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Cornwall Street Project Space in Plymouth showcases Arts University Plymouth creative work

Artist & lecturer Tom Milnes curates city-centre space for exhibitions and workshops by arts university students, graduates and staff

Cornwall Street Project Space, a vacant retail unit at 71 Cornwall Street in Plymouth city centre, has been taken over by Arts University Plymouth until February 2023 as part of the Meanwhile Use scheme.

Artist and lecturer Dr Tom Milnes, whose work in the city was seen most recently transforming the Hoe and Smeaton’s Tower into the cutting-edge ‘Ashnihilation’ augmented reality experience, is curating a programme of exhibitions, window-display exhibitions and events in the city centre. Featuring artworks created by Arts University Plymouth students, graduates and staff members, the residency is part of the Meanwhile Use scheme to support  imaginative projects that occupy vacant spaces in the city centre, and will run alongside and complement the British Art Show 9 activities taking place across the city.

Ashnihilation by Tom Milnes

Artists featured in the space will include: BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate Molly Erin McCarthy until 27 November 2022; BA (Hons) Fine Art Lecturers and Senior Lecturers Antigoni Pasidi, Helen Billinghurst, Louise Fago-Ruskin, Paul Hillon, Sarah King, Dr Steven Paige, and Tom Milnes from 28 November to 8 December; and an exhibition of BA (Hons) Fine Art student work by Kenya Buchanan, Richie Johnson, Nicole Ruby, Allie Dechow, Nis Murat, Beth Evans, Nikki Lannon, plus H20 collective (Donna Robson, Deborah Burgman, Zac Little, and Jemima Mansell), from 9 December to 6 January 2023.

Work by Molly Erin McCarthy

Alongside a number of window-display exhibitions for people passing through Plymouth city-centre to enjoy, there will also be opportunities to step inside Cornwall Street Project Space to meet the artists and experience the installations up close. From 5:30pm on Friday 18 November, Tom Milnes and Molly Erin McCarthy will host a free talk about Curating Digital Art, with tickets bookable on Evenbrite. Tom will speak about his experience curating digital art, guide visitors through some augmented reality works on show, and introduce the premiere screening of Molly’s new film, ‘Wish You Were Here’. With timings still to be confirmed, on Friday 16 December the Cornwall Street Project Space will be open for members of the public to meet BA (Hons) Fine Art students from Arts University Plymouth, engage with the works on show and find out more about their emerging creative practices.

Cornwall Street Project Space

The final exhibition programmed for Cornwall Street Project Space will be Tom Milnes’ interactive artwork ‘Ashnihilation’, which was developed as part of a wider project commissioned by Plymouth City Council through Plymouth’s Green Minds (funded by the European Regional Development Fund/Urban Innovation Actions) and created in conjunction with Arts University Plymouth and with support from Devon Wildlife Trust. 

‘Ashnihilation’ was made up of a guided visual experience teaching that was offered to local community groups, decision-makers, artists and educators about the importance of ash trees and the role that they play locally in ecological balance and biodiversity. The original experience used Arts University Plymouth’s Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality headsets, alongside a more easily accessible version that uses augmented reality filters for Instagram. QR codes to download the Instagram filters for smartphones will be displayed in the windows of Cornwall Street Project Space throughout January 2023, allowing people in Plymouth to film and photograph 3D animated creatures which are inspired by local wildlife and rendered by using 3D scans of iconic Plymouth landmarks.

Ashnihilation by Tom Milnes

Creator Tom Milnes, who most recently presented about ‘Ashnihilation’ at the Fulldome UK 2022 Festival at Market Hall, lectures in BA (Hons) Fine Art at Arts University Plymouth and will take a leading role in the university’s new BA (Hons) Creative Technologies when the course launches in September 2023. The new degree is an expansive, future-facing course of experimentation at the intersection of art and technology, covering everything from virtual reality, creative coding, data visualisation, projection mapping, interactive installation and 3D scanning and printing.

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