Community Arts

Bryan Harris Bursary 2022

The Arts Society Derby has awarded this year’s Bryan Harris Bursary to Derby College Group Art & Design student Natalie Cooper. Natalie (19) from Wirksworth was one of four final-year students shortlisted for the award, judged by Arts Society Committee members.

Award winner Natalie Cooper (right) with Arts Society members (from left) Liz Harris, Mary Scott and Vikki Fitt.

For her final project, Natalie created a semi-abstract styled painting that depicts the disastrous effects of flooding on the Matlock area. The painting flows from its frame down the wall and over the floor, where it depicts puddles covered by the words of a statement made after the flooding by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, ‘But in the end, you’ve got to . . face reality . .’. The work challenges us to ask just what reality it is that we should be facing – and what ‘the end’ will be.

The Bursary, awarded every year, is worth £400 and helps a final year Art & Design student with the expense of their further studies. It commemorates the Society’s founder and former chairman, Bryan Harris, who died seven years ago. Natalie plans to spend the award on essential art materials and a stencil printer to support her Fine Art degree studies at the University of Derby, which she will begin in September. Her ambition is to go on to be a secondary school Art teacher

Receiving the award, Natalie said: “I am over the moon to have won this bursary and delighted that the judges liked my piece. My intentions with this painting were to raise awareness of the issue of climate change and flooding and to encourage people to question whether natural disasters should be treated in such an accepting manner.”

Vikki Fitt, Young Arts representative at Arts Society Derby, said: “We have awarded a bursary every year for more than 20 years to Derby College students to support them in their University studies. The standard was again incredibly high this year and we particularly loved the visual impact of Natalie’s work which is incredibly powerful and thought provoking.”

Bryan Harris Bursary 2021

Two Derby College Group (DCG) Art & Design students have won bursaries from Arts Society Derby to support their move into Higher Education. UAL Art Foundation Diploma student Maisie Bull (19) from Littleover has won £400, and £200 has been awarded to Leanne Bailey (18) from Cromford.

Members of Arts Society Derby judged entries from five students at the Joseph Wright post-16 Academic and Arts College after they were shortlisted for the annual Bryan Harris Bursary award – named after the Society’s founder and former chairman who died six years ago.

Arts Society judge Vikki Fitt with the two winners
Students, teachers and Arts Society judges

Maisie impressed the judges with her multi-media project highlighting how sub cultures influence a person’s identity and image.  The former Littleover Community School pupil came to Derby College to hone her art and design skills and she has now secured a place at Nottingham Trent University to study Fine Art.

Leanne drew on her curiosity about science and crime to create a project entitled ‘Human Decay’ including a realistic model of body parts.  She moved to the county just before joining the College and will be attending Leeds Beckett University in September to study Fine Art.

Both students used a variety of media including fine art and digital video to create their final portfolios which were also entered into the bursary competition.

Bursary winners Maisie Bull (left) and Leanne Bailey (right) with their work

Teacher Tracey Ramsdale explained: “The maturity and depth of their work reflects how the students and many young people have become more reflective and thoughtful during these strange times. They have all thoroughly researched their chosen themes and particularly developed their digital skills to portray their work. The virtual group sessions throughout the year have also developed their presentation skills which will be important in their future working lives.”

Vikki Fitt, Young Arts representative at Arts Society Derby, said: “We have awarded a bursary every year for more than 20 years to Derby College students to support them in their University studies. The standard was again incredibly high this year and the students have created insightful work that has pushed boundaries and challenged perceptions. We wish all of the students the best of luck in their future studies.”

Duffield Meadows School Art Project

During the 2019/20 school year, Vikki Fitt and Dave Taylor worked with a group of pupils from Duffield Meadows Primary School on an art project for young artists. After the project ended, Head Teacher Faye Novak-Lemmings wrote:“This was a fantastic opportunity and one we as a school were very keen to be involved in. We selected ten pupils who showed a real talent for the subject. The content of the sessions took the pupils far beyond the primary art curriculum and gave them the experience of working with different media and exploring new techniques. The pupils flourished during this time and created some exceptional pieces of artwork. The project also involved the children visiting the Derby Art Museum for a tour and a ‘Making Paint’ workshop.

Paintings created by the pupils during the project

Primary schools are always colourful places, with vibrant displays of children’s work on the walls. However, we often question how often it is looked at and if it simply becomes unnoticed over time. Once the children had completed their two pieces of artwork, Dave very kindly displayed the work in our school hall. It was incredible – not just the work but the impact it had on staff, pupils and visitors. Everyone stopped to appreciate the work, to study it and to discuss it. This was fantastic to see; it inspired us and raised the profile of art in our school.

Duffield Meadows young artists with their certificates and prizes

Despite COVID, we were able to hold a Leavers’ Assembly for our Year 6 pupils and this us gave us the opportunity to celebrate the pupils’ work and award their certificates and prizes. The pupils gained so much from this project and their confidence in art soared. One pupil went on to paint a landscape using the techniques she had learnt through the project. She filmed the whole process using time lapse and entered it into our Meadows’ Got Talent competition and won. It has inspired many pupils to continue to follow their passion for art.  We feel particularly fortunate that our school and pupils have been given this opportunity. Our thanks go to The Arts Society and in particular Vikki and Dave. We would be grateful if we could be considered for future projects if they arise.”