A group photo of five people inside a fine art store room

L-R: Artist-in-residence Gwen Riley Jones, Curator Lindsay Taylor, Graduate Associate Rowan Pritchard, Digital Content & Engagement colleague Alistair Small, and Assistant Curator Stephanie Fletcher

Introducing – Rowan Pritchard, Art Collection Team Graduate Associate

Hi, I’m Rowan Pritchard and I’m excited to be joining the University of Salford Art Collection team as the new Graduate Associate. Having graduated from the University of Salford BA (Hons) Fine Art course this summer, I’m coming to the team with a passion for contemporary fine art, and I am delighted to be working and developing my skill set in this field, and in the vibrant creative community of Salford itself.

Joining the team at the beginning of November, my first few weeks coincided with the outset of the new store move, relocating the entire Collection to the new purpose-built store. I couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding experience to kick start my work with the Art Collection – allowing me a real insight into the ‘behind the scenes’ of what working with a collection entails. Being part of this move has allowed me to gain a sense of the full scale of the Collection itself, and I’m excited to explore more of what the Collection has to offer and the different ways we can engage with it. Getting stuck straight in, it’s been interesting to begin considering the broader responsibilities of the Collection; How do we exist as part of the University? How do we serve our wider community?

I come to the Art Collection team with a background as an artist, however, during my undergraduate studies I also discovered my passion for curatorial projects, particularly as lockdown limited opportunities to exhibit traditionally. This included hosting an international open call, a digital exhibition exploring information saturation, and investigating the potential of 3D design to create bespoke artistic environments.

Now, working with the Art Collection on-site, I’m excited to gain a deeper understanding of all aspects of working alongside the collection team, and the invaluable practical experience of working with a museum collection.

As a recent graduate, bringing with me this new perspective, part of my role includes thinking about engagement; how we can support current students, and broaden the possibilities of engagement with the Collection itself. Over the past few weeks, I have also been considering our social responsibilities as a collection, and how we embed accessibility, inclusion, and environmental best practices at the core of what we do.

Outside of my role with the Collection I maintain my own artist practice and am in the process of navigating the art world as a graduate. My most recent work focuses on the positive potential of queerness and has been featured as part of TSDAPs New Graduates Catalogue, the 2021 Salford Open online, and Short Supply’s ‘Made It 2021’ Graduate Showcase, where I was honoured to be awarded the Curators Choice Award.

Looking forward to 2022, with the extension of our You Belong Here exhibition until the 19th of June, the relaunch of the New Adelphi Exhibition Gallery, as well as the ongoing digitisation project, and many more projects in the works, I am excited about the year to come and to be a part of the team that is making it all happen.

Rowan Pritchard
December 2021

The brand new art store before the big move…image by Gwen Riley Jones