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Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design


Beginnings: The Cass Summer Show 2011

The Cass Summer Show 2011 from the 15th to 19th June will showcase the work of eight hundred graduating students from The Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Media and Design, London Metropolitan University. Subjects represented will include Animation, Fine Art, Film, Design, Graphics, Interiors, Jewellery, Silversmithing, Photography, Furniture, Product, Textiles, Music Technology, Musical Instruments, Restoration and Conservation and more.

Work is nearly complete to transform The Cass’ two buildings at Central House and Commercial Road into a huge gallery for the annual event, which launches with a spectacular Private View on the 14th June at which over two thousand guests are expected.

The title Beginnings was chosen because this year’s show is a double celebration. As well as celebrating the launch of the professional post-university careers of the Faculty’s many talented students, the event commemorates the 350th anniversary of the birth of Sir John Cass (1661-1718), the philanthropist after whom The Cass takes its name. However the show is in reality an umbrella title for a series of exciting exhibitions, each with their own distinctive flavour.

At Central House

The Fine Art show at Central house offers a feast of photography, sculpture painting, print, installation and time based media. You can see a gallery of fine art students’ images here:

In preparing a local poster for the show, The Cass Fine Art students have united to recreate Joseph Beuys 1971 work Overcome Party Dictatorship, hinting at an acute awareness of the challenging political context in which arts education and artists now operates.

See a selection of fine art students' works:

  Héloise Bergman, The Dying Art of Smoking: Lydia. Photography

  Jane Wachman, Confinement. Acrylic on board

  Katie Govier, Home is Whre the Half is. Collage, Photomontage

  Ana Doris Garcia, Metastases. Sculpture / Installation

  Mark Robinson, Irregular Polyhedron 3. Plywood, LCD screen, media player

  Jannis Spanakis, Jessica. Oil on canvas


Films by Cass Film and Broadcast Production students screening at Central House include World war 2 Drama Sacrifice in which Three German paratroopers occupy a church in Southern France threatening its English priest and his housekeeper, and A priori which tells a story of a students obsessive search after discovering an unfinished work by his physics professor.

  Still from Sacrifice by Michelle Tofi, Adam Grundy and Bruno Loureiro

  Still from a priori by Kyle Chase, Luke Ibbetson and Vegard Lien

Animation The animation narratives cover a broad spectrum of stories including a moving story about a boy and his dog in a war torn Sri Lanka, a story about a seductive nurse on a killing spree and a story about the eerie relationship between a puppet and his puppeteer.

  Still from The Rouge Nurse by Jasmine Bonshor


Archive by Kate Proudman

Also at Central House, BA Student Kate Proudman has created a unique opportunity to experience Central House from a historical perspective in a project called Archive.

While researching connections between the Whitechapel Gallery and the Sir John Cass School of Art- two neighbouring art institutions- she  became interested in archives, in how and what we record of the history of an institution. Finding that an archive for the School of Art didn’t exist, and becoming increasingly intrigued by the history of the Art School and its building, Central House, she  decided to create some work about it. She worked with librarians, arcivists and staff to create a display and audio tour.

The educational ethos of the institution has changed significantly since 1965; moving away from the inclusive classes for local East Enders - such as Mr. Kornbluth, the textile importer who ran a warehouse on the ground floor of Central House while attending the lithography evening classes upstairs, to the University of today which attracts students from all over the world to study for accredited qualifications

The work comprises a display-case - the seed of an archive- in the new entrance hall of Central House, exhibiting some original photographs and prospectuses, together with an audio-walk, which leads the individual viewer (listener) through various parts of the building, considering the previous uses of the spaces; juxtaposing and blurring different factual and possible events in the life of the building from when it was built in 1965 to the present.  Extracts from prospectuses, anecdotal accounts, political events, everyday incidents, and background music, all collide, rejecting the linear chronology of a traditional archive, whilst questioning how we judge the significance or insignificance of events.

The educational ethos of the institution has changed significantly since 1965; moving away from the inclusive classes for local East Enders - such as Mr. Kornbluth, the textile importer who ran a warehouse on the ground floor of Central House while attending the lithography evening classes upstairs, to the University of today which attracts students from all over the world to study for accredited qualifications

In creating Archive, Kate was helped by staff and former students from the Sir John Cass School of Art, by the Librarians - one who returned to the site of the former library to show her round- by Tower Hamlets Planning Department and by the Archivist at the Whitechapel Gallery. The audio–walk records some these encounters, while celebrating word-of-mouth communication.

Talking about the work she said, "What makes us insular and what enables us to communicate? I am interested in art as a collaborative process, in making connections, enabling communication, not only between artist and viewer, but also between everyday people- the institution and its members- between neighbours, between student and teacher."

Pick Up Your Audio Walkman in Central House during the show.

At Commercial Road

Jewellery and Silversmithing students are exhibiting at The Cass Gallery on the ground floor at Commercial Road for the first time this year with a fine collection of innovative contemporary design in a variety of media.

  Emily White, Silver and enamel Rings. Photograph by Simon B Armitt

  Charlotte Yeo, Latex womb macro. Photograph by Simon B Armitt

  Rita Sarafian, Leaf Ring. Photograph by Simon B Armitt


Also at Commercial Road BA Graphic Design students have teamed up with peers on BA Design to create a show called psychobabble. This showcases selections from the students’ Final Major Projects in a setting informed by information overload, the breakdown between the private and the public through the blogosphere, the obsession with self and medical packaging. It will feature a range of graphic design, motion, illustration, 2D, 3D, commercial and conceptual work.


See a selection of students' works:

  Work by Andrea Mattioli

  Work by Andrew Merchant

  Work by Daniel Mead

  Work by Hannah Curzon

  Work by Luke Freeman


The display in the Commercial Road Furniture and Product studios includes some innovative re-imaginings of the traditional Windsor Chair while Upholstery work includes a stunning chair upholstered by Liz Colbourne using a multicoloured biographically inspired fabric by designer Serge Seiditz.

  Windsor Project. Log Chair by Minsung Lee

  Windsor Project. Wool Chair by Ornella Stocco

  Upholstery by Liz Colbourne, fabric designed by Serge Seiditz. Photograph by Toby Summerskill


The image selected for posters and invitations for the show is a Print created by Anna Hamilton, BA (Hons) Fine Art and shows London Bridge in the 18th Century- from around the time of Sir John Cass.

Michael Upton, Academic Leader at The Faculty said, “The exhibition is shaping up to be our best yet- I’ve been fortunate enough to have sneak preview of many of the great final projects that will be on display. The 350th Anniversary year is a reminder of The Cass’ proud history and heritage in providing skilled practitioners for London’s ever changing creative economy. We’re going to put on a show that would make John Cass proud!”

Beginnings: The Cass Summer Show

Private View: Tuesday 14 June 2011, 6pm-8pm. By Invitation.

41-71 Commercial Road, London E1 1LA
Central House, 59-63Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7PF
(nearest tube: Aldgate East)

Dates and Opening Times
Wednesday 15 June: 10am – 8pm
Thursday 16 June: 10am – 8pm
Friday 17 June: 10am – 8pm
Saturday 18 June: 10am – 5pm
Sunday 19 June: 10am – 4pm

For more information contact Michael Upton

London Metropolitan University