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2 June 2019

Say Yes: Student Artist Savours Every Opportunity

The most accomplished students are often the ones that say yes to extra-curricular activities. At Falmouth, there’s a variety of projects, placements, residencies, awards and bursaries to apply for, which support students’ professional development.

Bianca Cocco, BA(Hons) Fine Art student, has been relishing these opportunities.

Throughout her degree, Bianca has successfully applied for several residencies, attended nearly all the courses available during the workshop festival, signed up for extra tutorials and research groups, and attended a variety of industry guest lectures.

Bianca explained: “Being a student is a huge privilege and the opportunity to learn new things always instigates unexpected directions in my practice. I enjoy being surprised by new insights through digging deeper into areas I know little about and pushing past my comfort zone. This approach has certainly furthered my development, enhanced my confidence and broadened my outlook.”

Bianca’s first residency was at Back Lane West, a non-profit, artist-led residency, project and meeting space in Redruth. Back Lane West supports critically engaged visual art practice, contributing to the growth of an internationally connected, contemporary arts community.

Bianca recalled: “It was challenging to enter a blank white space and figure out how to start making work and to break through the uncertainty of how to use the opportunity. It was my first experience of an arts residency and I was glad to be sharing the space with another student, Mikey Croft.”

Bianca and Mikey had a shared open studio event in which Bianca experimented with creating a space where the audience could participate and interact with her art installation.

“There was a strong element of play,” she told us, “and the atmosphere was fun and engaging. I felt it was successful and opened up insights into developing an engaging space for an audience.”

Bianca was also the recipient of the 2018 Art Edge Award. An annual prize awarded to outstanding students from the Falmouth School of Art, it encourages students to explore an area outside of their discipline, or to develop new skills through extra-curricular activities.

Bianca told us: “It was an immense privilege to receive the Edge Award. I was delighted to discover my application had been successful but also a little shocked – I suddenly realised that people trusted that I had potential! This was when I first realised that anything is possible if you have the courage to ask and take the effort to explain your case.”

Bianca’s Art Edge Award funding went towards a short residency and sound art course at CAMP, a multi-media arts residency programme in the French Pyrenees.

“The course was a great challenge,” she told us. “I was with international sound artists of varied experience and background and I met some amazing and inspiring people. The whole experience enhanced my understanding of sound recording, editing and exhibiting with audio. It was a very important juncture in my development as an artist.”

Her experience at CAMP inspired Bianca to create a unique ‘hidden sound’ piece of her own, which she’s been developing during a second residency at Back Lane West. In the summer, Bianca will exhibit the installation and sound art as part of her third-year graduate show.

After graduation, Bianca will be undertaking a month-long graduate residency at Porthmeor Studios, having been awarded the studio hire and bursary by the Falmouth School of Art.

Following that, Bianca plans on gaining a deeper establishment of her practice through post-graduate study, after which she’d like to give back to the arts community by teaching.