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The work of the students in this show represent two things: firstly, the way young people think today, caught in the isolation of lockdown. Secondly, it shows us the expressive visual language of the point each has reached in their journey into a career in Art and Design.

Today, we all know that art makes a difference to how we see the world. We look at art to understand how we live as people. We might go to the National Gallery to understand how society once shaped the world. We look at a show like this one to see how young people explain what is new and different in the world to them now.

At Lewes, students are given the opportunity to learn technical and traditional skills and then challenged to apply those skills to their own work in an original fashion.

On every course in the department, the emphasis is firmly placed on uncovering the individual student's original voice, rather than bringing them to some predetermined and pre-confirmed and confining format: there is no 'house style'.

The college wants its students to learn, explore and to grow by producing highly realised and ambitious work. The Lewes art teaching team wants its students to make work which is the product of the student's own identity. Again, it should be emphasised, there is no house style, there is no single preferred way of approaching a creative problem.

Students are given tools, skills and frameworks that they can use to solve problems, but they must find those solutions for themselves. Students are always supported to be true to themselves and their own creative potential. Skills and techniques are taught, originality is prized.

Giving students opportunities as the work in this exhibition shows, allows those students, much as it does the other visitors to the exhibition, to really get to grips with, and understand the quality of the work produced en route to an excellent course grade.

Getting an A grade in a subject is obviously important, however, producing original and exciting work to a very high level is also vital as a preparation for the future and for students to make sense of the present in order to help them realise their sense of self.

Andrew Williamson, Head of Creative Learning at Lewes College. Lewes College is part of the East Sussex College Group.

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