The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts has launched a 3-month programme inviting creative responses to the UEA campus and community. The project, named ‘Campus’, is being run in collaboration with 3 local artists, Hannelore Smith, James Metsoja, and Ali Hewson. Each artist provides a series of prompts, accessible through project packs on the Sainsbury Centre website.
Through drawing soundscapes, creating dialogue with objects, and mindful making with clay, the project offers a route through the campus that may be new and unfamiliar to even the most hardened veterans of the concrete landscape. As a result, long-held opinions and conceptions about the campus begin to shift.
The project offered a chance to refamiliarize myself with the university site, having spent, as most of us have, the majority of my return to university hauled up in my room. Walking around campus, I found myself exploring areas that, in my three years of being a student at UEA, I had never even noticed. Standing by the lake I was stuck by the surprising natural beauty that our concrete campus contains. Walking around the Sainsbury Centre I became entranced by a range of newfound artwork, from Edgar Degas’ Little Dancer (had this always been here?) to an intricately carved hornbill. These new sights and sounds were revealing themselves in a place that I thought I knew.
Through its simple and effective prompts, the ‘Campus’ project gives space for creative engagement and exploration. At a time when many students are withdrawn from campus, this project offers students a simple and safe way to rekindle their relationship with the various spaces that the university has to offer. This is something that is needed now more than ever.