Four recent graduates from the Painting - BA (Hons) programme returned to Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) to give a lecture and participate in a workshop as part of the Drawing on Drawing exhibition.

The exhibition, which ran from 22nd February - 4th March 2016 in the Sculpture Court, featured work by graduates, current staff and students, and works from the University of Edinburgh collections. Notable contributors included Andrew Gilbert, currently showing in the ‘Art & Empire’ exhibition at Tate Britain, Rachel Mclean, who is part of the British Art Show which comes to Edinburgh in February, and Marie Harnett, whose drawings were recently purchased by MOMA New York.

Deirdre MacLeod, Robyn Benson, Darren Nisbet and Gemma Coyle (who graduated from the Painting - MFA programme in 2005) talked about their work and their experiences as artists, both during their time as students and since leaving ECA.

Alumni chat about their experiences of ECA and beyond.

Connecting with graduates allows our current students to hear of strategies that have been adopted post-college which enable individuals to develop careers as visual artists & creative thinkers. These considerations are obviously embedded in aspects of programmes at ECA, but hearing first-hand from artists who have ‘made the jump’ is extremely valuable and insightful.

Charlie Stiven (Painting - BA (Hons) Programme Director)

The exhibition was developed by Charlie Stiven (Painting - BA (Hons) Programme Director) who explained the idea behind the project:

“The show exposed our current students to works by ex-students and staff for whom drawing is central to their practice. Much of it has a strong international standing within contemporary art. The idea was to show a range of approaches to drawing from across the School of Art, to promote discourse on its multi-faceted manifestations and potential, and consider how the strong tradition of drawing at ECA can be continued & developed in the years ahead.”

Charlie also spoke about the importance of the link between current students and their predecessors.

“Connecting with graduates allows our current students to hear of strategies that have been adopted post-college which enable individuals to develop careers as visual artists & creative thinkers. These considerations are obviously embedded in aspects of programmes at ECA, but hearing first-hand from artists who have ‘made the jump’ is extremely valuable and insightful.

More generally, in a philosophical sense, such engagement also helps cement a timeline between past and present, helping our current students contextualise their experience and ambitions whilst here by exposing them to the knowledge and progress of those who have recently left.”


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