From education to employment

Star Student to receive Inaugural Murillo-Rock Visual Arts Award

Budding artist Seren Harris, a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design student from Afan College, has become the first artist to receive the inaugural Murillo-Rock Visual Arts Award.

The award set up by art & design alumnus, Neal Rock along with fellow artist and 2019 Turner Prize Winner Oscar Murillo gives a helping hand to young artists.

The pair have always been huge advocates of the College, often giving inspired workshops and industry talks to students, but then decided to take that a step further and launch the Murillo-Rock Visual Arts Award, which involves presenting a student with a prize fund in order help them pursue their career dreams within visual arts, specifically a student coming to the end of their studies on the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Afan College.

Born and raised in Port Talbot, Neal Rock understands how tough it can be for students wanting to pursue visual arts from their local area and this award will give them the recognition and a helping hand to move forward in the Creative Arts industry.

”We are delighted to offer this award for creative excellence in visual art to NPTC Group of Colleges students. Both myself and Oscar Murillo are from working-class backgrounds and College was formative in my early development. We hope this award will be an encouragement for students to pursue their creative ambitions both within and beyond Wales.”

‘’Seren is a phenomenal artist and well deserving to become the first recipient of the award.  We chose her work due to the quality and the interesting integration of textiles and photography’’

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In a virtual ceremony where Neal Rock was Live from Virginia, Seren was delighted at becoming the first-ever recipient of the Murillo-Rock Visual Arts Award saying:

‘’I am, very surprised but also really happy to have won the Murillo-Rock Visual Arts award.  I’m very grateful for the recognition and the prize and I hope that I will one day I will also be in a position to help young artists’’.

NPTC Group of Colleges and Vicky Burroughs, Head of School for Creative, Visual & Performing Arts are extremely grateful to Neal Rock, who has given so much of his time, energy and expertise to this award and we hope Neal will be able to keep working with us and our future Visual Arts students.

“I am very pleased that Seren will be the 1st Art and Design student at Afan to receive the Murillo-Rock Award. Like many students during the last year, Seren has proven her commitment to her studies and practice as a Textile artist; working around disruptions that lockdown has caused, to produce an accomplished body of work for her Foundation Art and Design course. Her creative talent has been evident from the beginning of the course and staff have enjoyed helping Seren develop the practical and conceptual skills she will need moving forward with her career. We wish her every success as she continues her studies at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Seren will join a long line of creative individuals that start their careers in Port Talbot. It’s great that young artists from this area are getting the recognition their hard work deserves, and we are very grateful to both Neal Rock and Oscar Murillo for their interest in and support of our creative students.”

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