Firsts for Moray School of Art students after last-minute redraw
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CORONAVIRUS has this year forced some final-year Moray art students back to the drawing board – just as they were wrapping up plans for their all-important degree show.
But as lockdown wiped this year's show off the summer calendar, five Moray School of Art students have taken the option to digitally submit work to earn their BA (Hons) Fine Art degree – three of those ending with a first-class flourish.
The majority of final-year students have chosen to return next year in the hope of being able to complete a physical degree show.
The final show calls for passion and preparation, and is a critical and weighty element of the students' degree classification.
Stacey Toner, curriculum team lead (creative industries) at Moray College UHI, said: "The degree show is an emotional event for staff and students. It is often the one evening that sticks with a student years following graduation."
Pauline Atkinson (67), from Burghead, has spent the last eight years studying for the degree part-time, specialising in textiles. She has no hard feelings about being denied what should have been the high point after her years of hard work. She quickly adapted plans to submit her work online, clinching a first-class grade.
Her work explores the garden of her childhood and the circularity of time. Pauline started and ended her project in isolation, as she was unable to leave her home due to illness when she began two years ago.
Pauline said: "When lockdown was announced, there was a mad scramble to get everything out of the studio and pile the work in the car. No one knew then if we'd be able to go back.
"I am a carer for my husband, who is in his 70s, and I have a serious health condition, so that took priority at the time and I didn't think too much about what it meant for my studies.
"Initially I thought about going back to college next year to finish. But in the end I decided to do it digitally and not risk my health by going back. That's how I felt when the pandemic situation was at its darkest.
"Not having the physical show was a disappointment – but I've had a wonderful time there."
Another graduating student, Rachel McClure (55), from Elgin, has combined her part-time work as an Elgin GP with studying for a BA (hons) Fine Art Textile degree part-time over eight years.
Her work explores the multi-sensory experience of urban walking, using sound, photography, print and casting.
Rachel said: "It was an anti-climax not being able to celebrate with family and friends when you've been working towards something for so long.
"However, it was good to have the option to submit work digitally and get the degree, and to enable that would have involved considerable work from the course team.
"Moray College is a fantastic asset for the local community. I wouldn't have been able to do this if there hadn't been a local, part-time option."
Stacey added that the situation has been difficult and challenging for students and staff. She said: "It was not the end to their studies that anyone had envisaged.
"Given the additional pressures that students were balancing during this time, in parallel with such a shift in expectation and requirements for the end-of-year submission, they all showed maturity, adaptability and patience in their approach.
"What they have all achieved this year is admirable and the staff team are so proud."
There are plans to create an online exhibition later in the year, bringing together the work of the full 2020 cohort.
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