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Posted 09.12.14

Students kickstart a series of mini residencies at free school

By Sarah Packer

Sam Akroyd with his latest work

Sam Akroyd, a second year BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking student, has kicked off the start of what will soon be a series of mini-residencies at Plymouth School of Creative Arts (PSCA).

He was the first student to undertake one of the mini-residencies with the creative free school – based in Milbay and sponsored by the College – helping the Year 7 pupils get to grips with portraits.

“I spent a total of four and a half days over two weeks at PSCA, working there as an artist in residence. I talked to many students, staff and visitors about what I was up to,” explains Sam.

Other students on the course that are taking part in the mini-residencies are Emily Harris, Gemma Prouse, Alex Lee, Valery Popova and Tiffany Carne.

“We will also be working, as a programme, with Cathy Palmer (PSCA teacher) planning cross-curriculum drawing and painting workshops which the students will also take part in, gaining valuable experience in an educational setting for potential future careers," says Dr Stephen Felmingham, BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking programme leader.

They will be working with the classes at PSCA and the Continuum Project as part of their Professional Practice module.

Sam says, “It was a tremendously positive experience being in such an inclusive and caring school and I would recommend it to any student hoping to be involved in education.”

Sam's second year painting practice has taken as its theme the planned demolition of Bretonside and the end of a community that has been such a vital part of Plymouth music culture for decades.

Sam is collaborating with Christian Gale – a sound artist – with the intention of portraying Bretonside both visually and sonically, through interviews, recordings, drawings and paintings.

He told us about the project and the residency at the school, “I decided to use my residency to make a painting of Maggie. Maggie runs a bus drivers cafe and weekend music venue in Bretonside.

“This linked directly with what the students were working on at school and we were then able to talk about how the idea of how portraiture could extend to a place as well as a person.”

Sam is documenting the community and the buildings of Bretonside bus station in a series of portraits – of people and places – and the children bombarded him with requests for tips about how to perfect their own self-portraits.

“I am extremely grateful to have been invited by Cathy because it gave me the opportunity to talk about my current work with the outside world and engage with the last generation of people likely to remember Bretonside as it is now. I hope to work with Cathy and her students again on this in the New Year,” says Sam.

Sam is hoping to host an exhibition of the work when it is finished, to celebrate the history of Bretonside and it's residents, who have contributed so much to the Plymouth culture.