As a creative student it’s important to get your work out there, and our final-year students have been doing just that. Take a look at some of the pieces they created, what the exhibition opportunities meant for them and the helpful advice they have for new students.
Inspired Festival is an annual event that sees Birmingham City University open its doors to the people of the city. It’s here that final-year School of Visual Communication students and other students from across the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media showcased their work to their peers, families, friends and members of the industry.
Alongside their exhibition at Inspired Festival BA (Hons) Photography students also showcased their work at Iron House, a new gallery space in the heart of Birmingham. Students worked together to find the space and curate the exhibition with assistance from their tutors. During the week long exhibition, students were also given the invaluable experience of having their portfolios reviewed by seven high-profile reviewers including:
- Hannah Watson, TJ Boulting and Trolley
- Frede Spencer, Twenty Twenty Agency
- Tim Clark, 1000 Words Magazine
- Zelda Cheatle, Zelda Cheatle
- Max Barnett, Pylot Magazine
- Jonathon Watkins, IKON Gallery
- Louis Siroy, Guardian Weekend
Photography student Chloë Tibbatts noted how useful it was to be able to get feedback on her work from members of the industry and showcase her work in a gallery space.
“The portfolio reviews were great because we were able to speak to each reviewer for 20 minutes. I had some really positive feedback and they gave me suggestions on how to progress my work. One reviewer suggested I do a pop-up show to give me experience in curating and gave me a card for a gallery and another reviewer recommended some books to read and artists to look at.”
Fellow Photography student Nyima Jarju Jarju’s echoed Chloë’s comments. Nyima's work focused on the lack of representation of black women in the media. Her resulting photography was created to visualise her identity and her background.
“The comments at the portfolio reviews were really constructive. I was referred to people that would love my work and I was given ideas on how to continue with the project. In the future I’m planning on collaborating and working with more magazine so all of this feedback will really help me.”
Following Inspired, a number of our BA (Hons) Illustration headed down to New Designers in London, to showcase their work to industry professionals. New Designers presents the work of 3,000 hand-picked graduate design talents from around the country and the show explores every discipline of modern making.
Phoebe Munger commented on how useful it was to show her work to industry, and that the course’s strong industry links were one of the reasons she chose to study Illustration at BCU.
“One of the reasons why I picked BCU is that it is so heavily influenced by the industry. Tutors constantly encourage you to network and work with professionals, they invite industry people to university to do the talks and portfolio reviews so you are constantly put in touch with professionals. When you finish university, not only will have you your portfolio but also something to put on your CV already.”
When asked whether she had any advice for new students to the course Illustration student Raluca Farcas, who was also exhibiting at New Designers, said that new students should try everything and make the most of the countless events, contests and workshops available:
Sarah Easter added that you should always believe in your own work and that there is room for every style of illustration, which she found to be especially true after seeing the variety of work at New Designers.
“If you think – ‘nobody is going to like my work’ – that is not true, there is a place, a market for everyone’s work and you should always keep that in mind.”
D&AD New Blood
A selection of BA (Hons) Graphic Communication students travelled down to London to take part in the infamous D&AD New Blood exhibition, where they were able to promote their work and network with professionals from the design community and students from other universities.
Prior to the exhibition, BA (Hons) Graphic Communication, student Dylan Roberts won a D&AD New Blood award for his campaign idea for Adnam’s brewery. He was awarded a prestigious Yellow Pencil for this during the exhibition and offered some advice for future BA (Hons) Graphic Communication students:
“Make sure you do a lot of research before starting your designs. You will gain a lot of knowledge about what’s already out there. I would say work hard on visuals but keep checking news, current affairs, newest trends etc. – something you can relate your design work to.”
Oliver Cantrill, also exhibiting at D&AD New Blood, commented on how great the event was for job opportunities and receiving constructive feedback on your portfolio from professionals. As well as exhibiting his work at D&AD, Oliver also had the opportunity to exhibit in LA after creating a Nirvana gig poster for a competition with Gallery 1998. Reflecting on his time on the course he said:
“I like the freedom of the course and how they encourage you to try out everything starting from traditional art practices to very modern ones. The support from the tutors and technicians is amazing, and the people on the course are very helpful too. Make sure you make the most out of the facilities!”
To find out more about our courses visit our course pages or join us at an Open Day.