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Colour & Poetry: A Symposium VI
Colour & Poetry: A Symposium VI, Lesley Sharpe, 2024, poster

Colour & Poetry: A Symposium VI, 21st - 22nd March 2024, is a cross- and inter-disciplinary two-day virtual event held by the Slade School of Fine Art, in celebration of International Colour Day, World Poetry Day and World Pigment Day. The symposium hosts a range of speakers representing the arts and humanities, science, and industry, drawing upon knowledge from within and outside of the UCL community.

This years confirmed speakers include:
Mataio Austin Dean / Miranda Lynn Barnes & Stephen Paul Wren / Sean Borodale / Jane Bustin / Mark Cann / Egidja Čiricaitė / Sara Choudhrey / Rose Davey / David Dobson / Duncan Greig / Lavinia Harrington / Brece Honeycutt / Andy Leak / Alexandra Loske / Sharon Morris / Stephanie Nebbia / Vanessa Otero / Andy Pankhurst / Poetry Shed / Sarah Pettitt / Vaishali Prazmari / Rachel Reynolds & Jo Volley / Robert Rivers / Rose Shuckbrugh / Kimberly Selvaggi / Ruth Siddall / Henrietta Simson / Kirsty Sinclair Dootson/ Paul Smith / Jessie Stevenson / George Szirtes / Estelle Thompson/ Piers Veness /Edward Winters / Yannis Ziogas

Free, book via Eventbrite.

For full details, see the Colour & Poetry: A Symposium VI event page.

Lumen: The Ghosts She Summons, 2021
Lumen: The Ghosts She Summons, 2021, Sutapa Biswas, 2021, C-type print on Fuji Maxima paper, 85.8 x 129 cm

© Sutapa Biswas. All Rights Reserved DACS 2024

Invisible Murmurs: Mapping Invisibility and Belonging in Contemporary British Art, featuring Sutapa Biswas, Sophia Hinton-Lever, Svetlana Sequeira Costa, Dr Nuria Querol and Linsey Young, takes place on Friday 16 February, 11am - 4:30pm.

Venue: Institute of Advanced Studies, Room G11, IAS Common Ground, South Wing, UCL

The event is chaired by Bindu Mehra, Artist and PhD researcher, Professor Kristen Kreider, Head of Doctoral programme, UCL and Dr Marquard Smith, Associate Professor IOE - Culture, Communication & Media, UCL.

There will be a round-table discussion and Q&A session after the presentations.

For more information, see the Invisible Murmurs event page.

Mary Evans receiving A Personal Gesture from Carly Everaert
Mary Evans receiving A Personal Gesture from Carly Everaert, December 2023

Photo credit: Jos Nyreen

The Slade School of Fine Art is pleased to announce that its Director, Mary Evans, has been invited to participate in “A Personal Gesture”, an art project initiated by Dutch artist Rini Hurkmans. The project involves a sculpture based on a detail from Michelangelo’s Pietà in Saint Paul’s Basilica in Rome, which is passed from person to person as a symbol of empathy and connection.

The sculpture, which is a reproduction of the hand of the Virgin Mary reaching out to the viewer, was created by Hurkmans in 2020 as a response to the global pandemic and the social distancing measures that followed. The intention of the project is to pass A Personal Gesture from individual to individual, allowing them to reflect on the gesture and its meaning in different situations and contexts. The project also aims to create a dialogue about how we exist in relation to one another, especially in times of crisis and isolation.

Mary Evans received A Personal Gesture from Dutch lecturer, researcher and costume designer Carly Everaert on 4 December, and the piece will be kept in the Director's Office for a six month period, before passing it on to another person of her choice. During this time, she will document her experience and thoughts on the gesture.

For more information, visit the project website.

MANIFEST: Art & Policy, Bloc Sheffield
MANIFEST: Art & Policy, Bloc Sheffield, Dryden Goodwin, 2023

©Dryden Goodwin

Slade Prof. Dryden Goodwin  is one of the three artists exhibiting in 'MANIFEST: Art & Policy’ at Bloc Projects, Sheffield. Following his residency exploring ‘What role can artists play in policymaking?’ - a new initiative following in the footsteps of the historical Artists Placement Group inquiring into the potentiality of art in Policy Spaces. Other artists in the exhibition are Christopher Samuel and Semiconductor.

The exhibition is open until 16 December 2023.

MANIFEST is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to evaluate artistic approaches and effects relevant for policy, and how artists can work with policymakers to channel those dimensions to improve the process of policymaking.

The residencies and exhibition are curated and produced by SRG Bennett, co-head of Policy Lab within the civil service, a team which seeks to radically improve policy through design, innovation and people-centred approaches.

Photos: Dryden Goodwin from ‘A Day With Mark’ and ‘Sphere(s) of Influence’ 

Jesse Darling at Turner Prize 2023, Towner Eastbourne
Jesse Darling at Turner Prize 2023, Towner Eastbourne, December 2023

Photo Victor Frankowski, Hello Content

Congratulations to alumnus Jesse Darling, winner of this year's Turner Prize. He graduated with a MFA in Fine Art in 2014.

Darling was nominated for his solo exhibitions, Enclosures at Camden Art Centre and No Medals, No Ribbons at Modern Art Oxford. The exhibition of shortlisted artists' work is at Towner Eastbourne until 14 April 2024.

Read about his win in The Guardian.

Mural for Winsor & Newton Mural Project, London Graphic Centre, Covent Garden
Mural for Winsor & Newton Mural Project, London Graphic Centre, Covent Garden, Jessie Stevenson, 2023

Photo: Peter Cattrell

Jessie Stevenson, Material Research Project, Honorary Fellow, has created a wall painting at the London Graphic Centre, Covent Garden for the Winsor & Newton Mural project. She writes:

"My work is inspired by the natural world as a way to explore physical and emotional energies. Built of shifting, bright colour dynamics, the wall painting investigates a sense of escapism as a poetic and philosophical narrative. The expansive piece embodies a feeling of a brooding storm, using bold curvilinearity and applying thin layers of acrylic paint to create an ethereal effect. The clouds and waves are inspired by the tumultuous stormscapes of the Dutch Old Master artists, William van de Velde the Elder and Younger whilst using a contemporary soft colour palette to situate the work today. ‘Loosed from its hold, how no one knew’, 2023. 400 x 300 cm."

UCL East Saturday Club in Art and Design - 3 tone paintings of flowers
UCL East Saturday Club in Art and Design - 3 tone paintings of flowers, November 2023

The UCL East Saturday Club in Art and Design is a free weekly art and design workshop for Years 9,10 and 11 living and/or attending schools in the East of London. For some of these students Art is not on offer for GCSE at their schools.

This term's Saturday Club began on Saturday 4 November 2023 with 25 students, the Slade is leading seven sessions, organised by Sandra Smith, Slade Summer School and Short Course Coordinator. This session involved working with light, making delicate lumen prints alongside classic three tone painting exercises, all with plants.

There are seven sessions, which move through working with light, drawing, geometry and pattern, casting, video, sound, performance and broadcasting. All sessions are intertwined and related to questions about the human/non human.

For more photos, see our Widening Participation page.

Think Pink
Think Pink, Liz Rideal

Slade lecturer Prof. Liz Rideal and alumnae Chila Kumari Singh Burman, Judy Clark, Catherine Elwes, Bhajan Hunjan, Zarina Bhimji, Sutapa Biswas, Mona Hatoum and Anne Tallentire are showing in Women in Revolt! Art and Activism in the UK 1970–1990, 8 November 2023–7 April 2024, at Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG.

Women in Revolt! Is a landmark exhibition of feminist art in the UK from 1970 to 1990. It will explore how interconnected networks of women used radical ideas and rebellious methods to make an invaluable contribution to British culture. Showcasing work by over 100 women artists and collectives living and working in the UK, this will be the first major survey of its kind.

Paper, 2021

photo: Lesley Sharpe

Spineless Wonders of Wales is hybrid event takes place at Y Drwm, NLW/LLGC, Aberystwyth and online, Friday 17 November, 10.00am - 5.30pm.

Spineless Wonders is an international network of artists, writers, academics and librarians, creating and researching small press publications including artists books.

Presenting small press material by small publishers in Wales at NLW/LLGC we will be joined online by presentations of material in the Welsh language from library collections at University College London, UCL and The Institute of Historical Research, School of Advanced Study, University of London.

The aim of the day is to focus attention on these small press collections with poetry readings, film and visual art presentations, discussion panels, and a creative workshop.

FREE, register:

Woburn Square Refurbishment
Woburn Square Refurbishment, 2023

Photo credit: Fred. © Haworth Tompkins

Haworth Tompkins have worked with University College London (UCL), University of London (UoL) and the UCL Slade School of Fine Art to deliver the refurbishment of eight top-lit painting studios in the Bloomsbury area of London. Designed in the 1950s by Charles Holden as gallery spaces for the Courtauld Institute, the studios sit on the top floor of the Warburg Institute building but are accessed by a dedicated entrance and stairwell.  

A glazed roof and laylight ceiling provide filtered natural light, creating ideal conditions for painting and sculpture, while retaining maximum available wall space for display. 

The spaces have been called ‘home’ by generations of students at the Slade. Haworth Tompkins have refined and refreshed the interiors with respect for the integrity of the original design. New heating, lighting and ventilation systems are carefully incorporated to improve the studio’s energy efficiency and user comfort to contemporary building standards.

These sensitive refinements give the studios a new lease of life, providing refreshed creative spaces for generations of students to come. 

Mary Evans, May 2023
Mary Evans, May 2023

Photo credit: Christa Holka

We are delighted to welcome Mary Evans as new Slade Director, who started on 4 October. To get to know her better, we asked her five questions:

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your practice?
    My research interrogates the social and political frameworks of Diaspora. I work mainly on large scale site and research responsive installations. My main medium is paper which I use because it is both fragile and resilient and is a metaphor for the investigations at the core of my practice which involves making the Black Body visible. I deploy craft-based processes and my work is often ephemeral and temporary.

  2. What was your previous role and what did it involve?
    Previously I was the BA Fine Art Course Leader at Chelsea College of Arts/UAL. I led the staff team in the running of the course and was also a personal tutor for 30 students a year. I particularly enjoyed teaching in year 1 when students are starting on their creative learning journey. I consider teaching to be part of my practice as an artist. Before Chelsea I was an associate lecturer at CSM where I taught on the BA Fine Art XD pathway as a personal tutor.

  3. What is your vision for the Slade?
    At the core of my vision for the Slade is to strengthen equity in relation to staff and students and reduce barriers to inclusion and progress. I want to nurture and strengthen the diverse voices and experiences that make up the community of practice at the Slade.

  4. Which artists do you admire?
    Kara Walker, Zanele Muholi, Carrie Mae Weems, El Anatsui, Sonia Boyce.

  5. What advice would you give to artists starting their careers?
    Say ‘yes’ to opportunities, apply for opportunities: open calls, residencies, calls for papers etc. Even if you may not be immediately successful, you never know who will see and remember your work and contact you in the future.
Poster for Grace Lee: Fitting Room at Huxley Parlour
Poster for Grace Lee: Fitting Room at Huxley Parlour, 2023

Grace Lee has a solo show, Fitting Room, at Huxley Parlour, 45 Maddox Street, London W1S 2PE, from 25 October - 25 November 2023.

Grace Lee completed their MFA in 2021 and was awarded the Bartolomeu dos Santos Award in 2021. They said: "The award really has been such a help since graduating, and allowed me to keep working as an artist without constant financial pressure".

Installation view of Jesse Darling, Enclosures, at Camden Art Centre 2022.  
Installation view of Jesse Darling, Enclosures, at Camden Art Centre 2022.  

Photos by Eva Herzog. Courtesy of Camden Art Centre

Congratulations to Jesse Darling, who has been nominated for the Turner Prize 2023 for his solo exhibitions No Medals, No Ribbons at Modern Art Oxford and Enclosures at Camden Art Centre.

An exhibition of shortlisted artists' work is now showing at Towner Eastbourne, East Sussex, from 28 September 2023 to 14 April 2024. The winner will be announced on 5 December 2023 at an award ceremony in Eastbourne’s Winter Gardens.

0º00 Navigation Part II: A Journey Across Europe and Africa
0º00 Navigation Part II: A Journey Across Europe and Africa, Simon Faithfull, 2023

©the artist

This installation, part of the public art project, The Line, forms part of a body of work called 0º00 Navigation by artist Simon Faithfull. It relates to two epic journeys he undertook in order to trace the 0° line of longitude (the Greenwich Meridian) across the planet. It seeks to explore the paradoxes and absurdities of this hypothetical line.

Two films documenting Faithfull’s journeys, available on The Line webpage, will also be on show at Cody Dock Gallery Saturdays and Sundays 1-5pm, until 1 October.

Study for Crivelli’s Garden, 1990‑91
Study for Crivelli’s Garden, 1990‑91, Paula Rego, 1990‑91, Indian ink and wash on paper, 29.5 × 40.5 cm

Courtesy Ostrich Arts Ltd and Victoria Miro © Ostrich Arts Ltd

More than 30 years after Dame Paula Rego (1935–2022), the National Gallery’s first Associate Artist (1990–92), was invited to create a mural for the Sainsbury Wing Dining Room, a new exhibition celebrates the relationship of one of the most ambitious of Rego’s public commissions titled Crivelli’s Garden to the National Gallery and its collection.

Room 46, National Gallery, London until 29 October 2023, admission free.

Creative Visual Arts Network England (CVAN) Art is Essential banner
Creative Visual Arts Network England (CVAN) Art is Essential banner, 2023

Ahead of party conference season, a coalition of creative and higher education organisations have launched their #ArtIsEssential Creative Education Manifesto, calling on all political parties to commit collectively to restoring creative arts education.

The manifesto asks have been co-created by the Contemporary Creative Visual Arts Network (CVAN) a coalition of creative and higher education groups representing the whole of the UK, higher education institutions, arts and crafts sectors all operating and committed to the #ArtIsEssential campaign mission, including the Slade.

For more information see the Contemporary Visual Arts Network England website.

Download the Creative Education Manisfesto (pdf)

Prof. Duncan Greig (left), Rachel Reynolds (right)
Prof. Duncan Greig (left), Rachel Reynolds (right), 2023

We are pleased to announce that this year's Scientist in Residence is Duncan Greig, professor of genetics in the Centre for Life’s Origins and Evolution (CLOE). He is the sixth Slade Scientist in Residence.

This year's Conservator in Residence is Rachel Reynolds. She is in her final year of the MSc Conservation for Archaeology and Museums at UCL’s Institute of Archaeology. Her primary research throughout the first year of the program has been on pigment analysis, particularly ancient Egyptian pigments.

Find out more on the Material Research Project blog pages.

Film still from Together with Lorenza Mazzetti
Film still from Together with Lorenza Mazzetti, 2023

©Brighid Lowe

The London premiere of Together with Lorenza Mazzetti (2023), a new documentary by Brighid Lowe, based on candid interviews given when Lorenza was 90, takes place on 13 September at BFI Southbank.

Together with Lorenza Mazzetti will screen with the first attested public screening of Lorenza’s second film The Country Doctor (1953), based on Kafka, lost until now. In Together with Lorenza Mazzetti she talks about the film for the first time. 

Following the screening of Together with Lorenza Mazzetti and The Country Doctor, Brighid Lowe and researcher Henry K. Miller will take part in a discussion with Carol Morley (Dreams of a Life, The Falling).

Lorenza Mazzetti (1927-2020) is best known as a filmmaker for Together (1956), which is included in a separate programme on the same evening along with her debut short K (1953). In recent years Lorenza Mazzetti has been recognised for her books London Diary, a memoir of the 1950s, and The Sky is Falling, recently republished in a beautiful edition by Another Gaze Editions.

Joint tickets for the screenings on 13 September are available for a special price (you must phone or physically present yourself at the BFI box office for this offer): book via the BFI website.

Old Lifeboat House, Blakeney Point

Slade Scientist in Residence 2023-24, Duncan Greig, led an avant garde of ten artists and biologists to UCL’s field station in the remote Old Lifeboat House on Blakeney Point in Norfolk. The group spent two days exploring similarities between scientific and artistic practices, creating new connections and ideas for future collaborations, and making some novel artworks inspired by the place and the occasion. Outputs included paper and pigments made from algae, phytograms and 16mm film images, ceramics and assemblages of materials found on the beach, and, of course, paintings and sketches of the inspiring landscape. A common theme was the representation of genetics, evolution, and ecology in art, and the group enjoyed putting many of new ideas into practice. We hope to make this a regular annual event. 

"I loved every second of this trip, but what I was most excited about was a simple method we developed that to make artwork by an evolutionary process inspired by both biological inheritance and traditional drawing exercises. It’s absolutely thrilling to be able to make connections like this across such diverse disciplines." —Duncan Greig  
"I visit Blakeney often, including an annual field class for biology students. Spending a few days there with a bunch of talented and insightful artists has given me a whole new perspective on the place. At times it was challenging—particularly taking part in speed-drawing exercises—but I’ve been awakened to subtle but important details in the landscape and ecology that I’ve never noticed before. Since leaving Blakeney, I’ve been working with one of the artists to research the use of algae in paper making. I’m concerned about the increased frequency of algal blooms at Blakeney and the potential ecological impact of these. Our research suggests that there is a long lost history of paper making using some freshwater algal species, and understanding the biology of the algae is important for the process. I’m looking forward to more paper making experiments, and hopefully some new ways of visualising how algal populations are changing over time." —Izzy Bishop  
"I really enjoyed the experience and the friendly and collaborative atmosphere has given me so much food for thought. It was great to see how people explored their artistic and scientific interests in the unique landscape of Blakeney Point. I learnt from other people’s practices, such as experimental approaches to making art materials from elements found in the landscape and how vintage photographic processes can offer an alternative perspective of the contemporary environment. The trans-disciplinary dialogues were really helpful, and I had some interesting and exciting conversations about making collaborative artworks about ecological and evolutionary change." —Mary Yacoob 
"Despite my childhood holidays being spent with my family in Blakeney, this trip to the Far Point opened up a whole new perspective. In particular learning about; the geological terrain, migratory species and the ever-changing landscape of North Norfolk. I am interested to explore artistic devices found in the emotive handling of colour and nature, so the conversations and collaborative group exercises between the ecologists, scientists, artists and pigment specialist was extremely insightful. I look forward to evolving this poetic, outdoor period back in the studio and will use my sketchbook ‘colour beginnings’ to expand my ideas, inspired by this wild and moving environment." —Jessie Stevenson  
"Bringing a small box of art materials to Blakeney Point I had no preconceived notion or plan of how it would be or what I would make. I found that spending time in such a strange and intriguing landscape with a great group of people to be a real privilege. Many interesting things were discussed and formed in dunes, waves, mud and at dinner table. I am particularly excited to be coming away with ideas for a collaborative project exploring algae as a paper-making material." —Rob Rivers