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Friday 16 December 2016

International recognition for School of Art, Design & Fashion Director

Solent’s Director of the School of Art, Design and Fashion, Peter Lloyd, has been awarded the honour of Visiting Professor at the most prestigious Art School in China; The China Academy of Art (CAA).

CAA was established as an institution in 1928, and during this period they have only awarded one other Visiting Professorship to an international academic.

We caught up with Peter, to congratulate him, find out about his award, and what the collaboration means for the School of Art, Design and Fashion students…

Professor Wu Xiaohua, Vice President, China Academy of Art with Professor Peter Lloyd

Congratulations! How did the opportunity of Visiting Professor first come about?

I first made contact with the China Academy of Art in 2013. They had organised a Symposium called ‘Collaboration between Science and Art 2013, International Design Symposium on Collaborative Innovation and Entrepreneurship.’  I had just completed a four year Interreg funded project which saw the staff and students of the School of Art, Design and Fashion collaborating with eight other institutions, businesses and government agencies from across Europe. I was incredibly impressed with CAA’s approach; there was a lot we shared which I appreciated, but there was also a lot of approaches to the research and education of art, design and fashion that we did differently and I found this immensely intriguing. I knew that I could work with CAA and that this work would benefit the University, its students and its staff, so I set about developing collaborative projects, research projects, joint exhibitions and masterclasses. We’ve developed a really solid, productive and rewarding relationship together and this has produced some tremendous outputs, but I never imagined it would lead to me being awarded a Visiting Professorship.

How did you feel accepting the honour?

Accepting the award was an incredibly humbling experience. I have put a lot of effort into developing the CAA relationship, so it’s very satisfying to have that work acknowledged and rewarded. But I am fully aware that the key to making the whole thing truly work was having a positive, outward looking team of people that can buy into your ideas and who you can trust to develop those ideas and relationships in a true spirit of collaboration. I am in the very privileged position of having a school full of such individuals. It’s my name on the certificate, but I accepted the award on behalf of the students and staff of the School of Art, Design and Fashion, I was very clear about that in my acceptance speech. This award represents the power of 'we' as opposed to the ego of 'one’.

How often are these awards given out?

CAA was established as an institution in 1928, and was the first ever graduate art school in Chinese history. During this period they have only awarded one other Visiting Professorship to an international academic.

What does it mean to be a Visiting Professor at The China Academy of Art?

CAA is the most prestigious Creative Arts University in China, an unbelievable achievement when you consider the size of China and the amount of institutions in it, so being a Visiting Professor there has huge reputational value; within China and internationally.


What does the relationship with CAA mean for Solent and students studying here?

Having an association with such an influential institution is a real reputational boost for Solent. I have already experienced a strong shift in perceptions during my recent recruitment visits to China; the internal question that lies behind this positive shift in interest is ‘what have CAA recognised that we haven’t, and how can we get involved!?’ The thing that CAA have recognised is that the School of Art, Design and Fashion is a focused, innovative team of people with a broad outward looking, proactive attitude. CAA enjoy working with us because we enjoy our work; we have lots of fun, but we’re very serious about the quality of our work and getting the job done. Professor Wu, the Vice President of CAA acknowledged this approach by describing it as ‘having serious fun!’ I like that description a lot, so we’ve adopted it as the unofficial motto for our institutions collaborations. We collaborated on our very first joint graduate Fashion show in July 2016, this resulted in joint exhibitions for graduates in Shanghai and in Southampton. In addition to this three Solent Fashion graduates were awarded certificates from CAA for the outstanding achievement demonstrated in their end of year collections, an amazing accolade from one of the top Fashion Schools in the world that will be recognised internationally by employers.

You presented a paper at the conference, what was it about?

I was very privileged to be invited to present my paper on the main stage at the opening event of their anniversary conference. The paper outlined the approach, benefits and outputs generated by an externally funded project I am currently managing that includes CAA and three European institutions. Trans National Creative Exchange (TNCE) is a two year project that is funded by Creative Europe with an aim to internationalise student careers. The School of Art, Design and Fashion lead on the project with partners from Ireland, France, the Netherlands and China. It’s a really exciting project that allows us to discuss and explore approaches through conferences, seminars and workshops. The culmination of the project is a three month residential workshop for students from each of the partners, hosted in the School here at Solent. Supported by academics, curators and technicians, the resulting body of work will tour galleries in each of the partner’s cities.


So what’s next?

Well, hot off the press from my visit to China, I am able to reveal that in an extremely generous gesture, CAA have agreed to completely fund the TNCE project for another year after its completion. This exciting news means that more students will be able to benefit from the knowledge and tools created through the initial project. This summers ‘Creation Camp’ will run for three months and will be delivered at the beautiful world class CAA campus in Hangzhou, China. Details on how students can apply for this amazing opportunity will be available very shortly.

What's next?

Plans are already afoot for our Degree show 2017, which will be in collaboration with CAA. Anybody that visited 2016’s show will tell you that this was an amazing must see event, with the `addition of CAA’s talented students it can only get better!

Professor Wu Xiaohua, Vice President, China Academy of Art added on the award: "We have enjoyed a very productive relationship with Professor Lloyd in the areas of research and cultural exchange. His contribution to CAA, its knowledge base and its developing links with Europe, has been considerable. This award recognises that achievement and formalises a very strong and developing relationship with the individual and the institution he represents."

You can find out more about the School of Art, Design and Fashion here. You can also find out more about the TNCE project here.