Inspired Festival 2022

See the wonderful work of our Arts, Design and Media students from last year's Inspired Festival and get excited for this years exhibition.

Architecture and Design

From a dining range that encourages you to remove media from your evening, to sustainably created crockery made from coffee grounds. See what our Architecture and Design students showcased at Inspired Festival.

Doris Van Roojen: Everything we use in our lives has been designed from your pen, your phone. So, designers is really underpin everything that we do and it is really important that universities teach these courses and give us the tools to do that because without design, we'll never move forward. We'll just stay where we are at the minute.

Mat Jones: So the courses in the School of Architecture and Design are all about enabling students to find their own voice, to bring their own ideas to their studies, and develop the projects that are of interest to them in places that they're interested in.

Miruna Oprean: It was quite interesting because all this project for me has been a roller coaster, but then the tutors were very, very supportive and they were there to kind of like, help me out, get out of those moments. And now, of course, they love it.

Mat Jones: I think the purpose of the inspired festival is really to connect the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media with the city and with the people of the city through the different events, the activities, the billboards and advance and so forth. It's a really strong way of connecting our students with the city and the communities that they live in and work in.

Doris Van Roojen: You've worked on this for so long and it's your little baby, and then it's like, well, well, what's next? And the inspired festival is really allowing us to kind of present our work and get it out there, which is just an amazing opportunity.

Edith Chirapa: Making all of this and then showcasing it and people actually talking about it and actually thinking, Oh wow, it looks really good. And I'm thinking, actually, I did make that.

Mat Jones: For the students, it's a really proud moment to see their work exhibited, see the outcome of their studies shown to a broader audience, shown to industry professionals, to the creative industries.

Murina Oprean: I just feel like it's highly important to have this space to show, because it just felt like a massive reward after all these years of hard work. Um, to kind of have this little space of yours and people see what you're capable of.

Doris Van Roojen: And it's absolutely amazing. It really kind of makes us feel as well, like, they're reaching for us and they're helping us make the next steps by getting our work out there and hopefully noticed by someone.

Edith Chirapa: In all builds on something. But every day is a learning experience. So just enjoy it.


School of Art students challenged themselves by creating work inspired by the human body, Alice in Wonderland and more, all whilst using unique materials and methods. 

Madeleine Washbrook: I think it's always kind of been something that I've been encouraged to pursue. I've always been really creative, like when I was about three. I drew all over my house. I took crayons and I just always wanted to make things and draw.

Andrew Gillespie: I mean, art is just central to society. You can't imagine a world without it. It's central to the kind of fabric of Birmingham as well.

Hannah Quill: When I was beginning this course, I didn't think like anything would go further than just doing my course. And I think doing this course at the School of Art is definitely helped with my career and sort of opportunities that have been offered to me.

Andrew Gillespie: As fine arts graduating students making their work public, installing it in a range of contexts, activating sites and audiences is really important. So having the opportunity to present their work on billboards in and around the city to reach out to new people is fantastic, really.

Hannah Quill: And having that experience an opportunity to present my work on this kind of electronic screen was amazing.

Madeleine Washbrook: I think it's made me feel more certain of how I can achieve being an artist and who I need to talk to.

Hannah Quill: So I think the university is definitely provided with more kind of external creative opportunities.

Andrew Gillespie: You know, they've leapt at the chance to present their work in different contexts and use the inspired festival as an opportunity to catch up on that part of their practice.

Madeleine Washbrook: But the course itself, it's kind of made me rethink about how I approach art.

Fashion and Textiles

Designs our Fashion and Textiles students created included an augmented, interactive gown inspired by Medusa, and a costume collection designed for the Commonwealth Games 2022.

For me, it is a way of telling the story. I love when I can feel a fabric or I can touch it and I can sense something. I feel like textiles are the way of telling my story because it's not just a degree where I'm creating my work, but it's more of a lifestyle. I really love what I do. 

I think it focuses a lot on how you have to develop your work up to that stage where you're then able to use it to get work and get a job.

For me was a way of bringing my characters to life. It allowed me to have the opportunity to create what I imagined in some sense.

My passion is the creating of different work. I really enjoy that aspect of textiles. 

The prints that I've done are inspired by the graffiti art that was showcased literally everywhere around Birmingham. If I heard someone say Birmingham, that is the most important thing. 

Having this exhibition is an amazing opportunity and I think it's very important. It just depends on you as a designer. I feel like having this exhibition is like a bonus point because you never know who comes to see your work. 

It's like on the opening night of there's a bunch of industry professionals that came to have a look and then there was awards. So it's that stepping block into talking about your work. 

Looking back at it now, BCU has developed skills that I've already learnt for sure, giving me new skills to be confident in myself. 

Because my story is all about, Hey, listen to me. You know, when people said, Hey, I understand your story. I really love what you've made, but that's more than enough for me. 

No one knows what the future is going to be, but my main goal is to go out into the industry and explore different routes and find where I'm feeling comfortable. I have no idea, but I'm always going to be the same. I'm going to be the weird kid drawing in the corner. 


Jewellery collections inspired by the ocean, a grandmother's garden and a historic tea pot - School of Jewellery is the home of many wonderful creations.

Jeremy Hobbins: It's such a blend of different types of jewellery here. Jewellery can be so much more than just a glittering bauble that you wear. So the inspired festival for the School of Jewellery is a fantastic opportunity for our graduates or would be graduates to showcase their work.

William Appleby: There was the opportunity to have pictures of my work put up on billboards around the city. So above New Street station and sort of on sides of vans and things.

Ellie Painter: To be able to go and get information from the industry and not just tutors here. Everything's on your doorstep and people are always so happy to help because they see the DFI course as new faces going into the Jewellery Quarter now.

Jeremy Hobbins: It is really great practice for them in terms of showcasing their work, preparing it, displaying and all of the accompanying promotional material as well.

William Appleby: This is now the second piece of work that I've exhibited. And again, it's that confidence to take my finished work, you know, work. I've spent a long time working on them, invested a lot of a lot of time and emotional. It's a very personal thing, you know, But it put it out in public and people come and view it. It's it's it's nerve wracking, but it's really good. It's it's been thoroughly enjoyable.

Ellie Painter: I came to BCU with no jewellery background or knowledge, and the amount I've gathered to leave with is just amazing.

Jeremy Hobbins: And then suddenly this great sort of explosion, this fantastic product, really enables all of us to enjoy the outcomes of our students.


Visual Communication

Reimagining pre-existing graphic styles and creating new and innovative works such as 'The Vagina Bible', our Visual Communications students have infinite imagination.

So my BCU experience has been really good because you go from digital to printmaking that I do back to animation. 

It's just the fact that you can do anything that you want. There's always different briefs, but you can put your own touch on it. You can do what you want to do when. 

We give them quite open briefs so they have lots of opportunities to explore making and different methods of making. 

I think when you look around the degree show, you can definitely see that there isn't a house style here that's really nice that everyone's kind of allowed to do their own thing. 

I don't think anybody would be looking at my work, but it is nice because I've had loads of people message me all saying, I've seen your work and I do really like it.

I love working with small businesses. That's where my heart is. I really like bringing people's ideas to life and seeing the actual people that I'm helping. 

Whatever you're doing, they'll be someone that you can talk to about It and will have an insight of how you would go into industry. 

We have a lot of students that really surprise themselves, so they might think they're not suited to editorial illustration. We feel really proud of them because they have to Sometimes do a large presentation and they really step up to the mark and they learn a lot from it. 

Coming into BCU and throughout the majority of the course, I was someone that just couldn't speak to people. I would shut down completely. And my personal tutor has just been incredible. I mean, look at me now. I'm talking to you guys on camera. I would not have done that three months ago. 

It's really fulfilling I guess. We were the first degree show to our cohort since we were doing it blind a little bit, which was scary. But I'm really pleased with the final result. 

Like it helped you in terms of, you know, exactly what you're waiting for now like the next job you're going to go into, you know, this is what they're going to want. This is how you have to do it. 

It just really built me up. And my mum was in the car and my hair on the way here the tutors have made you into an adult. You're no longer a child. Thanks, Mum. 


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