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University Gallery reopens with launch of three new exhibitions

23rd October 2015

A triple-header of stunning new exhibitions by emerging artists opened at Northumbria University this week.

The launch coincided with the official reopening of the University Gallery at City Campus with exhibitions also taking place in Gallery North and the project space.

Hope Stebbing and Oliver Perry’s exhibition YOUR WORLD TOMORROW launched at the University Gallery, while current Warwick Stafford Fellow Laurence Kavanagh opened his show, October, at Gallery North. Meanwhile, Ross Hamilton Frew revealed exhibition, A Certain Distance, in the project space at Gallery North. The re-opening of the University Gallery follows a recent review, which explored how to better align what Northumbria does with what it shows by bringing the best of the art world to Northumbria University and the best of Northumbria University to the world. 

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Professor Keith McIntyre, Head of the Department of Arts, said: “One of the things that is really exciting about our galleries right now is that we’ve gone through a reshape, a refresh and a redefinition of what we do here. Our core business at the University is about research, and teaching and learning, and as a consequence of that we’re shaping exhibitions which talk about the kind of activity we do.

“For instance, in the University Gallery we have work from Northumbria’s NEUSCHLOSS art group exhibiting, upstairs in the Gallery we’ve got recent graduates Hope Stebbing and Oliver Perry’s commission for Great North Run Culture, and next door we’ve got the artist Laurence Kavanagh, who has been here for a year as our Warwick Stafford Fellow.

“All these events provide a platform to showcase work, but also to embed it into our teaching and learning activity for our student community.”

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Northumbria is a leader in the North East cultural sector and is committed to investing in and developing new artistic talent. The University is the host of the Woon Fine Art and Sculpture Prize, which at £40,000 is equal in value to the Turner Prize, and is also about to announce the new recipient of the £20,000 Warwick Stafford fellowship. The University has also confirmed that The People Show will go ahead in 2016 with a confirmed prize worth £5,000. The show, one of the North East’s most celebrated open competitions for artists, has a new, extended deadline for entries – January 28 2016 – with an exhibition date to be announced in the New Year.

Associate Dean of Business and Engagement for Arts, Design and Social Sciences, Dr Heather Robson, added: “We are now working on a programme of events and exhibitions for 2015/16 and 2016/17 that will underpin and support our core activities of research, learning, teaching and business & engagement.

“Over the coming months we’ll work directly with students, academic colleagues and our considerable network of partners to develop a programme of work that supports talent and creative practice both within the University and the wider North East community.”

The decision to align the management of the collection and transform the gallery and exhibition experience was made following a review of all the University’s gallery and exhibition spaces, both on and off campus.

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Heather said: “The review was part of the University’s ongoing continuous improvement programme.  Its aim was to establish how we could increase our public engagement with the arts and retain our strong cultural commitment to the University, region and beyond.”

“Ultimately, the purpose of the University’s gallery and collection is to support teaching and research, and to enrich the student experience.  By not losing sight of that purpose, and making sure it is consistently met, these changes to the management of the University’s exhibition spaces will help ensure Northumbria’s position as a leading centre for supporting - and energising – both creative practice and academic study.”

Last year, Northumbria entered the Top 10 universities in the UK for art and design ‘research power’ following the results of the Research Excellence Framework 2014. The University offers a wide range of course across these disciplines. For more information about go to:

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