Following a successful first year in 2016, this summer a-n members will once again be taking over the a-n Instagram to post images and commentary from degree shows around the country.

After an open call on Jobs and opps, we’ve selected five artist-Instagrammers who will be visiting shows in Scotland, Wales, the north of England, the Midlands, south-west England and London.

Last year’s takeovers saw members post over 170 images, capturing “enchanting performances” in Plymouth, “visceral sculpture” in London and some “expertly crafted objects” in Nottingham.

And new for this year, as well as following the a-n takeovers as they happen you can also keep up with all our degree shows coverage on the a-n Degree Shows Guide 2017 site.

“A platform for conversations”

Our degree shows Instagram takeovers begin this week when Cardiff-based Bob Gelsthorpe visits the fine art and photography shows at Swansea College of Art.

Gelsthorpe, who will also be posting from Cardiff School of Art and Design and UWE Bristol, says he’s particularly interested in how graduates manage the threshold between art school and the first few years of their practice.

“I want to have conversations with the students about their support structures, their hopes, and to hopefully add to the debate around responses to uncertain futures,” he explains.

“Contributing to these support structures and catalysts for the visual arts plays a large part in my practice, and the Instagram takeover feels like a great platform for these conversations.”

Later in May, Jacki Cairns will host her first takeover at University of Lincoln’s fine art show. As an emerging artist from Peterborough, she is “interested to see what new trends are coming through”. Cairns will also be posting from degree shows at University of Hertfordshire and De Montfort University in Leicester.

“A safe space to nourish creative experimentation”

Manchester-based Helen McGhie, whose practice investigates interiority and the photographic gaze through still and moving image, will be visiting shows in Bolton, Manchester, Salford and Sunderland, with particular focus on photography and film graduates.

Looking forward to the takeovers, she said: “I really enjoy attending degree shows and understand the value these opportunities have in providing a safe space to nourish creative experimentation.

“I’m excited to take part in the a-n Instagram takeover, and I’m looking forward to being inspired by fresh artistic talent from the north of England.”

Also posting from the University of Sunderland show – but with a focus on the animation, graphics and illustration – is Edinburgh-based Katie Chappell.

A freelance illustrator who is “into sustainability, equality and plants”, Chappell will also visit the fine art show at Newcastle University and shows in illustration and fine art at Edinburgh College of Art, where she is currently studying MA Illustration.


In London, artist and writer Fiona Grady, whose primary practice is site-responsive drawing, will be posting from shows at Slade School of Fine Art, Goldsmiths, and the Royal College of Art.

Explaining that her focus will be on craftsmanship and inventive use of mediums whilst “conveying the sense of fun and experimentation occurring in art schools now”, she says she hopes to “discover new and emerging artists that help to define the current trends in contemporary art”.

Follow a-n on Instagram to see all the takeovers as they happen.

1. Fiona Grady, Scattering Light, vinyl window installation, 2017.
2. Bob Gelsthorpe, As it Waits, Until it Lasts, C-Type prints, hand-made frames (edition of 18), 2017. Exhibited in SWAP Editons at Castor Projects, London. Photo: Simon Mitchell
3. Helen McGhie, (M)other, installation of eight hand printed C-Type photographs, 2014.
4. Katie Chappell, Portrait.
5. Jacki Cairns, Dreamtime, mixed media.

a-n Degree Shows Guide 2017

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