UK Visual Arts Through a Lens by James Thomas

Guest post by James Thomas

Visual art in the UK is fast establishing itself as one of the most dynamic and interactive art disciplines. The art form itself explores a range of media types, such as ceramics, drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, design, crafts, photography, video, filmmaking and architecture. But in today’s digital world such art forms are now being transformed, re-shaped and reinvented within contemporary visual art.

Object and location are key to visual arts, transforming established art forms into works of art with greater depth and discovery. This is clearly demonstrated through a project entitled ‘Mute Meadow’ created by artist Claire Oboussier. Located in the former military base, Mute Meadow forms a striking visual extravaganza placed against the skyline of Derry, and marks the transition to a city rich in culture. To see more information on this project, visit


mute meadow- derry


Indeed, visual art has broken away from the four walls of interior spaces and traditional gallery locations and is now displayed almost anywhere. What’s more, the use of visual art has become an important move for the regeneration of public places and spaces across the UK. One location that has undergone this regeneration is Derry, Northern Ireland. Derry county council have developed and delivered five visual arts projects to help promote the awareness of issues surrounding the community and help enhance the local economy. By incorporating film, music and visual arts, Derry has boosted tourist numbers and has contributed to improvements throughout the city.

The growth of pop-up and stand alone gallery spaces across regions of the UK has brought art to the wider community and has even attracted international audiences to experience the very best of visual arts Britain has to offer.

The annual visual arts fairs and festivals in Britain are evidence of how far our country has come in this discipline. We are now fast approaching the festival season with Edinburgh and Brighton Fringe Festivals just around the corner.


What are the Visual Art Hubs of UK?


Whatever your taste is in the visual arts, the UK art scene has it all…

  • Brighton Fringe Festival runs from 04 May – 02 June, 2013. Stay at Travelodge’s Brighton hotel to discover this open access arts festival, considered to be one of the largest arts festivals in England. Taking place just over an hour outside London and set along the south coast of England, one of the festival’s main aims is to promote local talent. Performers also have the unique opportunity of having their act be reviewed by promoters, as well as being selected for Edinburgh.


  • Edinburgh Fringe Festival runs from 02 – 26 August, 2013. This festival is considered the world’s largest arts festival showcasing the best in visual and performance arts. Set in the historic Scottish capital of Edinburgh, the location itself offers an abundance of culture, architecture and is rich in visual arts. Stay in any one of Travelodge’s Edinburgh hotels to soak up all this lovely city has to offer. Edinburgh is compact making it the ideal destination for pedestrians.


  • Glasgow International Festival of Visual Arts, April-June 2014 (dates TBC). Stay at one of Travelodge’s Glasgow hotels to experience one of Britain’s boldest arts events. Indeed, last year’s festival showcased a wide range of art disciplines throughout the city and received rave reviews. This every-other-yearly affair is certainly one to watch if you are a visual arts’ fan. The city of Glasgow itself has much to offer from museums (The Riverside Museum) and its distinct Victorian architecture to a vibrant nightlife full of fantastic restaurants (check out Glasgow’s oldest surviving restaurant Rogano) and charming pubs each claiming to be Glasgow’s oldest.


These are just a few of the many arts festivals coming up this season. For more information on where to find an arts festival near you, click here and enjoy.


 James Thomas is a freelance artist who is working on developing his individual artistic practice by exploring the use of new technologies and projection and its placement alongside movement. His current practice investigates the transcendent qualities of the body and technologies through verbal and non-verbal communication and is built from multiple platforms, which includes site-specific performance, photography, installation/video art, live performance and live internet streaming.

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