MAFA President Gerry Halpin MBE talks about the MMU Graduate Awards

 Gerry Halpin MGE with Verity Howard Gerry Halpin MBE with Verity Howard

Visiting MMU on behalf of MAFA last week and viewing a superb and richly varied range of final year student Art exhibitions, was an exceptionally rewarding opportunity to begin my duties as your new President.
The work, in all areas of study was of an exceptionally high standard and congratulations must deservedly go to the teaching staff and to the enthusiasm of the students involved. It was very difficult to choose winners of this years MAFA Student Awards but with able assistance from Malcolm Taylor, our new Vice President and Dean Bland our Web Site and Friends Co-ordinator, the challenge was enjoyable and absorbing. My thanks also go to MAFA Members and MMU lecturers, Tony Ratcliffe and John Hewitt for their planning and smooth organisation of this event.
After much discussion we made a final selection and the Awards were presented to all but two of the students, the one being in America whilst the other was receiving further award in London.

Painting, drawing, soft sculpture, print making and ceramics were representative of the range of art work selected and the students themselves ranged from young people to more mature students. Each was one so very enthusiastic about their art and also very impressed by their success in being selected by MAFA for their outstanding work. It was a delight to meet them individually and to hear of their ambitions for their future, each one being thrilled to have the opportunity of taking part in our exhibitions over the next three years.
Undoubtedly, this is one of MAFAs major involvements. Students and new members are key to enriching our future exhibitions and in maintaining the perception of our importance as a vibrant, forward looking and effective Art Academy in Manchester.
As the 24th President of MAFA, I am looking forward to enjoying the support of all our members through social interaction events, a wider range of exhibition opportunities and, however possible, in attempting to re-establish the once major event in our and Manchesters cultural calendar, the Manchester Academy of Fine Arts Annual Open Exhibition.
It is a great privilege to have been elected your President and for the next two years at least I hope, with the unfailing support of both Council and Trustees, in whom I have the greatest confidence, that MAFA will continue to flourish and be respected as a prestigious membership of very fine artists.

With Kindest regards to all.

Gerry Halpin MBE

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Verity Howard MAFA MMU Graduate Award Winner 2015

 Verity Howard Verity Howard

My practice explores using surface decoration techniques, such as monoprinting, and constructing form through slab building. I aim to create forms which are contemplative rather than functional.
I am fascinated by glimpses of everyday lives and activities. I am interested in capturing snapshots that convey a sense of stillness, absence of presence and being the outsider looking in. I aim to translate this interest through ceramic forms which convey the volume and depth of darkness in contrast to slithers of light emanating from window apertures.
I was very pleased to have been presented with the Ian Thompson 3D Design Award. I am very grateful for the prize money which has enabled me to secure a studio space in Hereford at Artsite3. This studio will allow me to continue developing my work and practice whilst allowing me to produce some new work for future exhibitions. My next exhibition will be at the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair in October. I am also very excited at being given the opportunity of exhibiting with MAFA in the future since it will be an excellent future showcase for my work. To find out more about Verity please visit her website here.

Patrick Jones MAFA MMU Graduate Award Winner 2015

 Patrick Jones Patrick Jones

My practice at present uses charcoal on paper and mono-printing. Sometimes I have installed the works so that time becomes an extra element in the works as the viewer’s eyes scan the picture surfaces from one focus to another. Being a musician as well as an artist I have seen some of my work as possible graphic scores that might be ‘read’ by a musician.

My drawing begins with direct observation or photography in my own local or domestic environment, and then I use a personal language of gestural marks often with my hand directly on the paper or inked surface.

I also have an interest in painting and film-making.

The MAFA award is very affirming for me at this later period of my life and very importantly as my present course comes to an end it gives me entry into a community of artists at a time when it is much needed.

Comments From Award giver Glenys Latham upon the MAFA Graduate Awards

Included in 2015 MMU Graduate Awards are four additional awards which are personal donations. Three from MAFA’s Trustees who are eager to give encouragement to new graduates and stimulate interest in the Academy from emerging new talent, and MAFAs President Award. Each award has been specifically focused by the donor toward an area of their interest. The Ian Thompson Award for Three-dimensional Art and Design is not necessarily awarded for sculpture, Ian being a sculptor himself, but for work that explores the language of three dimensions in any discipline, design or fine art. He hopes that it echoes some of the encouragement he was given, as a student, by an award made to him by The Royal Manchester Institution, to which MAFA was originally affiliated. For many years, John A. White (Canon Emeritus of Windsor) gave a Small Print Award to the MAFA Open Exhibition and wanted to reinstate this concept as an MMU Graduate Award. His interest is for the students work to show some evidence of concern to exploit the limitations and opportunities of the book plate size and format and some observable craft skill in the medium chosen, some design skill, and some creative imagination. Glenys Latham chose to donate two awards for Endeavour one to a Foundation Course student and one to a student graduating from a degree course in any art or design discipline. Experience as a lecturer in art and design and her personal story give her to believe that an individuals potential can be unlocked by endeavour in art and design. She shares with Ian the hopes that her awards give the encouragement such an award, at Bolton Secondary Art School, gave to her. The Presidents Award is a new catergory awarded for the first time this year. The award is for a Painter whose work shows an intuitive response to their subject, excitingly exploring the potential of their chosen medium, resulting in paintings which have personality.

MAFA MMU Graduate Awards 

 MAFA MMU Student Awards Winners MAFA MMU Student Award Winners

Tony Ratcliffe and John Hewitt agreed to instigate a mechanism for MAFA to make awards to final year students in Manchester school of Art.

The intention of this was to promote new, young artists as potential members.
This involved looking at all the final year exhibitions in both design and fine art disciplines. It was emphasized that some of the design disciplines encouraged a fine art approach to making and drawing, especially Illustration , 3 dimensional design and textiles in Practice and photography.
We considered both the work and the potential for the student to engage in MAFA exhibition opportunities.
Having shortlisted 25 student shows, a representation from MAFA was invited to visit prior to the opening evening and select winners.
The president was invited to the VIP event on the opening evening and was introduced to the Dean of Faculty and various VIP guests.

The awards were labeled with ‘MAFA Fine Art Award’ labels and all recipients were photographed with MAFA President Gerry Halpin MBE as they received the awards.

What was very evident was the MAFA judging members surprise at the quality and organization of the undergraduate shows and the delight and appreciation of the winning students on receiving the prizes.

Tour of Anthony Ratcliffe Exhibition

Anthony Ratcliffe, MAFA Member and lecturer at MMU
Anthony Ratcliffe, MAFA Member and lecturer at MMU

MAFA Member Anthony Ratcliffe gave a tour of his exhibition ‘Shoreline and Watershed’ at the ‘MMU Special Collections Gallery’ to members of MAFA nd the Friends Society. The tour included an introduction to the ‘Artist Book Archive Library’ by MMU’s Education Officer, Louise Clennell. Anthony Ratcliffe has exhibited widely in the UK and his prints can be found in many public and private collections in this country and abroad including The British Council and Houses of Parliament. He has made commissioned prints for Manchester Airport, Manchester Royal Infirmary and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. His woodcut prints are formed from two blocks, the first laying down a series of colours printed using the reduction method , overprinted by a second block unifying the image with fluid linear drawing. We would like to thank Tony and the MMU for making us feel so welcome. Visit Anthony’s Ratcliffes Website

Research and Education

MAFA Research & education
Research & education

Derek Boak teaches Art at Rainford College.

He has been a member of Manchester Academy of Fine Arts since 2004. In 2007 he started a series of collaborative research projects between his school and Members of Manchester Academy.

Derek has this to say about the research:
“The research section of our website is aimed at students and will show studios, working methods of artists and further examples of their work. The work of students who have attended workshops with the artists will also be shown and members of the academy have answered a questionnaire drawn up by students who attended an exhibition of one of our members work. The section will be a work in progress and it is hoped it will help students inform their future practice.”
Derek Boak 2011


MAFA Research and Education - Campbell Research
MAFA Research and Education – Campbell Research

These collaborations were recorded and have been made available as an online educational resource . This resource is not only of great value to students of art but also gives testament to the artistic lives of the Academy Members involved . These collaborations are on going . If you like to visit Derek’s Research Site please click on this link:

Visit MAFA Research Site


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