Posts tagged: Graduate Scholarship Programme

This Weekend – Salford Scholars at The Manchester Contemporary

University of Salford Art Collection and Castlefield Gallery are pleased to share that they will be at The Manchester Contemporary this weekend, celebrating 10 years of partnership on their Graduate Scholarship Programme.

Curated by Rowan Pritchard, Salford Scholars brings together the work of 5 recent graduate scholars Katie Aird, Mollie Balshaw, Jeffrey Knopf, Katie McGuire, and Adam Rawlinson, working across mediums including sculpture, photography, and painting.

A 35mm photograph of a pink flower, that has been scanned and manipulated to elongate and extrude the image.
Katie Aird (2021/22 Graduate Scholar), Entropy, 2021. Courtesy the artist.
An abstracted 3D printed plastic sculpture with a white pearlescent finish, on a small glass shelf against a white background.
Jeffrey Knopf (2021/22 Graduate Scholar), Check Me Bird Out, 2023. Courtesy the artist.

The Manchester Contemporary takes place annually alongside the Manchester Art Fair, and this year runs from the 17th to the 19th of November. The Manchester Contemporary showcases the strength of the UK’s regional artists and galleries alongside key international presentations that can only be seen in Manchester. 

You can find out more about the University of Salford Art Collection & Castlefield Gallery at The Manchester Contemporary here

Announcing the 2023/24 Graduate Scholars

The University of Salford Art Collection, alongside Castlefield Gallery, Manchester are pleased to announce the five recipients of the 2023/24 Graduate Scholarships. 

Each year, a number of bespoke scholarships are offered to graduating students from the University of Salford School of Arts, Media, and Creative Technology. This year the recipients are: 

Adam Rawlinson
Megan Brierley
Lucy Claire
Zan Atkinson
Maggie Stick

Each recipient will receive 12 months of bespoke support tailored to their individual needs and aspirations, including a programme of mentoring, coaching and professional development, Castlefield Gallery Associates membership, and studio space or place on a programme with one of our industry partners; Hot Bed Press, Islington Mill, Paradise Works, and Redeye, The Photography Network.

Director and Artistic Director of Castlefield Gallery, Helen Wewiora says:

We are delighted to welcome Adam, Megan, Lucy, Zan and Maggie to the 2023/24 Graduate Scholars programme. We can’t wait to start working with everyone. The standard of applications this year was particularly high. I know all those involved from across the Graduate Scholars programme partnership will agree that it was really tough deciding on the final awards. As the programme enters its 10th year it is really exciting to know we’ll be working with such a talented and committed group of practitioners and we look forward to another 10 successful years of the working with Salford Scholars!

In Autumn 2023 we also celebrate the 10th year of the Graduate Scholarship scheme. Over 50 graduates have taken part in the scheme since it began, from across the School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology.  Throughout the year we will reflect on and celebrate some of our scholars stories, journeys and successes – watch this space for more announcements soon!

Adam Rawlinson, It’s Nice to Be Alive, 2023. Courtesy the artist.
Zan Atkinson, A Castle in the Air, 2023. Courtesy the artist.
Megan Brierly, Blue Figure 3, 2023. Courtesy the artist.
Lucy Claire, Distorted Beauty, 2023. Courtesy the artist.
Maggie Stick, Untitled, 2023. Courtesy the artist.

The Graduate Scholarship Programme is run annually alongside Castlefield Gallery, with support from our studio partners Hot Bed Press, Islington Mill and Paradise Works, and Redeye the Photography Network. 

In The Studio: Graduate Scholar Jeffrey Knopf

With applications for the 22/23 Graduate Scholarship Programme now open (delivered in partnership with Castlefield Gallery) this month Graduate Associate Rowan Pritchard spoke with current graduate scholar Jeffrey Knopf. Graduating from MA Contemporary Fine Art in 2021, Knopf was awarded a studio space at Paradise Works here in Salford as part of a bespoke scholarship. We caught up with him at his studio for our ongoing ‘In the Studio’ feature.  

Hi Jeffrey, first of all, can you tell us a little about your creative practice?

My current practice involves the use of 3D scanning and printing technology. The end product being printed sculptures / components which I then juxtapose and balance with handmade and found items, to form new dialogues that question the human condition, fragility, loss, death and mental health. I am especially interested in the concepts of defamiliarisation and making the known become something other than what we recognise. 

Jeffrey Knopf in the studio, photography by Helen Mary.

As a 2021 graduate of the MA Contemporary Fine Art course, you were the recipient of the single MA graduate scholarship awarded. How have you found the scholarship programme so far?

The scholarship programme so far has been really good, I have had some really good one to one coaching sessions with Jo Clements as well as sessions with Matthew Pendergast, Deputy Director and curator at Castlefield Gallery.

A standout moment for me was being able to be part of Paradise Works open studio weekend. This was important as it gave me a chance to properly curate and showcase my work in my studio and to see some of my sculptures all set up together for the first time. I also really got a lot from the studio visits, seeing other scholars’ work practices and getting feedback on my own work, it gave me a lot to think about and ideas to put into action.

Even though the programme is nearing an end we still have a lot more to do including the mentor part of the programme which I am especially looking forward to. All I can say is that at this point I have gained a lot out of the experience so far.

Work in Jeffrey Knopf’s studio at Paradise Works, 2021-22. Image courtesy the artist.

And over the course of the programme so far, how do you feel your work has developed?

My work is constantly developing as I’m always striving to learn new skills and push it further but thanks to the studio space in Paradise Works I am able try out new ideas. I have to say that after Christmas I felt totally deflated and lost with what I was doing, I then had one of those light bulb moments where quite a few things slipped in to place and I’m excited to see what comes next.

Details of work in wood and plastic, Jeffrey Knopf, 2021-22. Photography by Helen Mary.

That’s great to hear! We’re excited to see what comes next too – Are you working on anything at the moment?

I’m currently working towards an exhibition with the ceramic artist Angela Tait at the Gallery Frank Littleborough in October. I am also embarking on a collaboration with the artist Alan Baker based on the idea of traps.

Display of Knopf’s recent work in the studio, 2021-22. Photography by Helen Mary.

As part of the scholarship programme, the collection will be acquiring some of your work. What does it mean to you to have your work in the University Art Collection?

From the start this has been really important to me, it’s up there with me getting a distinction for my MA, it feels like after 30 years of being an artist I have finally arrived. A piece of my work will be in a recognised collection.  

And have you thought at all about what you might want that piece to be? And how this might represent your practice?  

I have thought about this quite a bit since starting the project, the problem is I’m always producing work. I would like to work with the University of Salford Art Collection in the choosing of a piece or a collection of pieces of my work. I see this as a kind of snapshot moment, I want it to be representative of where I am at this point in my artistic career / journey.

Work in wood, brick, brass, pewter, and plastic, 2021-22. Photography by Helen Mary.

Finally, with applications for the 2022/23 Graduate Scholarship Programme now open, do you have any advice for students who might be thinking of applying?  

My main answer is apply, as you have to be in it to win it, but what a great opportunity to be a part of! 

I very nearly did not apply, and now I’m so glad I did. I have to say as with all things in life you really only get out of it what you put in. I know for many it is hard to juggle art and work life, but this really is an exception, you may never get another chance to take part in something like this. Each part of this program is carefully thought out by the team of people involved to help you as a graduate artist to gain the confidence, skills, and the contacts to progress further in your artistic journey post university.  

I think you can tell from this I am really grateful to have been given the chance to be part of this, so I would like to take the opportunity here to say thank you to all those involved. 

Jeffrey Knopf in the studio, photography by Helen Mary.

Jeffrey Knopf’s art practice is interested in the past, present, and future, a scattering of forgotten memories and discarded components; these are then offset with scanned and 3D printed artifacts from museum collections. He is an artist interested in the creation of objects, and has exhibited work here in the UK, Switzerland, and the USA. During the past few years, he has moved away from the traditional way of working by sketching and designing a piece to something more intuitive in line with play and discovery.  

The sculptures / assemblages serve as reminders of fallen empires, the fragments of which are found online or scanned directly from museum collections, to be taken apart and reassembled to create new forms and dialogues. Balanced and teetering on the edge of collapse, the sculptures/ assemblages are a metaphor for how fragile the interaction of technology, humans and the world is, reminding us to slow down and take stock of what we have in front of us and what can be lost over time. / @jeffrey_knopf

Applications are now open for the 2022/23 Graduate Scholarship Programme.
Deadline 9.00am Monday 23rd May 2022
Click here for all the information and how to apply.

2022 Graduate Scholarship Programme: Now open for applications 

  • Up to £1000 cash 
  • Studio space for up to 12 months 
  • Mentor support, coaching, and guidance 
  • Professional development opportunities 
  • Opportunity to have work permanently acquired into the University of Salford Art Collection 

The Graduate Scholarship Programme, now in its eighth year, is open for applications for the 2022 cohort. 

The 12-month scheme, managed by the University of Salford Art Collection in collaboration with Castlefield Gallery, supports artists in the crucial first year after graduation – providing time, space, and resources to continue developing a professional contemporary practice. 

The bespoke programme includes: studio space in Salford with one of our partners: Hot Bed Press, Islington Mill, Paradise Works, support from Redeye, The Photography Network – alongside mentoring and cash for materials, travel, or other costs. 


The scheme is only open to University of Salford final year undergraduates from the School of Arts and Media (who are due to graduate or complete their studies in July 2022) – plus there will be a maximum of one scholarship open to an MA graduate (due to graduate or complete in September 2022). 

Please note: some details of the scheme are subject to changes in COVID-19 restrictions. Full guidance is included on the application form (below). 

Read more about the scheme here, and find out more about our previous scholars here

Deadline 9.00am Monday 23rd May 2022
To apply: Send in your completed application form, plus your CV (up to 2 pages) and image, video or sound files of your work (up to 4 files).
Full details & contact info in the application form:
Click here to download: 2022 Application form

Please contact for any issues or questions.

In The Studio: Babs Smith

Each month, we will be catching up with artists we’ve been working with. This month, we catch up with Babs Smith, who was part of our 2020/21 Graduate Scholars Programme.

Hi Babs. Firstly, can you tell us a bit about your practice?

I am concerned with the translation of visceral human experiences as a means of understanding and learning from each other’s perspective. What does each subject reveal as it is explored in a different medium? Ideas form an object imbued with time, life, and emotion, our physical response to sound questioning – how does this manifest and translate to inform and deepen our understanding of seeing the unseen? 
The medium is dictated by ideas in an on-line/offline process including VR print and 3d Perspex. Collaboration with artists cross disciplinary is key, questioning assumptions, deepening research opportunities, and facilitating thinking through making. 

Babs Smith, Signs of Life (2020)

You were selected to be one of 6 Graduate Scholars for 2020/21. How has this programme been for you? What reflections do you have on your time on the programme, now that it’s coming to a close?

The scheme has provided a professional network of artists and curators, working in collaboration on and off the course has been both enriching and challenging, Co-Art provides a demanding environment where both artists explore new territory whilst combining skills and knowledge. No two collaborations are the same. 

Understanding institutions and galleries as an extension of my work and that curating is an art, has meant I’ve looked at the outcome differently. 

I bought VR kit, and a PC, as a way of working without limitations during lockdown, this provided an infinite studio and a new way of making in 3d this was both rewarding and challenging and is a permanent resource in my practice. 

Babs Smith, Let That Sink In, (2020). Charcoal and Watercolour. A drawing made in lockdown that expresses the frustrations of isolation.

As part of the programme, the University will be acquiring some of your work. Have you thought about what you want to give to the collection, and how this might represent your practice? What does it mean to you to have your work in a collection?

I am proposing a piece of work made in VR painting, exhibited in Augmented Reality. It explores the Anthropocene visualizing sound as man’s footprint on the earth. The work is a Co-Art, WIP piece made with a local musician. 

This represents my practice, my love of movement, technology in art and collaboration. Having this work in the collection means a lot to me personally as I am fond of Salford, it has been my second home for 4 years. Also, the experience of curating and maintaining this type of work will benefit my practice and provide a firm ground for future works. 

Babs Smith, The Sky is Not The Limit, Virtual Reality Video, Tiltbrush and AI software, 2021

How has your work developed over the last 12 months? What are you currently working on / researching, etc.? What’s next for you?

Talking to Mentors and Councilors helped me to understand that my practice was driven by ideas and not process alone, an important revelation for me. Discussing my work with curators has helped me to focus on outcomes such as increasing the scale of my work.  

I am completing a commission for Smart DCC, a company that manages data from smart meters. The sculpture uses a Starling murmuration as a metaphor for the expansion and contraction of energy in the UK, made in Dichroic Perspex.  

Applying for funding is a priority and, with my mentor, developing my practice as a professional artist.

Babs Smith is an Artist based at Ebor Studios, Littleborough. She was the winner of a Graduate Scholarship on the University of Salford Art Collection Graduate Scholarship Scheme in conjunction with Castlefield Gallery Manchester. She was Winner of the People’s Choice Award at Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival. She was selected for the Neo Print Prize and the Salford Open in 2018 and has been recently nominated for a Create Art & Design Award UOS. Babs has shown work alongside the Acquired Exhibition at Salford Museum & Art Gallery and in the Superlative Artistry of Japan where her work is currently housed at Salford Museum. Her work is in the Salford Museum and Art Gallery Collection and the Salford Universities Collection. Babs has undertaken a number of public commissions and has her work housed at the National Outdoor Centre, North Wales and the Autism and Criminal Justice System, Salford. She is currently developing projects with DCC Data in Manchester and Manchester based musician Holly Phelps. @babssmithart

Announcing: our 2021 Graduate Scholars

Castlefield Gallery and the University of Salford Art Collection are delighted to announce the new cohort for our annual Graduate Scholarship Programme. 

This year, following a very competitive application process, we have awarded scholarships to five students from the Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology: Katie Aird, BA (Hons) Photography; Daniel Callan, BA (Hons) Fine Art; Jeffrey Knopf, MA Contemporary Fine Art; Henna Mahmood, BA (Hons) Fine Art, and Sara Rawat, BA (Hons) Fine Art.

The Graduate Scholarship Programme is run by the University of Salford Art Collection in collaboration with Castlefield Gallery, and with the support of our local industry partners Hotbed Press, Islington Mill, Paradise Works and Redeye, The Photography Network. It provides a bespoke programme of professional development and real world experiences for a small number of students in the first year after graduation, with one place also offered to an MA student. 

Each artist will receive support tailored to their individual needs and aspirations by Castlefield Gallery including: a 12 month programme of coaching, mentoring, professional development sessions, local and national trips and honorary 12 month membership of Castlefield Gallery Associates, providing further opportunities for professional development and training, plus a bursary of £1,000 to spend on materials or travel; studio space or place on a programme with one of our industry partners; Hot Bed Press, Islington Mill, Paradise Works, and Redeye, The Photography Network.    

Founder of the programme, and Curator of the University Art Collection, Lindsay Taylor says:

“As we enter the 8th year of the programme, the competition for places was harder than ever. We had some exceptional applications, and I am confident that the successful candidates will make the best use of opportunities offered to them in the year ahead.  Despite the challenges of the last year, the determination, ambition and hard work of our students, and the university staff who taught them has shone through”.

 Director and Artistic Director of Castlefield Gallery, Helen Wewiora says:

“It’s a pleasure to support the University of Salford School of Arts and Media graduates through the scheme. We understand all too well what a difference a programme like Salford Scholars can make to graduates in that important first year out. It is inspiring to see how many of the ‘scholars’ establish themselves as professional practitioners, becoming part of and contributing to artist and creative communities in the city of Salford, the region and beyond.

“Despite the challenges of 2020, the Scholars selected last year demonstrated exceptional promise. We are super excited to see what this new cohort can achieve and are very much looking forward to working with Katie, Daniel, Jeffrey, Henna, and Sara, and once again the University of Salford Art Collection, Hot Bed Press, Islington Mill, Paradise Works and Redeye, The Photography Network.”   

Spring micro-commission #5: Mollie Balshaw

click the arrows icon in the bottom right to view fullscreen.

Seven Days in Summer “Starting” (2020)
Mollie Balshaw
digital video, 7m 42s

Part of our Salford SPRING Micro-commissions programme, which invites artists from the region to respond to works in our Collection. Find out more & view other works here.

Mollie Balshaw is a Manchester based artist and curator; graduate of the School of Arts and Media (BA Fine Art, 2019) and recent participant in our Graduate Scholarship programme (2019/2020).

Their practice explores non-binary gender, and gender fluidity, mainly through contemporary abstract painting. In this micro-commission, they have responded to notions around ‘flux’ and ‘process’ in the work of Manchester-based artist Darren Nixon.

Working from the Warrington New Art Space (a scheme ran by Castlefield Gallery), Balshaw has recorded themself painting in the studio, revealing the ‘performance’ behind painting: usually a personal, private and intuitive process. This video forms the beginning of a new body of work:

“…I usually record my process in a very private way for my own reference only, but I am keen to break that habit for the first time in this new piece, and demystify some of the spontaneity and nuance of painting in process.

NAS Warrington is an extremely interesting space, it was a perfect spot for this commission with its long stretches of empty walls and almost complete isolation from anybody else. Fitting for the current circumstances. I am really excited to continue working in there.

“I’ve really enjoyed working on this micro-commission – and it’s going to develop to be a much larger project from this starting point which I’m excited about!”


Talking about their inspiration from Nixon’s, work Mollie adds:

“I’ve been really fortunate to have some mentorship from Darren Nixon this year [as part of the Graduate Scholarship scheme], and it’s been so valuable to share ideas with someone who gets where I’m coming from with painting, and understands what I’m looking to achieve. He has a lot of experience I’m keen to learn from and it was a real pleasure to create a piece in response to his work in the Collection, which is one of my favourites.” 

stills from video, 2020

Darren Nixon was originally commissioned by the Collection in 2015/2016 through Mark Devereux Projects Studiobook scheme. The Awkward Ambassador, a large painted sculptural installation, exists in three different forms each with multiple painted components, which can be assembled differently on each display of the work. Rather than a ‘fixed’ object, the work takes a shifting and restless existence – presented differently whether in storage, on display, or on external loan. These three forms or ‘personas’ of the work, titled The Intern (when in storage) The Mixer (when on display) and The Awkward Ambassador (when on loan) reflect on the work’s changing relationship with the people and environments around it.

Nixon’s recent practice continues to explore movement and process, combining his painted installations with performance and video based collaborations.

Painted pieces of wood attached to a wall, with some pieces protruding from the wall.
Darren Nixon, The Awkward Ambassador, 2016. Paint on wood. Photograph Arthur Siuksta.

Mollie Balshaw is a graduate of the School of Arts and Media (BA Fine Art, 2019) and current participant in our Graduate Scholars programme.

They explore painting with an expanded field: exploring the painting as an ‘object rather than an image’, and challenging the restrictive structures often associated with painting practice. Identifying as non-binary, their work attempts to be a mediator within the masculine/feminine traditions and tropes in the history of painting.

Exhibitions include the Neo Art Prize 2019 at Bolton Museum and Art Gallery and Material Concerns at PAPER Gallery. Currently they are undertaking a year of study with the School of the Damned Class of 2020.

Balshaw is also co-director of Short Supply, an artist-led curatorial collective established to generate opportunities and events for artists in the North West. Exhibitions in 2020 include Queer Contemporaries, supported by Superbia and Manchester Pride.

Spring micro-commission #2: Jesse Glazzard

‘Unexpected Salford’ (2020)
Jesse Glazzard
Digital zine

Click here, or on the image below, to view the zine full screen.

Jesse Glazzard is an artist originally from West Yorkshire. His work deals with class, sexuality and gender politics; in an intimate reflection of the LGBT+ community.

He graduated from BA Fashion Image Making and Styling at the University of Salford in 2018. After taking part in our Graduate Scholarship scheme, he has gone on to a successful photographic practice – with clients including Vice, Dazed, and i-D magazines.

For this micro-commission, Jesse has revisited and reflected on his own body of photographic work made in 2018:

“The work aims to look back on how Salford changed my life, and how the struggles were over come from a present version of myself…this work gives me time to really reconnect with a place that pushed me to be where I am today.
“It felt good to feel completely free in this commission – often it’s hard for this to happen. I felt like I spoke some of my truths and my memories from Salford.”

Part of our Salford SPRING Micro-commissions programme, find out more & view other works here.

Read more about Glazzard’s work in our collection: LGBT+ Letters

Jesse Glazzard: LGBT+ Letters

Year: 2018-19
Medium: Film photography
Dimensions: variable
Brief biography: b. 1993, Halifax. Currently lives & works in London

Jesse Glazzard is an artist from West Yorkshire. His work deals with class, sexuality and gender politics; in an intimate reflection of the “LGBT+ community and way beyond that”.

In 2017, he founded Moist Collective, a space for queer womxn and non-binary artists to show their work. Up until now, he has focused on film photography and self-portraiture – in December 2019 he put on Porridge, an intimate exhibition of self-portraits taken with his girlfriend Nora Nord.

Glazzard graduated from BA Fashion Image Making and Styling at the University of Salford in 2018. After taking part in our Graduate Scholarship scheme, he has gone on to a successful photographic practice – with clients including Vice, Dazed, and i-D magazines.

The LGBT+ Letters series


Artist Statement:
Jesse’s own coming-out at secondary school was fraught with the fear, and harsh reality, of violent backlash. But it was also hampered by what Glazzard saw as a complete lack of queer visibility. He had simply no experience of how to become queer. Glazzard’s first cultural experience of queer romance was of a single ‘chaste, lesbian kiss’ on the popular soap opera EastEnders at the age of 9.

While LGBTQI representation in popular culture has improved, Glazzard describes still seeing many stale stereotypes, which this photographic work seeks to rectify. LGBT+ Letters is an attempt at providing, through portraits and texts, queer aesthetics for people who find themselves without meaningful representation in the world. In the photography series, Glazzard demonstrates a lack of self-indulgence rather a strong belief in accommodating to his subjects’ individualities, and ultimately to build trust, capture intimacy, educate and inform.

Selected images:

an artists photograph of a person who identifies as queer. The person has medium length red hair, a black tshirt, and they are holding a blonde wig. They are looking calmly towards the camera. They are stood outdoors.

Jesse Glazzard, Blake, (2018-2019). Film photograph

Part of an artwork.This is a handwritten note on paper which discusses community and belonging. The note ends with: ""Something as little as seeing someone who looks like me or shares similar experiences can be the most validating and beautiful thing"

Jesse Glazzard, Blake, (2018-19). Photograph