Dave Alexander is one of the graduates starring in this year's Free Range shows of graduate talent at Old Truman Brewery in east London.
Free Range returns this summer, providing its annual showcase for this year's arts graduates and, perhaps, the opportunity to be discovered by some influential art director or curator.
Founded by Tamsin O'Hanlon in 2001, Free Range is now Europe's largest graduate art and design exhibition. Showing at Old Truman Brewery complex off Brick Lane in east London, it's talent-spotting made easy, with each week of its two-month run devoted to a particular art form.
Contrast that to more than a decade ago, when degree shows were largely held locally, and graduates from outside London remained disconnected from many of the most important people in their market. In an attempt to attract a more influential audience that could help kick start their students' careers, some colleges began hiring spaces to promote their degree shows in the capital. But that depended on the largely unfounded assumption that galleries and image buyers were prepared to schlep round dozens of venues. Some colleges still do, using venues such as Foto8 or the Candid Arts Trust, but Free Range provides the cluster effect that allows satellite events to thrive.
Fashion dominates the opening fortnight of Free Range, during which the organisers stage three days of catwalk shows. But come the middle of June, photography takes centre stage, with students from Plymouth College of Art, Roehampton University, Colchester School of Art, University Campus Suffolk, Cleveland College of Art, Wiltshire College Salisbury, Edinburgh Napier University and University of Westminster showing from 14-18 June.
The following week (21-25 June) it's the turn of University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, New College Swindon, Stephenson College Edinburgh, University of the West of England, Swansea Metropolitan University, University of Derby, De Montfort University, University of Central Lancashire, City of Westminster College, University College Falmouth and Nottingham Trent University. University of Hereford and The Arts University College at Bournemouth are showing separately among fine art students from other institutions during the week of 05-09 July.
BJP is supporting the core fortnight of photography shows, and will be there on the opening nights to meet graduates and pick out a Best of Show, which will be announced here on BJP-Online.
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