Birmingham twins named Alumni of the Year


Two Birmingham brothers are keeping it in the family as they share the honour of being named Alumni of the Year at Birmingham City University.

Twins Alisdair and Jonathan Cusick will receive their award on Monday July 25 2015 in Symphony Hall, Birmingham, in the presence of hundreds of graduands and their families.

The Alumni of the Year award provides an opportunity to recognise Birmingham City University graduates who have made a valuable contribution to society or their professional field. It also demonstrates the extraordinary range of achievements among the University’s former students. 

School of Visual Communication

Birmingham City University

After securing a degree in Visual Communication (Photography) in 1999, Alisdair Cusick has built a reputation as a freelance photographer, specialising in the automotive sector, providing car manufacturers, advertisers and publications with the high-quality images they need.

He has won the Audi/Guild of Motoring Writers Photographer of the Year award twice, and has been commissioned by almost all the UK motoring media, from classics to performance car titles. His work has also featured in books celebrating the history of such iconic models as the Mini and Triumph TR7.

Alisdair said that he was encouraged to practise and develop his own style of photography while studying at Birmingham City University: 

“At the end of the course, we had our Major Project and, up until that point, I’d done a lot of studio work but not many photos of people, so I forced myself to do something different for the project and photographed people who owned Land Rovers – which included the obvious farmers out in fields, but also a designer and a historian. 

“I wrote to a Porsche 911 magazine Total911, and I’ve shot so many features for them, I probably have the largest library of Porsche 911 images in the UK now. I’ve only ever spent £30 on advertising – sending out the initial letters – since then, it’s all been word of mouth with people approaching me.

Alisdair graduated at the same time as his brother, Jonathan, who secured a first class degree in Visual Communication (Illustration). 

Jonathan Cuisick portfolio Today, Jonathan Cusick is a well-respected illustrator and caricaturist, having had his work published by the likes of ‘The Times’, ‘The Independent on Sunday’, ‘The Spectator’ and ‘The New Statesman’. He’s also created illustrations for several Christmas editions of the ‘Radio Times’ since graduating, and has been commissioned by companies and organisations including Unilever, Cadbury, Netflix and English Heritage. 

A number of celebrities have purchased Jonathan’s caricatures of themselves including the late DJ John Peel, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, chefs Raymond Blanc and Heston Blumenthal, and Queen guitarist Brian May. 

On finding out that he had been selected for the award, Jonathan said: 

“I'm still doing exactly what I studied at the University. My world is one of refinement rather than innovation; I do it better now. Looking forward, I'd be happy if I could continue to be in demand. As a freelance, that's an achievement in itself. 

Alisdair has also remained involved with the University since graduating, supporting current students with their portfolio preparation and reviews.

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