The Edinburgh College of Art Masters Festival is currently happening in the Sculpture Court and surrounding studios at Lauriston Place, as part of this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival.
Current graduates from MA and MSc programmes in the Schools of Art, Design and ESALA are showing elements from their coursework and final projects, continuing MSc and PhD students from all five of ECA’s schools are exhibiting postcard summaries of their research alongside staff colleagues, and graduating and continuing Reid School of Music students are performing at regular moments throughout the week. A number of inter-disciplinary research groups are also engaging with visitors in themed workshops and screenings.
The atmosphere is engaged, inquisitive, participatory and critical in the best sense of the word.
Degree shows are rightfully celebratory and festive occasions, but they can sometimes also feel like trade shows, where students’ work is siloed in cubicles and an underlying pressure to perform ‘on the night’ pervades the proceedings. Once they’re over, the come-down can be intense.
In the Masters Festival, however, we have tried to resist those tendencies. Graduates should quite rightly have the opportunity to showcase their hard work, but we also want to generate the sense of a working community whose practice is in a continuum.
One interesting example is the studio hosted by Claire Walsh, a graduate of the MA in Contemporary Art Theory from last year. Her ‘artist writing room’ offers the opportunity to reflect on art writing and the artist book, whilst also offering writing and publishing workshops and events for the public and our current generation of graduates. Sharing expertise and building networks in the manner of Claire’s ‘residency’ is as much a part of our festival approach as the traditional production of degree show ‘stars’.
Though I am sure that many of our talented exhibiting graduates will go on to achieve extraordinary success as well.
- Masters Festival
- Degree Show site
- Edinburgh Art Festival
- The Artist Writing Room
- Take a look at some photos from the Master Festival opening night on Facebook
Claire Walsh‘s edits-while-U-wait service is available 3.30pm-5pm, Saturday 23rd August, 2014, in the Artist Writing Room (Room C28) in the Edinburgh College of Art Main Building on Lauriston Place