In Art, we seek to engage in and produce work that provokes and challenges and celebrates as well as reflects, work that seeks to be active agents of transformation in a socially engaged community of artists. By engaging with professional artists and collaborating with industry specialists and professional bodies working in a variety of fields across all the disciplines seen below, by focussing on inclusive and diverse pedagogic practice, we guarantee all our students a rich and rewarding educational experience.
All our students involved in practical/practice based study have had an opportunity to study on campus operating on a hybrid timetable that has given them all as much access to specialist workshop and studio spaces as has been possible under COVID.
These last twelve or so months has been an extraordinary challenge for us all, and my resounding thoughts are in regard to the way that staff and students have met it full on, not only prevailing, but adapting and making the most of this opportunity to learn and develop new skills. While we all desperately hope for a return to standard practice, our future work will be newly informed and have a greater range of creative possibilities.
My greatest thanks go to my Course Leaders who have been unrelenting in their pursuit of success in their unconditional dedication to their students. I have always considered Course Leaders the most important link in the educational chain, and without them … well, I don’t know where we would be. You need good course leaders to achieve anything and everything. I don’t have any good course leaders, I only have outstanding course leaders, so in this, my last Summer Show, I give the last word to them, as well as my gratitude.
LIVENESS is an ongoing project, and as we accommodate some of the challenges that have faced staff and students over the past academic year, many students will be working to complete projects over the summer months. The summer show will be a growing entity and all staff involved will work to recognise the needs and privileges of our students.
Gian Carlo Rossi
Head of Art
Theatre Arts has two undergraduate courses that share a majority of modules, with Theatre and Performance Practice being the ‘parent’ course to Theatre and Film.
The challenges faced by our industry in the last year have sometimes seemed almost existential; theatres have been largely closed since the first lockdown in March 2020, and an art form defined by sharing live space with audiences has been forced to adapt to once unimaginable circumstances. But theatre history demonstrates that artists’ ability to innovate and reinvent in response to adversity has often allowed them to emerge even stronger, with deeper understanding, and greater determination than before. The work of Theatre & Performance students and staff over this last year has shown that the role of university courses in the arts is not simply to inculcate existing forms and techniques, but to enable students to respond to the conditions of their age and become powerful agents of change.
Students in our second and third year responded to the uncertainty of whether they would be able to perform for a live audience by devising original cabaret pieces. Under the guidance of celebrated performance maker Dr. Marisa Carnesky and course leader Rishi Trikha, students developed experimental works that highlighted their unique skills and artistic interests. They created a combination of group and solo performances, allowing them to enjoy an ensemble experience whilst also making individual works that could be performed in a growing variety of professional settings. When a second lockdown was announced, students were ready to adapt these pieces for live performance on the screen from their own homes. Second years also performed clowning pieces under the tutelage of Jon Davison, and Choreography pieces made with Dr. Turner, with innovative adaptations to stream over webcam.
Third years created a virtual exhibition of installation projects entitled Bubble Burst, exploring the temporary and fragile qualities of isolation, as a part of Dr. Jacek Ludwig Scarso’s distinctive module in Installation and Site. In the Collaborative Film Project module, associate lecturers Richard Whitby and Dr. Chiara D’Anna, guided students through the creation of a variety of original short films exploring a range of themes including racism, shame, and mental well-being. In Gian Carlo Rossi’s Directing Two module, the third years directed fellow students from across the program; adeptly modifying pieces created for the stage into screen works in response to the next lockdown.
Students in the second year worked tirelessly to create two fully realised productions under the direction of Christopher Holt and Rishi Trikha. Christopher Holt’s adaptation of James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time was a powerful exploration of racial injustice. Rishi Trikha’s SUNK explored nihilism as a response to mortality. Both pieces were developed through a collaborative process with students who then performed for an intimate audience in the university’s main studio theatre.
Working with tutors Dr. Jane Turner and Victoria Sanders, first years performed a sustained creative movement piece on London’s Southbank as part of their Devising module, for which they subsequently created original works in small companies for performance at the university. For their Objects and Theatre class with Andrew Siddall, students presented haunting installation pieces inspired by Synge’s Riders to the Sea. The boldness and imagination our first years have demonstrated so early in their education bodes well for their future at the university and beyond.
Finally, the year culminated in the performance of the course’s annual Festival and Independent Projects. Third year students, working together with Andrew Siddall, performed a live stream of pieces that they had written, directed and designed from London’s Shoreditch Town Hall theatre. Some of the year group also worked with Dr. Scarso to present a practical dissertation project. The high standard and diversity of their work reflected the course’s aspiration to empower students to articulate their distinct artistic identities and enter the industry as well equipped and provocative new artists.
All of the projects undertaken by students in this challenging year have been enabled by the course’s Technical Demonstrator, Jelmer Tuinstra. He has worked alongside tutors in every module, providing unique expertise and acting as an exemplar of professionalism, dedication and creativity.
The greatest lesson for us on the course in this pandemic year has been in the power of our community. Our students and staff have responded with a spirit of unity, compassion, and humour. This has enabled us to develop new approaches to making theatre that will undoubtedly shape the future of our form. The old adage that ‘the show must go on’ has been borne out by the resilience and imagination with which our community has met these challenges.
Theatre and Film continues to go from strength to strength as a new course. We have more students in the first year than ever before and more graduating with good degrees than at any time.
The work from the Theatre and Film students continues to impress, whether Comparing film to theatre or Combining film and theatre: in the last year we have seen fairy tales, Greek myths and Feminist inspired X-rated soundscapes. All totally created by the students under the careful guidance and mentorship of the excellent, industry-standard tutors and coaches.
For our graduating students we saw a technical and artistic contribution to our Third Year Festival production which demonstrated how far the students had journeyed since their first efforts with cameras but three years ago. They were confident, professional and competent and served the performance well with their expertise and skill.
We still are hearing of successes of our growing Alumni, there are many stories but one such is Sol Angelucci; who after making three of his own films, is now in Spain working for a major film producing company where he is growing his practice and developing in the world of film as I hope all our students will on day do.
I have thoroughly enjoyed leading this course for the past year and I know it will continue to grow and dazzle as the years go by.
Anthology V. Staff reading student work
Our students have managed remote learning heroically, while working in taxing roles (in the NHS, charity shops, teaching, the BBC World Service) and carrying out our caring duties. They also succeeded in turning themselves into a cohesive and supportive, if virtual, group, while producing some terrific work in a wide variety of genres, some of which is on display here.
Our past graduates, meanwhile, go from strength to strength, with Steve Patrick now writing whole episodes for EastEnders, while Rachel Giles - who has written seven books since she left us a decade ago! - has produced a glorious new one on art, flowers and emotion.
Their energy and creativity, in the face of so many challenges, has been inspiring.
Never Going Back Again, BA Fine Art & BA Painting Show 2021 — Catalogue
The BA Fine Art and BA Painting students have, despite the pandemic and all the difficulties that have been presented, shown an exceptional level of creativity and resilience in making work and managing their studies. The first and second year students have equally been able to create and maintain a fantastic group dynamic and have worked hard to curate two separate exhibitions this spring in our new Kunstmatrix exhibition space Fine Art at London Metropolitan University; which is also where you will find our final year students degree show, which is showcasing outstanding work dealing with issues, such as gender, ecology, and mental health amongst others.
There have been several very positive innovations this year on the BA Photography course with the publication of the first issue of Socket magazine produced by the level 5 students and the introduction of a new course website. The ldnmetarts.photography site is designed to provide a digital platform to share our special projects with a wider external audience. It showcases the students’ talents and the diversity of concerns, interests and approaches to the medium which are so important to our inclusive and creative community. The site has already been used to host a fantastic Women’s History Month exhibition A Rose is A Rose is a …, a competition for UK based FE Photography and the Visual Arts students Your People, Your Places, Your Things, a digital rendition of Socket magazine and of course it has been used to showcase the exceptional work made by this year’s final year students.
Photography BA, Private View of Strange Days, 22 June 2021
This year sees our first graduating year of Fashion Photography students under the expert and enthusiastic leadership of Paola Leonardi. As this course goes from strength to strength and gains momentum, Paola describes this year’s studio: ‘The Gaze Overload responded to the radical shift in the dynamics of image production, distribution and consumption generated by the unprecedented socio-political events of the past year. Inspired by Vogue Italia’s exhibition “Wow! Photography in the Age of the Attention Economy” this studio explored the role of photography in the context of new dynamics of identity and cultural representation, in order to understand what the future will look like in an age where influence is unlimited and the concept of 'individuality' is struggling to find a place …’
The MFA Fine Arts works towards completion over the summer months, and this section will be updated as we progress.
This year saw our final cohort graduate from the MA by Project under the supervision and care of Simone Ten-Hompel (Reader in Metal) and Joseph Kohlmaier (Head of Critical and Contextual Studies). As with all courses, our graduating students have worked incredibly hard in achieving some outstanding results under challenging circumstances, and they will be joining an extraordinary group of past graduates from this course, such as Juliette Bigley, Peta Bush, Jason Sumray, David McCaul, Deborah Werbner, or Claire Zakiewicz.
We extend a special thanks to Simone for the diligence, love, care, attention and leadership that she has offered the students on this course over the years, and hope that any students who may have applied to this course will find an alternative place not only one the PG offer in Art, but also Design and Architecture.
Our new Public Art and Performance MA was launched last September, with an eclectic cohort of students from the fields of performance, visual arts, film, photography and curation. In just one year, we have led collaborations with partners including Tate Exchange, the ICA, Museo Ca' Pesaro in Venice, City of London Corporation, Artichoke, RMIT Melbourne, The Monument to the Great Fire of London and Museum of Public Space in Bologna. From exploring how we can reframe the idea of monument in the 21st century, to creating participatory experiences for public museums, the students have engaged in a range of activities across multiple creative media, as well as fostering professional skills in project management and fundraising. They have met with high profile international guests, including artists, curators and scholars in the field.
The MA encourages a practical and industry-minded approach to exploring how contemporary art and performance experiences engage with the public. The course is designed to develop career paths for artists, curators and facilitators interested in any creative medium with a specific focus on developing public-facing projects. It runs in conjunction with our new Research Centre CREATURE (Creative Arts, Cultures and Engagement), particularly with its research strand PUBLIC-FACE.