The 13thof June certainly wasn’t an unlucky date for ECA’s History of Art students, with several collecting prizes for their hard work at the annual awards ceremony. 

The event was held at the Higgitt Gallery and recognised outstanding critical contributions in various areas; from projects and reports to analytical essays and dissertations. The successful students were awarded cash or travel prizes which will help them further their chosen area of study.

History of Art and English Literature undergraduate Sophia Dowson-Collins won the Andrew Grant Travel Award. Her focus is fixed on the mail art movement of the 1950s, which was started by Ray Johnson – whose archives Sophia can now visit in New York thanks to the award. Sophia explains the challenges and rewards of exploring mail art;

"The nature of the work is that it’s very small, artist-stamps and send-able ephemera. It can be lost in a gallery, that’s what I like about it. There’s a lot to still be discovered. Every aspect of the mail art is of interest, from the envelope, and the addressee to the postage system itself." 

"Looking contextually at the work in a period dominated by large scale environmental and pop art, I’m interested in the variety of art movement responses to the art market and how the art world was running at the time.”

Despite having other deadlines, Sophia is glad she stumbled across such an enthralling topic and enjoyed learning more about the oft-forgotten art form. Her dedication clearly paid off, as she says of the experience of winning the prize; 

“Seeing the possibility of this award I felt the support and reward of following independent interests with the same intention as university work. For me, it has really made my dissertation much richer.”

students celebrated their achievements at the annual History of Art awards
Image: Christian Weikop
students celebrated their achievements at the annual History of Art awards

"The award has given me more confidence in my writing, and in my strength as an artist.”

Siobhan McLaughlin

Isotta Page, is an MA Fine Art student who grew up surrounded by art and ancient monuments, which inspired both her decision to study in the city of Edinburgh and her forthcoming investigative thesis. She says;

“The MAFA course is challenging and full on but as a student I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. It truly is an asset for the University as it uniquely bridges the gap between academia and the studio.”

Feeling honoured to have won the Baldwin Brown Travel award, Isotta is now looking forward to developing her project and thesis with the help of the prize of travelling to Milan. Her thesis will be centred around The Seven Heavenly Palaces by Anslem Kiefer, which is the the permanent exhibition at Pirelli Hangar Bicocca – a non-profit foundation located in Bicocca, the former industrial centre of Milan. She says; 

“The scholarship will help facilitate the travel necessary for the research component of the project. With so many interesting opportunities out there, it was challenging to select my topic. However, I have been interested in Kiefer’s work for a long time and as an Italian I am passionate about how our contemporary art institutions impact and shape public discourse in light of European politics.” 

Fellow MA Fine Art student and winner Siobhan McLaughlin was recognised for her exemplary MAFA dissertation with the Huntley MacDonald Sinclair prize. Her dissertation proposed new and complex ideas regarding the work of the rarely discussed Sonia Delaunay, who received far less critical acclaim than her husband. McLaughlin was extremely passionate about her artistic muse, even successfully convincing the Conservation Department at the Pompidou Centre in Paris to allow her to analyse one of Delaunay’s paintings which is no longer on display.She says of winning the award;

“I am absolutely delighted to have been able to combine my skills both as an art historian and as an artist to undertake this new exciting research. I’m just delighted that I could use my love of painting to create a convincing argument. 

"The award has given me more confidence in my writing, and in my strength as an artist.”

Recent MA (Hons) History of Art graduate Suri Li has topped off her fulfilling time at ECA by winning the Huntley MacDonald Sinclair for Best History of Art dissertation with a £300 prize. Li describes studying at ECA as the “best time of her life” and during her years here she taught herself Italian and developed a widened knowledge of art history– in particular the Italian Renaissance – which was the focus of his award-winning dissertation. She credits lecturers, supervisor and all staff for helping her track her progress during her four years. Li says of her ECA experience and of winning the prestigious award;

“This was my first award during my studies at the University of Edinburgh. 

"The award was a recognition of all my hard work during not only this academic year but the past several years, ever since I decided to study history of art. It has been a difficult but delightful journey." 

"I am very grateful for receiving this award, as it has encouraged me to pursue my future studies."

ECA would like to congratulate all students on their awards, the full list of which is as follows:

  • Sophia Adams, MA (Hons) History of Art, Huntley MacDonald Sinclair Prize
  • Eleanor Beale, MA (Hons) Fine Art, Baldwin Brown Travelling Scholarship
  • Arabella Bradley, MA (Hons) History of Art, Huntley MacDonald Sinclair Prize
  • Marina Carrick, MA (Hons) History of Art, Huntley MacDonald Sinclair Prize
  • Emma Dewhurst, MA (Hons) History of Art, Baldwin Brown Travelling Scholarship
  • Sophia Dowson-Collins, MA (Hons) History of Art and English Literature, Andrew Grant Travel Award
  • Tor Holmes, MA (Hons) History of Art, Huntley MacDonald Sinclair Prize
  • Fabianne Jones, MA (Hons) Fine Art, Cousins Essay Prize
  • Calypso Keightley, MA (Hons) Fine Art, Huntley MacDonald Sinclair Prize
  • Suri Li, MA (Hons) History of Art, Huntley MacDonald Sinclair Prize
  • Brandon Logan, MA (Hons) Fine Art, Huntley MacDonald Sinclair Prize
  • Siobhan McLaughlin, MA (Hons) Fine Art, Huntley MacDonald Sinclair Prize
  • Lydia Newton, MA Arabic and History of Art, Robert Hillenbrand Prize
  • Isotta Page, MA (Hons) Fine Art, Baldwin Brown Travelling Scholarship
  • Francesca Taiganides, MA (Hons) History of Art, Huntley MacDonald Sinclair Prize
  • Sophia Sohal, MA (Hons) History of Art, Huntley MacDonald Sinclair Prize

 


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