Celebrating 20 years of BA (Hons) Fine Art Alumni, 

University life can feel challenging at the best of times. It is a testimony to our students how well they have risen to the somewhat estranged circumstances covid has brought about and in which way they continue to do so. We felt against this backdrop it would be great to end the year with something to celebrate. And so we invite you, with us, to look back over 20 years of work made by our wonderful Fine Art alumni and celebrate their achievements from both then and now.

We have selected 24 alumni; some featured here with their final show work, others showing art from more recent exhibitions and events.

Abbie Detheridge
Andy Smith
Alex Spink
Alison Timmins
Alyson Barton
Donna Dowd
Ged Young
Ian Scott
Karen King
Liam Ainscough
Lyn Bannister
Lynn Hall
Maggie Hargreaves
Marguerite Heywood
Michaela Connor
Rob Gittins
Sally Anne Hayes
Sandra Bouguerch
Steph Shipley
Susan Laughton
Thaleia Kavvada
Tiago Alexandre Duarte
Jason Simpson
Janette Byrne

In the new year we will be doing follow up stories, profiling individual alumni stories; doing interviews and showcasing what they are up to now.

In the meantime here are just a few highlights…

Several of our alumni continue to practice as artists, makers, curators, educators & facilitators; doing great and inspiring work through public art projects, exhibitions & residencies. Some also do invaluable work with communities or have followed a vocation in teaching.

So many have shown in group and solo exhibitions…far too many to list here.  A few recent shows include Oh, Memo Gallery, London, UK (2018) & Gift, Het Cabinet/CIAP, Hasselt (2016), Belgium; solo exhibitions by Tiago Duarte and Thaleia Kavvada’s first solo exhibition Without in Greece at the art multi-site Tiny Will in 2014.

Eight alumni showed their work in an international exchange exhibition titled Corduroy in Stockholm, November 2017. This was the first part of an exchange project between neo:artists and selected artists from Studio 44 in Sweden.

Our alumni are represented by galleries across the UK and have work in worldwide collections; including &Gallery, Edinburgh & the Stratford Gallery (representing Susan Laughton), Saul Hay Gallery, Manchester (representing Alyson J. Barton) & The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, EDP Collection Lisbon, Portugal (artwork in collection by Tiago Duarte)

Some have developed their practice through artists residencies; The Curfew Tower, Northern Ireland, (Sandra Bouguerch), and have participated in renowned international biennials; Afternoon Tea, WW Gallery, 54th Venice Biennale, Italy (Tiago Duarte 2011), Marrakech Biennial & Liverpool Biennial ( Sandra Bouguerch 2016 , 2012) and Venice Biennale Fellowship 2019 (Abbie Detheridge was awarded a fellowship through a partnership between Bolton School of the Arts, University of Bolton and The British Council.)

Our alumni have had work selected for prestigious international opens such as Mostyn 19 Open (Steph Shipley 2015), The Royal Academy Summer Show (Janette Byrne 2014) and New Light Prize Exhibition Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery / Bankside Gallery London (Liam Ainscough 2017). In addition many have received awards and prizes for their work. In 2014 Maggie Hargreaves won the John Ruskin Prize for Drawing.

Several of our alumni have formed collectives; such as neo:artists and Standard.

Neo:artists was founded by co-director Jason Simpson in 2007 and comprises of artist led studios and an exhibition gallery. It has contributed significantly to the cultural landscape in the north west; supporting the development of several wonderful alumni, artists and writers and has created a national and international reputation garnered through the neo:artprize, neo:printprize and neo:residency programme including micro-residencies in partnership with Bolton School of the Arts, University of Bolton.

Standard is an arts collective comprised of seven alumni ; some of whom now form part of our technical support team on our BA (Hons) / MA Fine Art courses. They include Robert Gittins, Sally Hayes, Andy Smith, Alison Timmins, Denis Whiteside, John Wineyard & Liam Ainscough (VHT Lecturer Foundation Art & Design & BA (Hons) Fine Art)

The group works in a variety of disciplines towards exhibitions in which each artist presents their own response to a range of subjects in a reportage style format. They have shown several times in Paderborn , Germany and have formed strong partnership with the town, artist groups and arts council there. Their most recent show Upload, at Castle Park Forum, Paderborn, took place in August this year and comprised of work by several Fine Art Alumni from the University of Bolton ..Steph Shipley, Andy Smith, Alison Timmins, Sally Anne Hayes, Denise Whiteside, John Wineyard and Rob Gittins, Liam Ainscough. Funding for a Standard collaboration and visit to Raum für Kunst has been confirmed for July 2021.

We raise a glass and a cheer to all our alumni, many more we would have loved to include here. Some we have lost touch with so please, any of you out there, still making, thinking, doing art in its myriad of forms, get in touch and tell us what you are up to. We’d love to hear from you!

Rebecca Sitar

Lecturer in Fine Art


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University of Bolton, Deane Road, Bolton. BL3 5AB

+44 (0)1204 900600 

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