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News article

York St John University opens its doors to the public for end of year arts showcase 

Published: 28 May 2021

  •   Events
  •    Students
An abstract artwork of black spots and colourful light projections

Image credit: Amy Majed

York St John University has joined a select few UK universities offering an in-person experience for its Degree Shows this year. The School of the Arts Festival 2021 runs until Friday 2 July, with students having the opportunity to have their work exhibited on campus as well as a mix of virtual and online events.   

The Festival draws together inspiring and challenging works from the University’s creative ‘makers and doers’ across the areas of Art, Design, Performance and Production. Creativity that has shone brightly despite the constraints of the pandemic restrictions, with artistic practice expanded from campus into student halls, parents’ bedrooms and outside locations.   

This year’s graduates explore the human condition beyond what the eye can see. Emotions of isolation, disconnect and ecological anxiety are prevalent, as well as healing and a renewed awareness with familiar surroundings.  

Head of School of the Arts, Dr Robert Wilsmore said: “Our artists have been determined to continue to make and present their work in a year of confinement. Where we can, we are presenting performances, showings and exhibitions on our campus and where we cannot we're showing our work online, and sometimes we're using both platforms.   

“The festival this year shows how this determination to make art cannot be suppressed as the artists find a way to make their work visible. We are setting out a marker that as lockdown eases, we are ready to fill all our lives with art and culture once more. Watch this space, it may have 2 metre sized gaps in it at the moment, but the gaps will close and we will enjoy our art together once more.”  

Art and Design work is exhibited on campus, with members of the public able to book tours for Art, Illustration & Photography Degree Show ToursThe Art, Illustration and Photography Showcase also has a virtual element in partnership with Aesthetica Magazine 

Helen Turner, Associate Head of Art said: “The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to make and create differently, to feel at once globally connected and locally isolated. With this in mind, the opportunity to attend to artwork with all of our senses, to be physically and geographically present at an exhibition is a privilege we recognise and celebrate. We are lucky to be here. We welcome you to this exhibition with huge amounts of joy for art’s ability to help us reflect, to lift us up and to question our world.”   

Other elements of the Festival are online, with the showcase for Performance now live here  

Dr Sarah O’Brien, Associate Head of Performance said: “Our Festival for the Performance Department sees some excellent work from across all levels of Music and Drama on our new dedicated webpage.  We have screen dance, live music recordings and performance, experimental soundscapes, folk music, acapella voicework, podcast drama and video art. We hope that you enjoy!” 

See our Events pages for more information. 

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Communications team

York St John University, Lord Mayors Walk, York, YO31 7EX

01904 876 466

To contact us out of hours, phone 07812 365 499