From education to employment

Mother and daughter exhibit their passion for art at University gallery

A talented mother and daughter who are both students at the University of Chester have recently shown their work in Chester city centre. 

Sally and Phoebe Weaver, from Wallasey, are both studying for a Master’s in Fine Art and have been/have recently showed their work to the public at the University’s CASC (Contemporary Art Space Chester) Galleryin the Forum Shopping Centre. 

The mother and daughter have been studying on University of Chester programmes together for four years having completed their undergraduate degree courses together too. 

Phoebe’s work evolves from “my interests in found objects of an everyday nature; chairs, brooms, hula-hoops, balloons, to name but a few. It is not only the objects’ aesthetics that holds my interest, but how I interact with it, its agency, how it manipulates space, how it becomes an equal in the creation of my work, and how these objects behave together.”

She added that her exhibited work is influenced by Leibniz’s idealistic theory of ‘relational space.’ Leibniz’s states that ‘space’ conveys, “in terms of possibility, an order of things, which exist at the same time, considered as existing together”(Leibniz, 1715-1716), or rather that space is comprised of relations between objects. 

Sally describes her work as “responding to natural environments and places” with the “coastal world” as the inspiration for her Master’s work. 

She added: “I am interested in how we experience and understand the coastline.  During this project period my work began to respond to the natural creation of coast, through the tidal system which is ultimately controlled by the moon. The process of erosion shapes coastal land and climate change intensifies the weather and sea levels which threaten an increase in land loss.  Visitors to the exhibition will see a body of work they can explore, experience and contemplate.  Digital and water prints (floating ink onto the surface of water) create lunar imagery along with natural representations of coastal worlds.  Data, navigation symbols and the concept of maps are the vehicles I use to explore notions of time, space, place, environment and personal location.  Kindred objects using geology help the viewer to consider shared worlds of the Moon and Earth and the eternal forces shaping the coastline.  I created a large installation of selected prints, materials and objects I have used or created during this project and I suppose you can say this reflects my own journey leading to my outcomes exhibited.” 

Sally enrolled on the Master’s programme after completing a BA in Fine Art at Wirral Metropolitan College (accredited by the University of Chester) in Birkenhead. She had such a positive experience she decided to continue her studies at Chester. Phoebe, who also followed the same programme at Birkenhead, said that she decided to study at Chester as the course ran over a two year-period. She added: “This appealed to me as I have dyslexia and I felt that studying over a period of two years rather than one would give me the time to properly develop my practice and research and get the most out of my Master’s.” 

And studying together has been a good experience for both of them. Phoebe said: “It’s been a really great experience to study together. Although our practices and ways of thinking are so different it’s been really nice to work together and be able to be to see first-hand how each other’s work has changed and grown throughout the course. The only issue was that we had to stop each other talking about the course 24/7 – I think we drove the rest of the family a bit mad having to listen to our philosophical tangents.” 

Sally added: “It has been an amazing experience with no major arguments, just a few theoretical debates!  Only one rule: I was Sally not Mum at University, keeping things separate for the learning process.   I have enjoyed working together, virtually every day, for the last four years. It has been such a privilege and a wonderful experience to learn and work alongside your own daughter.  A time together we will probably never have again.  Phoebe is an amazing artist and I am a super proud mum!” 

Both enjoyed their time at Chester, stating that the commitment and dedication of their lecturers has inspired them to continue to learn. 

After completing the programme both Phoebe and Sally aim to secure employment in the field of Fine Art. Phoebe plans to progress to a PhD and Sally will exhibit at CASC again later in the year. 

Dr Maxine Bristow, Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Chester said: “It has been a pleasure to see both Sally and Phoebe grow and develop as artists alongside the rest of the group. They have been such enthusiastic and committed students, and to study alongside each other as family members is a rare experience and we are so pleased to have been part of.” 

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