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On Thursday 25 November, city and community leaders from around Southampton joined Solent University’s School of Art, Design and Fashion for the launch of Lessons Learnt – a curated exhibition of works selected from the Southampton City Gallery archive.

26th November 2021
Art and design

On Thursday 25 November, to remember its past, celebrate its future and renew friendships, city and community leaders from around Southampton joined Solent University’s School of Art, Design and Fashion for the launch of Lessons Learnt – a curated exhibition of works selected from the Southampton City Gallery archive, by students, staff, alumnus, fellows, Honorary Doctors and ‘friends’ of the School.

Professor Karen Stanton and audience at the Southampton City Art Gallery

First established in 1855, The Southampton School of Art existed in various locations, including the Southampton City Art Gallery in 1938, until it found its final home in what would become Solent University, on East Park Terrace in 1973.

At the event, Professor Pete Lloyd, Dean of the Faculty of Creative Industries, Architecture and Engineering, remembered the tragedy that ended the collaboration between the School and Southampton City Art Gallery when on 6 November 1940, during World War II, a direct hit from a daytime bombing raid resulted in the loss of student and staff lives from the Art School.

“It was a devastating blow for the city and for the School, but somehow not only did it prevail in the face of adversity, it thrived”, said Professor Lloyd. “It is this deep historical connection, and the potential promised by a contemporary re-pairing of the two institutions that forms the basis of this collaborative exhibition,” he continued.

Professor Pete Lloyd

“It’s an amazing eclectic exhibition that really celebrates the School and its relationship with the City Art Gallery.”

As well as creating a fascinating exhibition for visitors to Southampton City Gallery, the works of art selected by the School’s course areas will inform the curriculum, with each painting and image becoming a learning tool for students.

“In a way, we will become a university without walls,” says Professor Lloyd. “This amazing inspirational space becomes the classroom, and the paintings, the sculptures, the prints become the learning aides, the learning tools, with our staff and students bringing life to this historical space.”

During the event a visual manifesto supporting arts and culture in Southampton – designed by Solent University Senior Illustration Lecturer Jonny Hannah - was signed by representatives (see below image of Professor Pete Lloyd signing the manifesto), from the School, City Council, Art Gallery and City of Culture bid team. The Manifesto outlines how the partners will work together to help the creative arts thrive in the region and to support Southampton’s bid to become UK City of Culture 2025.

The manifesto pledges to:

  • Reignite the historic relationship between Southampton City Art Gallery and the Art School through closer engagement and collaboration
  • Advance education and engagement opportunities for the public, our communities, our staff and our students in the knowledge and appreciation of Culture
  • Be effective allies of race, equality and diversity in all that we do
  • Think locally and look internationally
  • Value our past while developing our future
  • Actively celebrate our individual strengths and character through engaging in the serious business of fun, kindness and being curious
Professor Pete Lloyd signing the manifesto

The exhibition Lessons Learnt will be at Southampton City Art Gallery until 15 January 2022. More information about the exhibition can be found here.