Meet the Bath Spa University graduates who make up EMERGE.
We have 35 residents - 25 individual residents and three groups - in the EMERGE studio, all of whom are recent graduates from Bath Spa University and work alongside each other and our Creative Mentor team.
EMERGE is unique in its offer as our studio residents have been selected based on their creative practice and desire to collaborate, rather than evidence of enterprise and innovation alone.
Our graduate residents have a strong sense of collaboration, and many work across multiple disciplines. All are striving towards creating a sustainable practice as they emerge into their chosen professional sector.
Afzal's work, mainly paintings and sculptures, are based on the idea of symbiotic and parasitic relationships between organic and inorganic, tangible and spiritual things. By observing nature, and sometimes the interaction between people, he imitates such occurrences and tries to bridge these ideas together.
In his current body of work, the paintings start with room for chance and spontaneity, much like a situation he mindlessly created that needs resolving. By accepting, reflecting and responding to it, he settles with an intentional balance of chaos and control. For him it is the same as finding clarity of individual thoughts within a chaotic mind that is being observed in meditation, a practice that indirectly influences his work.
Bath Spa MA Fine Art graduate 2021, Alyson Minkley originally trained in Sculpture at Kingston in the late 80s. After an early career in environment and community arts, Minkley went on to teach Art and Design in secondary and further education, and holds a part-time post lecturing at Strode College.
As an artist, her work holds tension between traditional solid-state materials and transience in contemporary digital media. Themes include paradox of didactic systems in an age of information, political and social manipulation through media and education, challenging social constructs and cataloguing embodied social anthropology. As antithesis to working in secondary education and with an inescapable lens of dyspraxia, Minkley advocates curiosity, play and interaction, testing ideas, questioning boundaries and connecting cross-discipline; this is evident both as outcome and process. Art as a vehicle to engender dialogue is recurrent throughout all projects.
Recent exhibitions/showings include Mall and Espacio galleries in London, Engine Room film festival, Salisbury, Centre of Gravity and RWA Bristol, solo shows at The Art Cohort in Bath and St Mary’s School, Wiltshire. Minkley won the 2021 Bath Open Arts prize, the 2019 Porthleven Prize and was shortlisted for the 2020 Visions of Science art prize.
Fran is an interdisciplinary artist from South Yorkshire currently living in Cardiff. Currently working with video and installation, Fran creates highly saturated humorous art that aims to toe the line between fine art and humour, sci-fi and erotica. Subverting the traditional notions of femininity, sexuality and the abject.
Juliet’s artworks show concern with temporality and topography of the earth’s surface and deal with materiality, scale and physical process. She works from the principles that form should be derived from the inherent qualities of the materials she chooses. These make form out of space when poured into empty voids in the ground, recording the interior architecture and indexical marks – making the invisible visible.
The layering of process and reconfiguration creates a dialogue around her visual exploration of the ground beneath our feet. The ordinary and often unnoticed surfaces beneath our feet are a constant source of inspiration. She maintains an intimate physical relationship with the processes she employs. After the initial decision of material and location, space and nature are left alone to sculpt. There is a relinquishing of control as nature and chance affect the results. As such, the temporality of natural phenomena is realised. Presented as sculptures, with video and photographic representations of the ephemeral works.
Kamil's fine art practice is firmly rooted in two-dimensional approaches, primarily painting and drawing, yet it has never been constricted to those. The central attitude that Kamil aspires to cultivate is being open to the possibilities that emerge through the dialogue between different mediums and materials.
Despite his aspiration to convey an idiosyncratic outlook on the world, Kamil aims for his work to stay open to a wide variety of interpretations. Kamil believes that ambiguity within art is a quality worth pursuing, as it naturally attracts attention and inspires interesting conversations to emerge around it.
Whilst acknowledging the mind’s innate fascination with the mystery, he tends to steer away from conveying obvious and direct messages. Instead, Kamil focuses his work on the implicit, with the belief that this has a greater capability to captivate the viewer and stimulate the imagination.
Kamil is the winner of the 2021 Peter Kinley Painting Award.
Lauren White is an artist based in Bath and Bristol. Lauren works predominantly in oil paint, specialising in portrait and figurative paintings. Her main areas of interest include finding ‘beauty’ in the mundane, and how we navigate and understand the human condition. Much of Lauren’s work is inspired by her own experiences and sense of self, which includes her changing views of the world and adopting new perspectives surrounding her own environment. There is an additional focus on romanticisation of the ordinary, capturing life through story-telling and cinematic elements within her practice.
Lille is looking to maintain a practice that is conscious to consumable products. She creates work that functions in the world of tomorrow, today. Through a combination of skills Lille uses a mixture of reclaimed and raw materials, mixed with found objects and digital design technologies to create work that redefines the space in which it holds. Much of her creations contains etching, print work or embellishments that explores the surrealist narrative of the unconscious imagination and there by the freedom to express and engage in creative acts of play and or design.
Going forward Lille is looking to turn her contemporary creative practice into a viable business that develops sustainable designs for the more creative and daring of minds.
Mark's current practice explores painting in relationships to retro nostalgia, and a manipulation of references sourced through vintage interiors, images, advertisements and patterns.
Attaining the reference first is an important part of the process, as it will inform the formal qualities of the final work. Motifs like colour, pattern, texture or composition will dictate the content and choice of manipulation. He aims for varied painting methods within each reference - almost collage like. Only so much can be planned in painting, but giving space for the paint to behave on its own is anticipated. This notion of unpredictability integrating with the precision of design is not only an aesthetic choice, but a process which evokes a playground of control against chance.
Contextually, Mark's interests lie within the uncanny experience he receives when looking at images from the past, scenes prior to his time - places he has never visited, uncommon fashions before present day. He is drawn particularly to bold colours, interesting or dysfunctional design, adverts and interior spaces, as they can act as abstracted shapes or compositions to make a painting. Photography from times he researches can often redact information, which influences various modes of rendering.
These collation of images he searches for allows the viewer to be removed from this timeline briefly; to reflect or explore a different era currently resurfacing in pop culture social media. Marks aim is to take the viewer on this journey with me by painting - asking them to spend more time exploring the canvas, rather than the images he produces from.
Considering that ‘people still like to be lied to’ (Ulman, 2020) and that we tend to believe what we see, Melissa Mahon’s work addresses the question of how illusion, recognition as well as viewers’ expectation affect the reading of a photograph, as used within art practice. Her work uses photography and sculpture to explore this circumstance.
Process is important to Melissa’s practice. She works on paper and screen using analogue, digital and process-based photography. The visual subject of her work is often the quotidian, the everyday, using photographs of empty spaces, bearing traces of former occupants or models of those spaces, constructed specifically to photograph.
Melissa’s recent Ph.D. research title is 'Seen/Believed: A practice-based study of depiction within the photograph'. This study also embraced what, in the digital age might define the contemporary photograph. Her most recent work continues this exploration, specifically examining its limits.
Nigel is a lens-based artist producing photographs and short immersive videos. His work is mainly concerned with the impact of globalisation and the anthropocene. Nigel has an MA in Fine Art from Bath Spa University and a BA in Film and Photographic Art from PCL in London.
Recently his work has appeared in the 2019 John Ruskin Prize exhibition at the Holden Gallery in Manchester, the Small Axe Film Festival, All at Sea in Edinburgh, TyPawb Open 2020 and the RWA Open in Bristol. Nigel was born in Carmarthen and grew up in West Wales, he now lives in Bath.
Saffron Murray-Browne works primarily in painting and drawing, using bold lines and colours that deliberately refer to the process of mark making. Often working from art history and secondary sources, Saffron explores the relationship between contemporary art and its predecessors. No artwork can stand alone or avoid associations with other works, and oil paint in particular holds the association of hundreds of years of painting. In her work, Saffron acknowledges and appropriates this relationship, using deliberate references to historical works of art and traditional motifs. Interested in the orchestrated world an artist can create, Saffron uses the language of art to convey a chosen reality to the viewer.
Samantha’s practice has always been driven by an inner inquiry or need to know something as if forgotten but of utmost importance in the development of understanding one's place within the world as a multimedia artist. Listening is always at the heart of the practice. Samantha seeks to transform her sonic, sculptural practice, into something more commercial and functional. Her exploration with listening and sound has led her to explore semi precious stones and silver as a new, unknown raw material to the artist. Machetes will be a document of this process and samples generated can be considered miniature objects adorning the body, infused with the magic of their maker.
The exploration and behaviour of materials is at the heart of Sarah's sculptural practice. Ideas around accumulation, consumption and our relationship to objects is driving her current thinking in relation to making.
Using waste and packaging provides accessible materials to repurpose into creative outcomes. Amalgamating the donated packaging, combined with additional materials, letting go of preconceived notions and allowing the actions of making to propel the work forward, increasing scale and volume through multiplicity.
The tactile hands-on interaction with materials are integral to the work. It is an intentional collaboration and dialogue between the instigator and the material, recognising its particular agency that allows for a greater understanding of Sculpture to be explored. Colour and the textural surface act as an invitation to the viewer. Organic forms combined with fleshy pinks and fragmented edges offer bodily connotations without being representational. The ability to walk around work within the space offers a sense of tangibility and a clearer grasp on the human-object relationship.
''Nature, place, and being present are all linked with our mental and physical health. Changing and altering our natural environment changes us.''
Simon is exploring these thoughts and collaborating with environmental community groups and wellbeing organisations. His art practice involves analogue and digital photographic processes, drawing, printmaking, books making, and explorations into moving imagery.
Part of his portfolio career includes freelancing as a portrait and documentary photographer. Simon welcomes collaborations and is a member of 44AD Art Space, London Independent Photography, and Space Place Practice research collective. He founded the Bath Photography Festival in 2018 as a non-profit arts organisation aimed at promoting and encouraging creative arts and community involvement.
Working media: Photography, drawing, printing, etching, moving image
Objects are a principal product of humanity. Some we keep, some we discard. Zac Merle is fascinated by the latter - rejected materials that he finds treasurable. His creative process begins with a collection of elements from his immediate surroundings, often newspaper scraps, cardboard and odd bits of fabric. His primary belief is that it’s important to use existing materials rather than create unnecessary waste through his own practice.
Primarily using found images in a hands-on process, he focuses more on mixed media and collage techniques through a layering and build up of textures, forming his compositions. In his artwork, he strives to convey the mundane through the combination of photographs, paint and found materials. Using his favoured collage technique as a method of creating dysfunction and emphasizing visual anarchy. He describes himself as a painter, who is inspired by the things humanity chooses to surround themselves with.
Alice has recently finished her undergraduate degree in Graphic Communication at Bath Spa. Her creative practice is primarily focused around typography and more analogue forms of print, such as risograph and silkscreen. She also enjoys dabbling in motion, filmmaking and photography whilst creating a body of work that is direct, fun and sometimes even a little bit silly! She likes to take these processes and apply them to where her passion lies, which is predominately making zines, books and prints.
During her time here as a member of the EMERGE programme, she is looking forward to getting back into the print workshop, where she will be designing and printing her own zine each month. Alongside honing her practice, she is looking to establish her online presence to prepare herself for the industry.
Olivia is a Bath-based textiles designer, specialising in knit. She draws from images of often overlooked textures, and the mundane, to inspire patterns demonstrated in her knitted samples. Locally sourced materials and natural dye experiments are at the forefront of Olivia’s practice.
Wannapa is a graphic designer and illustrator with over 15 years of experience within a range of print industry including newspapers, magazines, books, packaging design, advertising and promotional materials. After completing her MA in Design for Visual Communication, Wannapa feels fortunate to have become a new designer in residence at Emerge Studio. She recently became an entrepreneur starting up her own art and design business and a member of a Digital Networking group to expand her potential.
Wannapa feels she is responsible in helping to make a positive impact to the environment as a designer. While working for her clients’ briefs and building up her own brand, Wannapa sees opportunities to promote sustainable design from the conceptual thinking stage through to completion. Her mission is to offer a quality graphic design and products that are appealing both to clients and consumers, and kind to the planet.
Alex's creative practice primarily revolves around the future and investigating it as a form of escapism, typically manifesting as various pieces and scenes in the field of science fiction. He primarily uses digital media to create as it typically pertains to the subject matter at hand as well as being a field he is new too and enjoys exploring. Legacy is a current mainstay of his practice, exploring the boundaries between the biomechanical, where the flesh ends and the metal begins and the tension that exposes.
J Ponte (they/them) is a Creative Technologist at the intersection of computing and creativity – cool computer stuff, if you will!
Having just graduated BSc Creative Computing at Bath Spa, they now work part-time as a freelancer and part-time at the university. Beyond conventional and commercial applications of Creative Computing, J has keen interests in many areas of creative technology – from digital storytelling to artificial life (not as scary as it sounds, no robot uprisings here!). Their work to date includes VR art installations, queer narrative games, computational art research, wellbeing games, and an Arduino powered Turing machine.
They are also fascinated by the creative process - exploring how creatives can develop their creative processes and how human creativity even works to begin with. They contend that creativity isn’t a gift exclusive to a lopsided left-brain, but a cognitive ability possessed by all and a skill that needs practice like any other.
Nigel is a social entrepreneur who fuses an ethical enterprising approach with a creative practice rooted in coding and performance.
“My creative practice fuses the outcome focused psychology of an entrepreneur with the process focused approach of a creative practitioner. I recently co-founded I BUY LOCAL, an online platform that makes it easy to buy local products from independent businesses. We all know the benefits of shopping local and independent - it supports local people; it’s good for the environment; it helps create a stronger sense of community and, importantly, it makes us feel good to do good.
I’m also supporting the growth of the arts sector in the South West through my work as strategic director of The Arts Show with Nik & Nigel - a radio show on Radio Bath which I co-founded with EMERGE colleague, and friend, Niklas Aarre. We're developing close ties with artists and organisations across the region with an aim to raise the profile of the South West so that it's recognised as the leading creative region in Britain. We're on an exciting journey to becoming a fully fledged, regional, arts organisation.
Finally, I'm a coder at heart and always will be. I want to research how ethical entrepreneurship, creative thinking and coding can change the world for everyone.”
Maria is a freelance researcher, project manager and co-founder of Arkollectiv'. She holds a BA in Sociology from the Pontificia Universidad Católica in Chile and MA in Arts Management from Bath Spa University.
With 10 years of experience working in education, mainly in action-research programs and policy development in Chile, Argentina and now in the UK, Maria is currently supporting the coordination of the Bath Cultural Education Partnership and working as a creative producer in House of Imagination. Her last action-research project has been the 2021 Cultural and Creative Strategy Review commissioned by Bath Bridge in collaboration with other organisations like Bath Spa University, University of Bath, Bath College and BANES.
Veryan is a Bath-based multi-media artist whose work is often playful and macabre at the same time. They originally studied Physics but now apply those skills to their artistic practice; aiming to undermine the distinctions between artist and technologist, and within creative practice areas, whenever they can.
Their recent creations include an interactive experience based on the Bluebeard story combining augmented reality and mechanical puppets; a game based on navigating the pitfalls of the Bristol rental market; and a ‘Clown Court’ interactive theatre event where participants brought their grudges with authority figures to a jury of masked creatures who sentenced them to be pelted with jam.
Their practice often explores the line between artist and audience, and questions perceptions of the normal, the comfortable, and the real.
Residents: Music and performance
Having recently completed his actor training at Bath Spa University, Alasdair Jordan is currently a working actor, voice-over and editor. Alasdair has a passion for creation and storytelling, with aims of becoming a devising theatre practitioner.
With particular interest in postmodernism, pastiche and absurdist comedy, Alasdair aims to bring bold and new ideas to the theatre. He wants to explore the many facets of performance and examine the relationship between the performer and the viewer. Through his work Alasdair will test boundaries, investigate the human condition and challenge the hegemony, or maybe just tell a few jokes. Whatever Alasdair turns his attention to next, he will do so with an enthusiasm for performance and a thirst for exploration.
Alasdair has recently been recognised for his dedication to his acting training by his Bath Spa University lecturers and has received an award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting.
Charlie is an actor/director, with an MA in Performing Shakespeare. His creative goal has been to make Shakespeare more engaging for modern audiences. In working towards this goal, he has staged versions of classical plays, run Shakespeare workshops in schools and toured his one-person show Rock Bottom, based on Shakespeare. He programmes most of his work through his theatre company, Fresh Life Theatre, which focuses on shedding the tights and ruffles of classical theatre and shedding new light on its larger than life characters.
Charlie is currently working on a tour of MILKED by Simon Longman, and an Edinburgh Fringe debut for his show Rock Bottom, after a successful tour in 2021.
Momentum Acts, founded by Dana Day and Naledi Withers, is an interdisciplinary theatre company that was set up in response to the currently changing landscape of theatre.
The aim of Momentum Acts is to make the often complicated work of Shakespeare more approachable, and to encourage audiences to feel comfortable engaging with his plays by allowing them to experience the work through an additional creative medium.
Combining Theatre, Film, Radio and marketing Niklas is an established multi-disciplined, creative freelancer in the South-West. Niklas works closely with fellow resident Nigel Fryatt where they produce The Arts Show, which aims to encourage everyone to live a more creativity life. Niklas loves to work collaboratively and is well connected with the arts scene in Bath and the surrounding area. Niklas is currently working on The Arts Show podcast which is set to be released in early 2022.
Umbra Penumbra are a duo of theatre makers, who share stories in response to true life events using the ancient art of shadow puppetry. They were formed in 2020, and are based in Bristol, England.
Umbra Penumbra's work conjures up feelings of the magical and mythical, they seek stories from those living life on the edge, in the furthest flung corners of our planet. Despite their fantastical nature, all of their stories are deeply rooted in truth.
Umbra Penumbra love telling stories of the weird and wonderful, exploring the narratives within nature and community.
Their work is collaborative and experimental, they are always testing the limits, and learning as they go.