Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Scholarship rewards talented University
College Falmouth fine art students
Two first-year fine art students from University College
Falmouth are to benefit from a new scholarship that commemorates
the life and artistic legacy of the late Wilhelmina Barns-Graham.
Wilhelmina Barns-Graham (1912-2004) was a founder member
of the Penwith Society of Artists, a leading light in St Ives
since the 1940s along with Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth,
and one of the foremost abstract artists in the country, whose
paintings can be found in public collections throughout the
UK including the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art,
the British Museum, the Tate and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
She was passionate in her support for emerging artists and
this scholarship is testament to that. Originally intended
as a scholarship for one student, such was the quality of
the applicants this year that the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham
Scholarship was awarded to two students – Laura Culham
from Poole in Dorset and Leila Watts from Brighton. Each of
them will receive £1,500 for the next three years.
To apply for the Scholarship, first year full and part-time
BA(Hons) Fine Art students at the University College were
invited to submit a carefully selected portfolio of past and
present work during the autumn term, and 33 students took
up the opportunity. A selection panel comprising BA(Hons)
Fine Art Course Leader, Joe Coates, Fine Art Business Fellow,
Sara Bowler and Director of Art, Jeff Hellyer shortlisted
seven students on the basis of portfolio evaluation. The shortlisted
students were then interviewed by Professor Stephen Farthing
RA – the Rootstein Hopkins Chair of Drawing at the University
of the Arts, London – Joe Coates, Jeff Hellyer and Bursary
Administrator, Dr Robin Kirby.
"The selection process was extremely rigorous and
reducing the initial applicants to seven was tough,"
explained Jeff Hellyer. "Although all applicants
scored highly, there were some outstanding students who didn't
even make it through the first round, such was the exceptional
quality of the work submitted," he added. "However,
Laura and Leila demonstrated a real grasp of their creative
domains as well as astounding levels of commitment and maturity,
and thoroughly deserve this accolade."
"Through the varied processes of drawing, I am
trying to document ephemeral moments by exploring subtle mark
making that maps movement, patterns of change and traces in
a controlled, linear format," explained Laura Culham.
"The Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Scholarship will enable
me to push forward my work using exciting experimental processes
and media that previously would not have been financially
viable, so I greatly appreciate the Trust's support."
"I too am very grateful to the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham
Charitable Trust for freeing me from the distraction of financial
strain so that I can be more focused and productive,"
added Leila Watts, who is currently exploring the theme
of human presence and narrative in a series of life-size figurative
"To support and inspire art students and emerging
artists by providing grants and bursaries to enable them to
attend selected art colleges and universities is one of the
fundamental principles that underlies the Barns-Graham Charitable
Trust," explained Geoffrey Bertram, Chairman of
the Trust. "Wilhelmina Barns-Graham herself benefited
from the generosity of Edinburgh College of Art as a young
artist, and it was her wish to 'give something back'
that inspired her to establish the Trust," he added.
"The Trustees are therefore delighted that this Scholarship
has been awarded to two outstanding students."
"Laura and Leila are very worthy winners of this
important scholarship," concluded University College
Falmouth's Principal, Professor Alan Livingston. "The
generous contribution that the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Scholarship
has made to the financial wellbeing of these exceptionally
talented students will alleviate some of the pressures faced
by students today and help them to focus on realising their
ambitions as artists," he added. "University
College Falmouth is wholly committed to supporting the artists
of the future and very much appreciates the prestigious association
that the Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Scholarship provides."
University College Falmouth is a founding partner in the
Combined Universities in Cornwall, a unique initiative to
promote regional economic regeneration through higher education.
The CUC is funded mainly by the European Union (Objective
One), the South West Regional Development Agency, and the
Higher Education Funding Council for England, with support
from Cornwall County Council.
For further information about BA(Hons) Fine Art at University
College Falmouth, please visit www.falmouth.ac.uk/fineart,
or contact Admissions on 01326 214376 (for the full-time route)
or 01326 214377 (for the part-time option).
For further information contact Jilly Easterby of University
College Falmouth on 01326 213792 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested in the Combined Universities
in Cornwall (CUC) project, both Phase 1 and Phase 2, through
the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European
Social Fund (ESF). University College Falmouth is a partner
of the CUC.
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