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Julia, Author at The Open College of the Arts
To find out more details about the transfer to The Open University see A New Chapter for OCA.
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Study tips for distance learners thumb

Study tips for distance learners

You’re a distance learner? Great! That means you can study wherever and whenever is convenient for you, right? Yay! But how do you stay motivated, beat distractions, and avoid feeling isolated or anxious? Here are a few tips that students have shared with me over my 14 years tutoring for the OCA. 

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LGBT+ History Month thumb

LGBT+ History Month

February is LGBT+ History Month in the UK, a month-long annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and non-binary history.

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Image-making and image-faking thumb

Image-making and image-faking

How do you balance healthy scepticism (and the urge to debunk) with openness to new information and the desire to believe?  Sometimes, when it comes to image-making and image-faking, all it takes is a few hoax fairy photos to remind you to maintain your sense of wonder…and look a little closer.

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Stay creative thumb

Stay creative

Choosing and continuing to be creative is a really important act of self-care.  Whether you write, draw, sew, sculpt, paint, photograph or play an instrument, you can improve your mental wellbeing.  Over the coming weeks OCA will post open, creative content that everyone can get involved in.

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Food for thought thumb

Food for thought

Food has always played a role in art. From the Renaissance artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s witty portraits composed of fruits and vegetables and the beautiful still life paintings of the Dutch Golden Age, through to Wayne Thiebaud’s iconic painted pies and cakes in the pop art era, artists have used food to express their pleasures and preoccupations.  

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Breaking into the boys’ club thumb

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 thumb

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 thumb

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 thumb

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 thumb

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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