Celebrating student success


At this year’s professionally curated exhibition, visitors had the chance to see a range of innovative practices and captivating media created by our BA (Hons) Fine Art and BA (Hons) Art and Design final-year students.

School of Art

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The Inspired Festival, now into its fourth year, showcased the exceptional creative talent of all of the students across the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media. The Festival celebrated the wealth of creative talent being nurtured and developed in the region, with visitors including key industry contacts and members of the public.

During the Festival our Grade 1 listed building showcased a diverse collection of student work including: print, painting, sculpture, installation and much more. The exhibition expressed our students’ critically informed ideas in responses to local, national and international issues in a range of creative, inspiring and engaging ways.

As part of the Festival, Birmingham School of Art held the annual celebration evening, inviting key industry contacts to view the work and present sponsored prizes. School awards included Outstanding Academic Achievement, Dissertation and Studentship Awards with a number coming from key industry partners such as the Ikon Gallery, Pip Seymore Painting Prize and the Cass Art Prize.

BA (Hons) Art and Design student Larissa Shaw was awarded both the Outstanding Academic Achievement and the IKON Gallery Prize. Discussing the IKON prize, Larissa said afterwards:

Larissa then went on to discuss her work ‘Flesh Party’, which can be seen in the gallery below: “The inspiration of my work began with 'trying to make a material move in the most fun and efficient way'.

“My interest in 1990s club culture, such as Hacienda, soon became the foreground of my work. Initially I was exploring a bodily material that would be safe to cover a wall of speakers in a club. My experiences in clubs often met party seekers with metal poles and concrete walls - not the most safe of materials for club goers - so I tried to invent a soft material that would reduce risks of injury. That's when I found thermoplastic rubber (TPR) which is BRILLIANT to reacting to powerful sound waves.”

“The awards felt pretty rewarding but in all honesty, it didn't even come close to the feeling I got when I walked into the room where my work was exhibited and saw about 40 people around my work. Mothers were holding bare babies feet over the movements of the work, teenagers were Snapchatting and Instagrammimg it, children were pulling at the flesh of the work, and the wonderful words I had off so many people was the real highlight of my four years at University. The work was used at will by at least 30 people at any one time for the full two hours. People really loved Flesh Party - that was the real achievement.”

For prospective students, Larissa had some advice: “Firstly, make an avid attempt to understand the difference between Art and Design, and Fine Art, and really consider which is best for you and your practice. Make sure to speak to a lecturer who teaches on both courses to help with your decision. Secondly, as is with any art based course, do not let anybody make you feel like your degree will not be worth it. You’ll be doing it for the rest of your art-life. If you do decide to go, I am sure it'll be one of the best decisions you'll make, as it was with me.”

You can find out more about Larissa’s work by visiting her website: larissaeshaw.tumblr.com 

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