University of Highlands and Islands art degree show goes online

For the first time the University of Highlands and Islands art schools have come together to create one final year art degree show supported by and in partnership with Art North Magazine.

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BA (Hons) Fine Art  and BA (Hons) Fine Art Textiles Degree Show 2020 - University of the Highlands and Islands

The current situation brought about by the pandemic had meant that physical degree shows could not take place and all four partners had to cancel their shows. However, this also provided an opportunity to look at doing things differently resulting in, through the determination, positive approach and resilience of the staff and students an online year art degree show featuring all university partners.

Launching on Wednesday 16 December and running till Friday 22 January the show features the work of fourteen graduates from the BA (Hons) Fine Art and BA (Hons) Fine Art Textile degree courses from Orkney College UHI, Lews Castle College UHI, Moray School of Art part of Moray College UHI and Shetland College UHI.

Seven of the exhibiting artists are from Moray School of Art - Pauline Atkinson, Becs Boyd, Jade Harrison, Jeniffer MacKean, Kinsey McCallum, Rachel McClure, Kiki Mason. 

Stacey Toner, Moray School of Art Programme Lead

We are delighted to be able to bring graduate work into the digital realm with the support and expertise of Art North Magazine.  Producing and installing work for our degree show is challenging in any circumstance but this year really has pushed students (and staff) to work and think outside of their comfort zones and expectations.  As a network of community based partners within the University of the Highlands and Islands, we have been in the luxurious position to be more flexible with how to support students to complete their degree and it is truly inspiring to see the ambition and quality that has been achieved despite all of the barriers.  It isn’t the outcome we might have envisaged but with the resilience of our students, adaptability of our staff and that added professional dynamic provided by Ian at Art North Magazine, I feel that this year’s degree show is, in a very unique way, a resounding success.  Not only does it represent the individuality of our 2020 cohort, it unites our programmes despite geographical distance and it presents a new way for us to reach audiences and showcase the practice of graduates unlike we have before. 

Bec Boyd, Moray School of Art graduating student

This has been a tough but unique year for the degree show artists - and it feels like art has never been more relevant. In the most challenging of circumstances, against a backdrop of fear and isolation, we’ve all seen the power of art to create connection. My own work has been shaped by these shared experiences, with loss of touch and uncertainty becoming central themes. What we have achieved together in managing to pull off this ‘Covid-19’ degree show is worth celebrating, not just for the astonishing efforts of students and staff, but for what it says about why we all need art, especially at times like these. 

Ian McKay, Editor Art North

During the Covid-19 pandemic we have been working really hard to support individual artists, venues and organisations throughout the North of Scotland, including the University of the Highlands and Islands.

The visual arts have a vital role to play in fostering a sense of community cohesion and cultural wellbeing at this time," Mr McKay adds, "and so it was a real pleasure to work on the project in order that the university’s students could enjoy a wide audience for their graduate work and the recognition that they so richly deserve. Despite the unprecedented obstacles that both students and staff of the university have had to overcome to make this happen, we firmly believe that the North of Scotland have a diverse presentation of graduate art work that equals that of other art schools and universities throughout Scotland.

View this exciting ground-breaking show from Wednesday 16th December at 7pm on the Art North website.


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