New exhibition highlights diverse success – Arts London News

Published on October 22, 2012 | by Chinedu Okafor

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New exhibition highlights diverse success

A series of works by notable black alumni have gone on display in an exhibition at Central Saint Martins, highlighting the black minority ethnic (BME) successes of University of the Arts London.

The showcase entitled Happening to Be, features work from “some of the most high profile creatives in the world”, who “happen to be” black.

The exhibition aims to inspire students, staff and the public by celebrating achievements from five distinguished artists, designers and directors – including renowned Savile Row tailor, Professor Andrew Ramroop OBE.

Exhibits range from the popular 90s soft drinks advert “You’ve been tangoed”, by creative director and advertising agency founder, Trevor Robinson CBE; to a small-scale model of Nelson’s Ship in a bottle by artist and Turner prize nominee Yinka Shonibare MBE.

Exhibition curator, international artist and London College of Communication alumnus, Kimathi Donkor, said of the showcase: “I think it’s very important that not only black students, but students from other minority ethnic groups feel that in all respects the University is able to provide a learning environment that respects and acknowledges diversity in creativity.”

Research

The exhibition is part of Shades of Noir (SoN), an initiative that aims to pursue equality in creative higher education and industry, founded by UAL Alumna, Aisha Richards.

SoN grew out of Any Room at the Inn, a research project looking at a group of alumni and recent graduates, which highlighted issues including lack of resources and representation for BME students studying at the University.

Mark Crawley, UAL Dean of Students:

“It’s incredibly important for the University and something we’re committed to long term.”

Richards told Arts London News: “I hope that SoN will pin-point and highlight a disparity, and collectively UAL’s students, alumni and senior staff will all come together and help make things more equal.”

The initiative has received considerate support from the UAL, and forms part of the key strands in its research into differential degree attainment.

Focused

Mark Crawley, Dean of students and director of widening participation and progression at UAL, said of SoN: “It’s really focused on the fact that data shows white students get more 1st’s and 2:1’s than black students, we want to understand why that is and want to talk about it and debate it.

“It’s incredibly important for the University and something we’re committed to long term.”

Happening to Be runs until October 27 2012 in the Lethaby Gallery, CSM.

For more information visit: www.shadesofnoir.org.uk.

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