American signing latest to boost Cumbria University's creative talent

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Creative talents training in Carlisle are being inspired by another influential university signing.

An artist from the United States has arrived in the city to work with students and staff at the University of Cumbria's Insitute of the Arts.

Sculpture and film artist Sandy Williams is working with fine arts students at the Brampton Road campus.

"It is a pleasure to be here, this being my first time outside of the United States," said Sandy.

"As intent as I am on absorbing this new, rich culture, I am just as eager to meet and learn from the many talented artists here on campus."

Sandy's interests include rural cultures and the relationship between the land, animals and humans across time.

While working in Cumbria he plans to produce new work before joining the Sculpture + extended media department at Virginia Commonwealth University in the autumn.

Robert Williams, professor in fine arts at the Stanwix campus, said: "Students and staff of the fine art programme are delighted to host Sandy Williams and are looking forward with great interest and excitement to see the work that will emerge as a consequence of his time here.

"We are particularly pleased that he has embedded himself with the MA in contemporary fine art programme, and we are looking forward to working closely with him over the next few weeks."

The artist's arrival comes as a researcher at the University of Cumbria prepares to share his expertise on a national stage.

Keith Jackson, retail expert and researcher at the university's Carlisle-based Centre for Regional Economic Development (CRED), has been invited to join the advisory board of national network 'Revive and Thrive'.

Nine years with CRED has seen Keith work on research projects for clients including local councils, the Welsh Assembly, Whitehall departments and various other local bodies and businesses.

In addition, before joining the university, Keith ran his own retail business in partnership with his wife.

Together they grew from a turnover of £5,000 a week to several millions of pounds a year.

He also won national acclaim including Scottish Retailer of the Year and Robert Wiseman Dairies' UK Neighbourhood Retailer of the Year.

Keith said: "Revive & Thrive provides a national network connecting people, places and businesses so that they can work together to make their 'places' better.

"They specialise in 'Place Management’, particularly through the introduction of Business Improvement Districts, and offer an end-to-end service to meet whatever needs a place might have."

Membership of Revive and Thrive also gives Keith access to a huge range of experts and events.

As well as his work with CRED and Revive and Thrive, Keith is also vice chair of Carlisle Food City, a partner in Jardine Jackson Associates, and a director of Bruce and Luke’s, his son’s coffee business.

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