Five 2017 Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) graduates have won awards at this year’s RSA New Contemporaries at the Royal Scottish Academy.

Now in its tenth year, the annual exhibition offers a unique opportunity to see some of Scotland’s emerging talent under one roof at the Royal Scottish Academy Building on The Mound in Edinburgh.

Of the sixty three graduates selected from the 2017 degree shows across Scotland, fourteen are from ECA, representing the four undergraduate BA (Hons) programmes in the School of Art, the Fine Art – MA (Hons) programme and our postgraduate Master of Architecture (MArch) programme. As well as a month-long exhibition at the Royal Scottish Academy, RSA New Contemporaries incorporates a series of awards announced on the opening night of the exhibitionOf the fourteen talented ECA alumni exhibiting, five have also picked up awards for their work.

The winner of this year’s RSA Chalmers-Jervise Prize was Painting – BA (Hons) graduate Sophie Edwards. Giulia Gentili, a graduate of our five-year MA (Hons) degree in Fine Art (which combines History of Art with art practice), won the RSA Friends Award for her resin cast sculpture of driftwood called Shuna. Sculpture - BA (Hons) graduate Lara Hirst has been awarded the RSA Art Prize for her alchemic work with gold. Lara’s work was recognised numerous times last year after winning the Astaire Prize and receiving a commission for an installation at the soon-to-be-opened Higgs Centre for Innovation.

Claire Longridge, Master of Architecture (MArch) graduate, won the RSA Medal for Architecture. Claire's project, Archaeological Mechanisms, is a series of interventions on the Acropolis of Athens. Reflecting upon the ongoing process of conservation, the work offers a subtle critique of the dominant role the ancient site plays within contemporary Athens, a city itself falling into disrepair in the context of economic crisis.

Claire Longridge, MArch, won the RSA Medal for Architecture
Photograph by Douglas McCaffrey
Claire Longridge, 2017 MArch, won the RSA Medal for Architecture

"[a]mongst the remarkable range of theoretical projects and fresh thoughts, strong concepts and technical resolution were presented with obvious enthusiasm, skill, conviction and commitment. There was an extraordinary breadth of imagination and talent." 

Architecture convenor, Professor Ric Russell OBE RSA

The winner of the RSA Adam Bruce Thomson Award was Craig Waddell (2017, Photography – BA [Hons]). Craig’s work, Masc, includes a series of queer portraits that challenge the conventional ideas of masculinity.

The selection was made during the 2017 ECA Degree Show by exhibition convenor Derrick Guild RSA, with assistance from fellow academicians and representatives from the five schools, which Guild describes as an "exciting and daunting task". Talking of the potential that the exhibition offers for the artists, Guild says “The RSA New Contemporaries exhibition is the largest platform in Scotland that allows graduate artists the opportunity to present works of scale and ambition. For some of the artists involved, it will be a crucial point in launching their careers...”.

Architecture convener Professor Ric Russell OBE RSA, said of the work he was charged with selecting: "[a]mongst the remarkable range of theoretical projects and fresh thoughts, strong concepts and technical resolution were presented with obvious enthusiasm, skill, conviction and commitment. There was an extraordinary breadth of imagination and talent."

Lara Hirst
Photograph by Douglas McCaffrey
Lara Hirst's work won the RSA Art Prize
Giulia Gentili, RSA Friends Award winner with Rachel Simmonds, Chairman of the RSA Friends and Development Committee
Photograph by Douglas McCaffrey
Giulia Gentili, RSA Friends Award winner with Rachel Simmonds, Chairman of the RSA Friends and Development Committee

RSA NEW CONTEMPORARIES 2018 is at the Royal Scottish Academy on The Mound, Edinburgh until 18 April 2018. Entry is FREE on Mondays; charge on other days.



Related people