Coventry University arts graduates amongst region’s top talent at new exhibition

Student news

Friday 18 January 2013

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The work of four Coventry School of Art and Design (CSAD) graduates has been selected for inclusion in a major new exhibition taking place this spring.

The four artists are amongst 22 recent graduates from the West Midlands’ five university art schools taking part in New Art West Midlands 2013, a multi-sited exhibition in Birmingham showcasing the best of the region’s emerging artistic talent.

New Art West Midlands is a new initiative involving Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham and Grand Union, a project space and studios in Birmingham established by local artists and curators.  The exhibition, which opens in February, takes place across all three venues.

Entrance to New Art West Midlands was via a submissions process open to Coventry University students as well as those from the universities of Staffordshire, Wolverhampton, Worcester and Birmingham City University.

The call for applications to take part was put out in April 2012 and a panel of nationally renowned artists and curators, including a representative from the Royal College of Art, convened to judge the contestants’ efforts.

The volume and standard of applications was extremely high but after careful consideration the panel narrowed the selection down to 22 successful entrants, including the following graduates from Coventry School of Art and Design:

  • Corey Hayman (video and installation)
  • Sally Larke (ceramics)
  • Dean O’Brien (photography)
  • Lizzie Prince (etchings)

Kollette Super, Associate Head of Design and Visual Arts at Coventry School of Art and Design, said:

It’s important that artists get their work noticed but it’s often difficult for those launching their careers to find venues which are willing to display their work so New Art West Midlands 2013 provides an amazing opportunity.

It’s going to be a brilliant show and I’m delighted that four of our graduates were selected to take part. They are amongst the very best that the region has to offer and fully merit their places.

As well as being chosen to take part in the exhibition, film maker Corey Hayman was also one of four graduate artists selected to receive a bursary and she has been working closely with Grand Union’s curators to produce work for the show.

Sally Larke is a ceramic artist working mainly in porcelain and often on a tiny scale, making collections or families of vessels which are framed in shelves and can be endlessly rearranged. For her final year project she created a poignant tribute to her brother David who died suddenly from epilepsy in 2003, with a memorial installation of 23 vessels each celebrating a year of his life.

Sally is very pleased that her work has been selected for display at both the Birmingham Museum and the Barber Institute and hopes that being part of the exhibition will help her as she begins her career. 

Sally said:

I'm delighted to have been selected for New Art West Midlands 2013 and am looking forward to the opportunities it will hopefully lead to. It’s great exposure and I think it will increase my chances of exhibiting more widely, which is something I hope to do as my career develops.

Photography graduate Dean O’Brien’s inclusion comes soon after he was shortlisted for the title of Student Photographer of the Year as part of the Guardian Student Media awards 2012. The work that earned him the Guardian’s attention has inspired a new portfolio of images, some of which will be on display at the exhibition.

Dean’s project, entitled ‘Uncertain Future’, is a long-term assignment in which he aims to document the sweeping social changes and challenges that Ukraine has experienced in the 20 plus years since gaining its independence from the former Soviet Union. It’s a subject Dean feels passionately about and he is looking forward to presenting a snapshot of images from this work in progress as part of the forthcoming show.

Dean said:

It’s a fantastic honour to be selected for this major exhibition and a tremendous boost for me personally but more importantly it will enable me to highlight, through my images, some of the pressing social and economic issues that Ukraine has faced over the last 20 years or so. I hope I can draw attention to some of these problems and give a voice to those people struggling in Ukraine.

Illustrator Lizzie Prince who graduated with a first in Fine Art and who hopes to pursue a career as an art therapist will be presenting a selection of her latest prints and etchings as part of the exhibition. 

New Art West Midlands 2013 will take place at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery from Friday 15 February to Sunday 19 May, the Barber Institute from Friday 8 March to Sunday 19 May and Grand Union from Friday 15 February to Saturday 16 March.

For further information, please contact Mark Farnan, communications assistant, Coventry University, on +44 (0)24 7765 8245 or email

New Art West Midlands
New Art West Midlands is part funded by Arts Council England and Birmingham City University via Turning Point West Midlands, part of the national Contemporary Visual Art Network set up to deliver a shared vision for growth in the sector.