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Blackpool arts students secure prestigious residency at Venice Biennale

Published on 28/04/2022 by SGLAS

General news

In the world of art exhibitions, it doesn’t get much bigger than the Venice Biennale, possibly the most prestigious art event on the planet. Known colloquially as the Olympics of the art world, the Biennale is held every two years and features a central exhibition curated by the festival’s nominated artistic director together with national pavilions, each displaying the work of a culturally significant contemporary artist from that country.

It is therefore incredibly exciting that two students from B&FC’s Blackpool School of Arts have been chosen to each spend a month at the Biennale on what is known as a residency. Holly Woodman, a final-year fine art student and Adele Andrews, a second-year graphic design student, will each receive a grant to cover their travel, accommodation and living costs in Venice and will work in the British Pavilion as exhibition ambassadors. In this context they will be supporting Sonia Boyce, the British Afro-Caribbean artist whose work has been chosen to represent the UK at the 59th biennial event. Boyce, who is famed for her collaborative artistic approach and heavily invested in performative and interactive art practice, has recently been announced as the Biennale’s Golden Lion recipient for best national participation.

As well as invigilating the pavilion, the students will also have the chance to engage with a global community of artists, researchers, young leaders and change makers whilst also developing their own professional practice. With a very limited number of residencies available, their month-long stay in Venice with access to all the Biennale has to offer is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Having been chosen, first via an internal selection process, then ultimately by the British Council, both girls really appreciate the amazing opportunity the trip represents.

Holly, who has had to overcome some very serious medical challenges just to be able to study at degree level, is absolutely delighted to be going to the Biennale:


“I’m truly grateful and thrilled to have been given such a unique opportunity. I can have hardly imagined a best start to my career as a fine artist.”

Meanwhile, Adele is looking forward to her time at the Biennale immensely:

“I’m really looking forward to extending my artistic horizons and using this time to experiment with my own practice. I’m excited to see the impact the visit will have on my work.”

Adele image

Their tutors couldn’t be more pleased for the girls either. Senior Tutor for Scholarship and Research, Tracey Eastham says:

“We are incredibly proud of Holly and Adele who we know will make the most of this fabulous opportunity. Having the chance to experience the best in global creative arts and make connections with some of the world’s leading contemporary artists is going to be remarkable and we look forward to seeing the emergence of the inspirational creative influences that will inform their work both during their time at the Biennale and on their return.”