Oxford Brookes Arts alumna wins funding for Social Sculpture Research Unit
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Oxford Brookes Arts alumna wins funding for Social Sculpture Research Unit

Fern Thomas who studied for both her undergraduate and postgraduate in the School of Arts has gone on to win funding from Creative Wales, allowing her to stay with the Social Sculpture Research Unit.

Fern Thomas is an artist working in the field of social sculpture with performance, installation, video, sound and text. After studying for her undergraduate in Fine Art at Oxford Brookes Fern stayed on in the School of Arts to study an MA in Social Sculpture where she developed the post-apocalyptic research unit called the Institute for Imagined Futures and Unknown Lands.

Based in Wales, Fern has had exhibitions nationally and internationally including Germany, New Zealand and Mexico. In September 2013 Fern exhibited in Let’s See What Happens… a major international exhibition curated by Karen MacKinnon for Glynn Vivian Art Gallery Offsite, an element of which went on to be exhibited in 2012 at Anthony Reynolds Gallery in London.

As well as being exhibited all over the world Fern has also won several awards including Mostyn Open 2011, Welsh Artist of the Year (photography) 2009, received an Arts and Humanities Research Council Award in 2011/12 and most recently has been awarded the Interdisciplinary Arts Prize in 2013 at Oxford Brookes University for her work in Social Sculpture.

The funding Fern has recently received from the Creative Wales award will enable her to stay in the Social Sculpture Research Unit of Oxford Brookes and to explore recent shifts in her practise where the focus is increasingly outside of the gallery space. She will continue to explore existing models that exist outside of the gallery which has been heavily informed by her recent MA in Social Sculpture from the School of Arts.

When asked what the funding means to her Fern said “Winning the Creative Wales Award will enable me to have a focused research time within my practice and to further develop works and ideas that emerged during my time on the Social Sculpture course at Brookes. I will develop new skills that will influence the future of my practice such as voice work and prose writing, but most exciting for me is that the award will allow me to come and spend time back at Brookes working with Shelley Sacks and the Social Sculpture Research Unit, where I can re-focus my relationship with Social Sculpture and see how I can strengthen the links between the SSRU and Wales.”

This award will explore the role of the image in alternative forms and also question how artists in Wales can create a sustainable arts practise beyond the dependency on the gallery system.

For more information on studying Arts at Oxford Brookes University, visit the School of Arts website.