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Paint the Town in Sound: our student takeover

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Our Art and Design students are encouraged to gain as much creative industry experience as possible, such as working on live commissions, producing artwork for public exhibitions and collaborating on projects with peers, academic staff and professional artists.

In Spring 2021, a group of students from the School of Art and Design took part in a student takeover for a virtual exhibition called ‘Paint the Town in Sound’. The exhibition was a joint venture between the University, Arts Council Collection and Sunderland Culture.

James Hutchinson, who leads on the Contemporary Fine Art route of our MA Visual Practice course, also took part in the exhibition, and is working with Senior Technician Graham Mitchinson to create a new collaborative video work for the project. He says, “I think working with the Arts Council Collection is great as it showcases our student work in a very positive light by placing it alongside fantastic works by other artists in the Arts Council Collection. It gives the students access, digitally, to regional, national and international audiences, giving a positive, sophisticated impression of Sunderland.”

Students Lyn Killeen and Katie Stewart took part in the takeover. Katie says: "One of the best things about studying Fine Art at Sunderland is the way in which the University wholeheartedly and enthusiastically provides wonderful collaborative opportunities with other creative organisations!

"This is an incredibly useful and important skill in the art world and gaining practical experience in this area has been brilliant. It has been both a challenge to create, and a reward to see my artwork sit beside works from the Arts Council Collection, and this has contributed greatly to a sense of validity and confidence as an early career artist.”

A colourful collage by Katie Stewart, using acrylic paint and emulsion on Plexiglass in a wooden stand.

(Image is of Katie's work, 'The Other Side')

Lyn is equally as positive about the experience of the takeover, adding, "Responding to Jo Spence and Simeon Barclay in respective exhibitions, Received Wisdom and Paint the Town in Sound at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, it has been an exciting experience to exhibit my work alongside the artists’ work.

"I chose to link my concerns around chronic lung disease and fragility to Jo Spence’s work. Materiality and colour were important factors, as well as context, whilst responding to the work of Simeon Barclay.

"It is wonderful to showcase my work alongside the Arts Council Collection artists, both in a gallery setting and digitally. It has been a fantastic opportunity to promote my work regionally and extending digitally to national and international audiences.”

MA Fine Art student Lyn Killeen's work, One Last Card.

(Image is of Lyn's work, 'One Last Card, 2020')

Jon Weston from Sunderland Culture says, “There's lots of opportunities for students to work with Sunderland Culture.

"The ongoing Arts Council Collection x University of Sunderland School of Art and Design Takeovers are an exciting collaboration, where students from the School of Art and Design have been producing new artwork in response to the themes and artworks within the exhibitions at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens.

"Ranging from Instagram, virtual and in-venue takeovers, the students' innovative artworks have made for a series of on-trend events to look out for across the year. We look forward to what will come next!"

Find out more

To learn more about our Art and Design courses and the opportunities they offer, check out our course pages or join us at our next Open Day.

Published: 11 August 2021