Artist takes up Brighton painting fellowship

Michael Clarence is the latest artist to receive a prestigious Freelands Fellowship to work for a  year within University of Brighton’s School of Art and Media.

The Freelands Foundation funds painting fellowships that send leading early career artists for a year to a trio of UK universities: University of Brighton, Bath Spa University and Manchester Metropolitan University. The Fellowships run for a full calendar year, and provide recipients with a £20,000 bursary alongside designated studio space, a teaching mentor, opportunities to work with and teach students, plus a solo exhibition.

Michael Clarence in the studio

Each year’s Fellowship artists from all three universities also hold a group exhibition. The 2022 Fellows showcase – entitled Cuckoo –  will open on 17 January 2023 at the Freelands Foundation in central London, and will bring together Brighton 2022 Freelands Fellow Daniel Pettitt with artists Alex Crocker and Zac Bradley.

Michael comes to the south coast from Scotland, where he gained a First Class Honours BA in Painting at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, followed by a BA in Sculpture/Environmental Art at the celebrated Glasgow School of Art. He has exhibited regularly across Scotland, including three exhibitions this year – most recently, a solo show at Glasgow Project Room.

Michael will take up his Fellowship at the University of Brighton on 9 January, and will be mentored by Alexander Pollard, Senior Lecturer in the School of Art and Media. Alexander also previously studied at Glasgow School of Art, before doing postgraduate research at London’s Goldsmiths College. He also represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2005.

Michael said: “The Freelands Fellowship offers a unique and life-changing opportunity to develop my practice while gaining valuable hands-on teaching experience at the University of Brighton’s School of Art and Media.

“Art schools are unique and energetic environments that nurture the evolution and learning of creative individuals; special places, where dynamic systems of exchange take place, providing a combination of education, opportunity and network. I aim to use the fellowship to build on the idea of exchange and the importance of creating a deeper dialogue within our creative communities.”

Speaking about his role as this year’s Freelands Fellowship mentor, Alexander Pollard said:  “We are really looking forward to working with Michael. Michael’s work is really interesting and we felt that his character would work well with our students. He’s engaging, cares a lot about painting, and offers a different perspective too. I think he will enjoy the experience at Brighton, and contribute a lot to the diverse culture of learning within our department.”

See Michael Clarence’s website:

Michael Clarence on Instagram: @michaeljohnclarence

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