Welcome to the MA Degree Show

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Dr Andrea Medjesi-Jones 

MA Fine Art Course Leader

This academic year was exceptional, and remarkable in so many ways. As an MA Fine Art Course Leader, I had to reconsider and readjust the established approaches to academic curriculum, teaching methods and the interactions with the students by the circumstances brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. As a teaching team, we were amazed by the support and the help we received from our students, and are grateful for the learning that happened as a result of our interactions. As our reality changed through online teaching and contactless support, we as a cohort and a community kept together. The students spurred each other on and found ways to not only deal with the changing circumstances but to excel at it. The challenges made the ambition grow, resulting in one of the best MA Fine Art graduating shows in my career as an academic. 

 

The MA Fine Art teaching team is beyond proud of our students’ achievements, and the inventive and proactive ways of dealing with the precarious nature of our reality. This is noted in the critical and visually compelling content of their work, and the variety of practices that are relevant and contemporary to the times we live in.   

 

Perhaps because and in spite of the pandemic, the human spirit and inventiveness prevailed. I believe the students will agree with me, that the reason for making art is to find humanity and to confirm our individual roles in it. The MA Fine Art 2020 graduating students certainly looked for it, and I can safely say they all found their own way and a place. We wish them good luck for a bright future, and many successes on the way. 

Dr Conor Wilson

Course Leader, MA Ceramics

Postgraduate Coordinator, School of Art

We often talk of building resilience, of being able to live with uncertainty, of failure and risk-
taking. In the last two academic years, these claims were tested in the Covid crucible. Some
of our students took breaks in study and some soldiered on. All have been stoical and
inventive, managing to turn the limits of their individual circumstances to their advantage.
They adapted their production to suit the making spaces and materials that were available.
They found new ways of collaborating across disciplines. They documented brilliantly, both
work in progress and finished work, and used this to disseminate their practices to new
audiences.
A discipline is an ongoing argument and the multi-media, research-inflected work on show,
from students of both the 2019/20 and 2020/21 cohorts, makes a strong case to be
contributing to the definition of new approaches to production in Ceramics. We are very
proud of the work these students have produced and of their attitude to learning in such
difficult circumstances. Their self-motivation and engagement have been remarkable and
their growing independence a joy to behold. We look forward to following their progress –
they will doubtless go on to make their marks in the field. The country needs such open,
curious, inventive and committed people.

 
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Andrew Soutall

Joint Interim Head of School,

Bath School of Design

MA Visual Communication Course Leader

Visual Communication is an interactive and responsive process and in this year of uncertainty the ability to adapt to changing circumstances has been particularly paramount for our students. Communication made whilst physically alone - via screens - is now so ubiquitous that a meeting with several individuals on different continents seems normal, in a way that just a couple of years ago, it really didn’t. The Covid 19 pandemic has led us to re-evaluate and negotiate our physical proximity in many new ways and for this year’s cohort, producing visual communication has required deep thinking, resilience and great patience. The outcomes in this year’s show, have been produced in the face of an unprecedented restriction to campus facilities. The university navigated 14 changes to national rules to keep our doors open as far as possible but inevitably access to workshops, studios, tutors and technicians have been restricted. 

 

Despite this, MA Visual Communication students have persevered through their difficulties and capitalised on their setbacks. They have developed a range of collaborative and individual works that reflect our new normal in individual, distinct and surprising ways, threading reflective, critical, aesthetic and technical nuance into books & zines, moving image, posters, banners and even a chair. 

Anna Gravelle

MA Fashion & Textiles Course Leader

The MA Fashion and Textiles course at Bath School of Design nurtures ambitious and visionary creatives through encouraging the development and extension of existing knowledge and understanding of textiles. The students embrace new technologies as well as craft applications, conduct deep investigation into materials and process, and the challenging of ideas and traditions in the pursuit of a uniquely personal practice and identity. 

 

Our graduates are increasingly visible in the sector, managing their own businesses, exhibiting at key trade shows nationally and internationally, selling designs, products or services to agents and buyers and continuing to innovate and respond to the world around them. 

 

Each year we showcase emerging talent in the discipline, each expressing a unique personal vision. This year’s graduates have responded in varied ways to the challenge posed by the global pandemic. Textiles are understood and encountered through their tactility and materiality. Successive national lockdowns presented a unique challenge to the cohort. This diverse portfolio celebrates their resourcefulness and response, not only to the pandemic, but also towards building a circular textile design practice.  

 

In this unprecedented year we are proud to present the class of 2020/2021. We wish each individual success with their continuing journeys of self-discovery, creativity and invention.

 
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Ben Parry

MA Curatorial Practice Course Leader

MA Curatorial Practice combines theory, history and discussion of current practice with live projects in public spaces. This year’s graduating students have explored a wide range of experimental and interdisciplinary

curatorial strategies that have responded to the dramatic shifts in the politics of curating and exhibition practices due to the coronavirus pandemic. Students debated and worked through the challenges posed by the sudden migration to online platforms and virtual
exhibitions alongside a heightened awareness of inequalities of access, problems of isolation, digital divide among users and audience and the student’s desire to reframe participation in the context of pandemic. Overcoming the obvious limitations and the effects of endurance, our students continued to produce projects that navigated the real and the virtual, engaged new audiences in inventive ways, staging hybrid exhibitions in the Michael Pennie Gallery and the Art Cohort and showcasing the works of

practitioners from MA Fine Art. This small cohort have demonstrated the scope and breadth of what curators
do and the transdisciplinary possibilities of the curatorial both within and beyond the institution. This is further evidenced in their final projects that range from
publishing, research websites, exhibitions and artist residencies, participation and community engagement, and storytelling through objects covering diverse issues
including; women in the workplace, the impact of digital technology on contemporary art and curating, the role of science fiction in shaping curatorial narratives, and the social impact of bringing community together through art to engage their local surroundings.

 

Much of the work undertaken on the course depends on collaboration with public and private galleries, museums, heritage sites, collectors, individual artists,
curators, participants and specialist professionals. We thank all of you.