UWE CELEBRATES 150 YEARS OF ART EDUCATION IN BRISTOL

Issue date: 10 November 2003


ISSUE DATE: 10/11/03

This year the Faculty of Art, Media and Design at the University of the West of England celebrates 150 years of Art and Design education in Bristol.

From its modest beginning as Bristol School of Practical Art in November 1853, through incarnations as the Bristol Municipal School of Art (1904 1936), the West of England College of Art (1936-1969), and the Faculty of Art Media and Design, Bristol Polytechnic (1969 -1992), the Faculty has grown and developed to become the largest provider of art, design and media teaching and research in the South West as well as having an international reputation for research in key areas.

To celebrate its 150th anniversary the Faculty is holding a special party at the RWA in Queens Road in Bristol on 19 November to which over 300 former teachers, students and artists with links to the Faculty will be invited. The Faculty has also developed a website: www.uwe.ac.uk/archive which contains an illustrated history of the Faculty and profiles many former teachers and students through text, pictures and audio interview.

Dean of the Faculty, Professor Paul Gough says, “Over the years an impressive range of artists, designers and teachers have contributed to the Faculty’s success and the success of its students. Many of those who will come to our celebration in November continue to provide inspiration through their work to a new generation of students and teachers.”

Amongst the profiles on the website is that of Richard Fowler who was at the West of England College of Art from 1940 to 1947. He went on to become Principal Lecturer in charge of Sculpture at Gloucestershire College of Art where he stayed until 1986. During the war Richard recalls that students were required to undertake ‘fire-watching’ duties and remembers once night in particular, “It was on one of these occasions that a small hole was punctured in the massive front door by a piece of shrapnel from a bomb dropped over beyond the Nursery. It was the first time I had experienced the camera obscura effect. On sunny days there was a clear upside-down image of Queens Road on the opposite wall.”

The war memories of Jack Chalker, a former Principal of the West of England College of Art (1958-1974) have been preserved in visual form and exhibited in many locations. Jack, who was Principal during the West of England’s incorporation into Bristol Polytechnic, was captured in 1942 by the Japanese in Malaya in Singapore and spent several months there before being transferred to Thailand where he spent three years working on the Thai-Burma railway project. From 1942 – 1945 Jack recorded images of his life as a prisoner in drawings and paintings. He was attached to the Australian Army as a War Artist and some of his work was used as evidence in the Tokyo war trials. His work was included in exhibitions of War Artists at London University in 1987 and 1990; he is represented in the War Memorial Museum Canberra, Imperial War Museum, London, Army Museum London and has had a gallery named after him in Thailand in commemoration of his artistic endeavours during the war. Jack has also worked as a medical artist and has had numerous exhibitions worldwide. Jack continues to work in his studio at his home near Wells.

Profiles are included of many other former members of staff, including David Inshaw, (lecturer in painting from 1966 to 1975) who is a well known artist who has exhibited widely and June Miles who taught illustration from 1966 to 1976. Many of the stories are illustrated with archive photographs and many have audio interviews which can be listened to on the website.

In the New Year the Faculty will hold a six week exhibition at the RWA which marks a new collaboration between UWE and the RWA. The exhibition (25 January to 28 February 2004) will feature work by current students from a range of art, media and design subjects, show a working fashion studio and exhibit works of art from schools and colleges in the region.

-ENDS-

Editor’s notes

The party on the 19 November is at the RWA in Queen’s Road in Bristol and is for invited guests only.

For further information on Research in the Faculty of Art, Media and Design at UWE see:- www.uwe.ac.uk/amd/research.htm

One of the leading international research centres is the Centre for Fine Print Research. For further information see:- www.uwe.ac.uk/amd/cfpr

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