Students on work placement restoring frames

Fine art at the University of Plymouth nurtures artistic, inter-personal, and professional skills, and provides training and experience that can lead to a wide variety of rewarding creative careers.

Our graduates currently operate professionally as curators, arts facilitators, digital designers, lecturers and teachers, sculptural fabricators, film-makers, with many working internationally as artists in their own right.

Dr Steven Eastwood

Reader in Film Practice, Convenor, MA Film Studies at Queen Mary University of London

Steven Eastwood is an artist-filmmaker working in both cinema and the gallery. His first feature film, Buried Land was officially selected for Tribeca, Moscow, Sarajevo, and Mumbai film festivals in 2010. His recent group and solo exhibitions include Jerwood Gallery, London; QUT Gallery, Brisbane, Globe Gallery, Newcastle; KK projects Gallery, New Orleans. He formed the production company Paradogs in 1997 and his documentary Those Who Are Jesus (2001) was nominated for a Grierson Award at BAFTA. Steven is currently Programme Leader for MA and BA Film at the University of East London and also the director of the Moving Image Research Centre.

“As an artist-filmmaker I work between the cinema and the gallery. When I look back on notebooks from my time as an undergraduate in fine art I realise my concerns and the concepts and forms I work with remain largely unchanged. I’m still interested in tampering with narrative. I’m still mining the moving image for its wild properties. The sensibilities and skills I acquired during my early studies directly inform how I make art today and what I want to pass on to others. My three years on BA (Hons) Fine Art gave me the valuable time to formulate research interests and material practices that set the trajectory for a lifetime of inquiry.”

David Dellafiora

Following his graduation David Dellafiora relocated to Australia and has continued to work internationally as a practicing artist. His work takes a variety of forms, including installation, public art, community-based art and artist books.

David participated in Field Study International: Emanations of a Collective Spirit in Art exhibition at the V&A London in 2011, and has coordinated exhibitions of conceptual and mail art in collaboration with organisations across the globe, including Platform, Warrnambool Art Gallery, HUB Gallery, FRONT and Art Angel. His artist books are in numerous international collections including the Museum of Modern Art New York, Tate Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum, the University of Plymouth and the Sackner Archive of Concrete & Visual Poetry. He regularly visits the University as guest lecturer.

Rachel Dobbs and Hannah Jones

LOW PROFILE is the collaboration between artists Rachel Dobbs (Ireland) and Hannah Jones (UK). They made their first work together during the final year of their degree course, without any plans on continuing their collaboration. More than a decade later they continue to work together, presenting live performance, books, ephemera, writing, video, photography and installation.

They are regularly invited as guest lecturers and public speakers at a range of institutions and events.

In 2013, they were asked to develop a solo exhibition Against all odds at Exeter Phoenix and were commissioned by ICIA (Bath) to make Here’s to another 10, a new publication investigating notions of the future. Alongside their collaborative practice, Rachel and Hannah have successful careers within the arts as educators and producers. Hannah runs The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art and Rachel works as a lecturer and educational facilitator.

“Our experiences on the fine art degree allowed us to develop skills in research, experimentation, resourcefulness and self-discipline and to become confident in showing and talking about our work and ideas to public audiences.”

Jessica Walters

Jessica moved to London soon after leaving the fine art course at Plymouth, working on a self-employed basis for fabrication companies producing large-scale artworks for established artists. She quickly learned how incredibly dynamic she needed to be to assist different artists in bringing their ideas to fruition. In 2010 Jessica established her own workshop, London MouldMakers, a small arts fabrication studio, producing a variety of bespoke work for artists and designers. When setting up the workshop Jessica’s ethos was to make it a place where emerging young artists could get advice and realise ambitious pieces at an affordable price.

“At university I don’t think we appreciate technicians, as once you finish your degree it is almost impossible to find people who can give you advice on materials or the technicalities of producing your work. I tried to find work in as many mediums as possible, working in prop houses and bronze foundries. My skills grew quickly and having met lots of other fine art graduates working along the way, struggling to afford the prices of the art production companies in London, I knew I could make a niche for myself setting up a small workshop with those people in mind. I now have a really diverse range of artists and designers that I work with and it has also led to me getting my own commissions.”

James Brooks

After graduating James went on to study an MA in fine art at Chelsea College of Art in London. His work involves intricate systematic drawings, sometimes worked onto unusual surfaces, such as a football or tennis ball. His drawings have been recognised internationally, and exhibited in frequent solo shows, most recently at DomoBaal, London (2012); and Laurent Mueller, Paris (2013). James curated an Arts Council England funded drawing exhibition Until it Makes Sense shown in Paris and London, and his essay on contemporary drawing was included in the publication Drawing: the future (National Gallery, London).

In 2007 he was selected for ART Futures at Bloomberg space, London, and other drawings have been included in important group exhibitions, such as those at Tate Britain, Stådel Museum Frankfurt, and Bomuldsfabriken Kunsthall, Norway. James is represented by Galerie Martina Detterer in Frankfurt and Laurent Mueller gallery, Paris.

"Regular contact with artist-lecturers on the course convinced me that becoming a professional artist was the right path for me. The experience galvanised my belief and refined my skills, giving me the confidence to exhibit internationally.”

Gabrielle Hoad

Originally from London, Gabrielle was attracted to the fine art course at the University of Plymouth and since graduation has remained in Devon to pursue her practice. She makes drawings, photographs, videos and site-based works, which test the limits of objective observation and description. Collaboration has been key to Gabrielle’s outlook, and she has worked on projects with organisations such as Exeter Phoenix, OSR Projects and OrganicArts, as well as individual artists. She had her first art review commissioned by A-N magazine whilst at university, and continues to work part-time as a writer.

She is currently working on a collaborative research project with the Royal Veterinary College's Structure & Motion Lab to model data collected by flying birds. 

“My time at the University of Plymouth helped me to professionalise my art practice. It broadened my view of what art could be in the contemporary context, and gave me a much more rigorous set of criteria by which to assess my own output. There’s still much more to learn, and I may return to Plymouth for postgraduate study in the future.”

Jamie Barber

After his memorable installation in the graduation exhibition, Jamie moved to Cornwall and worked as artist assistant to Sandra Blow RA and Roy Walker. He was then nominated and shortlisted for the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Award, later exhibiting at Tate St.Ives in Cornwall. As a result of his positive experiences as an undergraduate he returned to the University of Plymouth to complete a practice-as-research MPhil. Recently he was selected for a studio space at the historic Porthmeor Studios in St.Ives, and worked with American artist Mark Dion to project-manage the realisation of the site-specific installation The Maritime Artist.

“Like most emerging artists when I started my undergraduate course I was itching to get involved and desperate to learn new approaches and skillsets. I was keen to embark on a journey and my time at Plymouth would later become a critical punctuation in an overarching career. The University provided me with an array of skills, as a maker, researcher and a creative facilitator, skills I continue to use and expand on to this day.”

Amy Cooper

In her second year on the fine art course Amy undertook an internship with Plymouth City Council’s Arts Unit and assisted in the implementation of smaller local events and arts competitions. In 2011 she was awarded the role of Assistant Project Manager for British Art Show 7. Soon after graduating Amy began working at the National Marine Aquarium as Project Manager for Plymouth Making Waves, a city-wide project celebrating Plymouth’s success with apprenticeships. Amy intends to highlight the high level of skill that already exists through creating a visitor trail, centred around sculptures of Ocean Sunfish, designed by local apprentices, sponsored by local businesses and decorated by local artists, students and graduates.

“Fine art taught me to think creatively when problem solving, something that has been key in this job role, managing multiple tasks and adapting to those ‘happy accidents’. Thinking outside of the box when developing and planning projects and feeling confident in my communication of those ideas has also been essential.”

Robson Cesar

Robson Cezar was born in Brazil, and after years living and working all over South America, made his way to New York to study art in the 1990s, attending the School of Visual Arts and the Art Students’ League in Manhattan. After 9/11 he moved to the UK, to study on the fine art course at the University of Plymouth, winning the Natalie Sitar Award for outstanding achievement.

His inventive and witty sculpture-drawings won him a postgraduate place at Chelsea School of Art in 2008, where he was subsequently awarded a Sculpture Fellowship. Following in the footsteps of Brazilian national heroes Helio Oiticica and Caetano Veloso, he eventually settled in London’s East End, where he maintains a studio. His work has been exhibited, often in provocative ways, both in the UK and abroad.

Zoe Watson 

Zoe completed a masters in contemporary curating after graduating, and a year-long internship at the Holden Gallery in Manchester before being made a permanent member of staff. Zoe is now the assistant curator for the Holden Gallery, involved in all aspects of the gallery – planning and devising the programme, installing, writing interpretive material and communicating with the artists, dealers and galleries. For her most recent summer exhibition Mortality: Death and the Imagination she worked with a range of internationally-acclaimed artists including Douglas Gordon, Cornelia Parker, Sam Taylor-Wood, Bob & Roberta Smith and Felix Gonzalez-Torres.

“I have been determined to have a career in curating since my time at the University of Plymouth where I studied fine art and art history. It was through my degree that I gained an academic grounding in contemporary art; the fine art course encouraged me to work creatively, and I began to think about ways of applying this interest into exhibition making.”

Rebecca Souster

In her final year of her degree Rebecca started the magazine publication P.UL.P (People Underlining People) that supported the work of University of Plymouth students, promoted local exhibitions and events, and featured interviews with internationally-renowned artists and musicians. She also curated an exhibition at the R.K. Burt Gallery, London and due to its success has been asked to put together another exhibition in Spring 2014. She is now studying on the MA Publishing degree at University College London.

“When I started the course, I never imagined I would have had the opportunities that have enabled me to get to where I am now. As well as developing my art practice, the course helped me gain confidence, and presentational, organisational and writing abilities, along with many more practical and transferable skills. Fine art doesn’t just lead on to an MA programme or a career as an artist, it opens up a world of opportunity. It demonstrates that you have both an academic and creative mind, which is desirable for everyone.”

Sean Maltby

While an undergraduate Sean was shortlisted twice for the Jerwood Drawing Prize, each time for video work. Both pieces were included in the respected Jerwood Drawing Exhibition that toured galleries throughout the UK. After he graduated from Plymouth he gained a place on the Master of Fine Art course at Newcastle University, funded through an Arts & Humanities Research Council Scholarship. During his MFA he was commissioned to undertake a series of live performative video broadcasts from outside locations directly into the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in London, and Baltic 39 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and the Festival Gallery in Riga, Latvia. 

He has taught workshops in Drawing in the Expanded Field to fine art undergraduates at Newcastle University. In 2014 he will be undertaking a six month artist's residency near Zurich, Switzerland, which will culminate in a solo show.

“Looking back on my time as a fine art undergraduate at Plymouth, my memory is of a healthy maelstrom of open ideas and experimentation.”

Rebecca Bellamy

Since graduating with an installation of her innovative video-paintings, Rebecca has been establishing a career in creative charity management, project management and freelance curating. She currently co-manages a small charity in Bristol called Salaam Shalom (which translates to ‘peace’ in Arabic and Hebrew), which uses informal education, media and the arts to facilitate dialogue between different communities; to overcome conflict, challenge prejudice and prevent discrimination. She also works as a freelance curator, with a multi-disciplinary approach, incorporating a range of art forms.

“I believe that my fine art degree supported me by providing initial exposure to socially-engaged practice, which has helped me contextualise my ever-changing role as an artist and a Creative Facilitator. It also encouraged research skills which I now use every day for project development, fundraising and curatorial work. The skills that I believe have helped me to advance in my career have been the ability to both provide and receive constructive criticism of my ideas and my work. Fine art also teaches how to embrace a risk-taking and problem-solving approach to developing projects, which has contributed to the success of projects and of organisations.”

Natalie Craven

Natalie moved on from the fine art course at Plymouth to study MA Curating at London Metropolitan University in partnership with Whitechapel Gallery. Recently she curated Misuse: Creating Alternatives an exhibition of ten international artists at the Cass Gallery, London; ARTOPOLY, a one-day project at Jerwood Space; and Against Oblivion at London Metropolitan Library, a book project and exhibition with illustrator Ellie Geary. At the Whitechapel Gallery’s 2013 summer exhibition The Spirit of Utopia, Natalie was a Therapist for Mexican artist Pedro Reyes’ Sanatorium. She spent September 2013 at the Venice Biennale as a British Pavilion Steward for Jeremy Deller’s English Magic.

Natalie currently works at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey where she recently curated an exhibition with fine art students of the University for the Creative Arts Farnham in a garden and pavilion within the hospital. 

“The University of Plymouth’s broad-based approach to fine art provided the space and support to develop my artistic practice over three years. Rooted in a studio practice, group critiques became a key component for personal development, reflection and the presentation of ideas. A day workshop at Plymouth Arts Centre and a role in the British Art Show 7 launched my interest in curating.”

Dan Wheatley

Dan began the fine art course with an established painting practice and during his studies he focused on developing his understanding of how visual language operates in our culture, whilst experimenting and developing the possibilities of mixed-media work. After graduating he completed a PGCE course and he now is a lecturer at Plymouth College of Art, teaching A level art and design as well as on the BTEC Extended Diploma in Art and Design.

He now combines traditional approaches to oil painting and drawing with experimental film and sound work. Dan’s work is held in collections in the UK and Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

“My explorations with multi media installation work came to fruition through experimentation while on the fine art course at Plymouth. I began to mix film and two dimensional oil painting on canvas, exploring and progressing the possibilities of this fusion.”

Karen Pearson

Since graduating, Karen has spent time making work and exhibiting in Singapore as part of Tropical Lab with a group of selected international art students. She has also worked with artists the organisation Natural England to curate an art trail in a National Nature Reserve, after successfully organising a similar project as her thesis project in her final year. Her art practice investigates the relationship we have with the landscape, and this ecological viewpoint is also important to her as an arts manager. In 2013 Karen opened a contemporary venue in Devon (art space @57) that she intends to run alongside her personal studio practice.

“The University offered the opportunity for exhibiting in, and curating, exhibitions in the South West, London and internationally. This, combined with access to comprehensive tutor and technical support, great studio space, scope for University funding for projects, a strong group of student contemporaries and a bit of energy and drive to make the most of it, has given me a springboard and the confidence to take the initiative and continue to develop my art practice and arts management skills.”

Sue Austin

The intellectual and practical demands of the Fine Art degree have enabled me to develop my thought processes and research methodology.
Susan Austin, graduated from BA (Hons) Fine Art, progressing onto the MA Contemporary Art Practice and establishing the FreeWheeling art initiative.
Sue Austin
Schools visit to the Peninsula Arts Gallery

Student internships - Charlotte Slater at the Peninsula Arts Gallery

I wanted to gain experience that included arts administration and marketing and to get involved with events in various strands, so not just fine art and exhibitions, but music, performance, lectures, film and festivals.
Charlotte had the opportunity to get involved with school activities, private views and to meet professionals from across the arts.

Student internships - Zoe Watson at Plymouth Art Gallery

I did an internship with Plymouth Art Gallery with Young Explainers. My role involved dressing up as the characters that appear in the Reynolds paintings, talking to school children as the characters, and putting on a performance.
This experience led Zoe to want to work in a museum as a curator and she was subsequently accepted on a four-month internship at Plymouth Art Centre.
Young Explainers at Plymouth Museum and Gallery