"Scavengers" - Foundation Art Graduate Show 2023

Just before half-term our Foundation Art students put on their graduate exhibition, Scavengers! This year the showcase was set at the Cambridge Museum of Technology. The name of the Exhibition – ‘Scavengers’ - is from a term in linked to the venue that the workers historically were called as they gathered and recycled objects for fuel. 

In true foundation ethos we identified this iconic building to present a mainly ‘cinematic conclusion’ their 2023 graduate show. The Building will also host an array of objects of art which explores the diverse specialisms untaken this year. Once again, graduates have won a range of excellent progression routes to leading universities as well embarking to study with an extensive range of specialist subjects such as Architecture, Special effects and make up, Fashion, furniture and Graphic communication to name just a few.

The Museum of Technology was selected for its connections as arguably the first form of ‘recycling’ within a ‘Edwardian / Victorian Cambridge’. Rubbish was collected and combusted to produce energy that fuelled the pumps to activate with the sewage and waste disposal process, this helped to stamp out disease throughout the local community. The venue also has a number of stainable attributes which we took into account prior to selecting. The building is obviously a historic and unique space, but provision has been made to support the site with ground source heat pumps, solar power to generate the electric that will be used in support of our exhibits and active considerations made throughout the site have been adopted / considered.

The Museum itself could simply be dubbed, as ground-breaking in its time and descriptively entitled, ‘the first recycling and re-use Centre within the Cambridge local community’. This once a groundbreaking environment and process relied on cutting edge technological advances at the forefront of engineering, which helped advance and support the infrastructure and construction. The beautifully restored machinery can be viewed and enjoyed in between the students creative conclusions, most working in tandem with the static exhibits.  

Our graduate showcase once again did not disappoint. The environment enriched the students outcomes and evoked tremendous interest. The foot fall of industry specialists, media and practitioners really hammered home to us all the need and benefit of the Level Four program here at Long Road. It was also encouraging to see potential candidates that had actively come to view the show and make the qualification an aspirational 'want' to achieve on their CV. My congratulations go to all students showing!

Gareth roberts, course team leader level 4 foundation art & design 

This year, the students have been on seven research based trips on the foundation course. Research and concepts are evident in their works throughout the show and have informed their portfolios, final major projects and specialist practice. They have used these as starting points for their concepts, examples can be seen via the New York residential where our students set up and delivered publicly a ‘Pop up exhibition’ at the Climate Control Museum, as well as a photography based session targeting sustainability qualities. Students used editing materials and reducing waste by initially targeting focal points in support of subject matter gathered and used cropping digital tools to support this process. On the London residential trip, engineering and construction inspiration was observed as well as understanding was gathered surrounding the mechanics of the ‘Tower Bridges' gate system, this inspired projects where waste was the focus, considerations into packaging and the disposable aspect has been enforced and discussed throughout these starting points. This has been a theme that not only has been echoed in studio sessions by setting up a ‘student led sustainable weekly forum’ but by visits to the Saatchi Galley’s exhibit ‘Beyond the Street’ where practitioners recycled objects to dynamic practice and outcomes - all in all a totally inspiring trip that was eye-opening to each of the students.  

It has also been encouraging to see that the impact of practitioners such as, Sarah Strachan an award-winning artist and ceramicist, who presented her work to students and ran a workshop in support of reusing materials where they used naturally harvested clay for the environment.

Students once again fund-raised to support the ‘setup’ / hospitality of their exhibition and show which has given them an understanding of the professional constraints and needs surrounding such an event as well as engrained life skills such as teamwork and collaborations.