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Yorkshire Sculpture Park extends successful graduate award programme

17 Aug 2018

Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) has extended its successful residency programme for emerging artists with a new Yorkshire Graduate Award. The first recipient is recent Leeds Arts University graduate Connor Shields whose work explores perceptions of ‘maleness’ through sculpture and performance. Shields will be in residence at the Park from 22 August until 7 September 2018.
The Yorkshire Graduate Award is the latest scheme at the Park to offer recent graduates an opportunity to reflect on their practice and begin to move forward as an artist. They benefit from accommodation at the Park; access to facilities including metal and wood workshops, and studio space; a budget for materials for the development of new ideas; time with YSP’s skilled technical team; and critiques and guidance from the curatorial team.
During his time at YSP, Shields will continue to explore and challenge ideas of working-class masculinity through his use of materials and processes. Combining industrial objects such as bricks and scaffolding with materials and techniques that have ‘feminine’ associations, such as knitting, he attempts to question societal principles that shape us, based on the gender binary.
The Yorkshire Graduate Award follows successful partnerships with the University of the Arts, London and the Royal College of Art (RCA), which have brought seven recent graduates to YSP since 2015. Tianyou Huang, winner of the 2018 RCA Graduate Award, will also be in residence at the Park throughout August – his work investigates the sense of motion, and making objects move through the concepts of inevitability and contingency.
The graduate awards offer a rare opportunity for artists to work without a fixed outcome. Residencies in previous years have led to public elements, such as open studios and performances; films; and further opportunities with partner organisations. 2017 RCA Graduate Award winner Marco Miehling is currently in residence at NIROX Foundation, YSP’s partner in South Africa.
Since it was founded in 1977 by Peter Murray CBE, then a lecturer in art education at Bretton Hall, YSP has invested in young artists, making an acknowledged and substantial difference to the subsequent careers of many. Andy Goldsworthy and David Nash both held residencies at the Park in the 1980s and went on to achieve worldwide acclaim. YSP also works with international partners to host visiting artists from countries around the world, most recently welcoming renowned South African artist Willem Boshoff.
Helen Pheby, Senior Curator at YSP, said: “Over the decades we have supported many artists at all stages of their careers. Early and sustained support for artists has always been vital to our work and is at the heart of what we do. We see a great wealth of talent from graduates and both Shields and Huang are no exception.
“Shields is exploring some particularly interesting themes in sculpture and from his recent degree show we saw the potential for development of his practice through spending time at YSP. Huang’s graduate work was immediately fun and engaging, but has depth and opens thinking about serious issues – we thought that he would really make the most of the opportunity and enjoy meeting our visitors.”


YSP Graduate Award Press Release

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High Res Image Downloads


Connor Shields, Thirteen Thousand Four Hundred and Forty, 2018. Courtesy the artist

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Tianyou Huang, Money No.3, 2018. Courtesy the artist

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Connor Shield, Built Like A Brick Shithouse, 2018. Courtesy the artist

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