Worcester Art Graduate Honoured with Prestigious Grant

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A University of Worcester Art graduate has been awarded a prestigious Leverhulme Award to fund her postgraduate studies at the Royal College of Art (RCA).

Jade Blackstock, who is from Birmingham, graduated with a Joint Honours Fine Art and Psychology degree from Worcester last November, and will be continuing her education at the London institution in September.

Earlier this month, she was awarded one of just twelve scholarships – which are all being awarded over a three-year period – which will help to fund a Master’s degree at RCA, and are being awarded by the Leverhulme Trust, which supports talented individuals across the subject spectrum.

Jade, whose work was featured in this year’s New Art West Midlands exhibition for up and coming local artists, was nominated by Professor Nigel Rolfe, a Professor of Fine Art at RCA.

He explains: “Candidates are increasingly articulate and motivated, but within this Jade shone brightly and her work is a great foundation for big steps yet to come.

“Within her work and practice are cultural excavations, body as site, direct material investigations and the expressive questioning of identity, which are all strong departure points and indicators of depth and possibility.”

Jade says: “I was delighted to hear that I had received the award. I wasn’t even aware that I had been nominated, and I was in the process of researching how to fund a Master’s degree. As well as being a huge honour, this has taken a lot of financial worries off my mind.”

She will begin her Master’s degree in Performance later this year, and says that the support and guidance that she has received during her time at Worcester will stand her in good stead as she looks to develop further as an artist.

“The University of Worcester has been a great help to me during the application process for my Master’s course,” she explains. “Even after I graduated, the University was extremely supportive and encouraging.

“My former lecturers met me to provide advice and tips on making a strong application, and they helped me to pick out and present the strengths within my portfolio.

“In studying for a Master’s degree, I hope to continue gaining and improving on the skills which will prepare me for the future as a practicing artist. I want to continue developing and improving my art practice, and building connections with a wider pool of creative thinkers.”

Maureen Gamble, Head of the School of Art at the University of Worcester, adds: “This award is incredibly prestigious; some artists work for many years trying to get one of these awards so it is a real coup for Jade, particularly at such an early stage in her career.

“The money will be really useful for her postgraduate studies and to have the award on her CV will serve her for many years to come. We are delighted that Jade is having her work recognised in so many ways and wish her continued success for the future.”