A visitor looking at 'Passages' during the Private View


The Degree Show goes to London!
On the 3rd July, a few of us went to HCA to help the tutors to load the hired van with our work then headed up to London to meet them and our work at The Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, where it would be shown at Free Range 2019 with Degree Show work from other top art institutions at one of the largest graduate shows in Europe.

On arrival in London I - eventually, and very hotly having been misdirected to the hotel - checked into the Holiday Inn about 1 mile away from Brick Lane, where I would be staying for the duration of the show. Then a dash to The Old Truman Brewery where we were due to meet the tutors and start setting up. What an extraordinary space - it's huge. Unlike some of the other students, I hadn't been before and was absolutely amazed by the building; a mass of huge interlinked areas (I never did find my way around) on 2 floors + in a wonderful, vibrant part of London.

Setting up (once we'd manhandled all the work up to the first floor and C5T in the one lift available and shared by all, where we were showing) was a nightmare - 2 days of non-stop intense physical - and mental - exertion and one of those situations when I thought that there was no way I'd get finished in time and was tempted to run away crying...Anyway, miraculously, and with invaluable help and support from our tutors and the 2 incredibly patient and helpful, on-hand husbands/partners (a heartfelt thank you, Ant and Christopher), we had our space up together (complete with ingenious pallet bar erected by Dan, our Course Leader) with time to spare before the Private View. This wasn't due to start until the evening of Thursday 4th, giving us all a welcome opportunity to head back to our various bases to recharge and change and, in some cases, have a welcome drink!

A very interesting aspect of taking the Degree Show to Free Range was having to adapt our work to a new and very different environment and space. A great learning opportunity. Mine had to be different anyway as it took me 5 days to set up my installation at HCA and I had neither the time, nor the wallpaper (or the inclination), to repeat that. I was concerned that it would be a very poor second best for that but was ultimately pleasantly surprised by how well the far more minimal installation worked. To conserve the small amount of wallpaper I had left, I worked around where the work would go leaving spaces for them to hang. Wasn't quite sure to make of it when tutor, Celia, suggested that it actually looked far more exciting without the work! (Although I could see what she meant and it started me thinking about the concept of absence for my MA work...)

The Private View was very exciting and almost overwhelming - so many exhibits; so much brilliant and inspiring artwork of every kind under one roof, it was hard to believe we were a part of it. Colours, lights, sound and people everywhere and some extraordinary characters! We were pleased with how our room worked and had some very encouraging feedback about our space with some people saying it was their favourite! The PV went on until 10 whereupon several students and tutors carried on partying with many regretting it the next day!

The exhibition itself ran until Monday 8th, with all of us taking turns to invigilate. It was a fantastic experience and I was so glad we decided to persevere with the fundraising after a couple of shaky meetings. I met some lovely people, had some inspiring and interesting talks with other artists and received a lot of very positive and helpful feedback. It was great to share the experience with the other students - we all got along so well and it was a wonderfully mutually supportive group - in such an incredibly exciting and vibrant part of London. I wouldn't have missed it and learned a lot from being there.

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