Curating on the Penryn Campus

By Chelsea Dawe

I’m a recent graduate at Falmouth University and I studied on the BA Photography course however, during the course I started to feel my interest was not really with photography but how it was presented. I was intrigued by the way a piece of work can engage with its audience, art’s interpretation and the way it’s presented offers the spectator a greater experience. I realised my passion was for curating.

Regan Boyce’s (Fine Art BA Third Year) ICOSAHEDRON In the Compass

During my time at Falmouth I worked various jobs around campus, one in particular was as a Student Ambassador (for anyone who isn’t aware of what an ambassador is, they are the bright yellow people on Open Days) and that’s where I met Claire English. Claire was a curatorial intern, following an MA in Curatorial Practice at Falmouth and now runs a programme of contemporary art exhibitions and events with students and artists called Confluence Art Programme. We got chatting about exhibitions and Claire asked me to assist her in curating art works at Penryn Campus and of course without any hesitations I said “yes!”.

Through this project I got to experience curating including drinking lots of coffee, whilst discussing ideas! I helped Claire come up with the title and concept for the exhibition Tipping Points and Chaos, which is currently on display in the Exchange Building, Tremough House and the walled garden. I have worked across both campuses and I have got to know lots of people so it was easy for me to find art work from different courses and disciplines. I really enjoyed placing works that I thought would work well with the theme of the exhibition.

Tim Shaw’s (Fine Art BA Alumni) Parliament In Tremough House

The works on display and the exhibition Tipping Points and Chaos (showing until 10th October) features artists who are inspired by nature and human interaction within the natural world, to continue to highlight climate change. This included commissioning artists outside on the campus grounds. Claire and I worked on a brief and Claire put out a call for proposals. I helped to select two artist projects, ‘Nest’ by Rich White, who reused found wooden objects and bound them together with one continuous piece of yellow string, in the walled garden. ‘Swarm’ by Kate Ogley and Timothy Crowley, who are creating a mass of clay bees made by staff and students, which will be installed on a willow tree at the top of the Elm Drive in the Autumn Term.

I had a lot of fun working on this exhibition and I think it worked out to be a success. Spaces like The Compass are very difficult to fill with artwork, it’s not like a dedicated gallery, but Regan Boyce’s ICOSAHEDRON works brilliantly as does Tim Shaw’s Parliament in Tremough House.

Rich White’s Nest In the walled Garden

My passion may be curating but yours doesn’t have to be, we’re urging any students who are interested in getting involved in writing, exhibiting, designing, photography, events, performing or anything you particularly enjoy – get in contact and to be part of the Confluence Art Programme.

If this sounds pretty cool to you and you’d like to be involved contact Claire English, you can email her at or contact her via Facebook or Instagram @confluenceartprogramme . You could be a part of the next exhibition, which will be starting in October. By helping Claire, I gained the experience I needed to get into Goldsmiths University to study an MFA in Curating.

Confluence Art Programme places contemporary art in the shared spaces, inside and outside on the Penryn Campus in a series of public art exhibitions, events and installations.

Working with students, staff, local people and artists to engage audiences, Confluence aims to offer a platform for students and artists to work across academic disciplines to co-curate or exhibit.

Confluence Art Programme is funded by Falmouth and Exeter Universities through FXPlus and delivered on a continuing basis by Claire English. If you wish to be involved in any aspect of the programme please contact