CFAP 99p Exhibition

CFAP 99p Exhibition Logo

An exhibition inspired by the bankruptcy of Woolworths

The ‘99p’ project was a week long exhibition led by the Level One Undergraduate students on Critical Fine Art Practice at Brighton University. This project gave the students the opportunity to design their own education though practice-based learning outside the curriculum. 

One of our main aims for the exhibition was to engage with a wide range of people and draw them into what we do in Critical Fine Art Practice and at Brighton University. The messages written by visitors in the exhibition guestbook demonstrate a variety of guests from all over the UK, the majority of which being passers-by who were intrigued by our concept. Examples of which are below:

Necessity is the mother of invention and this is the mother of inventiveness!

Very exciting exhibition! Great creativity and a rainbow of ideas

Really great idea with the 99p budget. Some impressive pieces and examples of pure talent

The idea for the exhibition was originally inspired by the bankruptcy of Woolworths at the beginning of 2009. We thought that the ‘99p’ concept would be perfect in an age where the monetary value of art has considerably exceeded its true value. The exhibition was in itself testament to the fact that art can transcend the restraints of the recession with a little innovation, as agreed by one of our visitors in the guestbook: “It’s wonderful to do something like this, creativity so often comes from limitations”. Furthermore, as students we felt it would be a vital learning curve for us to see how to actualise our creative ideas on a limited budget.

CFAP 99p Exhibition Interior
The CFAP 99p Exhibition

The exhibition was a great opportunity for us to discover our group dynamics and appreciate the individual skills within our collective. Certain students took hold of the marketing and promotion of the exhibition; from designing a poster and press release to creating a list of contacts in the art world for other students to email. Some put their knowledge of photography and film to use by documenting the process and editing the results. One student in particular unexpectedly took on the role of technician and overlooked all the maintenance and practical elements required for the show. The remaining students who were not as directly involved in the organisation of the show were assigned as helpers in the degree show of our Level Three Critical Fine Art Practice students, meaning that all students had a role of responsibility within an exhibition context.

The 99p exhibition extended our time on Critical Fine Art Practice as the preparation for the degree shows meant that we were unable to use our studio for the majority of the summer term. As a result of the exhibition we were able to work in the space as well as have a useful critique with Alex Templeton, CFAP Course Tutor, and Mike Tucker, Professor of Poetics.

The exhibition has given us invaluable skills for our future careers as artists: how to get hold of an exhibition space, how long it takes to organise such an event, how to apply for a grant, the importance of health and safety and how to finance an event. On a less practical note the exhibition was also a vehicle for us to be wholly responsible for the appearance of our work as outside of the safety net of the University we had to be our own curators, tutors and technicians. Funding from CETLD enabled us to make the best use of a venue which was in the spirit of the exhibition. Thank you CETLD for giving us the opportunity to put our practice into reality and be as proactive in our learning as we possibly can.