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Graduating work at NUA highlights sustainable uses for Norfolk reed

A creative use for reed and rush developed by a Norwich student could contribute to providing a sustainable way of managing the indigenous materials of the Norfolk Broads.

Jo Clarke, studying MA Textile Design at Norwich University of the Arts (NUA), has applied basket weaving techniques to the materials to create a collection of decorative and functional bowls and containers, which will be showcased as part of the University’s MA Degree Show 2013 on St Georges Street, Norwich from Friday 30th August.

“We’re very enthused about the work Jo has done,” says Andrea Kelly, Senior Ecologist at the Broads Authority, who consulted with Jo on the project. “Currently only 15% of Norfolk reed is used for thatching and an awful lot is cut and burnt, piled up or not managed at all. We are very supportive of finding alternative markets for reed which would enable it to be harvested correctly in such as way that maintains the habitats of local wildlife.”

Reed creative work

MA Textile Design work by Jo Clarke

Another highlight of the show is ‘Assimilation (27 million)’, a video installation by MA Fine Art student Richard Brooks showing 27,000 rice crispies being counted into a bowl over almost 10 hours of footage. “The work refers to the commonly cited statistic that there are 27 million people in modern day slavery,” says Richard. “The screen is gradually filled with thousands of rice crispies until one can no longer see the bowl, and the total is only a tenth of one percent of the number of people in modern day slavery.”

The NUA MA Degree Show is a free exhibition of the graduating work of the University’s postgraduate students and will showcase work by students of Fine Art, Textile Design, Moving Image and Sound, Communication Design and Curation. The event is held alongside an exhibition of work from the Arts Council Collection curated by NUA students in the University’s gallery, also on St Georges Street.

Paul Fieldsend-Danks, MA Leader NUA, says: “The character of the MA Degree Show is always reflective of the academic journey of the students participating and this year there is a real focus on engaging with the public domain. There is a strong focus on being active in broader contexts outside the University and, while research is central to postgraduate study, the students are exhibiting the results of work that is informed by professional practice. We’re very proud to present to the public a show of art, design and media work which is of a very high creative standard.”

Mixed media sculpture

MA Fine Art work by Amy Louise Nettleton


MA Fine Art work by Sam Robbins

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