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Three years after setting up her own arts enterprise, painter Katie O’Brien will share her expertise with students enrolling on a new curatorship course.


The course, at Bath College, will guide students through the practicalities of putting on an exhibition, from artwork selection to promotion and display.


Miss O’Brien studied for a national diploma in fine art at Bath College before enrolling on a fine art degree at Bath Spa University.


She set up 44AD Artspace after graduating in response to a shortage of studio and gallery space for emerging artists in Bath city centre.


The venue, in Abbey Street, has affordable studio space for 18 artists, as well as two floors of free admission gallery space.


Students on the new course will see how 44AD operates and will get an insight into the art world during optional field trips to London and Cornwall.


Miss O’Brien said: “Each year I saw art students moving en-masse to Bristol.


“There was nothing really being provided for graduate art students and emerging artists within the centre of Bath.


“It’s fantastic to be back at Bath College, but this time leading what I feel will be an extremely valuable course at this level.


“You have the highly regarded MA curatorial studies program at Bath Spa University, but there is nothing locally at college level.


“I began 44AD after I graduated in 2012 and the last three years have provided me with such a learning experience.


“I thought it would be really great to pass some of this knowledge on.”


Students on the curatorship course will study curatorial theory and research, collections, documentation, installation and display.


They will also gain practical experience, curating two exhibitions in Bath next year.


Miss O’Brien said: “The course will feature an invaluable series of visiting talks from professional curators and gallerists.


“Students will be encouraged to lead the selection and curation of the annual Bath College Love2learn exhibition in February and will be curating an exhibition for Fringe Arts Bath in May.


“This is a pilot run, so it will be extremely exciting to see how this course develops.


“I’m positive it will offer students an extensive amount of practical experience, and a variety of encounters that will generate different career avenues and possibilities.”


David Merriman, head of the Art and Design Department at Bath College, is looking forward to seeing students’ work.


He said: “We have already been working with 44AD to develop our studio painting course. A lot of our students are involved with the Fringe Arts Bath events.


“We have given students opportunities to be involved in pop-up exhibitions and small scale curatorship, as well as their contribution to our end of year show.


“With the ownness clearly on employability skills at the college, I was mindful that curatorship in museums and galleries can provide exciting opportunities for career pathways.


“We welcome the collaboration and hope it will grow.”


The course starts next week. For more information click here.

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