We are regularly contacted by industry requesting that our students work on projects with, or for them.
Live projects are a valuable way for students to understand the wider demands of the creative industries in a supportive and nurturing environment. For project providers, live briefs offer the chance to work with engaged and committed students on a range of ideas without interruption or preconception.
The School is fortunate to work with some of the leading names in the creative industries, including White Stuff, H&M and DHL Worldwide on projects which run over weeks, months and in some cases, years. All projects need to be approved by the School and the University so we can assign them teaching, research or enterprise status.
Live projects and competitions are often launched at Loughborough University. Guest speakers from national and international external agencies and organisations including Wunderman, the V&A and Abercrombie & Fitch have launched projects to our students, and then worked with them in an immediate capacity in the studio environment, or remotely using video conferencing to manage projects from distance. Students are encouraged to present their ideas professionally to external agencies with the support of staff and facility resources.
For some recent examples, please see below:
Illustration students were invited to design campaign material for the Paul Smith Autumn/Winter collection entitled Nordic Punk. Working from a design brief and style markers, students were asked to conceptualise mood boards and ideas that would be transformed into showcards for the 8,000 Paul Smith stores and concession stores around the world.
The winning entry, designed by graduate Wendy Gibson (nee Cooke), was the springboard to her future career, landing her firstly a placement at Paul Smith and eventually a role as a Childrenswear Print Designer at Gather No Moss.
Students from Loughborough University participated in Object: React, a collaborative project with onedotzero and the University of the Arts, London, examining the re-invention of exhibits in the museum. Each student was given a specific exhibit to research, examining it's historical, political and ideological roots and asked to re-imagine it for a contemporary audience. The project involved site-specific visits, interviews with makers, creators, historians and critics, with the work being shown at the V&A and profiled in the book, Re-Imagining Animation by Paul Wells and Johnny Hardstaff (Lausanne: AVA).
Oxford University Press
Students were invited to illustrate specicially selected poems for children in a poetry anthology. Following the project briefing with Jo Samways, Art Director at Oxford University Press, students worked on developing visual responses to the poetry for the intended readership of Key Stage 2 children in the studio, exchanging ideas with each other. Each student produced mock up designs for the publisher and several students were shortlisted to further develop their ideas into final artwork, working within the strict publishing criteria and adhering to professional deadlines. Graduate student Jessica Mikhail from Birmingham had her work selected for publication.
Jess has worked as a freelance illustrator since graduation, and is still regularly commissioned by Oxford University Press. She has recently collaborated with the American writer, Julie Gassman, on the children's book, Eleanor Won't Share.
Made in England Exhibition | Jinji Lake Art Museum, Suzhou, China
This project culminated in an exhibition of artist John Atkin and young emerging British artists, all of whom are recent graduates from the School of the Arts, English and Drama at Loughborough University and was held at the Suzhou Jinji Lake Art Museum between 21 December 2013 – 26 February 2014. Over 46 artworks including paintings, sculptures, installations and videos were exhibited, reflecting a wide variety of approaches to contemporary Fine Art practice.
Loughborough graduates invited to participate included Andy Allen, Lisa Bates, Sam Brennan, Lucy Kyrenia Buzzacott, Martin Clarkson, Sophie Coleman, Jane Cook, Tom Cusack, Phillipa Dow, Colette Griffin, Ashton Haws, Emily Rose Hart, Naomi Lynch, Paul Francis Lynch, Dominique Maynard, Alice Peacock, Kate Robotham, Emily Rumble, Claire Sage, Megan Rose Sharples and Ian Tricker.
Made in England was co-hosted by Qu Art and Jinji Lake Art Museum. Qu Art is a large art institution covering culture promotion, art copyright and integrated operation of artworks. Jinji Lake Art Museum, situated in the Suzhou Culture and Arts Centre, is dedicated to international art exchanges, promotional activity and is the biggest, most architecturally fascinating art space in Suzhou for an international exhibition.
More information about the exhibition can be found through the British Council web site.
The School were approached by DHL Worldwde at East Midlands Airport about a collaborative public relations project to be undertaken by students and primary school children. The project aimed to explain the company’s European distribution hub for visitors to East Midlands and reassure local residents about night flight plans. Students were briefed by the Chief Operating Officer and asked to envisage scenarios of how the company carried imporatantt and precious cargo overseas. The project was enthusiastically undertaken concurrently by four local primary schools, and School of the Arts students devised and ran classroom workshops aimed at encouraging pupils to interpret the theme of What's in the Box?
The final artwork was judged by a team of delegates from DHL Worldwide and prizes were awarded to both primary school pupils and University students. The winning works are on permanent exhibition at the European distribution hub building, serving to illustrate for visitors how the hub functions and what is potentially inside each cargo plane. This project has spawned various other community facing project initaitives, providing valuable exposure for Loughborough University students, but also illustrating the clear potential of art and design students to imaginatively demonstrate industrial products and services to the wider public.
Loughborough University won a prestigious national competition against five other universities to produce a viral advert for the theme of ‘Enjoyneering’. Originally, ten Universities were approached by Spanish car maker, Seat, and briefed about the project. Working with students from the Loughborough Design School, School of the Arts undergraduate and Masters students worked collectively to devise a short film which embodied the spirit of the brand.
Part of the sizeable Volkswagen Audi Group, Seat turned to Loughborough University students to find novel, insightful appraoches to help them reach potential customers. As part of the research, students were invited to experience Seat products first hand through an immersive day at the company headquarters in Milton Keynes. Following the briefing, students drove the model range around the test track as part of an exhilerating experience witnessing and understanding the product, and applying this knowledge to the wider projection of key brand values for the target market.
Making it through the first round, Loughborough's Enjoyneering film went on to secure the most public votes in an online forum against the remaning five universities, and the film was subsequently released by Seat as part of its viral campaign.
Working with The Radio Times Art Editor, Matt Bookman, students were commissioned to submit illustrations for one of the radio plays profiled in the magazine radio listings, with a briefing and final critique in the studio environment. A particular challenge for students was the need to understand and invent their visual responses in real time, as the recorded story was played once prior to broadcast. This project required students to be able to visuallly interpret and analyse the subject quickly, pitting them against the same pressures that professional illustrators face in the market place. The critique helped students understand how and where their artwork had correctly interpreted the mood of the broadcast, and the winning submission was published in the radio listings section of the magazine.
These projects give our students exposure to real-life creative situations before graduation, an opportunity of working for a valued and respected publication, and an experience of working in a high pressure environment that is an important addition to a graduate CV.