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Platform Graduate Award: A greater sense of urgency

30th Sep 2020

The Platform Graduate award has been running since 2012, supporting artistic talent in the vital first year of their practice, following graduation.  The award offers a bursary and mentoring support in the first 12-months for the winner of the award, and a peer support for the remaining selected artists.

This year, CVAN South East is pleased to welcome Turner Prize winner Tai Shani to the selection panel for the 2020 Platform Graduate Award which involves 28 graduate artists, selected from 11 universities.  These artists have been chosen by four network partners from the South East region; Aspex PortsmouthModern Art OxfordPhoenix Brighton, and Turner Contemporary Margate

There is a greater sense of urgency surrounding this year’s award, with its own unique challenges, and a renewed sense of importance for everyone involved, as Sarah Davies, Director at Phoenix Art Space Brighton explains:

“This is the first year that Phoenix Art Space is taking part in the Platform Graduate Award, and we are so excited to be a part of it. We are in the fortunate position to be able to have a group show in our Main Gallery for our selected artists, which is especially important for them having not been able to have a physical degree show this year.

However this is not been without its challenges. Being a multi-purpose building we have to juggle our exhibition programme along side our extensive course programme, café and other community projects – this is before you consider the over 120 artists accessing their studio spaces on a daily basis. This will have a significant impact on our visitor numbers and our opening hours, and so we are also ensuring that there is a strong online presence for the exhibition and lots of social media activity.

We are also hosting an online Webinar event on the 13th of November that will give the artists an opportunity to present their work to a wider audience. It is such an important time for graduates as they move into professional practice beyond university, and especially during the additional uncertainty brought by the covid-19 pandemic. It is a privilege to be able to collaborate with CVAN in providing a platform for this critical moment in their careers”


Platform plays an integral part of the yearly programming for our longer standing partners, as demonstrated by Jo Bushnell, Director at Aspex in Portsmouth demonstrates:

“Platform is a highlight of our annual calendar at Aspex, but this year the exhibition has taken on a greater sense of importance and urgency, as students have left universities without an opportunity to show their work publicly in real life. While we’ve all enjoyed online cultural experiences these last few months, the pandemic has shown us more than ever the value of engaging with artworks in person. We are thrilled to work with and support these 12 recent graduates and to create a platform for them, from which we know they will flourish as professionals.” 

See the full list of selected artists for this year’s Platform Graduate Award here.

Cover Image: ©Vilanova, Samuel Hugging, installation view at UCA Canterbury, 2019.

Gallery Images left to right: ©Everest, Ellen Ball, installation shot and film, 2020. ©Beefcake Eyeball, Natalie Sired, 2020. ©  Ursula Page, Where the Braves Die, oil on wood, recycled cardboard.

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