Guest Speaker – Will Shannon

This week the Visual Arts department was pleased to welcome Will Shannon as guest speaker. Will’s visit entailed a fascinating talk about his practice, followed by a discussion, plus a series of one-to-one tutorials. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, Shannon is an especially interesting practitioner whose work touches on aspects of product design, fine art practice, architecture and performance. During his presentation he outlined his interest in various processes of making, emphasised by his concern for the status of locally-sourced materials (such as London clay in his recent commissioned piece for the Jerwood Makers Open), small-scale factories or workshop spaces (especially via an extended conception of the artist’s studio) and the increasing shift of manufacturing from the West to the East. Following a short tour of the facilities at West Dean College – not only in the Visual Arts department but also in Metal Conservation and Furniture – it became clear how Shannon’s work reflects various aspects of the College’s approach to contemporary practice, in relation to its commitment to skilled techniques, the creative use of materials and established methods of production.