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Futures Fund helps talented Fine Art student

Doug Hughes

Doug Hughes

Doug Hughes has fulfilled his dream of graduating with a degree in Fine Art thanks to the DOSH (Development Office Scholarships) Futures Fund Excellence Scholarship.

The Futures Fund opens for applications on 25 September. To find out more - and about our other DOSH scholarships on offer to current students - click HERE.

Doug, 63, from Sunderland, who graduated this summer with a First, said: “Without the financial security of the award, I would almost certainly have been forced to defer for at least a year.

“Owing to my personal circumstances I have only ever received the absolute minimum Maintenance Loan, with no savings to rely on. I was reasonably aware of what this would mean when I started the Fine Art course, but I fully intended to take a part-time job to help with the finances.

“However, it soon became clear that getting temporary work was going to be much more difficult than I imagined, mainly because of my age. More importantly though, I became totally engrossed in the course, spending as much time as possible in my studio space creating a wide range of art work from small intricate paintings to giant strands of human hair.”

Over the course of the first two years, Doug began to specialise in working with cast-off and recycled materials.

He explained: “For me, it was a real challenge to create something of artistic merit out of discarded timber and cardboard. Gradually this work developed into quite large kinetic sculptures, and these installations had become my main focus by the start of the final year.

“Although a lot of the material for my sculptures could be obtained from a skip, my award meant I was able to purchase a whole range of additional items, such as steel and copper wire, wool, specialist timber, gold leaf and Perspex sheets. As well as these, I could also buy all the necessary hand tools and the electrical and electronic components needed to make the sculptures work.

“The Scholarship allowed me to concentrate totally on my work and not have to divert my energies worrying how I could afford the materials.”

However when the coronavirus pandemic hit, everything came to a grinding halt and Doug could not access his tools and materials from his studio space in the University’s Priestman. He then had to come up with something different for his degree work show.

He said: “After much thought I decided on creating time-lapse videos from screen captures, both as a practical solution and as an artistic response to the coronavirus measures and my lockdown situation. I realised I would need additional software in order to make these videos and, very fortunately, I was able to use the last of my award for this purpose.

“If someone had said to me at the start of the year that I would be making videos for my degree show I would have laughed at them. However, the videos turned out well and I was very pleased with the end results.”

Doug concluded: “There is no doubt in my mind that the Excellence Scholarship made a huge difference to my final year on the Fine Art course, allowing me to concentrate more on my work and worry much less about my financial situation. When I am in a position to do so, I know I will make a contribution to the Fund so that future students can benefit from the same assistance that was so helpful to me.”

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