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Bryan Parsons

Subject Leader - Art

Bryan Parsons is an artist and teacher who has engaged in a number of interdisciplinary projects.

For 20 years he has developed his creative practice to encompass painting, screen printing, performance, video, interventions and installation work; many of these projects have also involved explorations into educational models and ways of rethinking structures that frame artistic production and development.

In the role of Subject Leader for Pre-Degree Art and Design at Plymouth College of Art, Bryan engages with our students to develop their creative potential. He works closely with our teaching team to create an exciting curriculum that provides students with the opportunity and support to develop their existing skills but also to broaden their experience in a diverse range of art practices. He promotes learning through making, while at the same time, promoting discursive practice to help develop resilient autonomous learners. He oversees the development of the course and it’s management as we look to respond to continuously evolving challenges, finding a way to work through them together.

In the last 10 years, Bryan has worked as an Art and Media Teacher, specialising in conceptual and contextual development, as well as improving independent learning and critical thinking skills. Bryan has worked as part of a number of collaborative groups since 2003, including Sunday League, Fiveplustwo and Measure by Measure, as well as taking part in other collective shows and events. Much of his work is concerned with the processes involved in artistic production, whether this is related to the development of ideas and concepts or engaged in research and learning to enable the fulfilment of the idea. He draws connections between the process of creating artistic responses and engaging with educational models, revealing that learning and creativity often need to expand beyond the restrictions of the institutions that frame the activity.

Bryan received his BA (Hons) in Fine Art Painting from Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education in 2001. He then spent a summer working at the Cypress School of Art in Paphos, Cypress before spending a gap year working, researching and generating ideas; after which he studied at The Slade School of Fine Art, UCL between 2002 and 2004.

During his time at the Slade he began working with Eddie Farrell, Corinna Till, Gil Pasternak, Emma Hart and Graham Hayward where he developed an interest in discursive practice and collaboration built into a shared desire to challenge the principles behind the grading of Fine Art work in the context of a course and exhibition context. The outcome of this approach was to produce a collaborative combined Final Exhibition where numerous undefined and unlabelled collaborations occupied a singular exhibition space. Meetings, discussions and events were given the same value as videos, prints and projections and a working space evolved over the full duration of the final show. While this may have created some difficult discussions with the assessment panel, the Group was awarded the Adrian Caruthers Memorial Award.

The group went on to take part in a number of successful events which led to their AHRB funded application as part of East International 2005. The group set up exhibitions and events with larger collectives, amongst these were the Day of Damage Goods Event at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, 2005, a series of Sunday League performance events around London and the opportunity to be part of Eddie Farrell and Michael Wedgwood's Shytstem Project.

Bryan’s focus of exploring education through artistic practice continued as part of a group called Fiveplustwo; Bryan Parsons, Eddie Farrell, Michael Wedgwood, Natalia Charogianni, Patrick Loan and Graham Hayward were invited by Bruce McLean and Will McLean to explore educational and artistic responses to their design for a new primary school in Dalry, Ayrshire. Work from this project was included in the Process of Living exhibition, City Gallery, Leicester, 2008 and to accompany this Bryan Parsons, Natalia Charogianni and Patrick Loan created the School on Paper workshop installation under the group name MeasurebyMeasure.

​In 2008, Bryan trained as a teacher at the Institute of Education and worked as an Art and Media Teacher at BSIX Sixth Form College, London until 2019. In 2013 Bryan completed an MTEACH for the Post Compulsory Sector with the Institute of Education and passed with Distinction. His research project entitled, ‘Teaching and Learning Strategies: Developing Autonomous Critical Practitioners in Art and Design’, was the beginning of an ongoing interest in student centred independent learning and he has successfully applied many of his ideas to programmes across Art and Media courses from Level 2 to Level 4.

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