Words: Kellie Craig
Images: Kristian Bird
Once again Unit X has concluded for this academic year, finishing on a high in a mass collaborative exhibition at Federation House.
From beginnings, concepts and ideas to the final executed products, students should consider themselves extremely proud of the work they have achieved in the ten-week time frame for the unit.
In demonstrating knowledge of their assigned briefs, including drawing upon experiences from field trips and workshops led by professional practitioners, students have established their own individual strengths, but also shown the many visitors to Federation House their dedication to collaborative practice as a whole.
Students arrived as early as Tuesday morning to start setting up their exhibition spaces; at first an empty shell of a building, floors in Federation House were transformed into dedicated pop-up gallery spaces corresponding to each group of students. Whether visitors looked at spaces by Art History and Curating, Graphic Design, or Fine Art, each space reflected an extremely high standard of work.
Of the Federation House space, the students this year were extremely fortunate to have concluded the unit in a building that will soon cease to exist. Having spent some time under the direction of Castlefield Gallery, the short-lived ‘new art space’ will soon become a thing of the past, only to be remembered through memories shared between those who participated in visiting and curating exhibitions within it. As we become witnesses to the continual regeneration of Manchester’s cultural hotspots, students in years to come must continue to be even more resilient, inventive and enterprising when it comes to coordinating their future collaborations.
The level of professionalism demonstrated by each group and each course was outstanding; a special collaboration between Manchester School of Art and Royal Northern College of Music saw both parties come together to create artistic environments, acting as the set for operatic performance pieces.
Of the project, some first-year students I spoke to shared their initial anxiety during Unit X: “it sometimes feels like your head is going to burst from the stress of collaborating in such a short amount of time, but when you see the final outcome, in the end it all becomes worth it”. It is true that the first experience of the unit can be a daunting one; it is very much a case of expectation versus reality, but in the case of the class of 2015, the Federation House finale was certainly a show that these students from Manchester School of Art won’t forget.