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Young people’s lives explored in online exhibition

  • Date

    Fri 5 Jun 20

Young woman wearing a black top, yellow tartan skirt and black-rimmed glasses standing in accessory and jewellery shop Claire's

Students on our MA Curating Studies degree haven’t let a pandemic and international lockdown stand in the way of developing their skills and have instead launched an innovative virtual exhibition challenging twenty-first century stereotypes of young people.

Originally planned as a physical exhibition in the Colchester Campus-based Art Exchange, For the Love of Avocados instead moved online giving the students a unique set of curating skills.

“This experience has taught us to be flexible and how to adapt and handle different situations,” said Grace Watson, one of nine students involved in the project.

It has also offered the team other positive opportunities: “We have been able to work with a wide range of people and to include more artists than we would normally have space for,” said Grace.

“It has given us time to experiment, to think creatively about how we can engage the public and artists to maintain a similar experience to one they would have in the gallery. Our exhibition can touch more people as it is no longer confined to gallery walls.”


Grace Watson, wearing a white, short-sleeved shirt
"This experience has taught us to be flexible. It has given us time to experiment, to think creatively about how we can engage the public and artists to maintain a similar experience to one they would have in the gallery."
Grace Watson MA curating studies student

For the Love of Avocados is inspired by one thing the students, who come from all around the world, have in common, their youth.

Interested in specific themes, such as gender identity, environmental issues and politics, they sought to explore how young people today approach these topics and what the rest of the world thinks about how they respond.

“Young people today are criticised and deemed to be lazy and entitled,” explained Sarah Lawrence, another member of the team. “But it is a lot harder to be young in modern Britain than people think, and that awareness is something we are trying to communicate.”

Young people often criticised for being unable to afford to buy property whilst spending money on coffee and avocados are shown in a different light in this exhibition. Works by artists such as Emma Noone show young people working or seeking alternative routes into academia and working to pay for their studies.

It explores the reality and inequalities of their everyday lives through digital paintings, photography, video and drawings, and features works, including a special commission, by Scott Young, an American artist living in Britain.


Sarah Lawrence, wearing a pastel-coloured scarf
"Young people today are criticised and deemed to be lazy and entitled. The works show that we are active and making something of ourselves."
Sarah Lawrence ma curating studies student

“Most importantly, the works show that we, as young people, are active and making something of ourselves,” explained Sarah.

“We hope that from this exhibition young people will feel valued and heard, that they are in control of their own image,” added Grace.

For the Love on Avocados runs until 26 June and is complemented by a series of online events and blogs.

  • Image courtesy of Emma Noone, The Claire’s Girls, from the collection Sea You Next Year, (2018-2019)