One of the joys of working in art and design education are the annual shows. They provide a moment of educational achievement, personal closure and community celebration all in one. Like art and design courses all around the country, to finish off our degrees we put the work up in front of the public that it was intended for, have friends and family admire and criticise it, employers or curators make offers because of it, and share our mutual struggles across three years with all those who participated in it: students, families, technicians and tutors alike.
Our fear, as a School, was that we wouldn’t be able to create this moment of completion in the shadow of Covid-19. As teachers and technicians, we have watched as students have found creative workarounds and proposed alternatives to conventional ways of making and presenting their work during 15 months of Covid restrictions. These are the most unusual circumstances any of us have ever experienced for creative practice, and students have consistently met the challenge of making and presenting in its wake. I understand the sacrifices this has required and pressure it has created, and am in awe of the commitment students have shown to their studies.
Most of our courses have devised their own ways of finding the public this work deserves. Our online show is just a part of that. Fashion Design have made some stunning films, Fine Art have managed a socially distanced physical exhibition, Contemporary Media Practice have their 3D website and Film will show in the cinema in autumn. However, we also thought it was important to collect our students’ work and present it for you in total. The achievements gathered here reflect the diversity of subjects, our student body and their aspirations. There is plenty here for all to be proud of, and to provide the sense of completion that our students deserve.
Head of School, Westminster School of Arts
University of Westminster