Commission Welcomes Two US Artists to the University of Sunderland

Dry plasteringThe US-UK Fulbright Commission is very pleased to welcome Washington DC-based artists, Michael Janis and Tim Tate, to the University of Sunderland as Fulbright Specialists. This two and a half week visit is particularly apt for the US-UK Commission. Old Washington Hall, the ancestral home of President George Washington, is located near the city of Sunderland. Moreover, in 2006, Sunderland and Washington, DC became "sister cities", and created an official friendship agreement to encourage interaction and provide opportunities for the residents of these two locations. 

The University of Sunderland is home to the UK's National Glass Centre. This state-of-the-art facility is the largest glass centre in Europe. As artists who work in glass, this is an ideal place for Tate and Janis to carry out their Specialist project. Since the Washington-Sunderland friendship agreement of 2006, students and artists from the city of Sunderland, the University of Sunderland, and its arts organization Creative Cohesion, have participated in collaborative arts projects held in Washington, DC. Whilst there, visitors have worked with both Tate and Janis in their capacity as co-directors of the Washington Glass School.

Now, through the support of the Fulbright Commission and the US State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Janis and Tate have a chance to continue that collaboration and interaction in the UK on the Specialist Programme. During their Fulbright Specialist visit they are teaching a number of courses at the University, and are outlining the ways that the students there can progress and develop as successful artists. They are also holding important discussions on how social media is changing the nature of art markets, and how new technology can be integrated into traditional craft media.

Whilst here Janis and Tate have had the opportunity to participate in the prestigious Affordable Art Fair, held at Battersea Park in London from 15-18 March. They attended this international contemporary art exhibition as part of a Creative Cohesion gallery exhibition and their work was exhibited alongside that of other artists from the organization.

Commenting on the artists’ visit, Kevin Petrie, Glass and Ceramics Team Leader at the National Glass Centre, remarked, “Tim Tate and Michael Janis are offering our students, local schools and representatives from the region's cultural sector important insights into methods for making glass art, perspectives on the art world in the USA and the work of the Washington Glass Studio where they are co-directors. Artists from the North East have visited the Washington Glass School on a number of occasions and this prestigious Fulbright award for cultural exchange has allowed Michael and Tim make a return visit to the UK.”

Said Tim Tate of his experience so far: “The bonds that had been forged years ago have been renewed and strengthened [through this visit]. The energy seems to invigorate both sides of our relationship. After this, I would love to connect with artist centres in every country!"

The Fulbright Specialist Programme promotes linkages between US academics and professionals and their counterparts at host institutions overseas. The programme is designed to award grants to qualified US faculty and professionals, in select disciplines, to engage in short-term collaborative 2 to 6 week projects at host institutions in over 100 countries worldwide. More details can be found in the US Scholars section of the US-UK Fulbright Commission website.

More information on Tate and Janis’ work can be found on their websites:
Tim Tate
Michael Janis

More information on the UK's National Glass Centre can be found here.

Watch videos of Tate, Janis and the University of Sunderland students in action in the studio:

Video 1

Video 2

Read the artists blog entries for their Sunderland trip