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Julia


Breaking into the boys’ club

For centuries, women have fought against adversity to pursue artistic careers in what was (and arguably still is) a man’s world.  They have suffered the humiliation of having their works passed off under someone else’s name, of being barred access to training, of struggling to do what men have taken for granted (simply represent themselves on canvas or celluloid) and of having their pieces relegated to dark corners of museum and gallery storerooms.  

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LGBT artists

February is LGBT History Month – a national initiative focused on recognising lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, their lives and experiences, and promoting equality. Marking the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the birth of the modern Pride movement, this year a number of galleries and museums, from London to Liverpool and Birmingham to Brighton, are running talks, exhibitions, film screenings and workshops to highlight previously hidden or unknown LGBT histories in their collections.

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Art, activism & ending violence against women

The 25 November marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the first day in the United Nations campaign UNiTE, launching sixteen days of activism against gender-based violence that culminates on 10 December – International Human Rights Day.  

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The big 30

The Guerrilla Girls’ coolly ironic salvo not only challenged the art world powers-that-be, but also called on artists to start agitating for changes. Which brings us back to Michael Young’s original, distinctive, radical and optimistic conception of the OCA as a means of transforming people’s lives, of affecting real purposive change.

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Stimulating the senses: smelling, tasting & hearing art

If we think of art only as visual – and not as something that can address all the senses – we miss fundamental parts of the way sensation in representation generates space and meaning. Multisensory, interactive experiences of art can create innovative imaginative environments, and artists, designers and researchers are increasingly looking for new ways to understand and explore the creative significance of the senses. So how are practitioners and galleries today making the most basic perceptions of sonic communication and scented air visible to the mind of their audience?

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Happy 514th birthday Bronzino!

Some of Bronzino’s coldly classical canvases have not helped his reputation, and his famous Allegory of Venus and Cupid, with its over-the-top eroticism and cryptic symbolism, certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (check out the bemused visitors in room 8 of the National Gallery where the work hangs!). But drawing is the best place to start with Bronzino. A quick look at his sketches, studies, modelli (demonstration drawings) and cartoons done in black and red chalk and brown ink will leave you hooked!

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Delving into your digital toolkit

Are you using every tool in your digital toolkit? Are you ready to think about expanding your creative efforts by experimenting with different digital platforms? There is an exciting realm of digital content out there to help you think about and address important artistic questions. Navigating these tools can be daunting and confusing, so here is my quick beginner’s guide.

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Study is a marathon, not a sprint

As you may have noticed, the 2016 Rio Olympics have got underway. Among those athletes going for gold, I would recommend keeping your eyes on the long distance runners – imitating some of their strategies will maximise your chances of successfully completing your studies.

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Fun, challenging and relevant

As any student with experience of the OCA’s Creative Arts Today course will know, exploring how different creative disciplines interact and promote exciting points of discussion and debate is really important. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach to learning helps you to develop new (and more flexible) methods, new lines of questioning, new specialist and transferable skills, and new strategies for resolving some of the challenges that may face you in your practice.

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Getting the most out of your learning log

One of the key components in developing your learning log or blog is visual analysis – looking at, selecting and recording the artists/photographers who you find interesting, challenging or useful in progressing your work. The more you document and reflect upon those creative practitioners who have had a ‘marmite effect’ on you, the more you will improve both your critical thinking and creative skills.

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