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Two staff members standing and discussing BA (Hons) Graphic Design work from the Summer Shows 2022.

Making the most of AUB's Summer Shows

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At AUB, we’re known for our collaborative showcases, featuring every course. The best example of this is our Summer Shows, where you can display your final major project work in true exhibition style to a real crowd and private view opening night.

We spoke with Summer Show coordinator and TheGallery assistant curator Millie Lake for the run-down on AUB’s Summer Show experience, plus Ed Earl on their experience at Graduate Fashion Week.

What are the Summer Shows?

Every summer, we transform AUB campus into the most extensive gallery space in the southwest to celebrate what you’ve achieved and created. Our Summer Shows are a great opportunity to showcase your final project work to the public and demonstrate how your style has developed. Millie Lake tells us more:

“AUB’s Summer Shows have been taking place for at least 25 years, so they're a huge part of the University’s history. Really, they’re one big party. The campus is totally transformed and there is art everywhere.

“This might be the first time students have had their work in an exhibition, or the first time they’ve been able to show friends and family their work, so it’s a time for them to feel proud and reflect on their hard work so far and what their next chapter holds. They might even get noticed by industry professionals who come to look around – you never know!”

Everyone gets involved

Our Summer Shows include work from every course. You don’t just have to be a BA (Hons) student to get involved – Foundation and postgraduate students get unique, individual showcases and private viewings too.

“Collaboration is always encouraged and it’s fantastic to see what happens when students from different courses come together. It’s amazing how much the artwork comes alive when it’s displayed alongside others that complement it! For example, AUB Productions are a culmination of work by students on BA (Hons) Acting, BA (Hons) Make-up for Media and Performance and BA (Hons) Performance Design and Film Costume (amongst other courses), so it makes sense to build a shared exhibition space that has this narrative running through it.”

The poster for our 2023 Summer Shows was collaborative in itself. Eliza Naden from BA (Hons) Photography and Milly Harvey from BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design came together to curate a huge visual piece showcasing multiple courses, designed in collaboration by alumnus Joseph Warin who studied BA (Hons) Visual Communication. The result, The Art of Collaboration, was a great showcase of multiple courses that went up on display.

No matter what you’re studying, the Summer Shows provide a great chances to collaborate – even with alumni – and to get a feel for working in the industry.

London shows

If you thought Summer Shows only take place on campus, think again.

AUB showcases also take place in London for select courses; it’s a unique opportunity to really get your work out there. Venues include the OXO Tower Wharf with Interior Educators for our BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design courses, the BFI Southbank for our Bournemouth Film School courses, and a selection of exclusive galleries and studios for art-based studies.

“For courses that hold exhibitions, such as BA (Hons) Photography and BA (Hons) Commercial Photography, the London shows give an insight into what it’s like to plan and execute a show in an external venue, outside of your studies. Having to find a venue, fundraise, design an exhibition and work out all the logistics can be challenging but are vital skills to learn.”

They’re also a great way to network and make connections, as Millie explains:

“Many of the London shows are frequented by industry professionals, which can help graduates to network within their industry and even get snapped up for career opportunities! They can lead to graduates winning awards and at AUB, we've had a whole accolade of them from over the years. Some examples from last year include Maddie Fuggle from BA (Hons) Modelmaking who won Best of Show at New Blades, Hayden Mackenzie from BA (Hons) Textiles who won the Clothworkers Company Award for Printed Textiles at New Designers, and Ben Angel from BA (Hons) Illustration, who was named a 2023 D&AD New Blood winner.

“You can’t deny that there's something exciting and very cool about being able to tell people that you’ve had your work shown in London!”

Graduate Fashion Week

One of the biggest opportunities open to Fashion students as a part of Summer Shows is Graduate Fashion Week (GFW). This involves a professional fashion show and catwalk, where you'll get the chance to experience what it’s like in the industry for real.

We spoke to Ed Earl about taking their final major project to GFW and the success that followed:

"I'm a graduate from the Fashion Branding and Communication class of 2023 and the founder of Salvage Collective, which was my final major project in the third year. As part of the course, students are invited to attend Graduate Fashion Week, an excellent opportunity to showcase their talent to major industry players. I was fortunate to receive an additional invitation to attend as an industry exhibitor with Salvage Collective.

"GFW and the London Shows highlighted my creative abilities and allowed me to network and connect with prominent industry figures. These shows often feature awards for which students can submit their projects, and these awards play a significant role in helping students launch their careers post-university. I believe these shows were instrumental in my success and significantly enhanced my professional practice."

Ed is taking Salvage Collective to GFW again this year – find out more about what it involves.

There are so many opportunities that arise from taking part in Summer Shows, from simply showing off your most proud work to curating and displaying it, even meeting potential industry connections. Millie Lake had one last piece of advice for students who are considering taking part:

“Enjoy it! Revel in everything you’ve experienced in the last three or four years and feel proud of yourself – you made it!”

Check out this year's Summer Shows

Pink banner with black text reading "Foundation Summer Show" in the centre. A yellow stamp in the bottom-left contains text reading "#Classof2024".

Foundation Summer Show 2024

The 2024 Foundation Summer Show celebrates the achievements of our students, providing an exciting platform to showcase their...

Yellow banner with black text reading "Undergraduate Summer Shows". A white sunshine icon appears in the top left, and a pink flower stamp appears in the bottom right containing text reading "#Classof2024".

Undergraduate Summer Shows 2024

This summer, AUB Campus will be transformed into the most extensive gallery space in the southwest of England, as we celebrate...

Blue banner with white text reading "Postgraduate Summer Shows" and a yellow flower stamp in the top right containing text reading "#Classof2024".

Postgraduate Summer Shows 2024

AUB’s Summer Shows are a celebration of the achievements of our 2024 graduating students, with the Postgraduate Summer Shows ending...

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