DJCAD Degree Show 2016

Every year Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design (DJCAD), our university’s faculty of art, design and architecture, holds a degree show to offer its graduating students the opportunity to exhibit their final year projects to friends, family and the public. Held in late May the 10-day exhibition probably attracts north of ten thousand visitors (based on my subjective impression of the crowds), and the opening evening in particular is one of the major social events of the academic calendar. It is the time of the year when summer usually starts to make its arrival known, and the crowds entering and leaving the enormous building complex that is DJCAD often linger for a bit in the evening sun under the trees outside.

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Having missed the show in my first year and having been away in Australia for my second year, I visited the show for the first time in my third year in Dundee. I did not expect much from an exhibition of student art, but oooh was I wrong. The quality of the work on display ranges from decent to very, very high and spans a large number of disciplines, from animation, digital interaction design and architecture to textiles, fine art and jewellery & metal design. It also certainly does help that free wine and beer can be found all throughout the building, and this being a major social event in a small(ish) city you will run into half of your social circle and probably even know someone who is exhibiting their project. Fair to say, not everything caters to the majority’s taste and some projects are a bit more edgy than others – postcards painted with menstrual blood, anyone? I did not think so …

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The opening evening is usually an occasion to meet and mingle. As I mentioned, the complex of buildings that makes up the college is quite large and there is a very real chance of getting lost in the mace of ateliers, galleries and workshops. Still, despite all that space the place is usually packed on the first night. Because the entire exhibition is large enough to keep you occupied from dawn till dusk, and you do not usually get to see much on the opening night, many people return during the following week to have a less hurried second look at the exhibits. I went again with my flatmate on the last day and we spent another four or so hours exploring everything we had not seen yet. I am already looking forward to next May …

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