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Study event review: OCA North

Yorkshire Sculpture Park: Monday 15 May 2023

OCA students from, illustration, textiles, creative writing, creative arts and painting pathways gathered at Yorkshire Sculpture Park on Monday 15th of May 2023. It was heart-warming to meet new people and familiar faces. Each person had a different purpose for the day in mind and after introductions and getting to know each other a little over coffee, we set off individually or in small groups to explore what is on offer and do some research. We had a dry sunny day which allowed us to walk round the large park in comfort and discover all the riches therein.

I recently visited an exhibition at The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery in Leeds University called Arcadia for All?: Rethinking Landscape Painting Now, (0n until the 29th of July 2023). The exhibition gives an insight into how contemporary painters are conveying various political issues, narratives, and histories through their work. Looking out over the bucolic scene from the café windows, sheep with their lambs under magnificent trees, goslings waddling after their mother amongst the speedwell, I was glad to be there to experience it, but mindful of the hidden human stories that have shaped the landscape.

When we met up again for lunch there was plenty to discuss. It is so good to have like-minded people to talk to who understand what you are on about! Students well on in their pathway were able to share useful information with new students and offer support. For example, did you know that for £5 a year you can get a student Art Pass from Art Fund that gives you free entry to some venues and half price on major exhibitions? .

New students had lots of great ideas bubbling away. Who knew you could make an alphabet out of things you see outside in the landscape? The opportunity was too good to stop there, and more exploration took place after lunch.

Unfortunately, two galleries were closed for new exhibitions to arrive, but there is only so much you can take in on one day! The installation No 360 by Leonardo Drew in the chapel, has great impact when you walk through the door, and had resonance with some of my recent paintings. You can read about it on It will be there until the 29th of October if you want to see it. This photograph is taken looking down on it from the gallery.

JT said of the study event- I really enjoy the OCA North meet ups as it is a chance to meet other OCA students in person. It is very easy to think that we are all learning on our own at home but to meet others who are on the same journey, even if at different points or in different subjects, can be a very inspiring experience.

JTs photograph of a print by Jonny Hannah

Dianne- Lovely day with lovely people who made me feel at home. The Sculpture Park is very interesting.

Dianne’s photograph of the Ha Ha bridge.

Jenny-I had decided in advance to use the visit to YSP to provide some inspiration for an assignment in my current level one Visual Dynamics module. This involves creating my own typeface inspired by objects in my environment, and then creating a map which incorporates them. It was lovely to meet fellow students from different disciplines and levels to chat OCA and discuss our ideas. After that, I was in the zone for exploring the very impressive sculpture park, and I was able to fill several sketchbook pages to develop into project ideas (as well as pick up some pencil case recommendations!). Thank you for a lovely day.

One of Jenny’s sketchbook pages


The next OCA North meeting is online on Sunday 18th of June at 16.00hrs via zoom. All OCA students are welcome to join us for general chat and to share work. Come and pick our brains!

Zoom link as follows-

We are hoping to run an in-person, tutor-led workshop in July. Look out for notices.

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Tricia Burton
Tricia Burton
May 22, 2023

This is fabulous! How awesome is this work, love the ha ha bridge! We definitely need more ha ha bridges in the world. Thanks for writing/sharing Helen!

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