Major Brighton student exhibition goes online because of pandemic

The final-year showcase for art, design, architecture and media students at the University of Brighton is this year being offered as a largescale online exhibition due to COVID-19.

Tuesday, 16th June 2020, 12:53 pm
Artist Sarah-Louise Koessler
Artist Sarah-Louise Koessler

It can be viewed at: https://artandmediagraduateshow.brighton.ac.uk/ - an exhibition likely to stay up for a year.

Spokesman Richard Newman said: “The show, which is one of the university’s most important events, would usually be held across gallery spaces, catwalks and London design shows. This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, students will be given an opportunity to exhibit their work in virtual exhibition spaces.

“To make it all possible, a website was built from scratch with over 50 staff working hard behind the scenes to upload all of the student exhibitions. The show will also feature live online events including interactive workshops, student discussions and live research focused on art and wellbeing.”

Laura Williams, event services manager at Southcoast Conferences & Events (part of the University of Brighton), said: “It’s kind of like the physical build of the show would be, but rather than hammers and nails, it’s all weblinks and documents!

“There is so much to be excited about in this year’s show. It will be the first digital show, and there will be new opportunities to hear from the students themselves talking about their work, their creative processes, and their personal journeys.”

Work by art, design and media students will be online when the show goes live on June 12. MA graduates will launch their show on July 17, with the school of architecture and design’s undergraduate and postgraduate students displaying their work on a separate website from July 3.

Sophie Walker, illustration BA(Hons) student, has been working on a project called Inside, Looking Out, which asked people from all over the world to send images of their windows and an accompanying quote to describe lockdown. She also created an album Concept Project for Bonobo’s Black Sands.

Sophie said: “The online graduate show is a great opportunity to showcase our degree work during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also a powerful tool that can be used in networking in the arts industries.

“The link can simply be emailed to potential employers, uploaded to LinkedIn profiles or shared around social media so family and friends in all corners of the world can have access. The internet is one of the most important ways to communicate, especially in the lockdown climate of 2020 so I'm very pleased that the university is taking advantage of it.”

Joshua Bell, digital music and sound arts BA(Hons), created an 18-track album called Elephant In The Room, which started off as an exploration into climate anxiety but was shaped by Covid-19 lockdown.

He said: “The entire showcase being in this format has been shaped by our current pandemic and makes it oddly appropriate, or at least contextualises it, that the showcase is online. I feel this adds a certain timeless quality to the show, compared to other academic years, which sits online with the timeless feeling we have been experiencing during lockdown."

Amanda Bright, head of the school of art, said: “The show is a celebration of this year’s graduates’ ideas, creativity and originality – as all graduate shows are, but this year it is also a celebration of their resilience, their tenacity and determination to keep going, despite the extraordinary and world-changing impact of the pandemic.”

Irmi Karl, head of the school of media, added: “This show is therefore as much about the stories behind the work, our students’ professionalism and how they have responded to the challenge of completing their degrees in lockdown, as it is about the work itself.

“They have all been extraordinary, as have all the members of staff that have supported them.”