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Art Graduate to Kick Down the Barriers in Arts Council England Project

Lydia McCaig

An art graduate from the University Centre at Blackburn College is ready to kick down the barriers as part of an Arts Council England and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council funded project to address the narrative of a segregated Blackburn.

Lydia McCaig (22) will graduate this October from BA (Hons) Fine Art with First-Class Honours; having already secured a number of graduate roles in a booming creative sector.

The project – titled ‘Kick Down the Barriers’ – emerged following the 2016 Casey Review Report and 2018 BBC Panorama programme, which labelled Blackburn one of the most segregated towns in Britain.

The project is intended to interrogate and challenge the stigmas and barriers the areas identified as “segregated” face.

Lydia said: “I’m really grateful to be involved in a project of such value and significance so soon after completing my degree.

“I really have to thank the well-connected tutors and graduate community at the University Centre at Blackburn College for supporting my success.”

The project – delivered in conjunction with Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery – will see Lydia work alongside arts producer and fellow University Centre alumni Sophie Skellern.

Lydia will also work alongside arts producer and filmmaker Caroline Eccles – who is also a former Blackburn College student.

Lydia added: “I look forward to kicking down the barriers, labels and stigmas surrounding segregation and giving the people of Blackburn the opportunity to challenge and redefine these messages.

“It is really important that a more comprehensive narrative can emerge.”

There has been no shortage of graduate opportunities for Lydia – who earlier this year was part of a collective that shared a £2,000 commission from BBC Sewing Bee star Patrick Grant.

Since finishing her studies, Lydia has become Artist in Residence at Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery, assumed the role of Social Media Manager at Prism Contemporary, is currently commissioned by Great Places Housing Group to deliver art therapy workshops and was recently employed by Wayne Hemingway MBE to deliver workshops as part of Vintage by the Sea Festival 2019.

Lydia concluded: “Graduate employment opportunities are the icing on the cake for what has been a fantastic three years at the University Centre at Blackburn College.

“I’ve rubbed shoulders with the Chief Executive of Arts Council England Darren Henley OBE, been involved in lucrative paid commissions and travelled to far-flung destinations to see art on the international stage.”

“My tutors have also been truly exceptional and I cannot recommend the University Centre at Blackburn College enough.”

It’s not too late to study at the University Centre at Blackburn College this September. Prospective students are advised to visit for more information on how to enrol.

Lydia McCaig is a multi-disciplinary artist based in the North West of England who mainly uses text and photographs within her practice. Her work concentrates on female sexuality and mental health and the hidden thoughts and taboos surrounding this subject. Visit for more information.

6 Sep 2019, 13:30 PM