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sustaining practice


Student stories: RT Jane

Finally it confirms to me the importance of OCA’s role as a broker for latent creativity, as an agent to support and foster the creative drive in those of us from whom it is central to our well being, and may help us to express things that we have hung onto for years. 

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Notes from home

When I began my studies with the Open College of the Arts six years ago, I never could have imagined having my own music performed in a public concert. Yet, that is the situation I find myself in at the culmination of the final unit of my music degree.

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Postcard from the edge of Art and Science

Increasingly fascinated with the connections between Art and Science, I was delighted to secure a place on Edinburgh University’s ASCUS* Art and Science on a Postcard 2021 event which took place earlier this year over three consecutive weekends.

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What is your tutor up to? Caroline Wright

OCA Programme Leader Caroline Wright is a contributor to an online conference on 19 November titled Eco-creativity 2021: Art, Music, Ritual and Global Climate Politics. It explores climate change and cultural change confluences, with particular interest in innovations in art, music and ritual.

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What is your tutor up to? Hayley Lock

It gives me great pleasure to announce the launch of Confer – Karnac Art Space, located at Confer – Karnac (Karnac books) in Strype Street, London E1.

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Jim Cowan is retiring after 32 years with OCA

As Programme Leader for the painting dept, I am pleased to be in conversation this month with artist and tutor James Cowan. James has worked for OCA since September 1988 (the year I sat my A Levels) and his experience and, I would suggest in particular, his rich art historical knowledge has been an asset for students over the years. Jim is leaving us in the months ahead so I’m taking the opportunity to have a conversation with him now and hear about his own practice and also listen to his unique insight into the development of OCA.

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Student stories: Johnathan Hall

feel this story shows that with dedicated networking (and a bit of luck), valuable opportunities can arise from the work placement. Without doing the work placement I would probably not have met this artist and I wouldn’t have the chance for my first solo exhibition.

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Student stories: David McGuire

David McGuire is a Level Three painting student. He has recently had work exhibited in group shows organised by arts societies of which he is a member. In this short interview he speaks a little about that process and what it means for his wider practice.

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Student work: OCA Painting & Drawing summer assessment 2021 exhibition

We would like to invite you to view below a curation of work produced in the drawing and painting departments at the Open College of the Arts. The work is from our summer 2021 assessment event and includes students at HE4 – HE6.

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Exhibition in situ – Drifting by the Leeds & Liverpool

As well as presenting my exhibition, I look back near the end of my OCA time, after years of assignments and assessments, highs and lows, applause and disinterest, and ask was it worth it? I suspect the percentage of those starting that finish is small – a flip-side of open access and the many obstacles life can throw during years of part-time study. Though, I of course was hoping for more than an endurance test and good fortune! 

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