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New ceramics prize will recognise Bath Spa University talent

New ceramics prize will recognise Bath Spa University talent

A new opportunity to recognise Bath Spa University’s (@BathSpaUni) talented artists has launched in 2021.

The Betty and Peter McLean prize will be awarded to a graduating postgraduate student working predominantly in ceramics. All MA Ceramics students submitting work for the Master’s Project module are eligible. 

The new prize is funded by a generous gift from one of the world’s leading conceptual artists, Bruce McLean, and is named in honour of his parents. Once all entries have been judged, one worthy prize winner will be chosen to receive £1,000 and have the opportunity to meet with Bruce.

Bruce established his career in the 1960s and has worked in a wide variety of media and contexts, including performance, painting, print, architecture, video and ceramics. He has also taught in a number of art schools, notably as Professor of Fine Arts at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, where he was Head of Graduate Painting. 

Talking about his generous donation, Bruce said:

“I decided to give a prize to a student in the ceramics department because I loved the atmosphere generated by the staff, students and great working space. It also felt like an art school.”

Bruce’s relationship with Bath Spa began when he was invited to give a demonstration to students in 2017. Reflecting on the experience, Bruce continued: “Not being a real potter, the jug I was making began to come apart in front of the students, causing some mirth. We need more art schools like this, laughing and learning and lunching.”

Dr Conor Wilson, Senior Lecturer in Ceramics at Bath Spa University, said:

“This is an exciting development for Bath Spa University, helping us to build on our status as a centre of excellence in ceramics. For the winning student, the prize will be a significant fillip, as they launch into the world of professional practice with an exciting body of new work and a clear understanding of their approach to practice.”

Judging will take place during the University’s Degree Show later this year. The selection panel comprises Bruce McLean, Dr Dan Allen, Head of Bath Spa University’s Bath School of Art and Jacqueline Moore, Director of Make at Hauser and Wirth.

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