Image shows Gray's Graduates in Residence Joe Morris and Claudia Sneddon at the Creative Entrepreneurship Showcase
Image by: Martin Parker, The Gatehouse Design Agency

Gray's supports student development with Graduates in Residence

By Jenny Frost - 18 May 2022

Gray’s School of Art offers a unique development programme for recent graduates known as the Graduates in Residence Scheme. This competitive scheme is unique in Scotland, and enables graduates to remain within the Art School, accessing facilities & guidance whilst setting up their practice. Contemporary Art Practice Graduates in Residence, collaborators Joe Morris and Claudia Sneddon, tell more.

There are ten Graduates in Residence altogether across Contemporary Art Practice, Painting, 3D Design, Fashion & Textiles, and Curatorial Studies. As Graduates in Residence, we work as ambassadors for the Art School which supports our overall development and opens up new opportunities.

There’s an inclusive environment at Gray’s and our role as a Graduates in Residence helps foster this sense of community. As Graduates in Residence, we get to know both the undergraduate and post graduate students. We’re in quite a unique position as we act as an informal link between students and staff. We’re on hand to offer advice and can really get to know our students, so they can come to us with any suggestions or concerns.  We’re also there to provide physical and technical help on projects. 

As Graduates in Residence, we have our own studio space. We can use all the technical workshops and, considering we finished our degree during lockdown, we’ve really appreciated getting back to what we missed out on. We’re surrounded by creatives again and it’s been amazing to get to know our fellow cohort of creative peers.

We can also make supportive connections. This is really important as a creative, especially when you first graduate from Art School. You maintain connections with the Gray’s tutors and this gives you the feeling of being less alone. It lets you ‘pick their brains’ if you’re up against new challenges.  

With the help of Look Again Gray’s School of Art’s Creative Unit, we have been supported and encouraged to see our own worth and stay motivated in our practice together too. We recently opened the Creative Entrepreneurship Showcase. The event celebrated alumni from Look Again’s Creative Entrepreneurship short course which is an intensive, eight week course for emerging creatives and ambitious individuals, sole-traders, free-lancers, small company owners and recent graduates who want to take their existing businesses to the next level.

The programme is delivered in partnership between RGU’’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group and Look Again, the creative unit at Gray’s School of Art and another opportunity at the University to develop your creative ventures.

The performance at the Creative Entrepreneurship Showcase, was something we had been wanting to execute for a while. We brought together our drag personas, Anya and Olive.  Our performance essentially started from hearing the song “Scientist” by Dopplereffekt whilst we were in the middle of a different project.   We envisaged our drag alter egos as silly, sexy scientists - mixing potions and go-go dancing.  After our initial entrance, we created a fun and uplifting atmosphere at the showcase event, through the whimsical and humorous elements of our presence in the gallery space.  We acted as bar tenders for the Showcase celebration as well, so our audience were forced to interact with us if they wanted refreshment. 

As to anyone thinking of becoming a Graduate in Residence or even if you’re thinking about joining Gray’s School of Art, we’d say to go for it! It’s a great chance to continue to work in a familiar environment and lets you come at if from a new angle.  You don’t have the same pressure of course deadlines, so you can work with less stress, and meet new people while you do it. 

In early June, the Graduate in Residence are holding an exhibition called ‘Emergence’ at the Look Again Project Space. Our exhibition will mark the start of Gray’s Degree Show, ‘Welcome to the Real World’. There’ll also be an adjoining ‘In Conversation’ event at Aberdeen Art Gallery which will, explore the opportunities for creatives in the North East, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic. This event will be led by independent curator and lecturer in critical and contextual studies at Gray’s, Judith Winter. 

We can’t wait to be part of the Graduate in Residence ‘Emergent’ exhibition and to showcase all the creative energy we have. We feel we are only at the start of our creative journey and we look forward to continuing our work.  Gray’s offers such a vibrant and inclusive environment and excellent academic and personal support, not only as a student but also once you graduate.

Image shows Graduates in Residence, Claudia and Joe bring together their drag personas, Anya and Olive, to open the Creative Entrepreneurship Showcase at the Look Again Project Space. 

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