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Art and design final year degree show draws the crowds

A portrait of Shannon Matthews who is exhibiting at the degree show

Students from the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Creative Industries are showcasing work they’ve created during the past three years of their degree studies - and it's sure to be a massive draw! 

The Degree Show 2024 is free and open to the public, as well as to all alumni, students and staff, from 10.00 am until 4.00 pm Monday 10 June to Friday 21 June. The exhibition, which runs from Monday to Saturday, is on display at the Wolverhampton School of Art, George Wallis Building, Molineux Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1DT. 

This year, artwork from Undergraduate students is on display from degree courses covering art, design and screen school subjects ranging from film, animation and games design, painting, photography and social practice to cutting edge design work led and informed by industry and the commercial creative world. 

Shannon Ward, studying for a Fine Art degree in the School of Art is exhibiting her work. She has recently been nominated and won an award for a prestigious Freelands Painting 2024 prize. 

 She said: “My practice is based around creating truthful representation of Black people, specifically family and female empowerment. My paintings are made in oils on large scale so that the audience can have a dialogue with the work and positively reflect the Black gaze, without the racial trauma or struggles. My work presents Black people in ordinary life and to create a voice for people of colour to be heard in the visual arts. 

“During my studies here, I have been given free reign to develop my skills in portraiture through the guidance of my tutors. With their care and support, I have felt more confident as an emerging artist to begin my journey post-graduate. Each step of the way, from my first year to my last, I have been able to progress in my technique and become more aware of the reason why I create what I create through numerous one-to-one tutorials and group crits. It has broadened my perception on how my artwork is being read by other creatives and peers, it has been very encouraging to have feedback and to apply it. I’ve also learned professional skills which will be of use as I start my art career, skills such as curating group exhibitions, writing an artist statement, CV, and launching our very own websites. 

“Studying at Wolverhampton has definitely opened many doors of opportunities for me, such as joining the Wolves Togetherness which is inspired by the original Blk Arts Group in 1982. The group has effectively helped bring visibility to the lived experiences of the creative students of colour to staff members. We have had the privilege to host our own exhibitions, ‘Togetherness’ (2022) and ‘The Power of Colour:40 years of Black and Asian Artistic Expression’ (2023). Through my participation in Wolves Togetherness, I have made amazing friends, met artists from the original Blk Arts Group such as Keith Piper and Marlene Smith and was a panel co-host, interviewing artists Farrah Akbarali, Christian Azolan and Melina Merlin.” 

Laura Onions, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at the University, said: “Throughout her time at the University Shannon has been a committed painter, active in the studios and wider cohort. In 2023, Shannon was a member of @wlvtogetherness - a group of students who organised a student-led exhibition and symposium in response to the 40th Anniversary of the first Black Art Convention that took place in the Wolverhampton School of Art in 1982.  

“Taking inspiration from the creative and innovative ways the Blk Art Group and British Black Art Movement artists claimed space and visibility in the art world, Shannon is continuing this project with her peers, to celebrate, collaborate and place importance on spaces for artists of colour within art education and beyond. 

“Our creative community is immersed in our local landscape, the Black Country has a heritage and legacy of skill, innovation and Industry that uniquely converge in our practice here in Wolverhampton. Our staff and students embody our values of inclusive storytelling, sustainable solutions, creative well-being and radical social mobility. 

“The Creative Industries continues to be the UK’s economic powerhouse. It is vibrant, agile and innovative, growing the UK economy and transforming lives. We proudly present the students work that will shape the industry’s future direction of travel and impact.” 

For more information about courses in the Wolverhampton School of Art and Screen School, check out the University website or register for one of our forthcoming Open Days.      

Check out more information about the Degree Show. 



For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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