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From sixteenth-century plays to post-war art

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Jo Morrison

Digital Projects Director

Jo Morrison, Digital Projects Director at Central Saint Martins College (CSM), looks at art and design between the 1948 and 2012 Games and how the World Shakespeare Festival is collaborating with the University of the Arts London – which is comprised of six colleges: CSM; London College of Fashion (LCF); London College of Communication (LCC); and Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon Colleges of Art and Design.

The summer term has ended, the graduating degree shows that have inspired and stimulated thousands of visitors are over, and now focus turns to the University’s forthcoming graduation ceremonies to be held at London’s Royal Festival Hall in mid-July. These award ceremonies offer the University’s staff, students and their guests the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate each graduand’s achievement and potential.

British post-war art

The Royal Festival Hall is an apposite venue for the University of the Arts London (UAL) to hold the ceremonies, as it was the centerpiece building of the 1951 Festival of Britain at London’s South Bank, and remains a vibrant cultural institution. The Festival exhibited Britain’s contribution to arts, industrial design, and science, and looked to the future in a sophisticated environment that integrated art, design and architecture. In fact, examples of work produced for the Festival can be seen at the V&As current exhibition celebrating British post-war art and design between the 1948 and 2012 Games.
The show also features work from several UAL alumni, including esteemed fashion designer Hussein Chalayan, and Chelsea College of Arts and Design alumnus Jock Kinnear, who with Margaret Calvert designed Britain’s motorway and road signage systems in the ’60s.
I visited the exhibition last week while preparing for a session I was leading at the museum as part of the international Supersonix conference, celebrating sound, technology and science. Working alongside a talented international cohort of students from the MA Design course for over a term, the session showed how their ideas and artefacts took shape in response to soundscapes at the V&A and the Science Museum. Both museums – and a multitude of other institutions – are participating in the amazing cultural and creative programme for the London 2012 Festival.

World Shakespeare Festival

Japanese-style puppet by MA Character Animation student in response to the RSC projectUAL students have also been working with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), which is leading the World Shakespeare Festival 2012.
I’ve previously highlighted the work that MA Communication Design has produced for the RSC’s myShakespeare digital project, and now CSM’s character animators are producing unique short films in response to The Tempest or Twelfth Night.
As part of the collaboration the RSC’s Artistic Director, Michael Boyd, generously joined the students to critique their final rough-cut films – many of which will feature at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, as well as on the myShakespeare website.

Torch relay

On 26 July 2012 the Olympic Torch will pass by CSM – the home of Kiwi House 2012 – and Camberwell College of Arts and Design. To celebrate the Games and the passing of the Torch through south London two of the University’s galleries have special Olympic-themed activities. Art on Fire at the Camberwell Space is an exhibition that considers fire in its ceremonial, ritualistic, metaphysical and symbolic aspects, and at Peckham Space artist Gayle Chong Kwan explores memory and myths in relation to food and the senses. Visitors will have the chance to explore the tastes, textures and smells of a fantastical, three-dimensional mythical landscape.
Running with the flame on the final day of the Torch Relay are Olympian athletes Frankie Fredericks and Denis Oswald, as well as Sir Clive Woodward who is the British Olympics Association’s Director of Elite Performance. They’ll be joined by our own elite student Torchbearers: Charlotte Fone (CCW); Sophie Hirsch (CSM); Hanna Johansson (LCF); Ellie Moss (CCW); and David Shaw (LCC). On 21 July in London’s Waltham Forest CCW’s Tottie Petit will be the first student to carry the flame and represent the UAL.
Having recently attended the Design Summit 2012 at London’s City Hall, and just being able to see Anish Kapoor’s Arcelor Mittal Orbit at the Olympic Park five miles away, I’m wondering whether I’ll have a similar experience when watching the women’s Olympics football final at Wembley Stadium from my allocated seats at the back of the arena…

Read Jo’s previous blog on the Bard, Assassins and a metal gymnast.
Images courtesy UAL. Top: people modelling jewellery by CSM student Sophie Hirsch, a London 2012 Torchbearer. Bottom right: Japanese-style puppet by MA Character Animation student in response to the RSC project

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