Arts Derbyshire


Bursary Award For Derby College Group Student

A giant painting depicting the devastating effect that flooding has had on the Matlock area and its residents has earned a Derby College Group (DCG) Art & Design student a £400 bursary from Arts Society Derby.

Members of Arts Society Derby judged entries from four students at the Joseph Wright post-16 Academic and Arts College after they were shortlisted for the annual Bryan Harris Bursary award – named after the Society’s founder and former chairman who died seven years ago.

The winner was UAL Art Foundation Diploma student Natalie Cooper (19) from Wirksworth who chose the theme Natural Disasters for her final project which is a semi-abstract styled painting.

The wall-mounted painting flows onto the floor with a quote from Prime Minister Boris Johnson who reportedly told a local newspaper during a visit to see flood damage in Matlock for himself in 2019: ‘But in the end, you’ve got to…face reality..’.

Natalie, a former student at Anthony Gell School, plans to spend the bursary on essential art materials as well as a stencil printer to support her Fine Art degree studies at the University of Derby this September.

She said: “I am over the moon to have won this bursary and delighted that the judges liked my piece.

“My intentions with this painting were to raise awareness of the issue of climate change and flooding and to encourage people to question whether natural disasters should be treated in such an accepting manner.”

Natalie has her sights set on becoming a secondary school Art teacher and said she had thoroughly enjoyed her year at Derby College.

“After my A Levels, I wanted to come here and explore what aspect of Art & Design I really wanted to pursue before going onto university and my year here has really inspired me.”

Vikki Fitt, Young Arts representative at Arts Society Derby, said: “We have awarded a bursary every year for more than 20 years to Derby College students to support them in their University studies.

“The standard was again incredibly high this year and we particularly loved the visual impact of Natalie’s work which is incredibly powerful and thought provoking.”

The work of all the Art & Design students will be available to see at the Joseph Wright Centre on Wednesday June 22, 5.30pm to 8.30pm, which is open to the public free of charge.

For more information about the Art Foundation Diploma and all the full and part time courses available at Derby College, telephone 0800 028 0289 or visit

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