dad’s house. I didn’t have a home in London because I’d been a nomad, constantly travelling the world with my shows. My studio was my everything; if I got stuck for a bed, I would even sleep there. But I gave it up, moved to a tiny village in Worcestershire and kept my assistant, Emily Palmer, who has been instrumental in making changes happen with me.

Lockdown in the countryside has given me more time to engage with nature and it’s feeding into my ideas. Yesterday, I went looking for geese for my next project, which will also involve horses. I’ve been picking up roadkill to photograph and paint – some became the animation Dance, Stanley, Dance. I’ve also made Tito’s Dog, a film where I transform my face into a dog.

My practice hasn’t radically changed under lockdown. The space may have shrunk to a screen, but I still try to make it resonate. I’ve been learning new skills such as coding and have created my website, which was antithetical to my previous attitudes to showing video content online. Everything had to be considered, from the language and presentation to the idea of focusing on just one work every fortnight.

Increasingly, there’s another side to my practice, which is about community, generosity, reflection and politics. When lockdown began, art channels were hungry for my video content but nobody wanted to pay. That’s when I started Home Cooking, a collective project with Asad Raza, after he’d noticed that galleries were relying on their archives rather than talking about what’s being made now. It has grown into more than 70 projects, from live events to interviews. Every Thursday, I host one-to-one conversations with people who contact the channel. It’s important to listen to others, because so many people feel isolated right now.

Ultimately, lockdown and, more recently, the Black Lives Matter movement have brought me closer to other people’s ideas that are different from my own. I think that will change my work forever. There has been a giant awakening in me, but I am almost tripping up on my words because every sentence I say seems to be fuelled with centuries of privilege. There’s no going back to where I was before.

When lockdown began, my show at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane shut, a summer residency in Singapore was cancelled and others, such as the British Art Show, were postponed. So many cancellations meant a loss of income, but at the same time I had just taken on an assistant.

I decided to give up my studio and move to my dad’s house. I didn’t have a home in London because I’d been a nomad, constantly travelling the world with my shows. My studio was my everything; if I got stuck for a bed, I would even sleep there. But I gave it up, moved to a tiny village in Worcestershire and kept my assistant, Emily Palmer, who has been instrumental in making changes happen with me.

Lockdown in the countryside has given me more time to engage with nature and it’s feeding into my ideas. Yesterday, I went looking for geese for my next project, which will also involve horses. I’ve been picking up roadkill to photograph and paint – some became the animation Dance, Stanley, Dance. I’ve also made Tito’s Dog, a film where I transform my face into a dog.

My practice hasn’t radically changed under lockdown. The space may have shrunk to a screen, but I still try to make it resonate. I’ve been learning new skills such as coding and have created my website, which was antithetical to my previous attitudes to showing video content online. Everything had to be considered, from the language and presentation to the idea of focusing on just one work every fortnight.

Increasingly, there’s another side to my practice, which is about community, generosity, reflection and politics. When lockdown began, art channels were hungry for my video content but nobody wanted to pay. That’s when I started Home Cooking, a collective project with Asad Raza, after he’d noticed that galleries were relying on their archives rather than talking about what’s being made now. It has grown into more than 70 projects, from live events to interviews. Every Thursday, I host one-to-one conversations with people who contact the channel. It’s important to listen to others, because so many people feel isolated right now.

Ultimately, lockdown and, more recently, the Black Lives Matter movement have brought me closer to other people’s ideas that are different from my own. I think that will change my work forever. There has been a giant awakening in me, but I am almost tripping up on my words because every sentence I say seems to be fuelled with centuries of privilege. There’s no going back to where I was before.

When lockdown began, my show at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane shut, a summer residency in Singapore was cancelled and others, such as the British Art Show, were postponed. So many cancellations meant a loss of income, but at the same time I had just taken on an assistant.

I decided to give up my studio and move to my dad’s house. I didn’t have a home in London because I’d been a nomad, constantly travelling the world with my shows. My studio was my everything; if I got stuck for a bed, I would even sleep there. But I gave it up, moved to a tiny village in Worcestershire and kept my assistant, Emily Palmer, who has been instrumental in making changes happen with me.

Lockdown in the countryside has given me more time to engage with nature and it’s feeding into my ideas. Yesterday, I went looking for geese for my next project, which will also involve horses. I’ve been picking up roadkill to photograph and paint – some became the animation Dance, Stanley, Dance. I’ve also made Tito’s Dog, a film where I transform my face into a dog.

My practice hasn’t radically changed under lockdown. The space may have shrunk to a screen, but I still try to make it resonate. I’ve been learning new skills such as coding and have created my website, which was antithetical to my previous attitudes to showing video content online. Everything had to be considered, from the language and presentation to the idea of focusing on just one work every fortnight.

Increasingly, there’s another side to my practice, which is about community, generosity, reflection and politics. When lockdown began, art channels were hungry for my video content but nobody wanted to pay. That’s when I started Home Cooking, a collective project with Asad Raza, after he’d noticed that galleries were relying on their archives rather than talking about what’s being made now. It has grown into more than 70 projects, from live events to interviews. Every Thursday, I host one-to-one conversations with people who contact the channel. It’s important to listen to others, because so many people feel isolated right now.

Ultimately, lockdown and, more recently, the Black Lives Matter movement have brought me closer to other people’s ideas that are different from my own. I think that will change my work forever. There has been a giant awakening in me, but I am almost tripping up on my words because every sentence I say seems to be fuelled with centuries of privilege. There’s no going back to where I was before.

Still from the film The Needle and the Larynx - a person wearing latex gloves places wires onto a womans neck

Still from the film The Needle and the Larynx (2016)

Still from the film The Needle and the Larynx (2016)

Still from the film The Needle and the Larynx (2016)

View more of Marianna's work on her website

 

THE POSTGRADUATE: Eleanor Newis

View more of Marianna's work on her website

 

THE POSTGRADUATE: Eleanor Newis

View more of Marianna's work on her website

 

THE POSTGRADUATE: Eleanor Newis

Bedroom Installation made with fabric and a jumper with flowers scattered around it

Bedroom Installation 2, Heart Shaped Sweater and (below) Bedroom Installation 3. All digitally collaged prints

Bedroom Installation 2, Heart Shaped Sweater and (below) Bedroom Installation 3. All digitally collaged prints

Bedroom Installation 2, Heart Shaped Sweater and (below) Bedroom Installation 3. All digitally collaged prints

Before coming to the Slade, I’d never had a studio. All my work had been made in my bedroom, so I began experimenting with the idea of that space within a studio environment.

Bedrooms are interesting because people curate them in a very intimate way. And as a 26-year-old, I find it strange going back to the family home and sleeping in the bedroom of my younger self. Three weeks before lockdown began, I visited my parents. I had no idea that I’d end up staying there for months.

I’ve always made very portable art. To me, the work felt big, but that was only because I was always making it in a domestic space. It’s a bit like when you’re a child and everything seems huge simply because your world is very small. At the Slade, my work expanded because I suddenly had so much more space. I made collages and clothes, paintings and videos and wrote songs; it was a total environment.

Lockdown made everything smaller and portable again.

At home, I found some old lyrics I’d written years ago and sewed them onto clothes. Everything is part of an ongoing process of iteration. When I make a piece of clothing, it might appear in a video, or I might wear it in some photos. I might not use it again for a year, but it’ll come back into my orbit and be hung on the wall.

Lockdown encouraged me to think about how my work looks on a screen. At the Slade, I’d been making installations that people could walk into, but when I began editing photos of them, I realised that I liked some of them more than the installations themselves.

Before coming to the Slade, I’d never had a studio. All my work had been made in my bedroom, so I began experimenting with the idea of that space within a studio environment.

Bedrooms are interesting because people curate them in a very intimate way. And as a 26-year-old, I find it strange going back to the family home and sleeping in the bedroom of my younger self. Three weeks before lockdown began, I visited my parents. I had no idea that I’d end up staying there for months.

I’ve always made very portable art. To me, the work felt big, but that was only because I was always making it in a domestic space. It’s a bit like when you’re a child and everything seems huge simply because your world is very small. At the Slade, my work expanded because I suddenly had so much more space. I made collages and clothes, paintings and videos and wrote songs; it was a total environment.

Lockdown made everything smaller and portable again.

At home, I found some old lyrics I’d written years ago and sewed them onto clothes. Everything is part of an ongoing process of iteration. When I make a piece of clothing, it might appear in a video, or I might wear it in some photos. I might not use it again for a year, but it’ll come back into my orbit and be hung on the wall.

Lockdown encouraged me to think about how my work looks on a screen. At the Slade, I’d been making installations that people could walk into, but when I began editing photos of them, I realised that I liked some of them more than the installations themselves.

Before coming to the Slade, I’d never had a studio. All my work had been made in my bedroom, so I began experimenting with the idea of that space within a studio environment.

Bedrooms are interesting because people curate them in a very intimate way. And as a 26-year-old, I find it strange going back to the family home and sleeping in the bedroom of my younger self. Three weeks before lockdown began, I visited my parents. I had no idea that I’d end up staying there for months.

I’ve always made very portable art. To me, the work felt big, but that was only because I was always making it in a domestic space. It’s a bit like when you’re a child and everything seems huge simply because your world is very small. At the Slade, my work expanded because I suddenly had so much more space. I made collages and clothes, paintings and videos and wrote songs; it was a total environment.

Lockdown made everything smaller and portable again.

At home, I found some old lyrics I’d written years ago and sewed them onto clothes. Everything is part of an ongoing process of iteration. When I make a piece of clothing, it might appear in a video, or I might wear it in some photos. I might not use it again for a year, but it’ll come back into my orbit and be hung on the wall.

Lockdown encouraged me to think about how my work looks on a screen. At the Slade, I’d been making installations that people could walk into, but when I began editing photos of them, I realised that I liked some of them more than the installations themselves.

The focus of photography and digital manipulations has helped me frame the work – isolating images to provide an interesting direction for the viewer. I also realised that I’d been creating too much stuff!

With the course winding down, I was already questioning whether I wanted to sink a load of money into renting a studio when I can work outside of one. I think it’s good to be adaptable, exploring all the ways that you can create. So much making has moved online during lockdown that I’m hoping we might start to chip away at art’s hierarchy, where digital, video and internet art are still seen as outsiders.

See more of Eleanor’s work

The focus of photography and digital manipulations has helped me frame the work – isolating images to provide an interesting direction for the viewer. I also realised that I’d been creating too much stuff!

With the course winding down, I was already questioning whether I wanted to sink a load of money into renting a studio when I can work outside of one. I think it’s good to be adaptable, exploring all the ways that you can create. So much making has moved online during lockdown that I’m hoping we might start to chip away at art’s hierarchy, where digital, video and internet art are still seen as outsiders.

See more of Eleanor’s work

The focus of photography and digital manipulations has helped me frame the work – isolating images to provide an interesting direction for the viewer. I also realised that I’d been creating too much stuff!

With the course winding down, I was already questioning whether I wanted to sink a load of money into renting a studio when I can work outside of one. I think it’s good to be adaptable, exploring all the ways that you can create. So much making has moved online during lockdown that I’m hoping we might start to chip away at art’s hierarchy, where digital, video and internet art are still seen as outsiders.

See more of Eleanor’s work

Bedroom Installation made with fabric - a bed with the words DREAM DEBRIS stitched onto the covers

THE TEACHING FELLOW: Lesley Sharpe

THE TEACHING FELLOW: Lesley Sharpe

THE TEACHING FELLOW: Lesley Sharpe

Final artwork created using printing techniques with an ink roller, paper and leaves

Back-to-basics printing techniques with an ink roller, paper and leaves

Back-to-basics printing techniques with an ink roller, paper and leaves

Back-to-basics printing techniques with an ink roller, paper and leaves

In the first week of lockdown, I was at home getting to grips with Microsoft Teams, trying to find a way to keep students, and myself and colleagues, connected. I must have looked through every single app available in Teams to find the most collaborative one.

I was also learning how to capture wild yeast, but that’s another story.

We were only two weeks away from the Easter break, and with assessments taking place in the third term, I was more concerned about our continuing students and how to keep them engaged, not just during term time but over summer, too, to maintain a sense of community.

I came up with the idea of an online wiki, where students could share and talk about work they’d made during lockdown. The content will hopefully be developed into a publication called Atomised when we return to the school.

The Slade is home to so many students. The studios are spacious and the workshops are like toyshops to artists. We can’t simulate the same type of space online, but we can provide a collaborative platform that enables the sharing of experiences from across the world. We have students based as far afield as Los Angeles, Israel and Chile, and through the wiki, we’re building an alternative online community.

The multiple communities of practice that overlap and intertwine at the Slade are so rich; we share knowledge and learn from each other on a daily basis. So I wanted to produce a resource for the wiki showing how to make prints without a press. To the printmaker used to a fully equipped workshop, this sounds like a challenge, but by stripping away all the platemaking possibilities and the presses, there’s a lot of fun to be had with plants and domestic objects.

Our amazing print technician James Keith is developing kitchen lithography. The principles of the process are similar, but rather than drawing on a zinc plate or limestone with waxy crayons, you use a sheet of tinfoil and etch the surface with cola.

We’re also experimenting with anthotype printing, an early photographic technique invented by Mary Somerville in 1842. Any light-sensitive plant, fruit or vegetable can be used to create a photosensitive emulsion – the best yet is turmeric dissolved in vodka!

These are all starting points, but we hope that by sharing these low-fi techniques, we can explore print and its materials further. There will be a lot of failure, but that’s how you learn. And sharing these failures will be more useful than sharing a polished instructional video.

In the first week of lockdown, I was at home getting to grips with Microsoft Teams, trying to find a way to keep students, and myself and colleagues, connected. I must have looked through every single app available in Teams to find the most collaborative one.

I was also learning how to capture wild yeast, but that’s another story.

We were only two weeks away from the Easter break, and with assessments taking place in the third term, I was more concerned about our continuing students and how to keep them engaged, not just during term time but over summer, too, to maintain a sense of community.

I came up with the idea of an online wiki, where students could share and talk about work they’d made during lockdown. The content will hopefully be developed into a publication called Atomised when we return to the school.

The Slade is home to so many students. The studios are spacious and the workshops are like toyshops to artists. We can’t simulate the same type of space online, but we can provide a collaborative platform that enables the sharing of experiences from across the world. We have students based as far afield as Los Angeles, Israel and Chile, and through the wiki, we’re building an alternative online community.

The multiple communities of practice that overlap and intertwine at the Slade are so rich; we share knowledge and learn from each other on a daily basis. So I wanted to produce a resource for the wiki showing how to make prints without a press. To the printmaker used to a fully equipped workshop, this sounds like a challenge, but by stripping away all the platemaking possibilities and the presses, there’s a lot of fun to be had with plants and domestic objects.

Our amazing print technician James Keith is developing kitchen lithography. The principles of the process are similar, but rather than drawing on a zinc plate or limestone with waxy crayons, you use a sheet of tinfoil and etch the surface with cola.

We’re also experimenting with anthotype printing, an early photographic technique invented by Mary Somerville in 1842. Any light-sensitive plant, fruit or vegetable can be used to create a photosensitive emulsion – the best yet is turmeric dissolved in vodka!

These are all starting points, but we hope that by sharing these low-fi techniques, we can explore print and its materials further. There will be a lot of failure, but that’s how you learn. And sharing these failures will be more useful than sharing a polished instructional video.

In the first week of lockdown, I was at home getting to grips with Microsoft Teams, trying to find a way to keep students, and myself and colleagues, connected. I must have looked through every single app available in Teams to find the most collaborative one.

I was also learning how to capture wild yeast, but that’s another story.

We were only two weeks away from the Easter break, and with assessments taking place in the third term, I was more concerned about our continuing students and how to keep them engaged, not just during term time but over summer, too, to maintain a sense of community.

I came up with the idea of an online wiki, where students could share and talk about work they’d made during lockdown. The content will hopefully be developed into a publication called Atomised when we return to the school.

The Slade is home to so many students. The studios are spacious and the workshops are like toyshops to artists. We can’t simulate the same type of space online, but we can provide a collaborative platform that enables the sharing of experiences from across the world. We have students based as far afield as Los Angeles, Israel and Chile, and through the wiki, we’re building an alternative online community.

The multiple communities of practice that overlap and intertwine at the Slade are so rich; we share knowledge and learn from each other on a daily basis. So I wanted to produce a resource for the wiki showing how to make prints without a press. To the printmaker used to a fully equipped workshop, this sounds like a challenge, but by stripping away all the platemaking possibilities and the presses, there’s a lot of fun to be had with plants and domestic objects.

Our amazing print technician James Keith is developing kitchen lithography. The principles of the process are similar, but rather than drawing on a zinc plate or limestone with waxy crayons, you use a sheet of tinfoil and etch the surface with cola.

We’re also experimenting with anthotype printing, an early photographic technique invented by Mary Somerville in 1842. Any light-sensitive plant, fruit or vegetable can be used to create a photosensitive emulsion – the best yet is turmeric dissolved in vodka!

These are all starting points, but we hope that by sharing these low-fi techniques, we can explore print and its materials further. There will be a lot of failure, but that’s how you learn. And sharing these failures will be more useful than sharing a polished instructional video.

Pictures showing the step by step process of printing with an ink roller, paper and leaves

This article first appeared in issue 7 of Portico magazine, published October 2020.

This article first appeared in issue 7 of Portico magazine, published October 2020.

This article first appeared in issue 7 of Portico magazine, published October 2020.