80th Anniversary Art Competition

The Art of Resistance: Defending Academic Freedom

"Artists are the proverbial canaries in the coalmine. When we stop singing, it's a sure sign of repressive times ahead." T. Bayer

'The Art of Resistance: Defending Academic Freedom' art competition inspired art students from univerities and art colleges across the UK to produce A5 sized artwork on the theme of academic freedom. CARA received over 60 submissions judged by Maggi Hambling, Jane McAdam Freud and Professor Deborah Swallow.

The winners were announced at the 'The Art of Resistance' art auction held at Pentagram Designs on the 5th December 2013. Adam Castle a student from Central St Martins was presented with the first prize by CARA Chair Anne Lonsdale CBE, with Leah Cameron and Nicole Thompson-Ross winning 2nd Prize and 3rd Prize respectively. A special mention was made to Lizi Jackson and Alice Barron for their commendable artwork.

Online Auction

All submissions are now available for closed bidding with proceeds going to the CARA 80th Anniversary Fellowship Campaign. To place a closed bid please contact campaign.cara@lsbu.ac.uk, with the bid amount and lot number, before the deadline on Friday, 31st January 2014 at 5pm

You can view all the submissions by clicking here.

Art Competition Winners

1st Prize: Adam Castle

Adam is a foundation degree student in Art and Design at Central Saint Martins. He is interested in making art with a political message, working across many forms including printmaking, bookmaking, costume design and performance. He was recently selected for the Royal Academy A-Level Online Summer Show 2013.

Artists Statement

For me, academic freedom is the freedom to disagree; the freedom to challenge the powers above and to suggest new ideas and new ways forward.

The work highlights the power of words, and the importance and power of this simple phrase of defiance. Crossed out in a thick red line, the harshness of censorship is also shown.

However there is a sense of hope. The text is screen printed but the line collaged on top; the line could be peeled off but the text cannot be removed. Even though the text has been crossed out, it is still readable. In these ways, the work suggests that when academic freedom is threatened the sentiment cannot be completely restrained and this defiance will always eventually overcome.

Title: I DISAGREE (screen print & collage)

 LOT 21

2nd Prize: Leah Cameron

Leah is in her third year of Contemporary Applied Arts at the University of Cumbria. She is particularly interested in expressing thoughts and ideas through stitch.

Artists Statement 

My idea explores the correlation between stitch and the written word.  Mark making in stitch can be a powerful tool that crosses language and cultural barriers. It is accessible to everyone: even the texture creates a response.

I have transferred handwriting on to  cotton scrim to represent the fragility of an old written text, suggesting something that has been handled and cherished.  The words have been left intentionally obscure as it is not their meaning that is important but what they represent, the sharing of knowledge, the recording of information and the preserving of ideas.  Just as when words are censored or removed, I have stitched through the words in black, evoking the restrictions and difficulties that many people have in accessing academic studies in their countries.

Title: Beyond Censorship (print on scrim with stitching)

 LOT 6

3rd Prize: Nicole Thompson-Ross

Nicole is an art student at the University of Sunderland.

Artists Statement

I approached the competition theme ‘Academic Freedom’ in a literal sense, using the symbol of a bird flying out of a book and the starkness of black ink on white paper to depict current realities.

Title: Academic Freedom (block print)

 LOT 46


Lizi Jackson

Artists Statement

In my piece I have used books as a symbol of academic free speech, flying away from the darkness of repression. Showing that there is always a way to learn what you want, you may just have to fight or fly it for a bit.

Title: Untitled

 LOT 28

Alice Barron

Artists Statement

After being tasked with creating a pen and ink drawing which reflected this quote, I decided to go for a rather symbolic approach, while still drawing imagery from the text. The canary bird itself represents the artists, speaking for them and symbolises hope and creative freedom/ The dead bird on the right symbolises the repressed, the death of free speech. They are placed within a cage within society [much like a pet bird in the city] and are much more fragile than their surroundings.

Title: Academic Freedom

 LOT 3