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Creative Lives programme

Home / Student experience / Discover Sunderland / Arts and Creative Industries / Creative Lives programme

As a University of Sunderland Art and Design student, you’ll be offered a range of exciting opportunities alongside your studies. For example, the Creative Lives programme is a series of talks delivered by creative professionals who live, work and thrive in the arts and creative industries. You’ll be invited to attend these talks and gain an insight into the creative process and career routes of regional and nationally renowned practitioners at different career stages, including graduates (alumni) of the University of Sunderland.

You'll hear from artists, designers, makers, photographers, curators, filmmakers, and much more.

Creative Lives 2022

This year, we welcomed the following creative professionals to share their Creative Lives talks:

Graham Dolphin

Three overlaying images of a person singing into a microphone

Three overlaying images of a people dancing in a crowd, listening to live music

Graham Dolphin is a British artist born in 1972 in Stafford, UK. Working across a range of mediums, including film, sound, drawing, sculpture, text and curatorial projects, his work frequently explores the concepts of self-identification and idolism. This includes an ongoing series of pieces inspired by the memorialisation of deceased celebrities. He is known for his meticulous and laborious artwork created using various media, including scrupulously reconstructing the shrines dedicated to rock stars that are often popularised by fan communities.

Nicola Singh

A person dressed in a black body suit with a skeleton printed on it performing in front of a small crowd

Nicola Singh is an artist based in West Yorkshire. Her practice encompasses solo and collaborative performance, film, photography and sculptural installation. Her approach is rooted in performance, and she extends ideas of liveness to her visual art, pedagogic and research practices. She creates work in response to what's going on with her a.k.a in response to the politics of her subjective lived experience – and via a critical engagement with contemporary art's relationship to race and feminism.

Joanna Manousis

A close up of a magpie sitting on top of a glass jar which has another bird inside

Joanna Manousis is a British artist working in glass and mixed media. Her work has been recognised, with nominations for the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award and a Bombay Sapphire Award Nomination for 'Excellence in Glass', as well as the Margaret M. Mead Award and the Hans Godo Frabel Award. Joanna is currently studying a practice-based PhD at The National Glass Centre through the University of Sunderland. She has worked, studied, and taught in Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia.

Eva Masterman

An old leather chair that is visible through an opened glass door

Eva Masterman is an artist working primarily with clay. She has an MA in Ceramics and Glass from the Royal College of Art, and is currently a PhD student at Newcastle University, where she recently completed the Norma Lipman Ceramic Fellowship. She has exhibited widely, including at the 2017 British Ceramics Biennial; and is a co-founder of social outreach art collective, Collective Matter. Her podcast, Clay Commons, launched in 2021.

Narbi Price

A painting of a park bench which is covered in red tape

Painter, Dr Narbi Price was winner of the Journal Culture Awards Visual Artist of the Year 2018. He won the Contemporary British Painting Prize in 2017. Featured in the Phaidon’s Vitamin P3 – New Perspectives in Painting and was a prize winner in the John Moores Painting Prize 2012. He has recently completed an AHRC funded PhD at Newcastle University in partnership with Woodhorn Museum.

Layla Khoo

A person sitting beside some gravestones, smiling at the camera

Layla Khoo is a multimedia 3D artist, specialising in ceramics and site-specific installations. She has previously worked with collections within the National Trust and has created permanent sculpture for the Forestry Commission. She is currently working on a new experimental body of more personal work, supported by an Arts Council England Developing Your Creative Practice grant, and on a community and heritage inspired residency in Middlesbrough, supported by Historic England. She is also a director of a small collection of artist studio spaces in North Yorkshire and is a director and founder of Ryedale Open Studios.

David Partington

A bird's eye view of some ceramic pots, some grey and some pink

David Partington is a ceramic artist and educator. He is interested in the historic and universal appeal of clay as a common material with creative, utilitarian and industrial applications. He produces high-fired stoneware pottery thrown on the wheel, mainly commissioned for restaurants and retail – his clients include James Martin, John Lewis and The White Company. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, with many pieces held in private collections around the world. His studio is based at Islington Mill, Salford.

Zac Weinberg

A close up of three small glass lampshades

Zac received a BFA from The New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University and an MFA from The Ohio State University. His glass and mixed media works have been exhibited at home and abroad in venues including The Sculpture Center, OH, The Agnes Varis Art Center, NY, Glassmuseet Ebeltoft, Denmark and Glasenhuis, Belgium. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Kanik Chung Legacy Fellowship at MassArt and an Individual Excellence Award through the Ohio Arts Council. In 2021 Zac started studio-based research at The National Glass Centre as a US/UK Fulbright Scholar.

Benji Spence

A bold and colourful illustration of two cartoon men standing next to a globe

Benji Spence is an early career freelance illustrator based in Newcastle. He studied the Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media Practice at the University of Sunderland before a BA in Illustration at Cambridge School of Art. His professional work is predominantly editorial illustration, with some packaging and branding. The foundation of his work is shape, composition, and colour; he makes bold and playful illustrations that aim to instantly engage the viewer.

Bettina Von Zwehl

A silhouette of a person's neck and chin overlayed with the silhouette of a beetle-like insect, so the insect looks like the person's head

Bettina von Zwehl has centred her artistic practice on photography, installation and archival exploration, evolving through artist-residencies in museums. She has completed several high-profile residencies and commissions around the world, including the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A); the Freud Museum; the New-York Historical Society Museum; The Queens House, Greenwich; and at Innsitu in liaison with Schloss Ambras, Austria. Her photographs are held in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; LACMA; The V&A, Arts Council Collection; National Portrait Gallery; the Rubell Family Collection; and Pier 24 Photography.

Other opportunities

As well as the Creative Lives programme, you'll meet and engage with guest speakers and visiting professors throughout your studies. Recent guest speakers who have visited our Art and Design students include: Alec Maxwell, Digital Creative Director at British Vogue; John McClean, Creative Director of Abercrombie and Fitch; Kuba Ryniewicz, a photographer based in the North East; and Craig Mitchell, a maker of ceramic figures.

You'll also have opportunities such as participating in Creative Industries Week and exhibiting your work at our degree shows.

Published: 7 April 2022