the Art Collection Team, November 2023. Image: Jason Lawton Photography

Introducing – Sam Parker, Art Collection Team Assistant

Hello, I’m Sam Parker, and I’m thrilled to be joining the University of Salford Art Collection team. I recently graduated from the University of Salford BA (Hons) Fine Art programme earlier this year, and have taken up the position of Art Collection Team Assistant (Graduate Associate). I bring with me a passion for the arts and contemporary ways of working – I wanted to get stuck in as soon as possible, and the team here has not disappointed!

Joining the team in October, my first few weeks coincided with the launch and development of many UOSAC projects. I’ve had meetings with Hybrid Futures, a partnership between many art organisations across the North, exploring a collective and more sustainable ways of working with various artists and communities. Alongside this was the installation process of Craig Easton’s touring exhibition; Is Anybody Listening? Working with the extremely kind technicians from M&G, and speaking with Craig Easton himself about his exhibition and way of working; I also helped with the Photo Ethics Discussion in early November with Craig and Gwen Riley Jones.

I’ve aided in tours of exhibitions, current UOS Fine Art student queries, collections care, condition checking, and even took part in the Manchester Contemporary! Installing with Castlefield Gallery and the curator of our booth Rowan Pritchard. I introduced members the public to our organisations, discussed art and artists, spread the word of our Graduate Scholarship Programme, and even garnered possible collaboration opportunities for the collection.

 I’ve been thrown into the deep end, however, I couldn’t have wished for a better start!

I have come to the Art Collection Team with my own artist practice, along with a variety of experience from different areas within the creative sector. Installing a variety of different exhibitions across the Northwest and Yorkshire, commissions, graphic design, community engagement, photographic documentation, and volunteer work with organisations like the British Textile Biennial. Alongside this, my bachelor’s degree gave me the drive and the ambition to delve further into the logistics of exhibitions, collections, museums, and galleries; how they run, how work is acquired, the installation and technical challenges that each element poses – I wanted to know the inner workings, and how they operate. My ambition led me to support many exhibitions and events outside of the university programme, giving me valuable skills and knowledge that I will continue to build upon with the UoS Art Collection Team.

Part of my new role here includes problem solving, networking, and overall, just helping out wherever is needed. I find supporting the team and the University of Salford in any and all ways extremely rewarding, be it with AV equipment expertise, manual labour, or the various spouts of knowledge I have that can be applied in unique ways. I pride myself on being easy to talk to, this being especially evident during the Manchester Contemporary. I engaged with as many people as possible, and as a result of this, I had many interesting conversations with people from a plethora of different backgrounds. Artists, curators, students, suppliers, collectives, families, and even a circus performer. Having a dialogue with each of them about what the collection does, whilst also getting to know them and what they do was a brilliant experience that I hope to do more of during future events.

As I briefly mentioned above, I maintain my own artist practice outside of my work with the collection, as well as supporting my peers who are also making the jump from education to the art world. My personal practice at present combines the traditional medium of oil painting, with contemporary digital process like projections mapping, animation, and sound work. I aim to bring audio visual experiences to those who view my work, to create visual representations of sound and a physical form in which it can inhabit. This blend of traditional and contemporary processes has helped me in my new place with the Art Collection, providing on-site technological support with artists that are working with the team for future research and exhibition opportunities. My knowledge and skillsets will help me help the collection over the next 2 years, providing support wherever needed.

I’m looking forward to 2024, with the continuing work for Hybrid Futures, seeing what our artists in residence at Energy House create, and just to be a part of the team that will bring you new opportunities and ventures moving forward!

Sam Parker

November 2023