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Crafty Graduate’s Story of Homelessnes Shortlisted for Art Prize

A student at the University has secured herself a shortlisting for a regional art prize. Graduating with a degree in Art, her final project entitled There’s nothin’ soft about hard times explores the struggles her uncle went through with homelessness.  

Amy Richardson created a series of nine embroidered cushion covers which told the story of what led to her uncle becoming homeless and his time sleeping on the streets. It tells the story of her uncle’s battles with learning difficulties, mental health and addiction, and the negative attitudes shown towards him that contributed to this situation and spiral of decline. 

This Fine Art degree show project was initially a part of the University’s Fine Art Degree show this year, and then went on to be chosen by Modern Art Oxford as one of 23 solo exhibitions for the Platform Graduates Award 2019. This annual event helps to promote the work of emerging artists from universities spanning the south east of England. 

Amy is now running for the title as overall award winner against three other graduate artists with a prize of a £2,000 bursary to fund future work and a year of professional support to accompany this. 

Her solo exhibition ran from 19-29 September and she developed the exhibition and held a public presentation about her work on 28 September. 

Amy said: “The display of soft domestic items, floral printed cardboard tiles and a political banner produces conflicting feelings of comfort and discomfort and creates an appropriately confusing space indicative of the statelessness felt by people who are homeless. 

“My work encourages the audience to move beyond the immediate prettiness that may be most alluring and instead be witness to the veracity of the messages contained within the work that makes a personal plea for change.” 

The winner of the overall award is due to be announced on 23 November. 

Jo Bushnell, Deputy Chair of CVAN South East, said: “At a time when our region’s exemplary art and design HE institutions face pressures of finance and national policy, it is also important to restate the contribution they make to our thriving sector.” 

About Kia Mackenzie


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