For decades the visual arts department at Trinity has been synonymous with providing an outstanding, progressive fine art education. It has established a tradition (originally funded by the Gulbenkian Trust in the 1980s) of hosting artists in residence. Among the first was the internationally acclaimed sculptor Ana-Maria Pacheco and latterly resident artists have included the sci-artist Seong-Hee Kim, performance artist Aaron Williamson and fine artist Alfreda McHale.
The department is also renowned for creating temporary installations and exhibitions whereby classrooms are converted into a gallery resource centre for up to several weeks in the year. These exhibitions encapsulate work produced by hundreds of students from 4 – 60+ years in response to challenging issue-based themes.
The core departmental philosophy is ‘Learning for All’. In essence this means that everyone who works in the visual arts department is encouraged to develop their artistic practice. Consequently, Trinity students work with and alongside, artists in residence, artist teachers and sixth-form artist mentors. When the gallery resource is available the art department provides workshops for primary school children, inset training for teachers and mature students.
The visual arts department has won the coveted Artworks Award, often billed as the Children’s Turner Prize in 2003 and 2004 with pupils’ work being exhibited in the reception area of the Tate Modern, London. This award was disbanded in 2005. Pupils’ work has also been featured in academic journals, newspapers and magazines on a local, national and international level.
The art staff consists of a dedicated team who currently offer the following specialisms: painting and drawing, sculpture, photography (black and white, and digital), film and media, printmaking, mixed-media, live and performance art, relational aesthetics and installations. Students are provided with opportunities to visit local and national exhibitions, workshops and art clubs (including life drawing). An annual critical studies field trip is also offered to sixth formers and has included destinations such as New York, Madrid, Rome, Barcelona, Paris and Munich.