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Creative talent ‘Revealed’ in annual cultural showcase

10th May 2024

One of the most varied and exciting events in the North East’s cultural calendar is set to return this year, as Northumbria University announces details of its 2024 Degree Shows.

The annual REVEAL showcase provides final year students across a wide variety of courses with the opportunity to share their talents with the public, in a series of exhibitions and events.

This year’s REVEAL is set to be the biggest yet, with the addition of work by History and Creative Writing students being included alongside that of Music, Fine Arts, Theatre and Performance, Film, Fashion, 3D and Product Design, Architecture, Animation, Graphic Design, Interior Design and Computer and Information Sciences students.

Stephen McGowan is a student on Northumbria’s Creative Writing Masters programme, having graduated from the University’s English Literature and Creative Writing BA (Hons) course last year. During the Creative Writing showcase he will be performing a piece of prose fiction he has written entitled The Three Witches.

Explaining the benefit to students taking part in this year’s REVEAL showcase, Stephen said: “I always jump at the chance to read my work in public. Performing your writing is always a different experience from reading it. All writers at every level should read their work aloud or hear it read aloud. It helps with the craft and as a lot of book marketing is based on readings and public appearances, getting as much practice in as you can is important.”

Speaking about his plans following graduation, Stephen said: “I started freelancing both as a developmental editor and as a workshop facilitator during my time at Northumbria, so I plan to continue and expand on this as well as get my current work in progress ready for submission to publishers and agents. I don’t think I would have made it this far, this fast without the support and commitment of the creative writing staff at Northumbria. There's a huge amount of creativity in the university and it’s wonderful to see it growing.”

Tony Williams is a Professor in English and Creative Writing at Northumbria and said: “We’re really pleased that Creative Writing is joining the Reveal programme this year, giving our students an opportunity to showcase their work, from poetry and prose to non-fiction and script. Reading your work in front of other people is a necessary part of the writer’s skillset, so this will give our students the perfect opportunity to build their skills in this area and prepare for their future careers, as well as celebrating everything they have achieved during their time at Northumbria.”

Also taking part in REVEAL for the first time this year are final-year History students, who will be showcasing their work through a dissertation conference, during which they will present the findings of their final year projects in the style of an academic conference.

The conference has been held annually since 2016, and since then, over 100 History students have shared their findings in this way. This is the first year it has been included as part of REVEAL. Winner of the “Best Paper” award at last year’s conference was Jackson Taylor-Smith, whose paper examined religious diversity and medieval martyrdom in Muslim Spain.

Now pursuing an MA in History at Northumbria University, Jackson said: “The main reason I chose to take part in the dissertation conference was to have the chance to go through and explain my work with my voice rather than through text. The part I really enjoyed was seeing all my friends’ work and how much they had put into it. I was really lucky to have friends there to see me too which is always nice. Even if a student doesn't want to present, I would recommend going just to support friends and peers.”

Daniel Laqua is an Associate Professor in History at Northumbria University and organises the dissertation conference. He believes it provides students with a valuable opportunity which helps prepare them for postgraduate study or a career in research.

He explained: “By giving our students the opportunity to present their findings at the conference we are not only teaching them to work in a rigorous, research-informed manner, but also allowing them to develop their communication skills, which are crucial for any researcher. We’re very pleased that the conference is included in this year’s REVEAL showcase as it allows us to celebrate and mark the culmination of the students’ hard work over the last three years.”

This year’s REVEAL event begins on Tuesday 14 May, with recitals by final year Music students taking place at St James’ Church, located in Northumberland Road on Northumbria’s city centre campus.

This will be followed by exhibitions of work by Fine Art students opening on Wednesday 22 May, with work on display at a number of locations including the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and Northumbria’s Gallery North.

On Wednesday 29 May, Computer and Information Sciences students will showcase their work in the foyer area of Northumbria’s Computer and Information Sciences building. And the following day, Thursday 30 May, Undergraduate Theatre and Performance students will stage their final year show in the Northumbria University Students’ Union.

The events continue throughout June, with the History dissertation conference taking place on Monday 3 June and the Creative Writing showcase on Wednesday 5 June. Film students will show their work to family and friends during a private screening at Cineworld in The Gate on Monday 17 June, while designs by Fashion students will be revealed during a live catwalk show taking place at the Northumbria School of Design on Wednesday 19 June.

On Thursday 20 June a number of exhibitions will open on Northumbria’s campus, with work from 3D Design, Product Design, Interior Design, Animation, Fashion, Architecture and Graphic Design students going on show.

Information about all the shows open to the public is available through the Northumbria University REVEAL webpages. And for those unable to attend an event in person, there is still the opportunity to view the students work, with online exhibition launching online from 20 June.

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