Portsmouth is a rich mix of the competent and the inspirational, reports Richard Rose-Casemore
Characterise the school’s approach?
This end of year show marks the last for the School in the Portland Building before the move to a new home at the Eldon Campus as part of the cementation within the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries. The theme this year is ‘collaboration’ and a flavour of each course area is exhibited in the atrium, with each unit displaying work in studios temporarily converted to galleries.
Tod Wakefield, Head of School, describes the typical Portsmouth student as highly creative yet ‘grounded’; embracing real issues and real problems and wherever possible engaging with ‘live’ projects. If that positions the School as one whose purpose is to engender a culture of bright, employable, well-travelled graduates, then the work suggests that ambition is being realised.
The show is a rich mix of the competent and the inspirational. For me, the standout unit was the ‘Emergent Studio’, led by Roger Tyrell and Nicola Crowson – a refreshing and perhaps least ‘Portsmouth-like’ unit on show in my mind. Two projects: ‘The Living Bridge’ in Aalborg, Denmark, and ‘The Academy’ in Ourika Valley, Morocco demonstrated both collective endeavour and individual brilliance.
The highlight was Ewan Gibson and Luke Sutton’s masterful collaboration, which was as evocative as any student work I have seen in any School in recent years - combining thoughtful design with ambience-inducing artwork which would grace any wall.
One word to sum up the school’s work?
My one word (actually two) I would use to describe the work on show is a reflection of the strong and committed teaching team operating in the context of the School values, and is offered as a compliment: ‘eminently employable’.
Richard Rose-Casemore is co-founder of Design Engine
AJ reviews of every student show in the UK will be published in a special issue of the magazine on 26 July. Students can subscribe to the AJ for just £82.50