What is your name and role at Morley? How long have you been here?
My name’s Steve Wright and I’ve worked as a tutor in Painting and Drawing since 2012. I teach Advanced Painting Practice, beginners’ and intermediate drawing courses, and act as personal tutor for Morley’ Zsuzsi Roboz Art Scholars. I’d previously worked as an Administrator for Visual & Digital Arts, starting in 2009.
What made you choose to work at Morley?
Following my master’s degree at Newcastle University, I stayed in the North East for almost ten years. Working at Morley allowed me to return to London, where I was keen to explore new opportunities and feel more connected as an artist and educator. Morley’s ethos and extended community of people appealed to me, and still does today.
How have you used your previous experience to inspire your students?
Morley tutors are also practitioners and I bring a lot from my experience as an artist, sharing drawings, paintings, ideas and work in progress with students. I believe this helps them to understand visual arts practice as a continuum that they are a part of, rather than some elevated goal that may seem beyond their reach. Previous non-teaching roles have taught me useful organisational and technological skills that help me to run engaging and smooth-running classes. Above all, it’s the 30 years-or-so that I’ve spend learning to make and understand paintings and drawings that allows me to draw on a wealth of material to inspire my students.
What do you think is the most important thing to teach students for them to leave with?
The greatest thing we can do is leave students with increased confidence in their abilities. It’s been wonderful to see students progress from anxious beginners who haven’t drawn since schooldays to create beautiful and skilful drawings that far exceed their expectations. With this goes the understanding that achievement may be slow and challenging and that persistent, patient effort can make things possible.
What’s a future goal for you?
Making my own paintings and drawings is central to my teaching and I want to get more of my work out there, ideally including a solo exhibition in a year or two. Having achieved a major life goal in 2020, when my partner and I adopted a little boy, I am now re-addressing the balance so that my own practice isn’t neglected.
What do they personally like about the College?
Morley has given me a sense of being ‘at home’ that I’ve never felt quite so much in any other workplace. The College seems somehow to attract people who are both amazingly skilled and incredibly warm and generous. There’s an atmosphere of goodwill and a simmering buzz of activity that make a very appealing combination.
Why should someone choose Morley to study at rather than another college/provider/institute?
Morley offers a wonderful combination of excellent, challenging courses and a caring, warm-hearted nature that helps build long-lasting relationships as well as providing skills and facilities. I think we show that learning can be enjoyable and that excellent teaching is flexible and innovative. The curriculum is so broad that there ought to be something for everyone; when I was looking for a choir to join, I chose The Kenningtones at Morley because it offered a blend of friendliness and fun with challenging and inspiring content that I hadn’t been able to find elsewhere.
What industry links does the college have that benefit the students?
Morley tutors and Managers are experienced and well-connected in their fields. This allows us to generate exciting projects and exhibitions’, while our awareness of what’s going on in the art world helps us inspire students through recommendations for exhibitions and events that can feed their creativity and broaden their knowledge.
Where do students go on to after studying at Morley? (notable destinations?)
I teach courses from Drawing for Beginners to Advanced Painting Practice, also working with experienced artists on the Zsuzsi Roboz Scholarship programme. Any progression is good to see and I’m proud to have helped some students achieve their educational goals. Several students from Advanced Painting Practice have progressed to Morley’s Fine Art Mentoring Course. Others have completed postgraduate courses at City & Guilds, Wimbledon and Camberwell Colleges of Art. One of our Zsuzsi Roboz Scholars, Caroline Areskog Jones went on to graduate from the Royal College of Art and is currently engaged in numerous art projects.
What other skills does the college teach alongside the performing arts areas to assist with students’ careers?
I think Morley courses can teach skills way beyond the stated learning outcomes. Becoming a good visual artist is about technical skills but also an ability to experiment and innovate and to self-criticise in a positive way.
Do you want to further your painting skills? Join our Advanced Painting Practice course and develop a personal and contemporary approach to painting, whether figurative or abstract: https://www.morleycollege.ac.uk/courses/course/advanced-painting-practice/
The course focusses on studio practice, working from your own drawings, photographs, memories or imagination. . You will learn through self-directed painting, individual tutorials, technical demonstrations, lectures, gallery visits and group discussions.