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11 April 2008 PR 08/47

Loughborough trio to fly the flag for Britain at international arts festival

Three graduates from Loughborough University School of Art and Design will be jetting off to Italy in May to take part in a prestigious international arts festival.

Matt Atkinson (22), Amy Eastland (23) and Sam Taylor (23) are among a group of graduates from four East Midlands universities – Loughborough, De Montfort, Derby and Nottingham Trent – who have been chosen to represent the UK at the Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean.

It is the first time that the UK has taken part in the Biennale, which is now in its thirteenth year and considered to be one of the most important Mediterranean events focusing on youth creativity. During the ten-day festival, which is being held in Puglia, Southern Italy, around 1,000 artists, aged between 18 and 30, from more than 20 countries, will exhibit their work.

Professor Terry Kavanagh, chair of the University’s arts committee, says the University is proud to have three of its graduates representing both Loughborough and the UK at the Biennale.

“Over the years Loughborough’s students and graduates have excelled in major national art and design competitions and events, and their work consistently achieves international critical acclaim,” he commented. “This year’s Biennale offers an outstanding opportunity for the University, and particularly three of our most recent graduates, to demonstrate to a brand new audience the skills and accomplishments that have secured Loughborough a position as one of the country’s top five places for art and design education.”

At the Biennale, Matt Atkinson will exhibit a series of his paintings, the focus of which are disused buildings. His work is a nostalgic appreciation of the unlikely beauty that evolves from their natural decay and defacement.

Amy Eastland’s submission for the exhibition is a series of images through which she interprets the words of Winston Churchill to depict his life. Her collages have been developed using existing imagery, particularly old photographs and papers, as well as imagery Amy herself creates electronically.

Sam Taylor’s work is a series of cigarette box sculptures, built to three times their normal size using traditional model-making techniques. They have been developed to explore the value and status that everyday objects are perceived to have in our cultural environment.

Laura Dyer, Executive Director of Arts Council England, East Midlands said: “Arts Council England, East Midlands is delighted to be the first English region to be represented in the Biennale and proud that such talented young artists have emerged from our region.

Amy Eastland's submission
Matthew Atkinson's submission
Sam Taylor's submission

“Each of these universities make a considerable contribution to the cultural footprint of the region. They are powerful investors in the arts and major players in cultural provision and development in the East Midlands. They are central to creating the region’s arts workforce and supporting high quality arts opportunities.

“I look forward to the day when we welcome the Biennale to the UK.”

– Ends –

For all media enquiries contact:

Notes for editors:

  1. Photographs of all the artists and images of their work are available. Please contact Hannah Baldwin on 01509 222239.
  2. All three artists graduated from Loughborough University in July 2007.
    Three graduates from Loughborough University School of Art and Design will be jetting off to Italy in May to take part in a prestigious international arts festival.
  3. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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