BA Fine Art Graduate Jheni Arboine’s view of Student Life at Chelsea


Croydon-born BA Fine Art graduate Jheni Arboine, who is of Jamaican heritage, spoke on behalf of the student body at graduation earlier this month. She thanked everyone from the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and academics to the college canteen staff.

Her work and final show focused on colour and abstract geometric art. In particular she praised the high quality of Chelsea library services including our Special Collections & Archives which are taken care of by Gustavo Grandal- Montero, the course leader of BA Fine Art Martin Newth, academics Dave Beech and Katrine Hjelde, Professor Sonia Boyce & Dr Dan Smith for all their wisdom and encouragement to continually critically analyse work.

Jheni also told the audience some of her other highlights of her time on BA Fine Art at Chelsea including interviewing Sean Scully and a student exchange trip to Spike Island in Bristol. Working with academics Jeff Dennis & Sue Ridge on a project with Hitachi Consulting  and Frontier Economic and pitching ideas/being an ambassador for Chelsea as one of 10 students selected to go to Shanghai to exhibit work near the Museum of Contemporary Art, working with SIVA, the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts.

Jheni also got involved with Q-Art who keep the art crit going and through them Jenny made a publication with the V&A, resulting in a trip to Kazan, Russia, where Jenny was lead technician on putting in some work for French artist Laurent Mareschal.

She has now secured a place on Chelsea’s MA Fine Art for this October 2014. To fund her studies Jheni was successful in gaining a Vice Chancellor’s scholarship and also in pitching an idea to a local business with Chris Lewis and the trustees at Kupambana deciding to support her MA.

She will be looking at the semiotics of colour and felt privileged to be on the same stage as Chelsea alumnus Frank Bowling O.B.E RA as he had his honorary doctorate conferred on him.


Chelsea student wins prize in JTI Clean City Lab competition

Earlier this year Chelsea BA Graphic Design Communication student Billy Osbourne was awarded third prize for his entry into the JTI Clean City Lab competition.

His cheekily titled “Listen to your butt” poster was a witty take on the competition brief, which was to “raise awareness of the impact of smoking habits on the environment, in order to change smokers’ behaviour and reduce the waste generated by cigarettes in urban areas.”

Billy Osbourne received third prize at the event

Billy Osbourne – BA Graphic Design Communication

During the Milan Design Festival Billy’s poster was exhibited at La Triennale Design Museum, alongside work from other students from Chelsea College of Arts, Politecnico di Milano, IED Barcelona (I+ED Lab) and HEAD of Geneva.

Chelsea’s involvement with the competition was coordinated by the Enterprise Collective.

The competition was run by JTI / Future Concept Lab.

UAL Awarding Body hosts ‘Origins’ exhibition and Grayson Perry awards students

DSC_0928 wm

UAL Awarding Body hosted ‘Origins’ exhibition recently, showcasing the exciting work of Art & Design further education students from across England.
Course directors delivering the UAL Level 2, Level 3 Extended Diploma and Foundation Diploma in Art & Design selected the most outstanding work from their course to show at Chelsea College of Arts. The outcome was spectacular!

DSC_0955 wm

The standard of work these young students have produced before even reaching university is incredible. It will be well worth keeping watching these rising stars as they develop their career.

DSC_0908 wm

To commend them for their exceptional work, two students from each qualification were awarded prizes from Grayson Perry at the private view. Grayson congratulated all of the students on being selected, crediting them as an inspiration before advising them to believe in themselves and to always stay true to their individual style.

DSC_0982 wm

We wish them all the very best with their future which for some includes BA Fine Art and other courses at Chelsea College of Arts.

Congratulations Class of 2014!


We were thrilled to start last week at London’s Southbank Centre, celebrating with our students as they enjoyed their graduation ceremony. Bright sunlight provided the perfect backdrop as students and their families buzzed around the Royal Festival Hall.

Hosted by Universty of the Arts London’s Chancellor, Kwame Kwei-Armah, the ceremony itself was an excellent opportunity to look back on the hard work of all our students, and congratulate them for their huge success.

Also honored at the ceremony were artists Mariko Mori and Frank Bowling, who this year donated ten scholarships for students applying to Chelsea’s MA Fine Art over the next five years.  Both became Honorary Fellows at the event, and were followed by a moving speech from Jheni Arboine who spoke on behalf of the student body.

Below are some pictures from the day which we hope you will enjoy.  You can catch some other snaps on our Instagram account: @chelseaUAL.

Angelina Papaioannou who has graduated from MA Interior Spatial Design.

Angelina Papaioannou who has graduated from MA Interior Spatial Design.

Students from our BA Graphic Design Communication celebrate their graduation.

Students from our BA Graphic Design Communication celebrate their graduation.

Tutor Babak Ghazi  with students from MRES Arts Practice and MA Fine Art.

Tutor Babak Ghazi with students from MRES Arts Practice and MA Fine Art.

Bido Betiri celebrating receiving a Grad Dip in Interior Design.

Bido Betiri celebrating receiving Grad Dip in Interior Design.

Iman Benali has graduated from BA Textile Design.

Iman Benali has graduated from BA Textile Design.

Students in the Royal Festival Hall turn to thank their families and loved ones who had come out to support them.

Students in the Royal Festival Hall turn to thank their families and loved ones who had come out to support them.

Liam Moore celebrates receiving his BA in Graphic Design Communication on one of the Southbank's slides.

Liam Moore celebrates receiving his BA in Graphic Design Communication on one of the Southbank’s slides.

Nigel Bents, tutor on our Graphic Design Communication course with graduating student Eilidh Fraser.

Nigel Bents, tutor on our Graphic Design Communication course with graduating student Eilidh Fraser.

You can read more about all of the University’s Honorees on our dedicated webpage and read the University’s coverage of the ceremonies on their news page.

Artist-decorated “Dazzle Ship” launches in London, co-commissioned by Chelsea College of Arts


The HMS President (1918), transformed by artist Tobias Rehberger who has covered it in contemporary ‘dazzle camouflage’ designs.

As part of 14-18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, the leading German artist Tobias Rehberger has transformed HMS President (1918) by covering it in contemporary ‘dazzle camouflage’ designs, inspired by the Dazzle Ships of the First World War.

Co-commissioned by Chelsea College of Arts with  14-18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions and Liverpool Biennialthe project is managed by Pro Vice-Chancellor and Head of Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Arts Chris Wainwright and Business Relationship Manager Elizabeth Cameron who have worked to help translate Rehberger’s artistic work and vision for the ship into a reality on the Thames.


The HMS President (1918), transformed by artist Tobias Rehberger who has covered it in contemporary ‘dazzle camouflage’ designs.

Launched yesterday,  Monday 14 July 2014, the ship will remain in ‘dazzle’ until January 2015. HMS President (1918) is permanently moored in the City of London, between Waterloo Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge. Directly opposite the OXO tower, the ship can be seen from different viewpoints across the city including the bridges and the South Bank.

A sculptor, painter, designer, filmmaker, at times even an architect, Tobias Rehberger takes objects and situations from life and alters them – making commonplace scenes unexpected. Whether he’s designing seating, lighting and wallpaper, or creating a replica of his local neighbourhood bar, Rehberger – who is interested in society’s relationship to mass culture – makes spaces in which people can live and interact. He works with geometry, using lines and shapes, colour and form to create a physical experience for the visitor to explore – turning the observer into a participant.

The ‘dazzle’ technique has been a recurring theme in Tobias Rehberger’s work. In 2009 he was awarded the Golden Lion Award at the 53rd International Venice Biennale for a café he created that was based entirely on the principles of dazzle pattern.

Rehberger was born in 1966 in Esslingen, Germany, and now lives and works in Frankfurt. From 1987 to 1993 he studied under Thomas Bayrle and Martin Kippenberger at Frankfurt’s renowned Städelschule, where he has been Professor of Sculpture since 2001 and, until recently, was also Deputy Rector of the Fine Arts Academy. His work has been exhibited internationally at institutions including Palais de Tokyo, the Walker Art Center, Tate Liverpool, the Venice Biennale and the Manifesta Biennale, and is included in many important international collections.

‘Dazzle camouflage’, also known as ‘dazzle painting’, was used extensively during the First World War as a means of camouflaging a ship, making it difficult for the enemy to target it accurately. One of the last three surviving warships of the Royal Navy built during the First World War, the HMS President (1918) was the first type of “Q” warship built specifically for anti-submarine warfare – she was ‘dazzled’ during the war.  


The HMS Saxifrage, one of the original ‘dazzle ships’ used in the First World War.

Dazzle Ship London supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery FundBloomberg Philanthropies and the Goethe-Institut London.

Share your images online with #dazzleship

First year BA Fine Art student Bella Hull wins £10,000 painting prize

(l-r) Ben Sullivan, Bella Hull and Ken Howard at Chelsea College of Arts in June 2014.

(l-r) Ben Sullivan, Bella Hull and Ken Howard at Chelsea College of Arts in June 2014.

It’s not just our final year students who are celebrating their achievements this month.  Bella Hull, a BA Fine Art student who has just finished her first year at Chelsea College of Arts, has been awarded with an exciting £10,000 scholarship award from The Worshipful Company of Painters-Stainers in honour of her painting work.

In June this year, six students from the course were chosen to present their work to a panel of representatives from the Company: Chris Twyman, Clerk of The Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers was joined for this process by artists Ken Howard RA and Ben Sullivan.  They spoke to each of the students about their inspirations, use of materials and ideas about the ways in which their work was going to develop in the future, and then selected one to receive the generous award that will be given to the winner over the next two years of their study.

Bella was delighted to win the award, and said of the impact that the prize will have on her degree: “I did a lot of experimentation on my foundation and painting is the medium I feel most comfortable working with.  At the moment I’m working with resin over the top of oil paint, so I’m using different materials and adding elements to the paintings. This scholarship money will be really helpful in allowing me to buy materials.  I also think the money will have a big impact for me with exhibitions.  This year, putting on my own shows has been a big part of my budget so it will be really useful to have financial help with this.  And it will help me to apply to more prizes like the BP portrait award and the bigger competitions to get my name out there.”

Blueprint II by Bella Hull.

Blueprint II by Bella Hull.

The Worshipful Company of Painters-Stainers is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London, an organization which began as a trade association of painters that has been known to have existed as early as 1268.  These days, the Company is more of a charitable company which supports art schools and universities in the UK and provides its members with a network of colleagues who are all recognized as being foremost in their field.  

Of their selection, Chris Twyman said: “We look forward to seeing Bella develop during the remainder of her degree course. During this period Bella will have an opportunity to exhibit her work at Painters’ Hall and attend our events. On the successful completion of her course she will be invited to become an Honorary Freeman of the Worshipful Company for 3 years.”

Cor Cordis by Bella Hull.

Cor Cordis by Bella Hull.

The whole panel was taken with Bella’s talent, describing her as “a most impressive candidate”.  Speaking about how she creates her complex and intricate images, Bella explained: “A lot of my bigger paintings are made from collages.  I put together pictures of organs taken from biology text books and photographs I have taken at the Hunterian museum and then paint the works from these.  The main images are done in oil and the flat background is achieved by using just house paint, emulsion.”

Her interest in this unusual subject matter developed from painting portraits, she said.  “I became interested in painting skin and flesh, and enjoyed the experience of painting different textures and colours, merging them together.  Also, I have always been interested in the boundaries of beauty – in a way I’m pushing those boundaries, to see if I can look at a subject that others would think is grotesque.  I’m putting painting to the test, creating something beautiful from that in the medium of paint.

I have always believed that painting is much more beautiful and sublime than a photograph could ever be.”

Grandad by Bella Hull

Grandad by Bella Hull

We look forward to following Bella’s progress as she continues with her course.

You can see more of Bella’s artwork on her website.

Find out more about studying BA Fine Art at Chelsea on our course pages.

Chelsea & Goldsmiths MA students collaborate to create ‘Undissolved – the Presence of Absence’ exhibition


Fine Art Chelsea students have teamed up with MA Dance Movement Psychotherapy Goldsmiths students to create next week’s ‘Undissolved – the Presence of Absence’ show at the Cook House Gallery at Chelsea College.

‘Undissolved’ investigates the seemingly unrelated pairings of words ‘Visual Art and Performance’ and ‘Presence and Absence’. There is an intrinsic undercurrent of rhythm which connects practice based disciplines towards each other – this often brings out various connections, connotations, and inferences. All 12 artists exhibiting engage with this very undissolved threshold – a careful precipice on the edge of two disciplines (visual and performative) presenting a very subtle exchange between the various models of exaggerated expression. This kind of creative articulation which navigates between these two modes,also moves towards the masked broader question of what is real construction and what is not – what is perceived as a model of truth and what is not (in both a materialistic, philosophical and theoretical climate).

The show will also include a workshop on 18th July titled ‘Dance Dialogues’ which will be an open session of ‘movement’ with the audience. Similar to an artists’ talk, but the conversation will take place in movements instead of words creating a more personal way of connecting the audience and artists.

Curator and current Chelsea MA Fine Art student Radhika Prabhu explains how the students collaborated for the show:

“Living in a time when the boundaries between art forms and artists are increasingly becoming blurred, we thought it would be interesting to see how ‘performance’, ‘art’ were conceived and practiced by these two different courses. Involving the element of psychology as well, it has shaped out to be an investigation into questions of ‘real and ‘unreal’, ‘stillness’ and ‘movement’ as well.
We have been working on this project since February, and the journey has been an interesting one. Along the process a few artists who were originally involved developed different approaches, and new ones came on board. Due to the intensity of both the courses, our rehearsal sessions/discussions have been few but intense and inspiring. As a curator, I originally did not start with a written note according to which the artists worked, but the common underlying thread was picked up in the last few meets, which strangely resonated with each other in various ways. Some works are individual works, and some are collaborations between each other. There are time bound performance pieces as well as non-linear pieces.”

Opening Times:
17th July, PV 18.00 – 20.00
18th July, Dance Dialogues (workshop open to all), 10.45 – 13.00
Cook House Gallery, Chelsea College of Arts, 16 John Islip St, SW1P 4JU

Chelsea Finals exhibition at Habitat Platform, Kings Road

Photograph by Amber Rowlands

Photograph by Amber Rowlands

Platform at Habitat King’s Road showcases a new summer exhibition featuring designs from the graduating class of Chelsea College of Arts. Curated by George Blacklock, Dean of Chelsea College of Arts, the exhibit will showcase final year designs from over 20 young London creatives across fields of textile design, interior & spatial design and graphic design communication.

“This show presents the highest achieving BA graduates in our Design subjects. These are the graduates who will make a difference in what I consider to be the most vital area of our futures – our capacity to generate wealth and to safeguard our social well-being,” comments Blacklock. “Design is vital to our culture because it represents our creative thinking applied to an issue or problem that needs solving. When we solve a problem well, it is because we have designed our way out of it.

Most bureaucratic bodies often grossly misunderstand this, be they government or our state institutions. A designed solution requires swiftness of thinking, innovative (often called left-field) thinking and the ability to understand how to apply it, in other words the ability to think differently,” continues Blacklock. “What you will see in this exhibition then are examples of different thinking made real into objects, materials or images. This is an outstanding skill – to manifest innovative thinking into material form. It’s what we teach and inculcate into our students at Chelsea, and it’s what we present to you in this new exhibition.”

The exhibition at Habitat Platform, Kings Road and will run from until Sunday 27 July 2014 and entry is free.

Opening Times:

Wednesday                       10am – 8pm

Thursday – Friday            10am – 6.30pm

Saturday                              9.30am -6.30pm

Sunday                                 11am – 5pm

View the exhibition website and check out Chelsea courses in design.


BA Fine Art Official Student Awards 2014


In addition to the Chelsea Summer Show Awards 2014 we had a number of official student awards for BA Fine Art, hosted and presented by 2013 BA Fine Art alumni Ned Alderwick and Liv Fontaine. Along with Ned’s brother Shy Charles, the trio have a fashion comedy performance collaborative group called Best City Fashion.

Kyla Harris and Emma Wright 4

Kyla Harris, Photography by Kristy Noble

Kyla Harris, Photography by Kristy Noble

Emma Knight, Photography by Kristy Noble

Emma Knight, Photography by Kristy Noble


MFI FlatTime House Graduate Award Kyla Harris & Emma Knight

Aaron Wells

Aaron Wells,  Photography by Kristy Noble

Aaron Wells, Photography by Kristy Noble


ACME Studios Award Aaron Wells

Rosie Connolly 2

Rosie Connolly,  Photography by Kristy Noble

Rosie Connolly, Photography by Kristy Noble


Chelsea Arts Club Trust (peer to peer) award Rosie Connolly

Vicky Chapman Felicity Barrow

Felicity Barrow,  Photography by Kristy Noble
Felicity Barrow, Photography by Kristy Noble


OvalHouse Award

Vicky Chapman & Felicity Barrow

Marie Kaus

Marie Kaus,  Photography by Kristy Noble

Marie Kaus, Photography by Kristy Noble


South Kiosk Marie Kaus

Vicky Chapman

Vicky Chapman,  Photography by Kristy Noble

Vicky Chapman, Photography by Kristy Noble


Rosalie Schweiker Award Vicky Chapman The group collaborated with Tate Britain to create a surreal and thoroughly anti-factual tour of the gallery (which was covered on Shoreditch Radio, in The Times and in Garage magazine). They interviewed RuPaul Drag Race winner Sharon Needles just before her album debuted at #4 on iTunes and performed at Bethnal Green cult all-female music night Debbie. Now they appear fortnightly on London Live TV channel giving a comedy run-down of fashion news and celebrity looks. Liv Fontaine who runs Haha Gallery in Southampton was interviewed recently by Accentt magazine and believes they are largely responsible for sparking the trend of the pineapple motif that is everywhere right now. You too can discover BA Fine Art at Chelsea & follow Best City Fashion on Facebook, You Tube & on other adventures

Chelsea Summer Show Awards 2014

Last Friday was the opening of the undergraduate Summer Show at Chelsea College of Arts. Open to the public, all were welcome to come and look at the extraordinary output of our Undergraduate Textile, Fine Art, Interior & Spatial Design and Graphic Design students.

Before the exhibition opened to the public, Dean of Chelsea College of Arts, George Blacklock took the time to recognise the achievement of our students and award student prizes for outstanding achievement.

Please see below the list of awards and awardees (in no particular order) for the Chelsea Summer Show 2014.

Prize Winners 2014

The Dean’s Student Awards, awarded for academic achievement/improvement was presented by Chelsea Dean George Blacklock to:

Marie Rola FdA ID  Dean Award

FdA Interior Design graduate Marie Rola

Tsz Chun (David) Lam BA ISD Dean Award 2

BA Interior and Spatial Design graduate Tsz Chun Lam

Jack Hardiker

Jack Hardiker, Photography by Kristy Noble

BA Graphic Design Communication graduate Jack Hardiker

Hannah Jordan, Photography by Kristy Noble

Hannah Jordan, Photography by Kristy Noble

BA Textile Design graduate Hannah Emily Jordan

Shioka Okamoto, Photography by Kristy Noble

Shioka Okamoto, Photography by Kristy Noble

Graduate Diploma Interior Design student Shioka Okamoto

Ana Maria Lima-Dimitrijevic, Photography by Kristy Noble

Ana Maria Lima-Dimitrijevic, Photography by Kristy Noble

BA Fine Art graduate Ana Maria Lima-Dimitrijevic

For BA Textile Design:

Rachel Lentin, Photography by Kristy Noble

Rachel Lentin, Photography by Kristy Noble

Rachel Lentin won the BA Textile Design Prize from Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters. See her describe her final project on our Chelsea Summer Show Interview video.

For BA Graphic Design Communication:

Prize Givers  Ivo Tarantino from JTI and Future Concept Lab senior researcher Paolo Ferrarini awarded graduate Matthew Ashmore an honourable mention, and graduate Billy Osborne won 3rd Prize and 1000 euros.

Matt Ashmore BA GDC Future Concepts 3rd Place Billy Osbourne BA GDC Future Concepts Mention

Three 2nd Year students were awarded the SAS student scholarship which funds their final year fees: in first place Joshua Kwan, in second Phoebe Willison and in third and final place George Farrell.

Graduates Lara Al-hadeedi, Jack Hardiker and Emi Dixon won this year’s  D&AD Design and Art Directors Awards.

Emi Dixon, Photography by Kristy Noble

Emi Dixon, Photography by Kristy Noble

For BA Fine Art:

Renowned London Gallery The Parasol Unit awarded their Exposure 2014 Prize to: Sarah Roberts, Jon Baker and Aaron Wells.

Sarah Roberts, Jon Baker and Aaron Wells BA FA Exposure 2014

Sarah Roberts, Photography by Kristy Noble

Sarah Roberts, Photography by Kristy Noble

Aaron Wells, Photography by Kristy Noble

Aaron Wells, Photography by Kristy Noble

Jon Baker, Photography by Kristy Noble

Jon Baker, Photography by Kristy Noble


We congratulate all our students for their achievements and look forward to seeing them progress professionally in their chosen field.

Interview with the Chairs of Black Art and Design at UAL

Missionary Position II, 1985 by Sonia Boyce. Image courtesy of Tate.

Sonia Boyce, Missionary Position II, 1985. Currently on show in BP Walk through British Art at Tate Britain. Photo: Tate, © Sonia Boyce.

Last year, thirteen new professors were appointed at University of the Arts London in a major investment intended to enrich students’ academic experience. These new ‘Chairs’ brought leading experts to the University to work across a number of areas of interest within the creative disciplines. 

One of these newly created positions was Chair of Black Art and Design, the first position of its kind in a UK art school dedicated to the study of work by black and minority ethnic artists. It is held jointly by artist Sonia Boyce and curator Paul Goodwin, who are primarily sited at the CCW (Chelsea, Camberwell and Wimbledon) Graduate School while working across UAL to develop approaches alongside staff, students and practitioners further a-field, that will highlight the various contributions of black artists to contemporary art and design debates and practices.

Paul Goodwin and Sonia Boyce at University of the Arts London in 2013.

Paul Goodwin and Sonia Boyce at University of the Arts London in 2013.

Sonia came to prominence in the early 1980s as a key figure in the burgeoning black British art-scene of that time, becoming one of the youngest artists of her generation to have her work purchased by the Tate Gallery, with paintings that spoke about racial identity and gender in Britain. Indeed, the work, Missionary Position II from 1985, reproduced at the top of this article, is currently on show in Tate Britain’s BP Walk through British Art exhibition. Since the 1990s Boyce’s practice has taken a more multi-media and improvisational approach by bringing people together to speak or sing about the past and the present.

Paul is an independent curator, urbanist and lecturer based in London. From 2008 until 2012 Paul was Curator of Cross Cultural Programmes and then Curator of Contemporary Art at Tate Britain. In these roles, he curated The Tate Cross Cultural Programme – a pioneering programme of talks, symposia, workshops and live art events that included groundbreaking and internationally renowned events and exhibitions.

Of the creation of the post, Paul said: “This post is a historic opportunity to consolidate and make visible the incredible work and contributions of black and diasporic artists within the context of the art school.  The aim is to inspire all students across the university.”

Having been in position for five months now, we asked Sonia and Paul to answer some questions to give us an insight into their plans for the role as they settle in.

What does it mean to be a University Chair in Black Art and Design?
It is quite thrilling to think that this is the first time such a professorial role has been created in the UK. It’s a great opportunity to shine a light on historic and emerging practices of a wide range of African and Asian diasporic artists and their important but relatively neglected role in shaping art and design in the UK. We want to share this knowledge with the UAL community, irrespective of disciplines.

What do you hope to achieve in this role?
It’s about building on the huge knowledge base around Black Art and Design practices that already exists within and across UAL. The main ambition is for the wider discussions and practices around Black Art and Design to become commonplace within the learning environment. We see our role as facilitators, to bring artists, curators, thinkers and practices into the everyday mix of the cultural life here at UAL.

Starting from this great resource we want to build on the pioneering special collections around Black Art practice in the library collections and develop that resource in a creative manner and to garner knowledge about other collections. Our ambition here is for UAL to be a hub for collecting and developing knowledge around these archival resources. We also want to re-engage the many alumni who have gone on to create a legacy for UAL, facilitate access to and discussion of key art works and involve students at every stage in the process of these projects.

 What message would you most like to give to students about Black Art and Design?
We are using the term ‘Black’ to make reference to people of African and Asian diasporas. However, what we want to emphasise is that ‘Black Art’ has and continues to be a set of practices that have intrinsically been part of the broader field of contemporary art. From the outset Black Art has always refered to the international and the diasporic. We believe this global dimension will greatly enhance students development in both studio practice and theory.

Can you give us an idea of some of the projects you are working on and how students will be involved?
We have begun a programme of inviting leading artists and curators to engage directly with students and the teaching programmes. This will be extended to include a more public programme by devising an ambitious series of creative projects working with artists, designers, curators and researchers. Some of the projects we are currently developing in which students will be invited to participate include: an international curatorial collaboration around performance and the politics of carnival, a series of displays and discussions around art, culture and technology, and opportunities for international student residencies and placements.

Ellen Gallagher talking to Chelsea students at Hauser & Wirth.  Image courtesy of Jeff Dennis, lecturer on Fine Art.

Ellen Gallagher talking to Chelsea students at Hauser & Wirth. Image courtesy of Jeff Dennis, lecturer on Fine Art.

Indeed, work has already began on several of these exciting projects. Earlier this term, students on the BA Fine Art course at Chelsea College of Arts were treated to a tour and in conversation event with artist Ellen Gallagher at her exhibition at Hauser & Wirth. Ellen, who enjoyed a retrospective at Tate Britain in 2013, later came to continue that conversation with students in their studios at Chelsea, looking at their work and offering advice. This is something that Sonia and Paul hope to repeat across other colleges during their time as Chairs. “We’re looking for opportuntiies for students to have that intimate engagement with artists, thinkers, writers and curators” explains Sonia.

The student experience is fundamental to the work that Sonia and Paul have planned. Aware that academic achievement and progression of black and minority ethnic students at UAL has so far followed a disturbing national trend and does not equate with that of their white colleagues, they aim to provide academic leadership in this area, working towards redressing this current imbalance through practice, implementing real change that would impact on all students and boost their opportunities for success.

Ellen Gallagher talking to students at Chelsea College of Arts. Image courtesy of Jeff Dennis, lecturer on Fine Art.

Ellen Gallagher talking to students at Chelsea College of Arts. Image courtesy of Jeff Dennis, lecturer on Fine Art.

George Blacklock, Dean of Chelsea College of Arts, explained: “With Chelsea’s alumni including such eminent black and minority ethnic artists and designers such as Chris Ofili, Frank Bowling, Trevor Robinson, Steve McQueen, Anish Kapoor, Haroon Mirza and Marika Mori it is my feeling that the College is in an excellent position to support this new post, and believe we are now able to both improve the visibility of, and significantly re-evaluate the fantastic work of black and minority ethnic artists and designers and its place in the national canon. This will, in turn create a more representative body of work for new students to measure themselves by, as they develop their studies at UAL.

It is our hope that the work of the Professors of Black Art and Design will initiate informed change at all levels of the University. This post will work with other University initiatives such as Shades of Noir to continue to combat the disparity in achievement that we see in our students from a grass-roots perspective.”

No Woman, No Cry 1998 by Chris Ofili. Image courtesy of Tate.

No Woman, No Cry 1998 by Chris Ofili. Image courtesy of Tate.

Even before next term starts, it will be full steam ahead with more exciting collaborations and projects. Artist and curator of performance Claire Tancons is working with 23 students on the cross-dimensional (XD) pathway of CSM’s BA Fine Art course on her project Up Hill Down Hall which will take place at Tate Modern on 23 August this year, during the summer break. The project will bring Carnival into the the Turbine Hall, turning the costumed parade into a contemporary art procession. Following this event, the students will develop their own event for January 2015, celebrating the 50th anniversary of carnival in London.

Then in October Chelsea will host an exhibition of film curator June Givanni’s Pan-African Cinema Archive in its Triangle and Cook House exhibition spaces. Running concurrently with the Fireze Art Fair, this show will aim to speak to the international art audiences that visit London in the autumn as well as students and academic staff. A collaboration with Birkbeck University, Sonia and Paul will also work with students on the newly validated MA Curating and Collections course to develop the exhibition.

These projects are just the start of the ambitious programme of work that the new Chairs hope will have a big impact on current and future students. As Sonia said when she took up the post: “I think Paul and I will make a good team: concentrating not only on an exciting legacy of practice, but curious about emerging practices and debates. I believe we all have some exciting work ahead of us.”

Find out more about the new Chairs at University of the Arts London on our news blog.

Find out more about studying at Chelsea on our course pages.

Roger Ackling (1947 – 2014)

Roger Ackling Portrait

Roger Ackling sadly passed away last week, 5th June 2014. An integral part of Chelsea College of Arts, Ackling influenced generations of artists, having taught many of the students and now staff members of Chelsea.

Born in 1947 in Isleworth, London, Ackling studied at Saint Martin’s School of Art in the 1960s alongside British artists Richard Long and Hamish Fulton.  He became a sculptor known for transforming discarded scraps of wood into thoughtful intimate sculptures.  Channelling natural sunlight through a hand held magnifying glass, Ackling would burn delicate geometric shapes upon everyday wooden implements, ranging from clothes pegs, spades, clothes hangers to found driftwood. Focusing on the process of making, he described his work as: “I’m not a symbolic artist; it is what it is at the time of making it.”

Roger Ackling in Chelsea Space

Speaking of Ackling as an educator, Chelsea Researcher and PhD Supervisor Mo Throp (Former course leader of BA Fine Art) explains:

“The outstanding thing about Roger as a teacher was his generosity. I’ve never heard so many responses from students saying that the best tutorials they ever had were with him. He loved teaching. He had an incredible capacity to respond to students work in a very personal way; they felt understood and encouraged.

He was greatly loved.

I’d been an undergraduate in the same year group as Roger at St. Martin’s; taken on a year earlier than usual – he showed such talent! When I was appointed as Course Director on the BA Fine Art at Chelsea and proposed radical changes to the structure and curriculum he came to me personally telling me he didn’t like them but would support them 100% for one year; if after that he was still opposed to them he’d resign. Luckily for me and for our great team he announced at the end of that year that he welcomed and embraced the changes. That was typical of Roger; he was always fully committed to whatever he did in life.”

Ackling also exhibited frequently in the UK and Internationally. In 2011, he exhibited at Chelsea Space alongside Chelsea College of Arts Summer Show. Director of Exhibitions at Chelsea Space Donald Smith curated the exhibition ‘Roger Ackling: Down to Earth’ and remembers this time:

“He had a generous, inquiring and somewhat mischievous personality and was much loved by all. When he was first diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease he decided to retire, he then came to me with a very specific request that he would like to exhibit at CHELSEA space at the same time as the BA graduation show so that he could stand shoulder to shoulder with his students and have his work ‘examined’! I will treasure the time we spent installing the exhibition, the resulting installation was very memorable and perfectly poised. The private view was a very happy event and a great tribute to the artist and the man with a remarkable roll call of current and former students, art school colleagues and art world professionals. He will be missed by his many friends and our thoughts are with his wife, Sylvia.”

A key British sculptor and astounding educator, he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.