GRADCURATE is an Edinburgh-based grassroots platform for recent graduate artists to showcase their work, run by Sarah McLaughlin. Driven by her own experiences as a recent History of Art and Museum Studies graduate, the platform was set up to assist artists in navigating this increasingly difficult career stage.
Specifically, it seeks to support artists who find themselves stuck ‘in limbo’ between student and professional life – no longer having access to opportunities through their degree programme, while facing intense competition from established practitioners, and lacking the flexibility to gain further industry experience due to employment commitments and the need to earn a living – by:
• Inviting recent graduates to display work in group exhibitions, allowing gallery hire costs to be shared at an affordable rate;
• Undertaking all curatorial work and liaising with galleries on the artists’ behalf, minimising the time and effort required of them in the planning process;
• Allowing artists to keep 100% of profits made by taking no commission on sales;
• Promoting the artists’ work through its website and social media.
The first GRADCURATE exhibition took place at the Bloc Gallery in Edinburgh in March 2020 and was intended to be the first in a series of pop-up shows. However, less than a week after it finished, the UK went into lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
In response to challenges brought about by the pandemic, GRADCURATE significantly increased its online presence to deliver numerous virtual exhibitions, social media takeovers and features. This has allowed to platform to continue to support recent graduates living and working in Scotland, and also to extend that support to artists based internationally.