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Hatch’19 Case Study 4: Stuart Akroyd

In our continuing series about the creative process, we asked glass-maker Stuart Akroyd about his art school experience. Stuart is one of the Design-Nation makers profiled as part of Hatch’19, NCCD’s exploration of the creative development process, on until Sunday 22 September.

Design-Nation: Where did you study and what course did you do?

Stuart Akroyd: My studies were in three stages and places:

1988-1989 International Glass Centre, Postgraduate Diploma, Brierley Hill, West Midlands

1985-1988 B.A. (Hons), 3D Design, Glass with Ceramics, Sunderland University

1984-1985 Foundation Art, Huddersfield Polytechnic, West Yorkshire

DN: Are you still working in the discipline and material that you studied?

SA: Yes, the same material for over 30 years, but I’ve experimented and continued to learn, I’ve taken the glass to the limit of its physical possibilities.

DN: If you didn’t work in glass, what other discipline or material would you like to explore?

SA: I would have wanted to be a chef: I suppose working in hot and physically demanding environments must be my thing! I love cooking at home, creating weird and wonderful new dishes, and of course eating them.

DN: How did your time at art school or university shape you as a person?

SA: It focused my world into that of hot glass making, at Sunderland where I tried hot glass for the first time, I knew I had found the path for me. It was my eureka moment.

DN: What is your strongest memory from your time at art school / university?

SA: Being made to push my creativity further.

DN: How do you think creative education has changed since you were a student?  Are you optimistic about creative education in the UK or do you have concerns about the future for those wanting to study arts subjects?

SA: Hot glass-making in this country is in a sad state of affairs, so many courses have closed. It takes a big budget for equipment, materials and running costs. Education is so much more money and vocation oriented – what happened to experiencing and learning for the sake of it? This can still make you a person fit for earning a living rather than shaped to fit the exact hole society requires. The USA has a much better offer and we really will lose out unless the way schools and universities are funded changes. I am concerned about the future, definitely. People don’t see the value of arts subjects because they’re short sighted about how much being creative develops society and contributes to everyday life.

DN: Knowing what you know now, what three pieces of advice would you give your student self?

SA: 1. Embrace new technology

2. You can do more, even though you think you’ve done enough

3. Don’t pass up opportunities, there may not be another one around the corner.

Posted on

11.09.2019

Posted by

Liz Cooper

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