Callout for Emergency 2021: Aspex CCI Student Development Programme

The Emergency 2021 Student Development programme is an exciting development opportunity for students in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries (CCI).

What does it involve?

If selected, you'll learn about the inner-workings of a contemporary art space. This year, the programme will focus on Aspex’s Emergency exhibition, a group show presenting the work of 8 emerging artists, selected from an international open call. Over 300 emerging artists applied to exhibit in Emergency.

The programme will provide an understanding of the workings of an arts organisation, including curating, marketing, artist support and engagement. You'll then be able to create a personal response to the exhibition using your learning from the programme.  

The Emergency 2021 Student Development Programme has been developed by Aspex, Portsmouth’s leading contemporary art gallery and long-time supporter of emerging artists for almost 40 years, in partnership with CCI.

The programme is part of Aspex’s exciting programme of 40th anniversary celebrations, including group exhibition Emergency and a summer show by artist collective Keiken.

You can view highlights from the 2019 project.

What will I achieve by taking part?

Academic and theoretical learning combined with hands-on workplace experiences will put our Emergency 2021 Student Ambassadors newly acquired skills to the test. By the end of the programme, you'll be given the knowledge and experience essential to working within a creative environment.

You'll work and collaborate with various people, including staff, professional artists and designers, and members of the public. You'll learn how arts organisations work with artists: how they develop and promote programmes for audiences, and how learning programmes are delivered both at the gallery and offsite.

Skills that you develop on this programme will be valuable to your professional development and CV.

When does it take place?

February – March: Master classes led by Aspex staff

Starting Wednesday 3 February 2021

Each week, students will learn about a different aspect of working in a contemporary art gallery. The sessions will be split between theoretical and practical learning. The masterclasses will include creative programming (exhibitions and artists), learning and engagement, and digital marketing.

Students will then undertake a project task relating to Aspex’s Emergency 2021 exhibition.

June – September: Optional Workplace Experience

Students will be able to to extend their role as an Ambassador and work alongside Aspex staff members and freelance artists to support the delivery of our summer outreach programme, inspired by the summer exhibition from artist collective Keiken.

How do I apply?

Send a short expression of interest (150 words) – describing why you should be selected – to Denise Callender ( before Monday 4 January 2021.

Successful applicants will be contacted week commencing Monday 11 January 2021.

Students must attend a one-to-one session with Aspex staff on 20 or 27 January 2021 before starting the programme.

Previous student experience

Livy Nelson

Livy was a MA Illustration student and took part in the Student Development Programme in 2018, working alongside artists Jon Lockhart, Fern Toynton and Ming Wu. Livy supported the delivery of a range of activities, from talks to workshops with schools.

Following the completion of the project, Livy was asked to deliver the gallery’s regular workshops for families (Family Saturdays) and subsequently received the opportunity to lead activities at the Kids Arena, Victorious Festival the following year. During this time, Livy worked alongside 2019 Project Ambassadors, sharing her learnt skills and industry knowledge.

Being an Ambassador in 2018 really helped me gain valuable experience in the creative world. During this time, I became knowledgeable about how a gallery runs and networked with the amazing team members! This was an amazing experience that connected me with artists and the local community. Thank you to Aspex and the University for this opportunity.

Livy Nelson, MA Illustration alumna

Toni Atanasova

Toni joined the gallery’s Ambassador programme in 2017, working alongside artists – and University of Portsmouth graduates – Rhianatu Habib, Megan Humphries and Strong Island. Toni was studying BSc (Hons) Digital Media and wanted to gain hands-on experience in the creative industries.

Through the Student Development Programme, Toni worked closely with Marketing and Exhibitions departments to learn new expertise, supporting the delivery of two major exhibitions: one at Aspex and another at Victorious Festival.

Since undertaking the programme, Toni has completed an MA in Digital Visualisation and has been employed by the University of Portsmouth as a Research Assistant for PONToon, a 3-year INTERREG EU-funded project empowering women aged 18–35 with digital skills, of which Aspex is a key partner.