Adam Stead: an MFA with an international focus
By taking advantage of all the opportunities on offer at Reading School of Art, Adam Stead has broadened his creative understanding, developed key professional skills and built an impressive network of peers and professionals.
Growing up in rural Devon, Adam has always been interested in agriculture and how it connects with the rural and urban worlds, and this early influence has been present in his work ever since.
Adam's most recent piece "More Cow Power" highlights the importance agriculture holds in blending the industrial world with nature, and consequently the role his art can play in helping bridge this gap.
Throughout school, Adam was supported and encouraged to think "beyond the classroom" and to consider the role art plays in social contexts but it was his time at Reading School of Art that furthered these ambitions and helped him realise his potential, abroad and in the UK.
"For me, the most important part of this MFA is its international scope. There has been a whole range of opportunities where we have had the chance to go abroad and learn from other people."
Joining the University as an undergraduate student, Adam was inspired to make the most of Reading School of Art's extensive international links and opportunities to travel abroad; he credits the study exchange project with Wuhan in China as a stand-out memory of his MFA.
"Our partnership in Wuhan has allowed me the chance to step back and follow a different set of influencers, a different way of thinking. I learnt to work with architects and people from other backgrounds, cultures and professions. That is a really important thing to do as an artist."
During the exchange programme, Adam built upon not only his own artistic abilities but an understanding for the way traditional Chinese art was crafted – a mimetic form of art that differs from the more Western ideas of conceptualisation. These newly found ideas and styles have helped inform Adam's core working practice of sculpture ever since.
"As artists, we are always trying to challenge the conventions of society so it is always helpful if you can first understand what these conventions and their cultural contexts are. My MFA has given me the opportunity to do just that."
Throughout his MFA, and in addition to broadening his understanding of Art, Adam has developed key professional and international skills required to succeed as an artist. He also took advantage of all the opportunities on offer and built an impressive network of peers and professionals.
"My MFA at Reading has not only taught me to be an aspiring artist, but also how to be a professional practitioner ready for the demands of the industry."
Adam attributes his skills to his time at Reading School of Art: trips to Ireland and Scotland supporting staff with research projects helped him enhance his profile as an artist; taking part in symposiums and writing proposals helped Adam build his confidence in communicating the theory behind his work; and working within a cohesive environment helped him to engage with colleagues from across the world.
Since graduating, Adam has been involved in various projects and exhibitions across the UK, and plans to be part of many further residencies in the near future. He credits his confidence to the support and dedication of the staff at Reading School of Art.
"The support I have received her since starting my MFA has been pastoral, academic and skills-based. The staff here have supported me 100% regardless of the decisions I have chosen to make as an artist."
To view more of Adam's work, please visit his website: www.adamstead.co.uk