What is the impact of contemporary artists in society?

This is a Art Subject Spotlight with Dr Suzy O’Hara from the University of Sunderland. An interactive, cinematic course taster experience to allow students to gain insights into what it's like to study Art.

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In this thought-provoking Subject Spotlight, Dr Suzy O’Hara presents: What is the role of the artist in the wider world? Suzy begins by defining fine art, considering the history of fine art, and discussing the power of fine art in society. She goes on to consider the relationship between fine art and technology, picks out those names that have been fine art pioneers, and discusses our social awareness of artistic contributions and their impact on society. In episode 3, Suzy focuses on building awareness through art, introduces what the Sea Scapes Collab is, and explains the positive impact of the programme. To conclude the Spotlight, Suzy thinks broadly about the artist and their artistic intentions, presents a brilliant activity in which you get in touch with your surroundings and consider what it means, and explores what the role of a fine artist is in a crisis.

About University of Sunderland

The University of Sunderland is a top 50 UK university (Guardian University Guide 2024) and a global institution which offers life-changing opportunities for over 20,000 students across its four campuses in Sunderland, London and Hong Kong. With over 300 undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses, placement opportunities and the option to study full or part-time, there’s something for everyone at Sunderland. The University of Sunderland has also received five stars for teaching, inclusiveness, employability and facilities in the QS World University Rankings 2023 and is in the top 10 UK universities for social inclusion (The Times Good University Guide 2024).

Meet the academics

Dr Suzy O’Hara

Dr Suzy O’Hara is a Lecturer in Digital Arts and Enterprise in the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries at the University of Sunderland. Suzy is a curator, educator and practice-led researcher exploring emerging models of cross-sector collaboration between Art, Innovation and Society. Suzy’s research explores critical and interdisciplinary modes of art-making that challenge perceived distinctions between sites of artistic, economic and knowledge production by brokering new, direct ways of working between them. Thereby Suzy reframes traditional understandings of the creative processes, research and outputs generated by art-making as central to securing social, economic and environmental justice within society. She is co-founder and research lead for Co/Lab Sunderland, an arts-led research platform designed to broker connections between diverse ecologies of knowledge and practice between researchers, cross-sector partners and stakeholders, and diverse local communities to drive creative innovation. Her research-led curatorial projects facilitate interdisciplinary contexts that foreground creative experimentation, knowledge generation, and collaborative creative production that generate outcomes that have societal value and positive impact in the world. In her current position as Lecturer in Digital Arts and Enterprise in the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries, Suzy designs, delivers, and assesses the Collaborative Creativity module across Artist, Designer, Maker (Glass & Ceramics), Fine Art, and Photography, Video and Digital Imaging), is module lead for the Dissertation and Application module (Fine Art) and co-teaches within the Fine Art Methodologies module and the MA Visual Practice. She also supervises PhDs by practice-led research and by existent publication or creative works.

In every Subject Spotlight you'll find

On-demand interactive video content

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Remarkable & relatable academics

Learn from some of the UK's finest and most decorated academics as they give you a genuine, insightful, and engaging experience of studying their courses at their universities.

Interactive quizzes and activities

Have a go at fascinating interactive quizzes and activities, then get meaningful and intuitive feedback from the academics to see how you've done.

Content to enhance students university applications

Hear direct from the academics what's expected of you in your university application, and the things you can do to improve your chances of getting on the course you most desire!

Certificate of completion

You'll receive a certificate of completion to evidence your learning - why not add this to your CV and university applications to show your dedication to your future pathway!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Subject Spotlight?

Subject Spotlights fuse education and entertainment to bring you the new way of researching your university options.

Entirely free and available on-demand, you can choose to engage with the content in the way that best suits you - whether that's in bite-sized chunks or in binge-sessions!

Why should I check out Subject Spotlights?

Get a real, representative impression of what pursuing a subject at university is actually like, so that you can make the right decision for you.

Stand out from the competition by completing a Subject Spotlight to gain the most relevant references and evidence for your personal statement.

Who is this Spotlight for?

This subject spotlight is made for students aged 16 and above, that are considering applying to University, particularly to study the subject in the title, or similar areas.

How should I talk about completing a Subject Spotlight on my UCAS application?

Completing a Subject Spotlight shows the university you're applying to that you've taken time outside of school to engage with relevant content.

The easiest way to include it would be to briefly mention one or two things you learned from it and how/why those learnings have furthered your desire to study the subject. We don't want to prescribe an answer because it's your personal statement but this is a good starting point!