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From paintbrushes to Raspberry Pi: Fine Art degree students to learn code

Fact 150 square Wednesday 16 December 2015

Fine Art students at Liverpool Hope University are to be trained in coding as part of a new three-year agreement with FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology).

While also embarking on a traditional Fine Art curriculum, the first year students will visit FACT in January 2016 for sessions on Open Source tools including software and hardware such as Raspberry Pi.

The aim of the new partnership is to equip students for the growing area of digital art, and inspire them to explore creative and unusual uses for technology in their work.

One Liverpool Hope Fine Art graduate who has already started to explore these connections is Ant Hamlyn, who was awarded the first Liverpool Hope and FACT joint production residency in 2015.

Ant’s artwork, The Boost Project, is being exhibited as part of FACT's major new exhibition Follow, which also includes work from art collective LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner, which is made up of Luke Turner, Nastja Säde Rönkkö, and Shia LaBeouf.

The Boost Project involves a floating sculpture that inflates in real time in response to social media interactions with the piece, and he has worked with specialists at FACTLab to develop his work.

Ant joined Director of FACT Professor Mike Stubbs, and Liverpool Hope University Vice-Chancellor Professor Gerald Pillay for the signing of the partnership agreement this week. 

Ant said of his experience, “It’s all gone so fast, it feels like a bit of a whirlwind since my degree show, where I was selected to work with FACT. It’s been extremely exciting, yet very challenging developing a work of such scale. With so many complicated elements, I’ve had to learn on the job and concisely plan everything from the prototype stages to the Installation. Having the support from the fantastic team at FACT and Liverpool Hope has allowed me to be very ambitious with the build!”

Alongside the production residency and Open Source training, the partnership between Liverpool Hope and FACT includes a series of master classes by leading international artists, who will visit the students’ studios and converse with them about their practice. David Blandy and Larry Achiampong are among the first artists to take part.   

Professor Mike Stubbs, Director at FACT said: "Responding to, and driving agendas of the creative and critical use of technology is part of FACT’s ethos; it is no longer just about media or digital art, but about how technology is part of a wider physical and social whole. Society is increasingly influenced by the relationships with and within the digital. The Boost project by Ant Hamlyn, for Follow, reflects the relationship between the digital and the real in a playful and tangible way, perfectly illustrating the kind of outcomes we’re hoping for, from our collaboration with Hope University through artists’ research."

 Professor Gerald Pillay said: “Working in partnership with FACT has already opened up some exciting possibilities for our students, and Ant’s artwork is a fine example of what can be achieved. This is just the start, and we look forward to seeing the results of a longer term relationship.”  

Lin Holland, Fine Art Course Leader at Liverpool Hope University said: “Digital literacy forms a significant part of contemporary life, whether sending a tweet, creating a 3D printed object or communicating on a global platform. We aim to provide Liverpool Hope students with relevant digital skills as a means of creative exploration and a way to critically engage more widely with culture, posing questions in the same way they would using any other medium.”

l-r Ant Hamlyn, Professor Mike Stubbs, Professor Gerald Pillay 

Photographs of Ant Hamlyn's The Boost Project and the signing of the agreement between Liverpool Hope and FACT

Fine Art at Liverpool Hope

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