UWE Bristol’s Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education will feature the work of hundreds of students across their 25 UWE Bristol Creative Industries programmes.
From August 1 2020 the university will host a digital showcase of the work of students from UWE Bristol’s creative programmes across art, design, animation, fashion, media, performance, photography and filmmaking.
The digital showcase is a result of the ongoing pandemic, giving students the opportunity to share their work when physical events such as the Degree Show have been postponed or cancelled.
“Everyone has put in a lot of hard work behind the scenes to get the showcase up and running by August and we are delighted with the results,” said Adrienne Noonan, the associate head for Enterprise and Partnership at UWE Bristol. “This showcase is compressing about 12 months of work into just over 12 weeks.”
The showcase is no substitute for the degree show – an annual highlight for the city of Bristol and the creative sector – but a digital platform to share new talent and to help launch the professional careers of graduates.
“Our students have demonstrated exceptional resilience over the last few months,” said Jacqueline Butler, head of the school of Art and Design. “The fruits of their creative labour deserve to be seen and celebrated.”
Clár Tillekens, Krerkburin Kerngburi and Jay Sebastian Williams, three students graduating from creative studies and featuring in the show, spoke to Bristol24/7 about their degrees and the show.
“Photography enables me to explore the nuances that come with being a dual citizen,” explains Clár. “I’m particularly interested in how people develop attachment to places, and how that relates to memory.”
Her project, Overseas, aims to aims show the complexity of a culturally interconnected life. A dual citizen of the USA and Ireland, Clár uses photography to explore the fluidity of Irish culture through the eyes of her family.
“I show parallels between rural Ireland and urban New York,” Clár says. “I was born in New York City to Irish parents and raised in a proudly Irish household on Long Island.”
“My dual citizenship provoked me to further examine how nationhood influences identity—how culture is altered and maintained by migration.”
Another student photographer, Krerkburin Kerngburi, has been using the medium to explore how he has adapted to living and learning in the UK.
The Thailand native photographer says that it is the work of established artists such as Banksy, Martin Parr and Joel Meyerowitz that have helped him develop his own photography style.
“Their works have fed my thoughts on how to illustrate the surreal world while trying to discover myself and attempting to find my own voice,” Krerkburin says.
As a street photographer, Krerkburin has also found that the pandemic has hindered some of his plans, but he is still working on new ways to innovate and create, saying: “It is difficult to go outside so I take pictures by using what is already available for me at home such as taking pictures from the TV screen. I can keep thinking creatively about photography and recording my daily life during this difficult time.”
Fashion has allowed Jay Sebastian Williams to express his ideas more effectively through his brand Empty Brains.
“I wanted to showcase all of the different areas I enjoy and create a more dynamic picture of the Empty Brains world,” Jay, who uses several different mediums when creating art, says.
Using clothing design and fashion photography as well as film and music, the brand seeks to make an immersive experience of creativity.
Jay mainly takes his inspiration from the social, political and environmental crises that he sees around him.
“We the people need to educate ourselves in how we have ended up in this mess,” he says.
Jay has found that the pandemic has reinforced his confidence in working creatively from home, saying: “It has forced me to reconsider my opinions on the future of technology, I have been hesitant to accept many forms of the digital age. But for anyone to thrive in our current situation we need to be willing to accept and learn about the new innovative technology on offer.”
“We see the Showcase as the first step in more widely sharing the rich, vibrant and multidisciplinary practices that define UWE Bristol’s dynamic communities and contribute to our city,” said Jacqueline Butler, Head of School of Art and Design at UWE.
Though the showcase may not have been UWE’s original plans, they see the potential in it to further students’ careers in an exciting way.
Main photo: Clár Tillekens
The showcase will be available to view on August 1 2020, from showcase.uwe.ac.uk