Something Else – 3rd Nov on grad shows

On last week’s show I explored the world of grad shows (showcases put on by universities of their graduating students’ work). I mainly focussed on the COFA Annual, the grad show put on by the College of Fine Arts, in my discussion with David Burrowes, a Digital Media student at COFA who’s short film is being showcased in this year’s Annual. I also touched on the NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Arts) grad show, which I have attended a couple times and is always a great experience. In our discussion on these showcases we explored how grad shows can operate as both showcases of students’ work but also alternative arts events, which harness the value of young emerging artists (aka students) as exhibitors.

COFA Annual Logo

Baron Chau’s winning design for the 2011 Annual Logo

David and I discussed why the COFA Annual has changed venues over the last couple of years and what the new venue (the UNSW Roundhouse space & adjoining Squarehouse building) implies for this year’s Annual. There were some initial objections to the new venue by the student body because it is a live music venue and bar and not designed to be an exhibiting space. But minds were eased as time went on because the Roundhouse/Squarehouse spaces are enormous which is necessary because the COFA Annual operates on a massive scale and with the proper attention to detail the space can be designed to exhibit a wide variety of mediums effectively.

It is a really difficult task organising a grad show, which unlike many smaller exhibitions has to display a very wide variety of mediums in one show. This has the possibility of making the show overly hectic, and the Annual is attempting to balance the different mediums in some important ways. One of the key factors in making this balance happen is not neglecting screen-based works which have been sidelined in the past, and with this year’s organiser being Tom Ellard, the head of video at COFA, this year’s Annual should be able to showcase short films, animations and time-based art effectively through the ‘Cinemateque’ and the Screening night.

The NIDA grad shows manage to find a great balance between its physical installations (such as works of costume design, props & stage design) and its grad show plays, which are always a hit. I go into some more detail explaining how this operates in the show. For some more information on what’s on at NIDA including their graduation shows please visit the What’s On section of NIDA’s website.

The COFA Annual opening night is on the 25th of November from 5pm – 8pm, and the exhibition then runs from the 26th – 30th November. The screening night is on the 28th November starting at 6pm. For more information visit the COFA Annual webpage.

To listen to the podcast of the show please copy and paste this link into your iTunes Advanced Podcast Subscription search bar.