I was lucky enough to have a look around this year’s summer graduation show for the School of Art, Design and Media and the School of Creative Technologies on Friday before the opening and despite having high aspirations for the work was completely blown out of the water with the creativity and quality of work on show. The summer show is always a key event in the city’s creative calendar with hundreds of students exhibiting their final year work in a wide variety of subjects such as photography, graphic design, illustration, fine art, etc. In keeping with the way the world works these days no longer is it enough for students to just produce their final piece or works but many have to actually plan, organise, fundraise and set up their exhibitions too, gaining invaluable experience in what goes in to putting on an exhibition. Also, many of these course mini exhibitions within the main exhibition will travel up to London for an exhibition there too, profiling the work of the University of Portsmouth students to a much larger audience.
As it seems to be every year, it was a hot, sunny day and the Eldon building, well the older part, creates a very warm atmosphere, particularly when everyone arrives. The new building only a few days before began to be unveiled a little, with a corner now showing from behind the curtain of scaffolding and which will be home to new exhibition and gallery spaces. For this year though the work was spread across different floors, split by course. I started viewing illustration which this year has moved much more in to different, creative directions including incorporating photography and graphics. This course had some great work including thoughtful concepts, creative partnerships and interesting ideas. There were also many pieces directly and indirectly about Portsmouth which is always amazing to see. It is a real sign of students no longer passing through the city for 3 years but becoming part of the creative community and connecting with the city and it’s wider community. Many students are now staying in Portsmouth after graduation and starting new businesses or working locally which is awesome for the city in many different ways.
Down many flights of stairs and in to the basement, in to the home of the graphic design exhibition. The basement was not too long ago the dark home of computer animation but graphic design really made great use of the space with their works split, with posters on the walls, books in display cases and other works and books available to look through. This course just seems to go from strength to strength each year and I loved the books in particular, combining interesting forms and layouts including intriguing subjects with striking typography and photography.
Finally I spent some time exploring the photography exhibition entitled Show 2013. We have featured some of the graduates who had work in the show previously on Strong Island but to see the whole exhibition in the flesh, rather than images online, was pretty incredible. The concepts were fascinating and varied, delving in to and exploring personal lives of the graduates themselves, family, strangers, places and even animals, spanning different time frames and perspectives. Every single graduate produced something special helping form an exhibition that, in my view, was the best in years within the university and one of the best in the city as a whole for a long time. I only managed to have time for a quick look at Fine Art and was really interested in the concepts behind a couple of the installations and wanted to spend more time exploring.
We’ll be profiling the work of many of these graduates individually over the next week or two but for now get a glimpse of the exhibition as a whole with the photos below.
To have a look yourself the exhibition is open until the 14th June.