For those of us lucky enough to be working in Further Education, the early weeks of July are a time of reflection and contemplation of an academic year that has yet again, miraculously disappeared. The familiar cycle of welcoming our students for the first time, planning and delivering the curriculum, supporting and assessing achievement and the joyful welcoming of friends and family to our end of year celebrations comes to an exhausted yet upbeat hiatus.
The past few years have been hugely challenging for obvious reasons. As we emerged, resilient from a global pandemic, we marched forward through a planned major estate move. In the last 12 months teachers, technicians and students have moved the Visual Arts Department from across the city’s scattered campuses to their extraordinary new home at City Campus Manchester.
As paint dried, equipment was being unboxed and work surfaces hastily assembled due to the delay of bespoke furniture… early last September, the students arrived! Living, working and learning in a new environment takes longer than an academic year to find its feet but oh how we have all tried!
Hats off to our astoundingly dedicated teachers, our wonderfully talented technicians, our hard-working estates, canteen and cleaning colleagues – we have all moved our house and our hearts into our new home.
And here’s to our students – from all points of the Greater Manchester compass and from all parts of the community. The very first in their building, in their city to walk in, to pick up pencils, load brushes, turn on Macs, focus lenses, fire up the brazing hearth, heat the irons, rev the sewing machines -- all to begin to make and create.
Our exhibition ‘Cream of Manchester’ established in 2023, is a first marker laid down in City Campus Manchester. A dynamic and beautiful show with representation of all levels, all ages of study, laced with the important voices and stories of its students past and present.
So, here’s to solidarity and here’s to us all. Let us continue to work, think and play, to laugh and learn together, to challenge, plan and protest and above all, to make art that represents and give voice to each and every one of us.
Maria Foran, Head of Department, Visual Arts
Art & Design
Foundation Art & Design