From performing artists to product designers, chief creative officers to graphic artists, the population of Buckinghamshire New University’s School of Art, Design & Performance (Bucks Art & Design) inspires an eclectic mix of creative movers and shakers.
Its track record says it all; with over 110 years’ experience in delivering craft, art and design education, it’s a hotbed of talent that supports commercial success. More recently, creative advertising alumna Gina Ramsden and Freya Harrison have made waves with their ads for impactful brands like Warburtons and Audi.
The pair, who are BA (Hons) Creative Advertising graduates from Bucks, have had a meteoric career trajectory since graduating in 2015. After a placement at creative agency network Mother London, they moved on to advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi. In January 2016, creative agency WCRS hired them – where they worked on the Warburtons ad – before moving to Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) in July 2018, where they received the Audi brief.
“Bucks gave us the first experience of live briefs in industry and opened up lots of contacts which were invaluable,” said Gina and Freya, who won Gold for Best New Creative Team at the British Arrows 2018 awards.
Speaking at Welcome Week, a programme of activities for new and returning students, they said: “There are such a plethora of Bucks graduates out there working for very well-known companies willing to help and get you in for work. That’s the message we’re giving to students today – that they are joining a university with great industry links.”
Creativity and innovation are the touchstone of Bucks New Uni creative graduates. Their talents shine from early on, nurtured by the School of Art, Design & Performance’s hands-on learning methods, experimentation with materials and processes, and of course, its dedicated tutors. Applied learning is baked into the school’s culture, with results that speak for themselves.
Current third-year Fashion Design students are shooting up-and-coming singer BETSY’s new album cover. Aaron Sahota, an Interior and Spatial Design student was recognised from ‘Joseph Joseph’ at New Designers Exhibition 2019 and also shortlisted for the New Designers award; as was another student on the course, Danielle Bailey, whose project was featured in Bucks Herald (local newspaper) and also interviewed by Mix 96 (local Radio).
Product Design student Aaron Mitchell received the Institution of Engineering Designers (IED) Award of Excellence 2019. While at the Pewter Live 2019 competition, three prizes, including the first prize student category, went to Bucks Art & Design’s product design students.
The impact of these projects goes further than admirable aesthetics. The Pani Water Project by Product Design staff and students is making a difference to some of the most vulnerable communities in the world. A Horizon 2020 research-funded project, the solar water disinfection (SODIS) buckets designed by Lyndon Buck, Principal Lecturer in Product Design, and PhD student Richard Harlow, are helping more than 500 families in the Chikwawa region of Malawi, south east Africa. The buckets kill harmful microbes in water and help reduce the number of people worldwide relying on unsafe drinking water.
Graphic Design is in no shortage of award-winning and socially-impactful personas either. Graduate Nicola Gould was shortlisted in the YCN Student Awards for her ideas to remove ‘negative stereotypes’ around housing association Peabody Trust’s a housing association’s community centres and boost their identity. Nicola’s research revealed that many community centres suffer from stereotypes that have built around them, so she set out to rebrand them under the guide of ‘yourspace’.
“This is based on what I call a ‘power of five’, reflecting Peabody’s values of Ambitious, Collaborative, Caring, Empowering, Trusted; five hand designs on its promotional material to communicate those values; and five colours to work within,” said Nicola.
The branding would be used for advertising in local areas, on business documents for management committees and Peabody staff, as well as to create a new identity in Peabody community centres.
Peabody described Nicola’s work as “equivalent standard of a PhD because of its complexity” according to Nicola, who aims to pursue a career in branding and strategy.
“If taken on, I believe my designs would be a success for Peabody.”
With such a high calibre student body, it’s no wonder that Bucks New University does so well in league tables. Its Design Studies programmes are ranked 8th in the UK in The Guardian University Guide 2020, while its BA Fashion Design and BA Textile Design courses are ranked 1st in London and the Southeast, and 5th in the UK. In the Sunday Times Good University Guide, the university now ranks in the top 40 for teaching quality, student quality, social inclusion, graduate salaries and services and facilities.
From invaluable industry links to exciting student projects; from innovative teaching methods to award-winning alumni and students; Bucks Art & Design has everything you need.
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