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Study event review: Lisbon 2023

We were delighted this year to be able to run a second study trip to Lisbon, the first being just prior to the Pandemic. It was open to all students Undergraduate and Masters level, and of all disciplines. This trip was enabled by OCASA with a very big thank you to Joanne Mulvihill-Allen. The event was led by OCA tutors Diana Ali and Dr Michele Whiting.


On March 27th 2023, a group of intrepid Art and Design students and tutors met in the Hotel Baia Cascais in the greater Lisbon area. On the trip were artists Alison Lesson, Anne Stenbom, Catheryn Darcy Saunders, David Bell, Gillian Holmes, Linda Braham, Jennifer Lee, Jennifer Beresford, Jack Delmonte and Dawn Hoffman. Their subjects ranged across textiles, painting, drawing and photography, from HE levels 4,5,6.


Lisbon is a great city to visit with so much to see and connect with and a lot of walking to do! Built over seven hills, the city spans not just the hills but time too – old and historical to new and ever changing.


We started the study trip with a welcome evening where we all met each other and went through the schedule for the week, and importantly discussed our personal goals and also using provocations to challenge us in our making. The week was sketchbook oriented so that we could move about and experience the city and the surrounding areas fully. We discussed materials, made last minute dashes to the shop to buy a few art materials, and had a drink together in a relaxed atmosphere. We had a very early start the next morning so it was good to be ready, happy, and raring to go.


Each student had a provocation that would last the whole trip. It was up to them how they responded to it. They acted as a stimulus to work in sketchbooks and an encouragement to fill a creative void quickly. The results would be shared at the end of the week. Some examples were, ‘be inspired by detail’, ‘draw as if you were looking backwards’, ‘do the opposite of what you would normally do’, ‘respond through your body’, ‘emphasize difference’, and ‘work with shapes’. As well as this we would stop every so often and give provocations there and then. This would keep the students aware, curious, bewildered and very open eyed.


We evaluated the trip after we returned. Some great responses from the group included:


“Meeting, talking to and spending time with other students, spending time with the tutors and discussing ideas, seeing other students work and discussing ideas, techniques other artists, being challenged by the tutors each day to look at the world differently and work differently, being outdoors sketching, the 2 museum/gallery visits and the curator talks - these helped in terms of art history, how art has evolved and continues to evolve and to be inspired to have a place and role in this. To be immersed in art for a week and to help me reflect on my relationship with art and my work and how I would like to progress.”


“Being challenged to work differently. I my next assignment - assignment I have planned to explore how I can work differently, what other techniques and ways of working I can explore and put into my own personal toolbox, how I can expand my practice - therefore the whole week helped me to formulate my plan, give me new ideas, new ways of working. I had also begun to look at art history and the curator talks covered this are and helped to start to develop an understanding and build up a time line, I will develop this in my critical review. Duchamp among others showed that art can be anything therefore I want to explore this further in my practice.”


“Expanding my sketchbook creativity - a phenomenal learning experience.”


“More in person tutor led multidisciplinary workshops, this trip has pushed me and my practice forwards by leaps and bounds and to have more workshops like this in the future would improve my learning and the quality of my work.”


View a slideshow of images below:

And you can download and read the full report of this amazing and inspirational trip here:


Well done to all who pushed their boundaries, drew in public, talked about art and allowed their eyes and senses to feast on so many possibilities for the future, you were great!


The best part of the week was being together as students and tutors and spending time with each other in a free -flowing art dialogue that covered all ground from units achieved, problems shared, what best art materials to use, studio spaces and how to do things, there was such generosity of spirit and curiosity which showed amongst the breadth of an amazing week long conversation, and importantly new OCA friends were made.


Thank you one and all.

Diana & Michele.


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6 Comments


nicole530640
nicole530640
Jul 27, 2023

Ooo I'd love to do something like this! Sounds fabulous 😍

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Dawn Hoffman
Dawn Hoffman
Jul 22, 2023

A wonderful experience and so out of my comfort zone , but I really learned a lot and the best bit was being part of the group all learning together, and making new friends with a shared interest. I would definitely like to do future similar

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Anne Stenbom
Anne Stenbom
Jul 20, 2023

It was a truly inspiration trip, thanks to both tutors and fellow students (and the rich environment). Just wish I could keep up the pace of work that we achieved in the days we spent together!

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Jennifer Beresford
Jennifer Beresford
Jul 19, 2023

We had an amazing time! (My name isn't listed but I was there 😎)

Learned a lot about places and senses but also about myself.

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joannemulvihill-al
joannemulvihill-al
Jul 19, 2023
Replying to

I've added your name in Jennifer, glad you enjoyed it!

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Inger Weidema
Inger Weidema
Jul 19, 2023

Fabulous - lucky you. I hope this might be repeated? I was not able to join for personal reasons... but next time... !!! ;-) :-)

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