Charting Talent: Degree Shows to See this Summer

Amidst the season of Degree Shows, students across the UK are finalising and displaying their works as part of a nationwide collective of talent. With a constant flow of emerging innovators from a range of highly-ranked universities, we compile a list of institutions to visit in order to witness the steps the artists are making from research-based practice into the larger ecosystem of the arts industry.

Leeds College of Art, until 26 May and opens again 11-16 June,
Leeds College of Art is celebrating 170 years of delivering art education by hosting an innovative collection of final year student work at our end of year shows, entitled Made Here. The free exhibitions are open to all and give visitors the opportunity to view the latest creative talent from across the College, whilst buildings are transformed into large scale exhibition spaces.

Swansea College of Art UWTSD, until 3 June,

The Swansea College of Art Summer Shows 2016 allows audiences to peer through the college’s creative windows to witness the emergence of a body of graduates from a wide range of disciplines who have combined the highest standards of knowledge and skill to create works of outstanding artistry and design. The work of each graduate is unique yet they are interwoven to create a rich creative tapestry; on display is the culmination of countless hours of hard work by the graduates themselves and the dedicated tutors and technicians who have supported and guided them over three or four years of study.

Norwich University of the Arts, 1-8 June,
The Degree Shows at Norwich are an annual event which provide an opportunity for the public to see the work of over 500 new graduates. Works on display include paintings and illustrations, fashion garments and textile patterns, architectural drawings and models, sculptures, photographs, short films and animations, portfolios of graphic design work and video game demos. Based upon passion and individuality throughout their range of courses, this year’s edition promises to showcase a breadth of creative ability.

Nottingham Trent University, 4-11 June,
The week-long event unites the creative force of just over 1300 final-year students in subjects spanning visual arts, photography and graphic design; fashion, knitwear and textile design; fashion management, marketing and communication; theatre, media, film and costume design; as well as architecture, interiors, product and furniture design. The BA (Hons) Photography course also stages a city-wide festival of final-year work, now in its 20th year. The 2016 event, titled Emerge, showcases the photography of almost 100 graduating students and runs from 23 May to 4 June.

University of Derby, until 11 June,
The Big Show is a series of live events and exhibition across the city of Derby, offering visitors a unique opportunity to experience the very best of emerging contemporary art and design practice from final year students. Exploring the issues and subjects of today’s world, the rich expression from years of study also looks ahead, predicting and setting the trends of tomorrow.

Loughborough University, 4-12 June,
This dynamic and multifaceted exhibition will feature painting, illustration, sculpture, photography, film, and animation, as well as graphic, textile, and video game design. Based upon the ethos of challenging convention, this year promises to be no exception as their students apply the talents and skills they have developed in an open and supportive studio- and practice-based environment, underpinned by rigorous theoretical and critical debate.

Newcastle University, 4-17 June, 
This year’s exhibition will exist across two venues this year, spanning the Newcastle University Fine Art Department and the Hancock Museum. As the culmination of four years’ work, the exhibition promises huge variation, featuring artwork across painting, printmaking, sculpture, performance, moving image and sound. Each artist has spent valued time exploring different avenues of artistic expression, arriving at this final exhibition with the ability to investigate and reflect upon their subject matter with skill and intent, producing resolute pieces of work.

Hereford College of Art, 11-18 June,
Photography Degree study at Hereford College of Arts is an established course that aims to foster every single student to develop their own voice within photographic practice underpinned by an understanding of the history of the medium and its role in a personal, social and global context. The Summer Show provides an important platform for students and is a time of celebration and fresh opportunity and adventure as they prepare to move on.  Many will be going to work within the creative industries, starting businesses, preparing for further study or entering the many other forms of employment that benefit from the valuable skills developed through creative education.

Bath Spa University, 11-19 June,
Based around innovation and inspiration and founded more than 160 years ago, the School continues its founding principle through the education of the next generation of artists and designers and those employed in associated fields with active engagement and contribution to the thriving UK creative economy. An exciting showcase for the work of the graduating students at Bath Spa include Creative Arts, Contemporary Arts Practice, Fashion Design, Fine Art, Graphic Communication, Photography, Textiles for Fashion and Interiors, and Three Dimensional Design.

Plymouth College of Art, 11-24 June,

The end of year art show at Plymouth College of Art sees the college transform into a dynamic public exhibition space, free to visit and explore, with curated works from students across our Undergraduate and Pre­Degree programmes. Bold concepts and fresh techniques, across an eclectic range of mediums both modern and traditional are to be expected, and with many students still finalising their works for the show, the time has come to reveal the first glimpses of work by some of the college’s most ambitious, innovative and technically brilliant graduates.

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, 21-23 June,
Drawing from past and present approaches to performance design, Scenography courses at the school are concerned with exploring dynamic and innovative interplays between the body, space and time further informed by a variety of disciplines including sculpture, digital media, puppetry, choreography, film, architecture and sound. For one week, MA/MFA students develop their final projects in the live context of an open studio exhibition, with works changing through an evolutionary process during the week.

Kensington and Chelsea College, 24 June-1 July,
The exhibition will be held in the Hortensia Gallery on the ground floor of the Chelsea Building and on the ground and top floor of the Carlyle building next door. KCC attracts an extensively diverse student body that brings with it an incredible wealth of perspective and experience to increasingly successful and accomplished courses. These works will be distributed across the Chelsea site, from BA and MA courses alike.

1. Mark Rothberg, Mandala (2016). Courtesy of the artist and Hereford College of Art.
2. Anna Strain, Untitled (2016). Photo Credit: Phil Wilson. Courtesy of Loughborough University.
3. Jessica Richardson, Untitled (2016). Photo Credit: Phil Wilson. Courtesy of Loughborough University.
4. Daniel Woodward, Untitled. (2016). Model: Tiffany Jade Holland, Make-Up Artist: Leah Roper. Photo Credit: Daniel Woodward, BA (Hons) Photography, NTU 2016. Courtesy of NTU.
5. Emma Oliver, We Were Just Thinking (2016). Courtesy of the artist and Newcastle University.