UCLan fine art students go ‘viral’ with online show

Posted on - 12th September, 2020 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Preston City Centre, Preston News, UCLan, University campus
A piece of Jessica Bowness' work on display at the virtual MA showcase
A piece of Jessica Bowness’ work on display at the virtual MA showcase

Fine art students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) are to go ‘viral’ as they stage their first online show in response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.


The Went Viral online show is the first time that MA Fine Art students from the University have mounted an online portfolio launch of their work, all of which has been created during lockdown conditions.

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Each of the MA students have had to create their pieces of art for the launch in isolation, having to learn new IT skills and other techniques to help bring their work to life.

These include student Hollie Burge, whose work has focused on life on Preston high street and the economic challenges faced by retailers there – a theme which has now developed added significance with the impact of the pandemic on shops during the past four months.

An example of Hollie Burges work on display
An example of MA student Hollie Burge’s work on display

Hollie said: “Mapping Preston High Street is a project I started to explore the high street of the city in which I live and work. I wanted to highlight areas that might go unnoticed or not thought about by shoppers.

“This included real stories from retail workers, presenting a viewpoint from ‘the other side of the counter.

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“I have also explored the economic hardship that the high street has suffered recently, by focusing on stores that have had to shut permanently, or retail units that remain empty.”

Student Sarah Feinmann has used her lockdown time to chart urban dereliction and the increasingly throwaway nature of modern society.

MA student Sarah Feinmann's work can also be viewed at the virtual showcase
MA student Sarah Feinmann’s work can also be viewed at the virtual showcase

She said: “With my work I have explored urban dereliction and the throwaway society that consumes, discards and is left to decay.

“I use documentary photography to record the world around as I intrigued by those moments of loss or change.”

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The portfolio is available to view now, giving visitors a chance to sample the work of the students virtually as they pass through the show. It is planned to be followed by a real-world version of the show to be staged at ‘That 0282 Place’ in Burnley in January 2021.

The students’ Interim Show which was due to open on the first day of lockdown, has also opened in Preston’s Harris Museum & Art Gallery.S

UCLan’s MA Fine Art Course Leader William Titley said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown up massive challenges for everybody in the last few months and for our students it has been no different.

“However not only have they been able to complete the MA Fine Art course in extraordinary circumstances, they have managed to do so with such enthusiasm.

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“They had to very quickly learn a new range of new IT skills whilst working in isolation, yet they have remained focused on their creative practice throughout that period.

“We encourage creative thinkers to generate and develop debates around the ever-changing cultural landscape, and so far 2020 has certainly been a challenging year of change.

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“In this respect our UCLan postgraduates of 2020 have proved a special breed with the work they have done.”

You can access the ‘Went Viral’ show online here.

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Have you taken a look at the art on Went Viral? Tell us what you think in the comments below

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