Globally acclaimed as one of the leading fine artists of his generation, Conrad Atkinson completed his studies at Carlisle College of Art just over 54 years ago. On Thursday 24 September he will return to what is now the Brampton Road campus of the University of Cumbria to officially dedicate the opening of the new Vallum Ditch Gallery.
This is the first of a series of events marking the inauguration of the University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts at the Brampton Road campus, in recognition of a history of continuing excellence in delivery of art and design education in Carlisle dating back to 1822.
Professor Atkinson will open a retrospective exhibition of works by artists and makers associated with the Art College in Carlisle going back over several decades. ‘Full Circle’ will also include contributions from both himself and his wife, Margaret Harrison, another celebrated alumnus.
University of Cumbria Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Strike says:
“The Institute of the Arts in Carlisle has a proud history stretching back almost two hundred years to its early formative days in Tullie House. As the only autonomous higher education institution in Cumbria it was entirely appropriate that it should become a key player in the establishment of the new University of Cumbria. Making the transition from a specialist college to a major component of a much larger university has not been without its challenges, but we are hugely proud of what has been achieved to date and now is the time to take the next steps.
“The re-launch of the Institute of the Arts under the university banner emphasises the continued commitment of the university to arts provision in our part of the UK, and the importance we place on its continued success. Our intention for the institute is that it should maintain its progress and develop its leading position in the region over the next 200 years - at least!”
The opening event will feature Rick Kemp from the folk-rock band, Steeleye Span. He will perform ‘Somewhere Along The Road’ with staff and students from the performing arts department. This song was composed by Rick and was performed by Maddy Prior when he graduated with a BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art at a ceremony in Carlisle Cathedral in 1997.