Artist alumnus Philip Garrett has donated a poignant sculpture to be displayed at Edge Hill in recognition of the University’s strong ties to the suffrage movement.

Liverpool-born artist Phil, who studied for a Post Graduate Certificate in Education in Design and Technology at Edge Hill in 2000, is about to embark on a new career journey in Italy next month and wanted to gift his latest work to the University he studied at.

“My plan is to place works in places where the art can be seen and remembered, depicting strong figures that have had a positive impact on grass roots people,” explained Phil.

“Alice Hawkins, the sculpture I’ve donated to Edge Hill, was from humble origins as a working-class shoemaker at a local factory in Leicester and was closely tied to the suffrage movement, which of course will resonate with the University.”

Edge Hill has a long and proud history of championing women’s rights and equality, from its pioneering role as the first non-denominational teacher training college for women, to its links with the suffrage movement. Today, this heritage is reflected in the green and purple of the University’s corporate and ceremonial colours and in Edge Hill’s active commitment to promoting diversity and equality.

The Edge Hill Crest which uses the colours of the suffragette movement

Reflecting on his time at Edge Hill, Phil said:

“Looking back, the course encouraged me to start working in three dimensions as opposed to printmaking and drawing. My time at the University took me to the classrooms of St Bede’s in Ormskirk and my old school Maricourt High on placements.  A year after I graduated, I met Liverpool sculptor Terry McDonald who introduced me to working ‘in the round.’ Terry was apprenticed to sculptor Tyson Smith from 1946 to 1956 and has influenced many artists on Merseyside ever since, including myself.”

Today, Phil’s work showcases portrait sculpture, drawings and paintings and subjects depicted are of people in the community and figures from history worth remembering and celebrating in sculpture, including women’s rights campaigner Eleanor Rathbone and political activist Emmeline Pankhurst. His work aims to reclaim art as an expressive medium for society’s social struggles.

Phil’s next venture will see him heading off to Italy to start learning to carve to marble, learning from some of the greatest masters in this field.

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