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Posted 29.10.18

Dr Stephen Felmingham takes on new role overseeing Academic Partnerships

By Phillip Buchan

Dr. Stephen Felmingham has moved to a new role as Senior Lecturer with remit for Academic Partnerships.

He first joined Plymouth College of Art as Programme Leader for our then-new BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking in January 2013, at a time when core drawing and painting skills were no longer being prioritised across many other Higher Education providers in the UK. Since then the programme has grown into one of Plymouth College of Art’s most successful degrees, encouraging experimentation and innovation and receiving 92% overall student satisfaction in the 2018 National Student Survey (NSS).

Dr. Felmingham sat down with us to talk about what it will mean to oversee academic partnerships across the college, and why this is such an exciting time for him...

“With this role,” Dr. Felmingham said, “I’m stepping into a new phase of my professional life. It’s no exaggeration to say that five years after joining Plymouth College of Art, I’m as excited now as I was in 2013 when I began to write and define what BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking could look like for the college.”

“As well as lecturing, particularly for Masters-level students, my remit will now also focus on creating new strategic partnerships for Plymouth College of Art, and building on existing partnerships. There’ll be a cross-college remit that will allow me to do things like look at all the different specialisms within the college and interrogate what kind of partnerships we can forge in the future to benefit students and staff."

“This will include things like our involvement with partners through the erasmus+ programme, and even wider-reaching initiatives like Tate Exchange that touch on every level of the college continuum, from early years to Masters-level. I believe strongly that the time prior to this that I’ve spent as BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking Programme Leader, working within the college curriculum, will give me the perspective needed to forge increasingly impactful partnerships.”

“When I was offered this position, I knew that I wanted to stay here and do this at the college. Because what Plymouth College of Art represents, nationally and internationally, is the most extraordinary place to have ownership over your ideas and to have agency in a unique city. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

“So many other universities and institutions have become almost completely transactional. Plymouth College of Art is a beacon of hope that stands in contrast to those other institutions. Here, we still value the individual human being - the artist and the maker. Plymouth College of Art is a very particular kind of place that doesn’t exist anywhere else, and I have nothing but enthusiasm about the new role that I’m going to fulfil here.”

Wide-reaching partnerships

Nationally Plymouth College of Art is a Founding Associate of Tate Exchange. The college works with partners across Europe, North America, India, China, Korea and beyond, including acting as advisors to the Cheongju International Craft Biennale.

The college’s biennial international crafts conference, Making Futures, brings together a radical and cross-disciplinary community from the forefront of critical, curatorial and academic development in contemporary craft internationally.

Tate Exchange 2017 - Factory Settings

EU-funded partnership projects for the college include the Atlantic Youth Creative Hubs (AYCH), and The Environmental Futures & Big Data Impact Lab (Impact Lab). The AYCH is building a model of social innovation for young people supporting social entrepreneurship, employment, and education in the creative and cultural industries, across the transnational Atlantic area. The Impact Lab is a £6.4 million initiative to boost Devon’s expertise in solving future global environmental and big data challenges, bringing together Devon’s leading scientific research centres to help Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to create innovative products and services. The Impact Lab is a partnership between Plymouth College of Art, Met Office, University of Exeter, Exeter City Futures, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, University of Plymouth and Rothamsted Research.

Plymouth College of Art’s dedicated public exhibition space, The Gallery, brings some of the world’s most exciting artists and creative practitioners to the college, connecting the college and Plymouth to the national and international art scene. The Gallery regularly works in partnership with other organisations, contributing actively to strengthening and enhancing the offer of arts and culture in Plymouth and to bring exciting artists to the city, often for the first time.

In his new capacity as Senior Lecturer with remit for Academic Partnerships, Stephen will ensure that Plymouth College of Art’s wider community of staff, students and partners will be able to engage with these different platforms and opportunities, maximising the benefits for all.

A visual artist working with ideas of place, perception and memory

Dr. Stephen Felmingham is a visual artist with a practice that engages with contemporary drawing and its expanded possibilities. He works with ideas of place, perception and memory: his current research interests are focused on societal trauma through the remains of the Cold War, its sites, bunkers and social memories. Recent work emerging from this expresses the potential for language to be a form of drawing and a democratic mode of ‘art-working’.

Dr. Felmingham has lectured extensively in drawing, painting, print and contemporary art practice on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across the UK. He was nominated a member of the LAND2 Research Network in 2009, was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize in the same year and was a finalist in the Celeste Art Prize, New York, in 2010.

Dr. Felmingham has an active research interest in creative pedagogies, specifically research-led approaches and alternative art school models and he leads on projects that work in and for communities, including creative timebanking and inter-generational creative exchange.

Other recent changes at Plymouth College of Art include the appointments of Dr Mark J. P. Kerrigan, a National Teaching Fellow and Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA), and former Director of Learning & Teaching in the Faculty of Medical Science at Anglia Ruskin University, as Director of Learning, Teaching & Enhancement, and Peter Barker, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, MA in Industrial Design graduate from the Royal College of Art and former Head of Industrial & Communication Design at Design School Kolding, as Head of School, Design + Communication.

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