University of Derby: Graduate Awards 2022

From the talented artists in BA (Hons) Photography Graduating Class at the University of Derby – Alisha Bourne, Erin Swinford-Howe, Georgia Gadsby and Thomas Craven, selected by Peter Bonnell, Niamh Treacy and Jodi Kwok, for a FORMAT Graduate Award due to their distinct work. Alisha, Erin, Georgia and Thomas are presenting their work in FORMAT23, continuing a legacy of outstanding graduates from this course exhibiting in FORMAT.

The Graduates Award aims to give these determined recent graduates further professional experience by exhibiting their work at one of Europe’s most prestigious photography festivals and by creating a long-standing relationship with QUAD/ FORMAT staff who support these artists at the beginning of their careers. Alisha, Erin, Georgia and Thomas are each presenting their work from their university final work in FORMAT23.

Alisha Bourne’s Eulogy for the Potter is an exploration of the rise and fall of the pottery industry in Stoke on Trent. The Potter (noun: a person who makes ceramic wares) has been creating ceramics in North Staffordshire since the early 17th century; the ‘Staffordshire Potter’ was coined for anyone born and bred in the Potteries – an area of six towns in Stoke on Trent. The bottle kiln, once a structure of creation, industry and innovation now stands desolate. It remains a statement of important cultural identity for the Potteries, yet left to deteriorate.

Erin Swinford-Howe’s Spatial Matters Spatial Matters is a chronological and sequential order of images that represents time continuum and spatial nothingness. The value of the numeral ‘3’ is fundamental to its concept with time, referencing Beginning, Middle and End; Birth, Life and Death; Past, Present and Future. These images were cultivated from contextual research of spatial voids within photography and informed by the philosophical notions of Gaston Bachelard and Jean-Paul Sartre. This work illustrates the traces of vapour clouds to express their ephemerality and transience, occupying space and duration as something, yet also perceptibly nothing.

In Georgia Gadsby’s Salt Curing, the body of artwork reflects upon a time of health trauma. It focuses on representing the emotions experienced; such as panic, anxiety, depression, and the process of my own recovery. She has captured an area of woodland that became a familiar sanctuary and provided a location of respite when days felt bleak. Using black and white analogue processes. She has used flash lighting to simulate the trauma experienced. When making large hand-printed murals, salt crystals add another surface and visual disruption to the images. The process of salting the prints creates a visual otherness and represents a distortion from reality. The title, Salt Curing, responds to the metaphor of preservation, not of trauma but rather the healing that took place which enabled a sense of closure.

In Thomas Craven’s Living Room, the domestic photographs are a snapshot of a time that once was. They are used to reminisce on times with family, as evidence to help us remember the past, as well as adding little pieces of our own individual perspectives to their memory. His work is a collection of anecdotal thoughts and memories from my own relatives whilst they reflect on photographs from my childhood to adolescence. This represents the similarities and differences in perception between them and provides insight into each of his relatives’ personalities through both visual and audio media.