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Showcasing creative talent at Teesside University

09 May 2024


A creative Teesside University student is combining art with wellness as part of her degree project which can be seen in a celebration of artistic work by School of Arts & Creative Industries students.

Fine art student Lisa Sopekan, whose work can be seen in the Emerging Talent degree showcase
Fine art student Lisa Sopekan, whose work can be seen in the Emerging Talent degree showcase

Lisa Sopekan’s work, Mental Mass, an installation combining painting, sculpture and textiles, was created as part of her BA (Hons) Fine Art. It will be exhibited alongside work by students from disciplines across the academic school during this year’s Emerging Talent degree show.

“During the pandemic, I started to reconnect with my creative side and began to make things, and the more I made and created, the more I realised the positive impact it can have on mental health,” said Lisa.

“I am passionate about art in the context of health and wellbeing, both for the maker and the observer. I used slow and repetitive methods of making, such as hooking, knotting, wrapping, and binding, as I researched into the impact of manual work on the brain and the link between the hands, brain and wellbeing.

“The meditative, rhythmic and repetitive actions of wrapping, binding, hooking and knotting have become an integral part of my work.”

Lisa, who started the degree after changing career direction, said: “Having spent many years working in a routine office environment and feeling unfulfilled, the move towards a career in art has been refreshing and fills me with excited anticipation for the future.

“I chose Fine Art as I have always had a creative side and enjoy painting and wanted to develop my skills and explore all elements of the degree. As a mum of two young children, I also needed to find a place to study which would be convenient for family life. I was impressed by the facilities on offer, along with the opportunities to develop my practice.

“I hope to continue to develop my practice as an artist, and work within the arts and health field as I am interested in the link between creativity and health and wellbeing,” added Lisa, who has also been selected as part of the A-N Class of 24 degree show publication, which showcases work by students from across the country.

Emerging Talent takes place from Monday 13 May to Friday 17 May at venues across the Teesside University campus, including Athena, Cook, Constantine Gallery, and Waterhouse.

There will also be exhibitions off campus. Work by photography students will be exhibited at Python Gallery, Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough, from 13 to 25 May.

External events include a screening by Film and Television Production students at Cineworld, Middlesbrough, at 6.00pm on Tuesday 14 May. Fashion students will exhibit their work at MIMA from 16 to 24 May, with a fashion show at Middlesbrough Town Hall Crypt on 15 May.

Dr Laura Sillars, Dean of the School of Arts & Creative Industries and MIMA Director, said: “Our students have excelled themselves once again with the quality of work produced for our Emerging Talent degree show, as they prepare to pursue careers in the creative industries.”

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