Degree Show, Revolution and Renaissance

Final year BA Fine Art student Kathleen Lagan announces the exciting plans for this year’s Degree Show, taking place in the virtual realm in June.

“In the present uncertainty and turbulence, the construction of a traditional, physical exhibition is no longer possible and we are unable to host our BA Fine Art Degree Show — Simmer — in our School.

“Social distancing and the ban on public gatherings seems a death sentence to the art world, and it has been hard for all of us not to be defeatist.

“However, as one door closes, another opens — and in true artistic revolutionary style we are presented with a unique opportunity: a digital door into a contemporary art renaissance.

“We — 63 fine art students at the University of Leeds — are taking charge of our final year show. The vast, intimate online world beckons and we intend to expand into its limitless space, unhindered by normal scholastic boundaries.

“In place of a traditional degree show, together we will conceptualise, curate and create an online interactive ‘degree e-vent’. We are developing a web platform through which we will display artists’ work in their own curated ‘rooms’.

“Works originally designed for the physical world now suspended in a digital realm — a two-week event, launching on 5 June.

Natalie whitney draw on me 2020 installation 2 5 x 2m

Natalie Whitney, Draw on Me, 2020. Installation, 2 5 x 2m

“Half of the fun will be witnessing our artistic actions and reactions to the circumstances of Covid-19 in the lead-up to our radical cyber-show. To be able to see how our final year students have had to adapt to isolation, home studios and witness the transformations of each individuals’ practice under quarantine — a novel experience.

“So we ask you to join us — on InstagramFacebook and Twitter — and follow our unconventional and unprecedented journey to our final online destination.

“Our new website — our archive of and homage to our temporal dissonance — charts our progress and, when the time comes, will offer a portal into our digital degree e-vent.

“Visit to dip in to the ongoing work of this year’s graduating artists, keep up to date with us on our blog and tune in to interviews with the artists in our Simmer Sundays series.Georgina Davis, Layers , 2020. Photogram collage, masking tape, cardboard, 30cm X 20cm.

Georgina Davis, Layers, 2020. Photogram collage, masking tape, cardboard, 30cm X 20cm.

“We hope to have a physical version of our degree show in a gallery space independently at a later date. But for now please embrace our new digital forms with us, as they simmer away under the surface of quarantine.

“Let it rise to the surface.
Show itself to the world in a state of disposition.
Let it rest, burn, destroy, simmer.”

Feature image

Lily Thomson, Infinite Drawing, March, 2020. Digital tessellation of a drawing with bleach on blue ink, ‘no size/infinite size’.