Success for Class of 2022 as Gray’s Degree Show opens

Tuesday 14 June 2022

Winners of the Principal's Awards for Fine Art (Emmajane Kingaby) and Design (Beth Davidson)
Students from Gray’s School of Art ‘Welcome to the real world’ are celebrating success after receiving a new collection of awards at the opening launch of the Degree Show on Friday 10 June.

Gray’s inspiring launch event included a live band, DJ and award ceremony for students, staff and the community at Gray’s who gathered together to celebrate the first physical degree show in three years.

Dean for Gray’s School of Art, Libby Curtis and RGU Principal, Professor Steve Oliver presented a new collection of awards called the Principal’s Design & Fine Art Awards which are funded by RGU’s Art & Heritage Collection, marking a move away from industry sponsorship.

The awards celebrate outstanding talent selected from across the Painting, Contemporary Art Practice, Communication Design, Fashion & Textiles, Three-Dimensional Design and Photography courses.

Winner of the Principal’s Award for Fine Art is Emmajane Kingaby, a Contemporary Art Practice student from Collieston, Aberdeenshire. Emmajane Kingaby said: “I’m in shock and am absolutely overwhelmed! It’s such an honour to win the Principal's Award for Fine Art. Now that I’m almost at the end of my journey at Gray’s, I don’t want it to end but I feel at least part of my work will remain here in RGU’s Art & Heritage Collection, which is fantastic.”

Winner of the Principal’s Award for Design is Beth Davidson, a Fashion and Textiles student from Edinburgh. Beth said: “It’s so rewarding and humbling to receive this award. It’s sometimes hard to have self confidence and it’s great to be recognised."

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Students who received Highly Commended Awards (RGU Art and Heritage Purchase Prize Awards), in Design are: Sasha Miller - Communication Design, Zoe Neill - Communication Design, Anah Dodds - Fashion and Textiles,  Linh Khanh Bui - Fashion and Textiles and Valeriya (Val) - Omelechkyna - 3D Design.

Students who received Highly Commended Awards (RGU Art and Heritage Purchase Prize Awards) in Fine Art are: Hannah Cutt – Painting, Sarah MacFarlane – Painting, Phoebe Anne Mackie – Contemporary Art Practice.

A number of external awards were also presented at the launch including: RSA New Contemporaries Award: Scottish Society Artist’s Award, Compass Gallery and Visual Arts Scotland Award.

Dean for Gray’s School of Art, Libby Curtis said: “I’d like to say a massive congratulations to all our hard-working students who are graduating this year and to those who have won awards. It is a real celebration and coming together at a pivotal moment in our students’ careers. 

“The standard of work at this year’s degree show is extremely high with prizes being awarded to many students.  The past two years have been challenging for everyone and it is so exciting to be back together to showcase the talent we have at Gray’s. I am so proud of all our students who are exhibiting.

“This year we’re introducing the Principal’s Design & Fine Art Awards, sponsored by RGU Art & Heritage Collections which are a recognition from the University of the value of our students work, and a measure of the importance which the Principal holds for creative practice and culture.”

Visitors to the Degree Show can visit Gray’s state-of-the art, new multi-functional studio and exhibition facility; the Design Haus. The Fashion & Textiles and Three Dimensional Design honours project work is showing in this great new space. The new facility has received over two million pounds investment from the University, marking a major contribution to arts and culture in the North East.

In addition to the Principal’s Awards for Fine Art and Design, there are now four additional awards that reflect the importance of Gray’s core graduate attributes. These were awarded at a special, creative networking event at Gray’s new Design Haus. The new, Four Pillar Awards, mirror Gray’s four pillars which are central to the curriculum and its development. The awards recognize students who are a: Socially Engaged Creative, Collaborative Creative, Critical Creative, Enterprising Creative. 

The winning students include; Tracey Murray from Contemporary Art Practice who won the Socially Engaged Creative Award, Carla Smith from Contemporary Art Practice who won the Collaborative Creative Award, Ian McFadzean from Painting who won the Critical Creative Award and Beth Davidson from Fashion and Textiles who won the Enterprising Creative Award.  Emmajane Kingaby from Contemporary Art Practice, also received a Special Recognition Award.

Members of the public can visit Gray’s Degree Show until Saturday 18 June. A series of events are running during the Degree Show including an alumni networking event, an evening reception for those in the creative industry and a range of school workshops for secondary pupils.

An online directory has also been created, highlighting the work from each of the student's exhibiting

Plan your visit:

Image credit, Martin Parker, The Gatehouse Design Agency. Images include:

  • Principal, Professor Steve Olivier presenting Principal's Award for Fine Art to Emmajane Kingaby
  • Beth Davidson, winner of Principal's Award for Design
  • Group shot of award winners
  • Highly Commended Award winners for Fine Art and Design; Hannah Cutt, Painting,  Sarah MacFarlane, Painting, Anah Dodds, Fashion & Textiles, Valeriya Omelechkyna, 3 D Design, Linh Khanh Bui, Fashion & Textiles, Zoe Neill, Communication Design, Phoebe Anne Mackie, Contemporary Art Practice, Sasha Miller, Communication Design.
  • Four School Pillar Award winners Carla Smith, Contemporary Art Practice, Ian McFadzean, Painting, Beth Davidson, Fashion & Textiles
  • Special Recognition Award winner, Emmajane Kingaby, Contemporary Art Practice
  • Dean of Gray's School of Art, Libby Curtis with Artists in Residence, Claudia Sneddon and Joe Morris, 'Olive and Anya'.

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