The University of Sunderland has officially opened the doors to its new Sunderland Creatives Gallery at National Glass Centre (NGC).

From today, the local community and visitors to NGC at the University’s St Peter’s campus will be able to enjoy students’ work for the first time in this new space, including Degree Shows and alumni exhibitions.

The new gallery will not only give the University’s Arts and Creatives Industries students a chance to shine but also provide them with first-hand experience of putting on an exhibition.

Professor Arabella Plouviez, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries at the University of Sunderland, explained: “This is a fantastic resource that will enable our students to develop their experience of curating and exhibiting in a professional, public-facing gallery.

“Our students are always keen to engage with real-life opportunities that expose them to the world of the creative industries, whether this is through taking up freelance work with our Sunderland Creatives agency, working for our community radio station Spark, performing in the new Fire Station Auditorium and now, putting on exhibitions in the new Sunderland Creatives Gallery.

“Learning in these real environments provides our graduates with unique experience, skills and knowledge that they can take into their future creative careers.”

National Glass Centre

Sunderland Creatives Gallery opening event at the National Glass Centre Picture: DAVID WOOD

The gallery’s first exhibition – which is running until 15 May – features work by School of Art and Design graduates of 2020 and 2021.

Due to Covid restrictions, these graduates missed out on the opportunity to be part of the University’s in-person Degree Shows but are now the first to exhibit in the new space.

Curator of the exhibition and Professor of Visual Arts at the University, Mike Collier, said: “Being able to bring together some of our graduates to launch this new gallery has been amazing, especially as these cohorts had to contend with the limitations that the pandemic brought.

“It has been a real pleasure to see the diversity and originality of the works and the themes explored as well as the professionalism.

“It has also been impressive to see how these individuals have progressed as graduates, taking their social responsibility and awareness into their futures.”

Professor Kevin Petrie, Head of the School of Art and Design at the University, added: “As well as showcasing the great work our students have made, this show also highlights some of the careers and professions-facing support they have taken advantage of, including the University’s funded Robson Creative Internship programme and the Futures Fund scholarships to build confidence and experience, as well as business development support from the Enterprise Place and the Digital Incubator and support from Sunderland Culture, which manages the cultural venues in the city.”

The University of Sunderland is supporting MadeAtUni: Creative Sparks, a national campaign to showcase the creative talent produced by UK universities and encourage the Government to promote and support the importance of creativity and creative courses.