How an art lecturer defied odds to run a student exhibition during the pandemic
The pandemic and the resulting lockdown of the country has put many things on hold for a lot of people. How we interact with each other has evolved and more people have utilised the capabilities of technology that is around us to stay in touch with friends, family, and continue working where possible.
However, what isn’t a common thing for people to worry about is running an art exhibition in the middle of lockdown. However, Pawel Szymanski (Pav), Art Lecturer at South Devon College, was far from worried. He had a solution.
It was by no means an easy task, but what Pav did was nothing short of incredible. He hosted the Pandemic Art Summer Show 2020 in a virtual form, replacing the traditional exhibition that would normally be physically attended at South Devon College.
Using Zoom, 139 artists took part in the exhibition with over 1935 artefacts on display. 18 countries wererepresented: UK, USA, Switzerland, Canada, Nigeria, Serbia, Italy, The Philippines, Russia, China, Australia, Mexico, Spain, Poland, Argentina, Bahrain, UAE andGreece.
The event was a great success and continuing this event in the only way possible was appreciated by all of those involved.
Pav said: “I wasn’t going to let anything stand in the way of the students proudly displaying their work that they had invested so much time and effort into. It was an ambitious event to run of this scale online but it ran smoothly and it gave even more people the chance to see the fantastic emerging talent here at the College.
“Following the success of the event, I decided an online magazine would be the most appropriate way to commemorate this unique event and also continue toelevate the students’ thinking. It also gave us a chance to explain the meaning and significance of some of the pieces on display in more detail. And so, Art Foundry Magazine was born. This is the beginning of a quarterly magazine run by new students every year ensuring continuity and legacy.”
You can also view the work of all the artists involved in the exhibition at artpandemic.co.uk, including over 20 guest artist appearances, creative staff from the College and their students ranging from entry level to degree.
For more information on creative and artistic courses, visit southdevon.ac.uk where you can find all of the courses on offer. If you have any questions, get in touch by calling 08000 380 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Notes to Editors:1. South Devon College is a general Further & Higher Education college and degree awarding body, serving Torbay, Teignbridge and the South Hams, with campuses at Paignton, Torquay, Newton Abbot, and South Devon Marine Academy based on the River Dart in Kingswear.2. The College provides teaching and learning to around 10,000 students per year, has over 700 staff and contributes £30 million to the local economy each year.3. The College Mission is “inspiring our community through learning for all”4. The College provides teaching and learning at all levels, including: GCSEs, A Levels, technical and professional programmes, Higher Education degrees, apprenticeships, community learning, business training and bespoke services for businesses. 5. The College’s age range begins at 14 through South Devon High School, an exceptional opportunity for pupils entering Key Stage 4, offering direct entry to full time core GCSE and vocational programmes of study.6. The College has a successful and well established apprenticeship programme, providing work-based training to 1,500 apprentices of all ages and working with nearly 700 employers in 2018/19.7. The College offers high-quality university degrees, with Foundation Degrees, Honours Degrees, Top-up programmes and Higher National Diplomas and Certificates, delivered in partnership with the University of Plymouth, as well as award winning professional courses in management and accountancy.8. The College was awarded the PLATINUM Investors in People Award for its staff development and training in 2017, the highest level achievable.9. University Centre South Devon was awarded with the GOLD rating from the Teaching Excellence Framework(TEF) in 2017, the highest level achievable. 10. The College won the national TES FE award for Employer Engagement in 2017 and was shortlisted for the ‘TES College of the Year Award 2018’, and regularly features at the top of the league table rankings for employer satisfaction, learner satisfaction and other key benchmarks.11. The College is committed to investing in the community and local economy. Construction has recently been completed on the Hi Tech & Digital Centre, the South Devon College Sports Centre, as well as planning future marine sector initiatives.