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Porthleven Prize Tenth Anniversary – Bath Spa University

Porthleven Prize celebrates tenth anniversary


The Osborne Porthleven Prize looks back on 10 years of artistic exploration

Thursday, 30 November, 2023

The Osborne Porthleven Prize is celebrating its tenth anniversary. The annual art residency is supported by The Osborne Trust and offers Bath Spa University students across all year groups and disciplines the opportunity to work together to create an exhibition. 

Lucinda Burgess was a finalist from the 2014 residency. Commenting on her experience at the residency, she said: 

“Being able to spend all my time making work by the sea was very inspiring. Before the residency I hadn’t collaborated with anyone, this was new and although I didn’t pursue that way of working, I enjoyed getting to know my collaborator who subsequently became a friend. It also encouraged me to explore new directions like film and performance. 

She continued: 

“This residency in Porthleven led to another residency at Newlyn Art Gallery where I had the whole upper gallery to make large-scale installations. I have since exhibited work connected to these two Cornish residencies all over the UK as well as Athens, Stuttgart, and Cologne.” 

Drawing inspiration from the town’s rich creative history and exceptional land and seascapes, the residency begins with workshops, seminars and tutorials in a creative space in Porthleven, West Cornwall. Shortlisted applicants then enjoy a second phase that allows them to focus on research and making in a studio space at the lifeboat station in Porthleven.  

Trustee and Prize Founder, Trevor Osborne, the owner of Porthleven Harbour & Dock Company, said: 

“Many students who have experienced Porthleven alongside other art students find that time spent here has changed not only their perception of the village in its setting at the heart of Mount’s Bay, but also the direction of their own artistic expression of this magical environment. I hope that students will continue to benefit from the Porthleven experience.”    

He continued:

"Creativity is essential for the wellbeing of communities. If we hadn’t have brought the students and the people of Porthleven together, then the residency wouldn’t have worked. As the years have gone by, I've learnt that you’ve got to give people the chance to express themselves. Creativity isn’t just about painting something, it's about making something original, coming up with an idea, working with the idea - it’s a creative arts practice."

With the aim of producing collaborative and individual work across disciplines of visual arts, sound and image, dance, performance, film, photography and creative writing, these fully funded residencies have offered places to 136 Bath Spa University students over the last decade, and a small proportion from Falmouth University.  

Mark McGuiness, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Interim Head of School: Art, Film and Media at Bath Spa University said: 

“The Osborne Porthleven Prize has had a profound impact on the creative arts practices of those involved, with any participants going on to achieve great successes. It has been heart-warming to read these collective stories in the Prize’s 10th anniversary book.

He continued: 

“The Prize has also shaped our curriculum and research culture, with over twenty-five tutors working collaboratively and across disciplines on the programme since its inception. The impact of the Prize is far-reaching and invaluable to our community.”     

The highlights from this inspirational programme have been captured in a commemorative book set to launch at the 2023 cohort’s end-of-residency exhibition between 2 December and 13 December at Bath Spa’s Locksbrook campus. 

Art enthusiasts can book a time to visit the exhibition and, for those unable to make it in person, a digital version of the commemorative book is available online.

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