Great Britain

First a fire, now coronavirus - Blackburn students forced to find new venue for 2nd year running

UNLUCKY art students are having to reorganise their final degree exhibition show for the second year in a row.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, final-year fine art students from Blackburn College have been forced to find a new home to display their work.

This is the second time a crisis has scuppered their plans, as in 2019 their original exhibition venue, The Bureau Centre for the Arts, burned down in a devastating fire.

Blackburn student Michelle Elaine Ayres said: “Because of the coronavirus pandemic, we were facing not being able to have our final degree show and to get around this we had to readjust to the current climate.

“In order to go ahead with the exhibition and finish the course we decided as a group to have our exhibition online at

“This is an online exhibition forum where we can upload our artwork with the option to sell.

“From an artists' point of view, it enables us to get our work shown to a wider audience.”

Miss Ayres said even though the pandemic had affected everyone, her fellow students were keen to turn a bad situation into a positive.

She said: “There are exciting times ahead for the arts community in Blackburn, with major plans in place for a multi-million regeneration of a row of terraced properties along Blakey Moor.

“Our own artist and tutor Jamie Holman is heavily involved in art projects in Blackburn such as Paint the Town, The Festival of Making, Community Clothing, The Making Rooms, Super Slow Way and Flashback, and as Blackburn College fine art students, we are given the opportunity to get involved with these projects.”

Last year, the same group of students was forced to display its work in the college’s Victoria Building after The Bureau Centre for the Arts was ravaged by a fire in May.

At the time, Miss Ayres said: “We had an exhibition last year at The Bureau Centre for the Arts and it was a huge success, with the theme being The Great Austerity Debate.

“We were originally going to have this year's exhibition there too, but sadly, the Bureau burned down.

“So we had to find another exhibition space and the group decided on having it in our studio in the Victoria Building, Blackburn College.”

The final online exhibition launches today at

Readers can follow the students’ progress on Instagram at @bafadegree2020.

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