Degree Show 2014 – Opening Day Success

Saturday 24th May saw the grand opening of the 24th Degree Show for the Fine Art, Creative Events and Music at the University of Kent.

Open until June 2nd, Free to attend.

DSC_0309_compressedThe event which showcases the work of almost 50 undergraduate and postgraduate students at the School of Music and Fine Art, opened to the inaugural private viewing at 2pm on Saturday, 24th May.  The show is now open to the public and free to attend, with Fine Art installations located amind the magnificent Slip3 Mezzanine, with Creative Events and Music Students having work DSC_0429_compressedacross the Engingeering Workshop and The Smitheries.

Guest speakers, renowned artist Humphrey Ocean and Artistic Director of the Huddersfield Music Festival, Graham McKenzie opened the event officially, providing some amusing annecdotes and useful insights for the students. You can read about their speeches below. Also Sarah Turner and Tim Meacham took time to thank colleagues and congratulate the students on their achievements and the students themselves gave their appreciation to everyone who helped with the Degree Show arrangements for 2014.

View a few of the students conversations about their work, their set up and their onward expectations for their careers on the School of Music and Fine Art You Tube channel or on our Facebook page.

Not only were the Fine Art BA and MA students exhibiting some amazing installations, but the Creative Events students were showcasing some of their presentations, videos and models, and the Music students entertained guests with an array of genres throughout the afternoon.

Open until Monday June 2nd, open to the public and free to attend, the Degree Show concludes with a special and unique addition for 2014 – an ‘Education Day’, where schools and collegess are encouraged to contact us for the chance to get workshops and talks as well as take part in activities that give younger budding artists the joy of art as well as showcase the wonderful facilties that students at the University enjoy.

DSC_0246_Compressed Humphrey Ocean:
“The world is alright, because there are still art schools. Arts schools are where you are taught ‘nothing’ but your learn everything”

“ You are just about to enter the weird bit of your lives, the next 70 years”

“Another misnomer about art, is that you love art. Anyone can love art, take Tate Modern, it’s the most popular visitor attraction in England apparently. It makes you want to go home and say ‘that show ‘em’ – it’s not a love, it’s a need.”

“If you are artist and going to make your life as an artist, it is because you have no alternative. Its not a career choice. You have got to want to make, more than anything, is another day where you can just go into the studio and close the door, so you can craft without someone coming in and saying ‘this is how you should have done it’. You want to make mistakes, get it wrong, make it bad, make it smell, then the world will catch up and say that smells good.”
“Welcome aboard, it is a breathtaking way to live your life, even if it does take you breath away sometimes. I wish you the best of luck.”
DSC_0253_compressedGraham McKenzie:

Many thanks to Tim and Claudia for inviting me to this 24th degree show and this amazing complex of buildings. Walking round this show, I am greatly encouraged to see art from the various disciplines coming together because I really believe that divisions between the art forms is no longer relevant. I read an article in the Guardian today that was persuasive article that talks about cross genre work as a way to grow interest and culture as a way as far as audience are concerned. We have seen artist from film winning the Turner Prize and a visual artists that uses human voice as her instrument and is her artwork, and its only a matter time I believe before a composer wins a Turner Prize.

Many of the younger generation of artists and composers that I work  with are comfortable being in gallery setting working in installations, as well as writing or performing in a more traditional concert hall or setting.

Another thing that struck me as I walked around this show earlier, as well as the quality of work and the innovation, the thing that was most pleasing was the individual voices, for me really stood out. I think whatever genre you are working in art, its that individuality that’s important. Follow your vision, your belief and when you leave the education establishment its tough to follow that through. You need that all important break. You need luck but you can make your own luck to certain extent.

There are people there like me, outside that walls of education whose responsibility it is to seek out emerging talent to help you articulate and facilitate your vision. It’s about building working relationships and finding the curators and programmers out there that believe in you and your work.

It can be soul destroying when your sending things away and your fired up about a project, and you’re not getting the responses when your are approaching galleries or festivals or concert halls. Don’t be disheartened when you are approaching people and you are not getting an instant response, they probably are subconsciously aware of you. Keep politely sending stuff in and it will seep through.

To end, my congratulations to you regarding the standard of work in this exhibition and the work in the buildings around. It will be my pleasure to work with many of you in the future.







New Research Grant Award from Arts Council England

Arts Council England Grant for Arts for School of Music and Fine Art’s Shona Illingworth

Shona Illingworth, Fine Art Lecturer at the School of Music and Fine Art has been awarded an Arts Council England Grant for the Arts award for her ongoing art project developed in collaboration with John Tulloch, survivor of the 7/7 London Bombing (2005).

The project explores how an ‘embodied experience’ of the attack and the affects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder intersect with one of the powerful and insidious affects of the bombings on the complex and multiple imaginings of the city: the mapping of a new topography of latent threat and fear onto space.

216 Westbound is produced by Animate Projects and the first exhibitions of work will take place at CGP Gallery London in July 2014 and at Phoenix Leicester in September 2014.

Shona will discuss the project with Professor John Tulloch and Professor Andrew Hoskins, at the forthcoming symposium Anxious Places: angst, environments and affective contamination, on 26th June 2014 at Central Saint Martins’ College, University of the Arts. London.

ACEForthcoming events include a symposium at the School of Music and Fine Art, University of Kent and a forum and screening at LV21, Gillingham, further details will be available in September 2014.

Counting down and setting up

Time is tick in the lead up to the Final Year Degree Show 2014

With 5 days to go until the Private Viewing signifying the grand opening of the long awaited Degree Show, Monday 19th May saw the start of a very busy week for Final Year students of Fine Art, Creative Events and Music at the University of Kent.

As work progresses to get everything ready in time for the first (private) viewing of the Degree Show, fine artists, musician and creative events students are getting their work and performances ready.  Some have been marked already and many are still under assessment.

Fine Art work got hoisted to the magnificent Mezzanine floor of the Slip 3 at the Historic Dockyard Chatham, where the Degree Show final installations for the Fine Art students will be exhibited. View the I AM Present video of Day 1 here.

We managed to get some sneak previews of the work going up today, and chatting with the students, some of them reveal to us their inspirations for their work.

We will join the students later in the week for a final look at their exciting preparations.

Degree Show
IAM Presents

School of Music and Fine Art Facebook
School of Music and Fine Art Twitter
School of Music and Fine Art YouTube

20140520_130132 20140520_123159 20140520_122711 20140520_122345 20140520_120841 20140520_120808

Introducing a unique addition to The Degree Show 2014 – Our new ‘Education Day’

To celebrate the conclusion of their final year Degree Show 2014, the School of Music and Fine Art at the University of Kent is hosting an a unique opportunity for school aged children to join us on inspiring and fun Education Day.

The Degree Show is open to the public 25th-26th May and 29th May until Monday 2nd June. The final day we are open for groups of school children (accompanied by their teachers) to provide an exciting overview of the show, the School and our facilities.Advert-image_cmprsd

Designed to provide inspiration and promote liasions with local and regional schools, the Education Day is for children of Reception Year to Year 13.

Date: Monday 2nd June 2014
Time: 10.00-12.00 or 1.00-3.00pm
Location: Chatham Historic Dockyard
Age suitability: Year R – Year 13

There will be a guided trail and tour of the Fine Art Degree Show exhibition and a practical, age-appropriate workshop run by University of Kent Fine Art students. Workshop plans available beforehand.  Attendees are welcome to bring packed lunches to eat beforehand/afterwards.

Schools who would like more information or who wish to book onto this event should email
Please indicate group number and age of group when getting in touch.

‘Imagine Sheppey’ art project in Kent

A series of art workshops on the Isle of Sheppey is providing an opportunity for young people to present their own vision of their lives – past, present and future.


University sociologists team up with art group to provide art workshops for young people on Sheppey. The workshops, at various locations on Sheppey, will enable the young people to imagine their futures by making use of a variety of simple art techniques. The workshops are part of an ongoing research project, titled Imagine Sheppey  that has already seen many of the Isle’s young people describe their hopes and ambitions for the future in a collection of essays.

A team from Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research is working with art collective ‘Tea’  and Sheppey’s Blue Town Heritage Centre  during May to stage the workshops, which are taking place in locations representing residential, leisure, work and public space. The young people taking part are working with the artists to imagine their futures and use the art techniques to transform the well-known places into something new. The results will be photographed and videoed to form a new vision of Sheppey and its future.

Head of the Creative Events programme at the School of Music and Fine Art, Peter Hatton, also a member of ‘Tea’, said:
‘This project will provide an opportunity for the young people of Sheppey to use multimedia methodologies to present a new vision of their community and future lives.

The identity of any place is very much the result of the interweaving of people’s lives with their physical environment, and Imagine Sheppey will provide a fascinating documentary insight into the way young people think about their lives.’

The Imagine Sheppey project is part of a five-year research programme titled Connected Communities, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. This national project, running from 2013 to 2017, brings together a range of different research projects involving universities and their communities.

Dr Dawn Lyon, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University, said: ‘Imagine Sheppey is a research project about how young people – 16 and 17 years old and on the brink of their adult lives – imagine their futures.‘We want to explore young people’s ideas about the future, working with them in selected places, and also perhaps provide them with the opportunity and scope to think differently about things they may have taken for granted.’


Students offered Forest Studio residency

Stour Valley Arts offers two students residencies at their new ‘Forest Studio’ facility.


We are delighted to announce that two 2nd Year Fine Art students, Nadeen Abulla and Maegan Newbury who are taking the ‘Place and Site’ module have been offered residencies to work in the Stour Valley Art’s new Forest Studio facility in King’s Wood near Canterbury, Kent.

The University of Kent partners with Stour Valley Arts (SVA), who work in collaboration with artists, arts organisations, scientists and health professionals, environmental organisations and other stakeholders to create high quality, community based art that engages with the public in the natural environment.

Opened in February 2014, SVA created their ‘Forest Studio’ facility on the edge of King’s Wood for artists to use for short residencies.

Kings Wood is 1,500 acre forest, managed by Forest Enterprise for conservation, recreation and timber production in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Since 1994, Stour Valley Arts (SVA) has commissioned artists to make sculptures within the forest and also other kinds or artwork. Artists who are particularly responsive to the nature of this working forest are invited to spend long periods there.

“Forest Studio is for artists working in any art form and is interested in process rather than production.
It is with great pleasure that SVA can offer Forest Studio to 1 or 2 students upon completion of the ‘Place and Site’ module. The selection of artists for this opportunity is led by vitality of thinking with regards site-related practice and a feeling for how beneficial the residency will be to that artist’s future development”
said SVA Curator Dan Howard-Birt

Students studying on the Fine Art programme, whom, having completed the module ‘Place and Site’ are assessed for the award based on the strength of their work throughout the module. However, all students at the School can apply to take part in the residency.

Dan Howard-Birt reveals the module’s relevancy to their programme “Stour Valley Arts sees ‘Place and Site’ as an important learning framework which explores and tests the possibilities for art and art- oriented leaning beyond the gallery or museum. For 20 years King’s Wood, Challock has provided resource and inspiration for artists to undertake research-oriented residencies, to manifest sculpture and to host dance, performance and film events”

There is no charge to take this residency, and it provides a fantastic additional learning experience for students with an interest in this genre. We look forward to seeing what fabulous work is created in this stunning environment by Nadeen and Maegan.

‘Hear the City’ App produced at the Dockyard, will be heard in Brussels.

Hear the CityFollowing her visit to the NEM Summit in France last October, Kate Halsall, Lecturer in Music Performance and Audio Arts has begun a research project and has just finished recording an App in the Foundry (@Foundry) at the School of Music and Fine Art, called ‘Hear the City’.

This is part of an Artist in Residency programme with Stromatolite, a partner in the ICT and Art Connect project, funded by the European Commission FP7 Programme, for the purpose of fostering collaboration between ICT and Art. Hear the City takes random snapshots of social activity from specific localities through the conversion of Twitter feeds into musical notation, creating a reflection on both the endless invisible streams of metadata and the visible comments we throw out into the world.

Incorporating projections showing the origins of the Tweets and feeds, real time Instagram pictures and synthesised text to note sounds, the installation is accompanied by a live recital of the translated incoming texts by concert pianist Kate Halsall. Shifting effortlessly between the poignant and the humourous, this unique combination of analogue and digital, live performance and generative music, shines a compelling spotlight onto our social world.

This project begun at the NEM Summit in 2013 and the results will be premiered on 12th May at the Sigma Orionis event, The ICT and Art Connect at the European Commission in Brussels, May11-12.

Further Reading…

Connecting Art and Technology: European trends and forward looking
A FET-ART panel will present the major findings of the project, delivering recommendations to the European Commission and outlining new research venues and best practices. The panel is made of: Marta Arniani (Sigma Orionis); Camille Baker (Brunel University); Lucas Evers (Waag Society); Svetlana Kondakova (Black Cube Collective); Michela Magas (Stromatolite). The session is moderated by Roger Torrenti. 

ICT & Art Connect
Sigma Orionis

Sounds New Festival welcomes ‘boundary-trashing’ Icebreaker Ensemble to Canterbury.

Coming to Canterbury campus on Saturday May 3rd, is ‘Icebreaker Ensemble’.
As part of their new tour called ‘Kraftwork Uncovered’, produced by Third Ear, features School of Music and Fine Art Assistant Lecturer for Music (guitar), James Woodrow and new Assistant Lecturer Rowland Sutherland (flute).

Sounds New Festival is annual event, with the University’s Music Department as partner the Festival will bring two vibrant headline concerts to the Colyer-Fergusson Building in Canterbury. Regular campus visitors the Brodsky Quartet also return on Thursday 8 May.

Icebreaker Ensemble will be here in a performance of Brian Eno’s Apollo for all Mankind, as well as the premiere of composer Ed Bennett’s Suspect Device and music by Julia Wolfe.

Find out more about all the events happening on the Sounds New website.