Art, design, photography and media students based at our Bexley Campus were treated to an afternoon of inspiration and insight this week when the contemporary artist, Eloise Hawser paid them a visit.

The London-based sculptor is currently working with Somerset House on a Young People’s Programme aiming to open up creative skills and career development within the arts. She came along with Learning Programme Manager, Annette Richardson to promote a series of creative workshops open to young people during February.

Eloise has exhibited extensively in the UK and internationally. Her first UK solo exhibition entitled ‘Lives on a Wire’ was presented at the ICA gallery in 2015 and she has gone on to exhibit her work at the Tate Britain as well as the New Museum in New York and the Fearnley Museum in Oslo, Norway. Her resident show at Somerset House is described as an exploration of emotional resonances in the architectural, mechanical and electrical infrastructure that supports our lives and bodies.

Her seminar and workshop encouraged students to look at objects and images in a different way; not to simply judge them on aesthetic qualities alone, but also to analyse and decode. She used a security X-ray of an HGV truck that had been used to smuggle illegal cargo into the UK through a border crossing. Eloise then invited the students to look closely at the image and decipher where the illegal packages were located in the vehicle; where hidden doors and containers had been placed to hide the cargo. She then asked the students to build up a bigger picture and scrutinize the circumstances that may have led to the items being on board the lorry.

Students were split into groups and set a task to choose single objects around them, to look in detail at the object and build up a story around it. The story could contain truths as well as untruths, scenarios and plots that lead to certain outcomes. This was a great opportunity for the students to really engage, use their creativity and inventiveness.

Eloise said: “The students were very imaginative and seemed to have fun today. They fully absorbed the objectives of the task and achieved some great results.”

Photography student, Alex was first to submit his application for the February workshops at Somerset House. He said: “I really enjoyed Eloise’s visit today. She has made me aware of how we look at things and inspired me to look deeper and be more perceptive about how different objects can affect our lives. I think I could learn a lot more from her.”

Somerset House’s February workshops has twenty spaces available to students and will take place within its arts hub in central London.


More about Eloise Hawser:

Eloise Hawser at Somerset House

Eloise Hawser: Lives on a Wire


If you think you have what it takes to become a professional artist or build a successful career in the creative media industries, we’d like to hear from you. We have a great range of courses to get you started. Come along to one of our open events during February and March. Click here to learn more.

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