Showcase Newsletter Autumn '08

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Open College of the Arts

Summer 2008

OCA’s new Chief Executive springs into action
Gareth Dent joined as Chief Executive of the OCA in February. An economist by training he has spent his career in adult education and was most recently responsible for leading the team that established the Learndirect careers advice service, a service which has now been used by more than one in ten adults in the UK. He sets out his priorities for the OCA: “The OCA is not entirely new as I was a trustee for two years. One of the things that strikes me is how many people I speak to have already done an OCA course and have good things to say about the experience. And yet the college is almost totally unknown outside the relatively small circle of students and tutors. I want to do something about this because I know there are people who could benefit from our flexible programmes of study who may be unaware of them. “My experience at learndirect tells me that we could be using the website more effectively as a way students can share work, get peer feedback, learn from each other. We are already well advanced in plans to develop precisely these facilities. “I think there are gaps in our course provision that we can and should fill quickly. We have already developed a new drawing course (described on p5) and we will soon have more choice in photography courses. There may be other opportunities for new courses, but the central design principle is that we will be driven by feedback from tutors, students and our partners in finding those opportunities. “This brings me onto the possibly biggest challenge. The OCA is unique in many ways, but in one way it copies a long established educational tradition – the personal tutor with whom you have a
Photo: Julia Davies

one to one relationship. If this is the key relationship for the student, then the college/tutor relationship is critical to ensure we continue putting students first. I want to strengthen that tutor relationship, because putting students first is what drives me. It drives me because learning changes lives and achievement changes the opportunities people face and how they feel about themselves. It changes the way they feel about the communities they live in and, frankly, I believe it makes the world a better place. This is possibly an unfashionable view but it is a conviction I hold strongly.”

Formal Assessments
More students gaining higher marks than ever

The rusty tractor...

A new Drawing course


...with a starring role at the Open Up show earlier this year


based on a new approach to student feedback


Showcase Success by Degrees
is published three times a year by the Open College of the Arts.

The OCA would like to congratulate the
Open College of the Arts The Michael Young Arts Centre, Unit 1B, Redbrook Business Park Wilthorpe Road, Barnsley S75 1JN Telephone: 01226 730495 Email: [email protected] Web:
Registered charity no: 327446 Company limited by guarantee no: 2125674

an advantage on my CV when submitting work to galleries. I would certainly recommend the OCA to students who wish to make a career from their art.” Linda Asher told us “Art was always my passion but I did not have the confidence for Art College. Over the years I went to local art classes, then with the OCA in 2000. It took several years to complete the entire course work needed to obtain a degree. The OCA degree is the fulfillment of a life’s dream and has given me confidence in my work. I would advise future students to get their work assessed because as you are doing the course work you might as well get it marked. It will give you more incentive to carry on. I also found that working at my own pace was wonderful as I am a busy housewife – although I would rather be painting than peeling carrots.” The graduation ceremony will take place at Buckinghamshire New University on 8 September 2008.

following students on their success: BA Honours in Creative Arts: Linda Asher, Kay Bannon, Carolyn Galloway, Marie Kelliher, Cedric Smith, Marion Symes, Susan Turnbull and Nicola Wheeler Certificate of Higher Education: Mike Loveday Speaking about their achievements Nicola Wheeler said “I began studying with OCA nearly 10 years ago. It has been an amazing journey and one that has taken me further than I ever thought it could. Thank you OCA for fulfilling my dream.”

OCA welcomes contributions to Showcase but reserves the right to edit materials at its discretion. Views and opinions expressed in Showcase are not necessarily those of OCA, nor does the inclusion of an item, insert or advertisement constitute a recommendation. To register to receive Showcase, to amend your contact details or just to give your feedback – please contact Dee Bean, Marketing & Events, on 01226 704364 or email [email protected] Copy dates for 2008-09 Submit articles by: 10 September Publication date: 1 November Submit articles by: 10 January Publication date: 1 March






remember a time when I didn’t do drawing and I was exposed to visual arts from a very early age. However, I did not consider a career in art, until my sons grew up. The OCA courses have suited me as I enjoy working at home where I have a room dedicated to painting. Having a degree won’t change my life but it will be

Dee figures it out
Dee Bean, who has been running the workshop programme at the OCA for nearly a year was recently put on the spot by the tutor Jane Lazenby who challenged her to take part in the latest ‘Figure Drawing’ workshop. “I have to admit to a certain amount of trepidation as since leaving school my drawing experience has been limited to the technical illustration of archaeological finds – a methodology involving what can only be described as glorified dot-to-dot. Therefore the thought of putting anything down on paper without the aid of my vernier gauge and ruler was quite

shadows and negative space within and around the subject. My drawings became less stilted and angular and the fluid curves of the female form flowed from my pencil. By the end of the workshop I was producing work that could stand unashamedly alongside that of my classmates. The sense of achievement was just fabulous. “ OCA workshops are the perfect vehicle for trying new directions, learning new skills and honing old ones. Classes are small and offer exceptional quality tuition in a safe, fun and friendly environment. Current workshops are listed on the website or call Dee on 01226 704364 for further information.

daunting. I quickly realised that I would have to put aside any preconceived ideas of my ability, or rather lack of it, and to open my mind fully to appreciate Jane’s teaching method. As the day wore on Jane taught me to stop seeing the figure as a whole and to look for shapes,

Formal Assessment
Apply for assessment when you begin your penultimate assignment Formal assessment has always been optional for OCA students. Our courses are intended to be enjoyable and our tutors are perfectly happy for students to adopt a more leisurely approach to their studies. Nevertheless more students are opting for formal assessment than ever before. The year to March 2008, saw an increase of 31% with 261 assessments taking place and a fabulous 25% of those gaining passes at grade A. Students who have their work on accredited courses successfully Details of what to submit can be found in the Appendices of your course materials assessed gain the CATS points attached to the course. CATS stands for Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme – a national scheme recognised by all UK Higher Education Institutions as a method of quantifying credit for a particular course. Most first degrees in the UK require students to undertake modules or courses to a total of 360 CATS points. The individual OCA courses that represent the building blocks of the degree are worth 40 CATS points at level 1 or 60 CATS points at levels 2 and 3 depending on the course. Many students find that the challenge of working towards CATS Send your portfolio, clearly marked with your name, student number and the name of course to be assessed in good time points adds to their enjoyment of the course and that there is a real satisfaction in completing the course and earning the credits. If you are inspired by our graduates' stories and are considering earning CATS points and working towards either a Certificate in Higher Education, Diploma in Higher Education or BA Hons in Creative Arts degree, our Academic Services team is always happy to discuss this with you. Call us on 0800 731 2116 or email [email protected] if you would like further advice and guidance. OCA will return your portfolio and if you are successfully assessed you will receive the OCA Award and a full breakdown of the marks awarded Complete and return the Assessment application form which is in the Student Handbook

Check the submission dates

Return the ‘Affirmation’ and ‘Return Address’ form we send you

Complete and return the registration form for University Credits (CATS points)

Comparison of Assessment Grades
35% 30% 25%
Aug 07 Nov 07 March 08

If successfully assessed and you have returned all the documentation OCA will register you for credits (CATS) with Buckinghamshire University and you will receive a transcript direct from them

20% 15% 10% 5% 0%






Tractor Triumph for Louise
The OCA’s Open Up show in May was a huge success with over 300 visitors. Artists including Stephen Court, Jane Lazenby and Barbara E Milne were among the exhibitors and all were pleased to have sold pieces during the exhibition – but it was the work of Louise Goddard that stole the show with two paintings: ‘Busted’ and ‘Z Track 2’, selling within minutes of the exhibition opening. A student with OCA since October 2006, Louise has been painting for about 20 years. She draws her inspiration from both the beach at Hastings, Kent and the tractors and dozers that service what is reputed to be the oldest beach launched fishing fleet in the country. “When the vehicles arrive they are already long past their prime. Mostly building- site yellow, with the occasional blue or pink ones, their predominant colour soon becomes rust as the weather and hard work takes its toll and they seem to subside into abstract modern sculptures. “The painting process is a long one, starting with studies drawn from life in pencil, pastel or pen and ink. Once the oil painting has begun there are many visits to check details with the consequent frustrations when more bits have dropped off.” Louise’s tractor pictures are more like portraits than still life, each with its own distinct character. Some of the tractors in Louise’s paintings no longer exist except on canvas, others, sadly, have passed without record.
Above: Busted

Left: Louise Goddard

Below: Rubber Floats

Start Drawing
The OCA is pleased to announce the introduction of a completely new level one drawing course. This exciting new course covers all the basics of learning to draw, including practice using a variety of media, and drawing in colour. Written by a successful contemporary artist, its basis is innovative but grounded in the academic tradition: that is, recognising the importance of learning to draw well as the basis of all kinds of artistic growth. The course writer, Hazel Lale, is in demand as a teacher as well as for her paintings. She has huge enthusiasm for explaining artistic processes by breaking down her own thoughts and techniques. This unique insight into one artist’s voice, as well as the fundamentals of drawing combined with the expert tuition supplied by the OCA’s hand picked tutors provides a rich, enjoyable but thorough learning experience. The course launches the OCA’s fresh new approach to learning materials. The course is easy to follow, designed and laid out in an accessible and exciting format, and is rich in illustrations by the artist herself as well as having stepby-step photographic guides and examples of work by well-known artists. Hazel emphasises the importance of sketchbook work, and the crucial importance of learning to look at what you are drawing very carefully. The course will increase your artistic awareness, your ability to look at the world through artist’s eyes, as well as your drawing skills. The course provides The course also is one of the first to be based on a new approach to student feedback. The first students enrolling will be asked to record their reactions to the materials to help us frame the definitive course. The same will apply to tutors. We are convinced it is a great course, but we will not be taking that for granted. Challenge and feedback are what we are looking for to turn a great course into a world class course.

comprehensive coverage of drawing, including drawing basic shapes, through to landscapes, figures, city and townscapes. It encourages a broad use of media, including collage and photography as a tool or prompt, and focuses on aspects of drawing such as composition, understanding and using perspective and developing your own style. It is a key course in the OCA’s expanding portfolio.

In the Spotlight:
Tutor Maggy Milner
Nottingham based photographer and OCA tutor Maggy Milner originally trained and worked as a nurse. At the age of 45 she changed direction and did a degree in Photostudies at the University of Derby. Since graduating in 1990 Maggy has worked as a lecturer and commercial photographer as well as currently undertaking an MA in Art, Design Theory and Practice at the University of Derby. Through all this she continues to build her reputation as an artist. Talking about her work Maggy says, “As a photographer working within a contemporary art context, I have exhibited both nationally and internationally. I am fascinated by photography’s confusing relationship with reality and truth and my work explores the interface between photographic reality and the artifice of staged installation or still life.

Left and above: Blue

suffering. Although the colours are vivid, the message is dark, “My recent work ‘Blue’ 2007, is semi-abstract, relying on the allegorical associations of colour, objects and light. It is my reaction to the recent conflicts in Iraq. This work is not an angry anti-war protest. It’s more a lament that springs from deep sadness and a sense of helplessness. The objects in the images are chosen to stir the imagination and memories of the viewer. There are clues that suggest death and waste and loss and

enigmatic, and like poetry, requires the audience to read between the lines. “I am also intrigued by the possibilities offered by vacant interiors as a backdrop and of the atmospheric qualities of natural light. I am interested in the way ordinary everyday objects become extraordinary and imbued with meaning when photographed in a certain way.

Above and right: House Below: Lament

“In 1999 I worked on an arts project in Nottingham with Bosnian and Serbian exiles. ‘House’, 2005, comprising twelve digital prints was influenced by their personal stories describing a people in flight, in fear, in hiding. “The Utopian view of the ‘house’ defines an aura of safety and privacy. The house is a place in which we choose to eat, sleep, dream and determines our territory, both as individuals, and in cultural terms. “The backdrop of the empty house fitted the themes I wished to portray. This particular house was between occupancies, poised between past and present. As I worked in the house, I became aware of scuffs and stains and traces of a past. The house, though empty, was ‘lived in’. “My aim was to place significant domestic objects in the various spaces. As on a film or theatre set, these objects could suggest possible narrative or scenarios. I wished to create a tension; a

sense of a moment poised between past and future: A room left suddenly, a game disturbed, a spoon dropped on bare boards, a book laid down.......there is a powerful stillness. There is a sense of loneliness, silence, suspense. The room with the water bowl and soap denotes confinement. The radio aerial extended upwards reminds the viewer of the exterior world. The rooms with the night lights evoke a vigil or lament or hope. In each interior the viewer will discover peaches, sometimes obvious, sometimes less so. Their perverse fleshy presence (implying the present) provides a paradox, an irony in these worn, linear spaces. “ Maggy’s works ‘Blue’ and ‘Lament’ (a video of two hundred tea lights, slowly burning out to reveal grey, metal shells, forming a barren scape reminiscent of a bombed city) will be shown at Pickford’s House, Derby Museum and Art Galley from 20 September to 2 November 2008. For further information see


3 shows for the price of 1
Your ticket includes FREE entry into Crafts for Christmas & Hobbycrafts (same date and venue)

The UK’s Biggest & Art Materials Show
13-16 November 2008, NEC Birmingham
• Workshop Programme sponsored by Daler-Rowney and Derwent • Artist demonstrators include; Terry Harrison, Susie Hodge, Derek Daniells, Soraya French, James Willis, Keith Fenwick, Bob Elcock, Jeremy Ford • ’Simply the Best’ competition sponsored by Leisure Painter and The Artist Magazines
Supported by

• Daler-Rowney 225th Anniversary Competition with daily prize draw




Dominic House, Seaton Rd, Highcliffe, Dorset BH23 5HW Tel: 01425 27271 Fax 01425 279369 1

Each Adult and Senior ticket ordered at least one week before the show.


Save Even More
(In advance only)

Ticket Hotline :

01 425 277988

Or book online

Opening Times 09.30 – 17.30 Admission Prices: Adult £9.00, Senior £8.00, Child under 16 Free if acc by parent

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