Cool Britannia bites back in Birmingham


Birmingham City University is reigniting the controversial debate over whether ‘Cool Britannia’ still exists with a dazzling display of student Art and Design shows beginning this week.

Public exhibitions of the very best end-of-year student and graduate work in Fashion, Arts, Architecture, Visual Communication and Jewellery begin today (Monday 10 June), and continue through until Sunday 16 June at several venues across Birmingham.

Chris O’Neil, Executive Dean of Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (BIAD), said: “Cool Britannia was embodied by the 90s, when the UK’s dominance as a world-leader in popular art, fashion, music and design took centre stage.

“These student shows are our opportunity to welcome all comers help us celebrate pride in Birmingham’s fresh claim as the UK’s creative capital bar none, a position we believe will ultimately help drive the region’s economic recovery.”

Highlights during the seven days of BIAD exhibitions include:

A Centre to inspire youth skills

Interior design student Amna Khan's ‘Mi Casa Es Su Casa’ offers a creative youth centre design for 12-18 year-olds, with a welcoming space for young people to get advice, develop skills and enjoy outdoor activities.

Amna said: “The lack of somewhere to go in the evening is a stock grievance for many teenagers and is often quoted as a reason for them ‘going off the rails’. This Centre will help stop young people falling into a downward spiral of failure.”

Cutting edge with added gamma rays

Product Design student Alexander Andrejczuk’s ‘Purity Edge’ project features a high carbon steel knife, set in a uniquely designed sterilisation block.

Alexander said: “Once the knives are placed into the knife block, gamma rays kill 99% of bacteria on the blade surfaces and eliminate any food cross contamination.”

Recycled glass transparently brilliant

Interior Product Designer Brenda Curry’s passion for the creative use of glass is superbly illustrated in ‘Cascade,’ a project examining how glass can be creatively used in settings such as living rooms or restaurants.

Brenda said: “Industry contact gave me an insight into the work of a glass artist, observing their techniques. My passion for sustainable design lead me to create a decorative light using locally-sourced, recycled glass.”

Eclipse lamp makes light of sleep problems

Product Design student Bryant Chan’s fascination with lighting and sleep deprivation are brought home in the form of the Eclipse Lamp, a device which wirelessly tracks sleep patterns and utilises light therapy and ‘brainwave music’ to help optimise sleep.

Bryant said: “Sleep disorders are associated with an array of health and lifestyle problems. A bangle provides information on a wearer’s sleep patterns and delivers a natural solution.”

Chris O’Neil added: “We are already playing a highly successful role with our partners in the ‘Birmingham Made Me’ exhibition this month, highlighting the wealth of iconic brands and products originating from across the region.

“Our end-of-year shows add to this legacy and come at an important point in Birmingham City University’s history as we relocate to our new Parkside Building campus, a multi-million pound investment which will enable students to achieve even greater heights of creative excellence.”

Get the full list of times and locations for Birmingham City University’s end-of-year shows.

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