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  • phildunn641

Open Studio

Updated: Apr 17, 2021

How do we have an open studio when we don't have a studio that is open? In fact as an MA cohort, none of us have yet been to our university studio space. The Open Studio event was organised across all the Arts and Creative Industries MA programs at Middlesex as an opportunity to share work in progress with artists from different disciplines. Those represented were Interiors (Architecture and Design), Graphic Design, Children's Book Illustration and Graphic Novels, Photography and Fine Art and Printmaking. As with all things at the moment the event was conducted on Zoom, and ran for an entire afternoon - quite a bit of screen time.

Each practice area, or studio had between 45 minutes and one hour to present their work. I was really surprised at how well attended the event was and that the majority of attendees stayed to the end - MA Fine Art.

The work presented was at different stages of development as, unlike MA Fine Art, some of the MA programmes had started in September, or was being presented by artists in the second year of a part time MA. This was particularly apparent for Graphic design where, as well as having a slick presentation, they had well developed and deeply researched ideas behind their work... made me feel that my work was quite shallow in comparison.

The whole open studio could have really dragged, but the different presentation approaches adopted kept things moving. Only one group used a slide presentation, but their use of only 3 presenters to cover the work of all the group meant the students were talking about the work of their colleagues - this was great as it meant them really having to understand their fellow students motivations which I think helped make the presentations more engaging. Other groups chose to use Video, Miro boards and, in the case of Children's Book Illustration and Graphic Novels, read from PDFs of their books - this was wonderful, relaxing, moving and entertaining.

Fine Art presented our work on a Miro board with separate studio spaces for each of us. This met with some resistance among the group, partly to do with technology and access issues, but also, I think, to a resistance to fitting in with an imposed format that meant some extra work. It seemed to me to be a good way of sharing and bit more relevant than powerpoint slides, but that may be due to my investment in having helped set up the board and also having more experience in technical (IT) problem solving.

My biggest concern about the overall format was that it did really enable/encourage feedback in the way that a IRL open studio would, where visitors would be able to have one-to-one chats with the artist. I know that I'm not alone in feeling that the investment of time in preparing could have had a more rewarding outcome.

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