Art students to showcase work as Spike Island opens its studios

Issue date: 27 April 2018

Spike Island Open Studios

The home of UWE Bristol's Fine Arts courses is set to throw open its doors to the public.

Students on Fine Art and Art & Visual Culture courses based at Spike Island will showcase their work during an open studios weekend.

Spike Island Open Studios offers visitors a chance to go behind the scenes and meet the community of artists and creative businesses working from the centre, an internationally renowned contemporary art venue close to Bristol's Floating Harbour.

Visitors at the free event between 4-7 May can meet artists who work in sculpture, drawing, film, painting, installation, performance and more, alongside tenants ranging from architects to film producers.

A packed programme of exhibitions, family friendly activities, talks, performances and tours are scheduled. Among the highlights is The Age of Entanglement, an exhibition involving UWE Bristol students from the Fine Art and Art & Visual Culture courses. Paintings, sculptures, sounds, films and photographs will be on show across the weekend while the opening night will see students put on a performance which considers art in the quantum age.

Kino 3, a collaboration between students from UWE Bristol and Chelsea College of Arts at University of the Arts London focused on contemporary art filmmaking, will be showcased with film screenings throughout the weekend.

UWE Bristol's studios and facilities are located on the ground floor of Spike Island, an international centre for the development of contemporary art and design which forms part of the University's City Campus. It is also home to a gallery, cafe and working space for artists, designers and creative businesses.

Visitors to Open Studios will also get the opportunity to take part in a wide range of events and activities, including:

- Decorate and fire your own tea bowl as part of these Raku ceramic workshops led by artists Sarah Wilton and David Alesworth

- Ask questions of a strange mirrored cube structure 'The Curious Cube', brought to Spike Island by Bristol's Science Centre, We The Curious.

- Meet Wise Children, Bristol's newest theatre company in their new studio at Spike Island.

- Make and display your own plasticine sculptures for the Skulptur Parc exhibition in Spike Island's Test Space.

Alongside Open Studios, three new exhibitions open at Spike Island by artists Zoë Paul, Alex Cecchetti and Andrew Mania.

Family friendly activities across the weekend include: What Would You March For?, a banner making workshop celebrating 100 years since the Women's Suffrage movement, led by Rising artists for 11 to 16 year olds; and Dream & Make invite 5 to 11 year olds to create 3D collages and installations in a day of immersive art.

Wayne Lloyd, Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Fine Art and BA (Hons) Art & Visual Culture programmes at UWE Bristol, said: “Spike Island Open Studios is a key weekend in Bristol's busy cultural calendar and it gives our Fine Arts students the chance to exhibit alongside established artists. Their work will be seen by thousands of people drawn to Spike Island by its reputation as an international centre for art and design.”

Markus Eisenmann, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at UWE Bristol, said: “Students from Chelsea College of Arts who have taken part in the Kino film exchanges with us in the past have been highly impressed with Open Studios: the scale of the venue, the number of artists and designers involved and the fantastic exposure their work has received over the weekend. Everyone is looking forward to this year's event and we have had record numbers of participants.”

Open Studios is free to enter and begins on Friday 4 May, 6–9pm. It continues on Saturday 5 May, 11am–5pm; Sunday 6 May, 11am–5pm and Monday 7 May, 11am–5pm. Some events/activities require advance booking, details are available at

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