Success for the Class of 2024 as Art Degree Show opens

Grays Degree Show

STUDENTS from Gray’s School of Art are celebrating success after winning awards at the opening of Gray’s Degree Show on Friday, June 7.

Gray’s launch event included a stakeholder event, speeches, music, and awards ceremony for students, staff and the community at Gray’s who gathered together to celebrate.

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Dean for Gray’s School of Art, Dr Dan Allen and RGU Vice Principal for Academic Development and Student Experience, Professor Lynn Kilbride, and former Dean of Gray’s School of Art, Libby Curtis, presented the Principal’s Design & Fine Art Awards which are funded by RGU’s Art & Heritage Collection.

The awards celebrate outstanding talent selected from across the Painting, Contemporary Art Practice, Communication Design, Fashion & Textiles, Three-Dimensional Design and Photography courses.

Winner of the Principal’s Award for Fine Art is Emelia ‘Lotta’ Wald from Fine Art.

Winner of the Principal’s Award for Design is Lisa Stewart, from Communication Design.

The winning pieces of work will be retained as part of RGU’S Art and Heritage collection, which includes an extensive body of work demonstrating the creative output of the university and the North East of Scotland.

Students who received Highly Commended Awards (RGU Art and Heritage Purchase Prize Awards), are: Connor McLennaghan – Communication Design, Lesley Dyker– Three Dimensional Design, Grace Angus – Fashion & Textiles, Kirsty Macdonald – Painting and Iain Cridland – Photography, Ioanna Papatzanaki – Contemporary Art Practice.

A number of external awards were also presented including the RSA New Contemporaries Award: Scottish Society Artist’s Award, Compass Gallery and Visual Arts Scotland Award.

Dean for Gray’s School of Art, Dan Allen said: “Gray’s Degree Show is a real celebration and a pivotal moment our students’ career. I’d like to say a huge congratulations to everyone graduating this year, and to those who have won awards. This year’s degree show showcases the talent and craftmanship we have here at Gray’s and the standard of work is exceptional.

“Aberdeen is a great city, and at the heart of it, shooting above its weight, is Gray’s School of Art. Aberdeen and Gray’s need each other, we are inextricably linked, and together, we can re-energise the creative industries for the region. And increasingly become a city that is renowned for its creative and cultural dynamism, its forward thinking, and its unwavering ambition.  I’d encourage everyone to come along to Gray’s Degree Show which runs until Saturday, to see the exceptional talent on display.”

Winner of the Principal’s Award for Design, Lisa Stewart, who grew up in Mastrick in Aberdeen and now lives in Insch, originally studied Law & Management at RGU, before working for many years as a paralegal. After several years, Lisa decided to follow her true passion of art and design at Gray’s School of Art.

Upon winning the award, Lisa said: “I was a bit surprised and overwhelmed, but I’m over the moon! I have a big birthday in September, I’m going to be 40, so my project centres around a visual story of pop culture and graphic design over the past 40 years, particularly drawing on my experiences growing up in Aberdeen.

“As a mature student, I’d say to anyone thinking of going back to college or university, it’s never too late to study. If you can, do it, you’ll not regret it. I’ve loved being at Gray’s, I love the community, it’s brilliant.”

Winner of the Principal’s Award for Fine Art, Emelia ‘Lotta’ Wald, from Cologne in Germany, said: “It’s very exciting to have won this award. I’ve had the best time at Gray’s. I wanted to study abroad and attracted to Scotland, and Gray’s School of Art because it offered such amazing facilities. My last year has been the most fun and I’ve made lots of great friends, so it has definitely been the right choice. Now that I’m graduating, I want to do a master’s and try something new.”

In addition to the Principal’s Awards for Fine Art and Design, four additional Four Pillar Awards were presented in recognition of students who reflect Gray’s core values which guide the curriculum and ethos of the art school.

  • The Four Pillars Critical Creative Award winner is Bronwyn Mackenzie from Painting.
  • The Four Pillars Socially & Environmentally Engaged Creative Award winner is Bethany Reid from Contemporary Art Practice.
  • The Four Pillars Enterprising Award winner is Lisa Ross from Contemporary Art Practice.
  • The Four Pillars Collaborative Creative winners are Elizabeth Homewood from Communication Design and Liam Green from Communication Design.

Members of the public can visit Gray’s Degree Show until Saturday 18 June. A series of events are running during the Degree Show including special guided tours for young people and the degree show is supporting a number of events as part of Aberdeen Performing Arts’ Light the Blue Festival.

Opening times for the show are Saturday 8 June – Saturday 15 June, 10am to 8pm weekdays, and 10am to 5pm weekends.

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