College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Captivating show allows creative talent to shine

The next generation of artistic and design talent is showcasing its inspired creations in the annual Edinburgh College of Art’s Masters Show.

Illustrations inspired by the Scottish Highlands, an interactive escape room game and distorted images inspired by society’s reliance on the internet are some of the highlights being shared with a global audience via an online show and a small, ticketed on-campus exhibition.

Hybrid event

The show is a celebration of the enduring spirit of this year’s graduates, with staff and students working in collaboration for the development of the hybrid event.

The online Masters Show – part of the main Graduate Show website – puts a spotlight on more than 90 postgraduate students’ portfolios, while a week-long physically-distanced exhibition offers a captivating visual display at Edinburgh College of Art. 

Global audience

The Graduate Show website, which was developed for the June graduate show following the constraints imposed by Covid-19, has already attracted a global audience. Viewers from more than 100 countries have visited since its launch earlier this summer.

The online hub showcases more than 4,000 pieces of media from more than 400 students in 60 degree programmes. The work includes paintings and drawings, architectural plans and models, animations and digital visualisations, musical compositions and performances, film, photography, textiles, jewellery and interior design.

New techniques

Many students adapted their practice in response to Covid restrictions, such as the use of new digital tools to curate and virtually exhibit their creations.

The arresting display of students’ work includes Hanna Farthing’s illustrations, which use letterpress techniques and drawing to convey the mystical atmosphere created by stars appearing over mountains in the Scottish Highlands.

The MA Illustration student used inspirations gathered during lockdown from listening to birdsong, going for daily walks in woodlands and watching skies change at dusk. 

Captivating designs

Sophie Powell-Hall’s has designed an interactive escape room game based on travelling on a vintage British steam train.

The Design and Digital Media student’s thrilling online experience – based on the historical Waverley Route from Edinburgh to Carlisle – was developed using game design software and features contributions from sound design company Black Goblin and a beautifully composed soundtrack.

Christopher Rizkallah’s Contemporary Art Practice portfolio is a series of heavily angled, layered and multicolored distorted images of everyday objects, created using repeated scanning and digital techniques.

The designer’s work reflects on people’s reliance on the internet during Covid-19, and touches on themes from their life in Lebanon.

Nirmal Varghese’s Architecture portfolio reimagines the architectural treasure of Playfair Hall – one of Edinburgh’s grandest interiors.

The breathtaking designs experiment with adding contemporary technology, such as lighting installations, into neoclassical architecture.

To support the graduates’ professional development, students led on designing the presentation of their online portfolios. The portal provides easy access for recruiters to see the graduates’ portfolios. A series of events to help students turn their practice into a career has also taken place , with many open to the public.

Other online events include a Performance Costume film featuring graduates from 2020 and 2021 and an opening night with showreels from June and August featuring graduates speaking about their work and how they adapted during the pandemic.

The class of 2021 has responded with commitment, energy and great adaptability and we wish them all well in their future endeavours. The Masters students started and finished their study during the pandemic and we are so proud of them and the quality of their work. The hybrid show builds on the success of last year’s online event opening up new possibilities for our graduates and future degree shows.

Professor Juan CruzECA Principal 

ECA’s postgraduate study gives students the opportunity to engage in an intellectual and personal challenge in their chosen field of enquiry, working with research-active academics.

This year’s Masters Show features portfolios from a number of programmes including MA Design for Change; MA Interior, Architectural and Spatial Design; MA Illustration; MA Graphic Design; MA/MSc Design Informatics; MA Film Directing; MFA Glass, MA Contemporary Art Practice, MA Material Practice and ESALA – Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape.

Previous Masters Shows have acted as the bridge to students entering professions as artists and creatives, and have helped launch the careers of future Turner Prize and Bafta winners. to the

Access the Graduate Show 2021 

The on-campus exhibition runs from Friday 20 August until Friday 27 August. Booking can be made on the Edinburgh College of Art website - https://www.graduateshow.eca.ed.ac.uk/event/masters-show-2021