Swansea College of Art selected to host prestigious Freelands Studio Fellowship


The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD)’s Swansea College of Art is one of six universities across the UK hosting the prestigious Freelands Studio Fellowship.

Artist Vivian Ross-Smith started her Fellowship at the University’s Swansea College of Art on January 30 and is being mentored by Professor of Fine Art – Course Director, Sue Williams.

The successful Fellows are based at their host university for a full calendar year. They are provided with a studio within the Fine Art department, access to workshop and library facilities and supported by a teaching mentor.

The focus of the Fellowships is on sustained development of practice, alongside which Fellow’s support with teaching the current students at their host university.

Artist Vivian Ross-Smith started her Fellowship at the University’s Swansea College of Art on January 30 and is being mentored by Professor of Fine Art – Course Director, Sue Williams.

Vivian, who grew up in Fair Isle, uses physical and digital spaces to make painting, performance, and textile work. She has a master’s with Distinction from Glasgow School of Art (2020) and a BA (Hons) from Gray’s School of Art (2013).

Vivian’s practice explores an infatuation with materiality, she engages with making through rhythmical, bodily processes, resulting in visceral outcomes that are to be felt, experienced, and worn. Heavily influenced by her perspective as an island artist, Ross-Smith’s work considers communal acts of gathering and making that explore themes of place, community, care, comfort, accessibility, and communication.

Vivian said: “This Fellowship provides a rich opportunity to work alongside an institution, develop a network, and deeply sustain my practice. The Fellowship’s focus on practice, making, and contributing to creative communities held within the art school environment is hugely exciting and I am honoured to be one of the six selected artists across the UK.”

Professor Williams said: “We are delighted and honoured to be part of this prestigious programme, which provides a fantastic and invaluable opportunity for both the fellow and our students to develop their practice within Swansea College of Art.

“Through the Freelands Fellowship we have also invited a number of artists to present their work to our students and support Vivian through her creative journey.”

Caroline Thraves, Academic Director Art, and Media said: “We are delighted to be hosting Vivian as a Freelands Fellow within Swansea College of Art (UWTSD). This prestigious Fellowship is hosted by a small number of universities and so this demonstrates the excellence of Fine Art at Swansea College of Art.”

During their Fellowship, Fellows will visit two other universities taking part in the programme as a visiting lecturer working with students and staff.

Each Fellow receives a bursary of £22,000 for the duration of the Fellowship. They will also work towards a solo exhibition, housed by their host university.

The programme is a partnership between Freelands Foundation and the universities, who work together to develop the programme, with the Foundation providing the funding and infrastructure and the universities overseeing the individual fellowships, as well as recruiting and supporting the artists.

The Fellowships conclude with a group exhibition in Spring 2024, held at the Freelands Foundation gallery in London, showcasing the work of that year’s fellows. This exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue that includes critical writing: an opportunity for visibility and critical discourse at a significant point in their early career.

For more information see https://freelandsfoundation.co.uk/partnerships/fellowships

Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer / Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Corporate Communications and PR / Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Mobile: 07384 467071

Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk