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Alumni updates

Score one for Staffs!

Saqib Uddin is sitting at a desk within a TV studio smiling brightly into a camera. Behind him is signage for the “World Cup Qatar 2022”.
Saqib Uddin is part of the broadcast team working on the football World Cup 2022.

Sports Journalism graduate and assistant producer for beIN Sports, Saqib Uddin is covering the World Cup in Doha, Qatar, for the English channel.

Since graduating, Saqib has interviewed some of the world’s biggest boxing names such as Amir Khan, Ricky Hatton and Chris Eubank. He has also worked on some high profile live and recorded productions for both BT Sport and beIN Sports including three Champions League finals, two FA Cup finals, the 2022 Women’s Euros final and boxing matches such as Fury v Wilder.

Keep your eyes peeled for Saqib Uddin’s name! 

Saqib Uddin graduated from BA (Hons) Sports Journalism in 2019.

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30 years of puppetry!

On a white background, and Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox., Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride.
A few of the iconic and well-known creations of Mackinnon and Saunders.

Honorary Doctors, Peter Saunders and Ian Mackinnon celebrate their incredible 30 years in the animation industry with a new free exhibition at the Waterside’s Lauriston Gallery.

Available to attend until Saturday 25 February 2023 – it’s an experience for any animation lovers to see some iconic models and puppets of the last 50-years.

From concepts, mould making and armatures to costume, hair and paint, Mackinnon and Saunders are internationally renowned for their work on bringing visions to life. From Fantastic Mr Fox. to Corpse Bride, the exhibition will showcase a rare selection of original puppets, images, and models that they have created for TV and film, including the latest puppet for the upcoming Guillermo del Toro feature film, retelling the story of Pinocchio.

Make sure to visit - no strings attached! 

Peter Saunders and Ian Mackinnon graduated from Honorary Doctors in 2015.

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The exhibition

The new Presbytery of the Northeast and the Northern Isles

Reverend Elspeth McKay is standing in front of a stone building in traditional reverend attire, including a green stole. She is smiling into the camera with her hands held in front of her.
Reverend Elspeth McKay, the first Presbytery Clerk of the new Presbytery of the Northeast and the Northern Isles.

Staffordshire University Law graduate, Reverend Elspeth McKay is set to leave her current position as minister at Paisley Abbey, Church of Scotland to become the first Presbytery Clerk of the new Presbytery of the Northeast and the Northern Isles.

Elspeth was inducted as the first female minister, after more than 800 years at Paisley Abbey, and with a vast experience as a Church of Scotland minister within small and large churches, Elspeth has travelled to Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Greece to name a few.

Elspeth’s holds a reputation for including cows, sheep, horses and even donkeys in her services – ‘Follow the Star’, an interactive nativity story had a donkey play a large part in the story! Not to be outdone, Elspeth wore a tutu, angel wings and a halo as the narrator as well.

In January 2023, the new Presbytery will be formed, and includes Orkney, Shetland, Moray, Buchan, Gordon, Aberdeen, Kincardine and Deeside. Elspeth will bring so much experience and enthusiasm to her new role.

Presbytery: a body of Church elders and ministers, especially (in Presbyterian Churches) an administrative body (court) representing all the local congregations of a district.

Reverend Elspeth McKay graduated from LLB Hons in 1993.

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The Grampian Online full article

UK Games Education Awards winner

Fergus is wearing a cap and gown for graduation, smiling brightly into the camera. Behind him are the words "Congratulations on your Award" in white font on a red background.
“I'm delighted to have won, there were some fantastic final year projects around me at Staffs and I can see now that it was the same around the UK. Congratulations to all the nominees, it's clear how hard everyone has worked to get here.” - Fergus

Graduated in 2022, BSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming graduate, Fergus was among just 15 games programmers to be awarded the accolade Graduate of the Year 2022 by TIGA in July.

Building on this success, Fergus won the ‘Outstanding TIGA Graduate Programmer 2022’ award at the UK Games Education Awards after being shortlisted from talented graduates across the UK.

During his degree, Fergus completed a year-long industry placement with game developer Codemasters where he worked as part of the F1 2021 game team. This month, he has taken up a role with Creative Assembly – the studio behind the award-winning Total War series and the newly announced sci-fi shooter, HYENAS.

Congratulations Fergus!

Fergus Griggs graduated from BSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming in 2022.

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TIGA Graduate Programmer award

Clatter…. THUD

Artwork of multiple different coloured oil paints on linen. The art is an abstract piece of the female form.
Sarah Dwyer, Verdant Tangle, 2022. oil on linen, 78 3/4 x 59 inches.

MA Fine Art graduate, Sarah Dwyer, has had her artwork exhibited worldwide, from Fabian Lang Gallery in Zurich, to Kyubidou Gallery in Tokyo. Her most recently and third solo exhibition bring her to the Jane Lombard Gallery in New York, presenting “Clatter….THUD”.

Open now, the exhibition incorporates figurative and abstract imagery to produce drawings, paintings, print work, and sculptures of vibrant and dynamic compositions. Throughout each art piece is a story and this is the tale speaks to weight of life experience that accumulates with time.

If you are in New York and would like to view a thought provoking exhibition, Clatter…THUD will be able to view until 15 October 2022.

Sarah Dwyer graduated from MA Fine Art in 2001.

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Interview with Sarah Dwyer

ReConnect

Sian is standing over a large bowl filled with clay. They are wearing a blue polo shirt which is covered by a white apron with various colours of paint on it. Behind Sian is an art studio with colour samples on the wall.
Sian in the creative process – image by Project Ability

Artist and Industrial Ceramics graduate Sian Mather has been a member of Project Ability for around 25 years. Being creative with paint, textiles and clay, Sian crosses several mediums to combine the traditional with new ideas.

Travelling Gallery has announced its Autumn 2022 exhibition, ReConnect, in partnership with Project Ability, touring across Scotland between September and December 2022.

Designed to inspire and reconnect, Sian will showcase beautiful pots made with a stoneware clay body. The distinctive hand-built pots depict various figures and sit alongside vibrant tiles inspired by Vincent Van Gogh.

The artists showcasing their artwork in ReConnect will reflect and celebrate diversity. This exhibition will be one to visit!

Sian Mather graduated from HND Industrial Ceramics in 1992.

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The exhibition

Wildgoose

Johnn is wearing a white shirt and black suit, smiling brightly whilst pointing to the words "wildgoose" on a board behind him.
Team building is just a click away!

Founded in 2004, Sport and Leisure management graduate, Jonny Edser has taken Wildgoose from a small start-up to becoming one of the most innovative team building companies in the world. With a team based across the UK and US, Wildgoose now delivers over 3,000 in-person, virtual and hybrid team building activities annually across the globe which can be booked online with as little as 24 hours’ notice.

Never satisfied with standing still, Jonny is passionate about disrupting the team building industry and making it possible for any organisation to bring their team together without breaking the bank or damaging the environment - in fact Wildgoose is proud to be carbon neutral.

Wildgoose’s latest vision of being a team building company with a difference has led to the arrival of Icebreaker games – 3 brand new activities designed to connect, energise and invigorate the team in 30 minutes!

With delivery of events within as little as 24 hours’ notice, on any time zone, anywhere in the world, team building is just a click away!

Jonny Edser graduated from BA (Hons) Sport and Leisure Management in 1997.

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Start your team building adventure with Wildgoose

Massive Monsters

In a cartoon style, four large monsters are standing amongst a cityscape. There is a green monster (similar to a dinosaur) at the front, a red octopus-like monster to the right, a blue yeti-like monster to the left and a yellow monster in the background. At the top in bubble writing are the words "Massive Monsters", and below are the words "written and illustrated by Kol Humphries".
A story of self-discovery for children.

Since graduating from Staffordshire University in 2009, Kol Humphries has gone on to have a successful illustration career, creating art for various industries of video games from mobile to AAA. He has also worked with major musical Legends such as the incredible Terry "Geezer" Butler, music writer and bassist of the band 'Black Sabbath'.

Kol has an incredible passion for creating all kinds of artwork from cute and friendly cartoons to detailed environment concept art. The cute and friendly cartoons can be seen in his recently published children’s book, Massive Monsters.

A story of self-discovery, originally created for his nephew’s first birthday, Massive Monsters was redesigned to enable the world to enjoy it:

“Henry is a huge City Monster. One morning he feels fed up with being a city monster and decides to go on an adventure to find a new home and be a different monster. With a little help from friends, will henry be able to find out what monster will suit him best?”

Kol is currently working on a follow-up book titled ‘Massive Monsters and The Grumpus’ – no doubt another perfect children’s book!

Kolin Humphries graduated from BA (Hons) Animation in 2009.

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Take a look at Massive Monsters

How to win the World Cup

On an off white background at the top are three managers, pointing, cheering and holding a trophy. Below the far left is another manager holding a trophy. Below the middle and far right managers are the words "How to win the world cup" in gold, "Secrets and insights from international football's top managers" in black, "Chris Evans" in gold, and "Bloomsbury" in black.
“Superbly Insightful . . . A brilliant new perspective on World Cup management”

With secrets and insights Sports Journalism graduate Chris Evans features exclusive interviews with top managers and players to explore what makes a successful international football manager in his new book - How to Win the World Cup.

From tactical innovations and revolutionary strategies to the bizarre superstitions, psychological masterclasses and bonkers team-building regimes, this book charts the successes, failures, dramas, and controversies of 90 years of World Cup action. With never-seen-before contributions and interviews from leading World Cup stars, including Luiz Felipe Scolari, Geoff Hurst, Carlos Alberto Parreira, Pierre Littbarski, Roberto Martinez, Mick McCarthy, Tomas Brolin, Jamie Carragher, Alexi Lalas, Patrick Barclay, Raphael Honigstein and Graham Hunter, this is a must read for any football fan!

What are you waiting for? It’s out now!

Chris Evans graduated from BA (Hons) Sports Journalism in 2009.

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Available on Amazon now

Mental health art exhibition

Daniel is smiling into the camera whilst wearing a dark blue t-shirt and a cream baseball cap backwards. Behind him is a blurred background with the letters "DRB" in large white writing within a dark blue circle.
“I hope that we can use the medium of art and the accessibility of a venue right in the heart of the community to highlight a different issue each time we stage an exhibition.”

An exhibition of work by up to 20 artists to get people talking about mental health.

Outloud will run in a family-friendly gallery and workshop space below Great Bear Tattoo Studio in Tunstall from 19 August to 2 September.

Organised by freelance graphic designer and Illustration graduate Daniel Rhead-Brown, from Packmoor, the aim is to break down taboos and help people to enjoy art and talk about mental health in a location that feels accessible to anyone.

“A few friends and people I’ve been close to have committed suicide,” said Daniel, whose business DRB Designs is based in Silverdale.

“It’s important to get people talking and to help to spread the word about the help that’s out there. There’ll be signposting to support at the exhibition.”

For Daniel, whose own artwork will be amongst that on display, art is a great way to get people talking about their feelings.

“People can express themselves through creating art and through enjoying other people’s art. A lot of people take up art for their own mental health reasons.

”The support group Men Unite is set to have a hub at the exhibition and Daniel is bringing in other groups for sessions and workshops. The exhibition will also be open to the public. The work on display will include paintings, photographs, sculptures, illustrations and ceramics."

25% of the proceeds from any work sold will be donated to mental health charities. Daniel is hoping the exhibition can become an annual event. He added: “I hope that we can use the medium of art and the accessibility of a venue right in the heart of the community to highlight a different issue each time we stage an exhibition.”

Daniel Rhead-Brown graduated from BA (Hons) Illustration in 2012.

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Outloud Art

Felt Right Then, Feels Right Now

Artwork of a female presenting girl trying on masculine clothing in the bathroom. The artwork is created with fine-liners and colouring pencils.
Felt Right Then, Feels Right Now

Fine Art graduate Ashton Blyth has been selected as part of the Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2022 – an exhibition demonstrating a rich diversity of voices and approaches to making.

Consisting of 728 unique cels hand-drawn with fine-liners and colouring pencils, using a live-action video of the artist and his sister for reference, this animation breathes life into the memory of Blyth trying on his father’s boxers at age eight before leaving for Brownies. It is one of many memories that have contributed to Blyth understanding that his gender identity did not align with the sex which he was assigned at birth, leading to the artist coming out as transgender at eighteen. Currently creating a feature-length compilation of these contributing memories, Blyth aims to demystify and illuminate the trans experience.

New Contemporaries is delighted to partner with Ferens Art Gallery and Humber Street Gallery to launch Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2022 in Hull from 23 September to 27 November 2022. Ashton’s work will then go with other artist’s work to the South London Gallery for the fifth consecutive year, from 9 December 2022 to 19 March 2023.

Ashton Blyth graduated from BA (Hons) Fine Art in 2021.

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New Contemporaries 2022 Artist bio

Lockdown memoir

Duncan is smiling into the camera whilst wearing a white button shirt with long sleeves. Holding the award in his right hand, his left arm across his torso to hold the bottom of the award. The award is rectangular, glass in appearance, and with the Royal Television Society logo embossed at the top of the award. Behind Duncan is the golden RTS logo, with the words "Royal Television Society, Midlands" to the right of the logo. The imagery repeated multiple times across the backdrop.
Duncan Stephens picked up the award for Best Drama.

Graduate Duncan Stephens, has been awarded the Best Drama prize from the RTS Midlands Student Awards for the short film Not Quite There Yet which he wrote and directed during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Duncan worked alongside his Film Production and Interactive Technology course mates Zachary Szafranski, Joe Nancarrow and Samuel Cremin to make the film which tells the story of a woman living on her own during the pandemic.

“It feels great to have got the award for best drama. It was definitely unexpected but I’m glad the film got the praise it deserved because the collective crew and myself worked really hard on it.

“This film is extremely personal to me. Much of the narration was taken straight from my own diary entries during the Covid-19 lockdowns where my mental health was suffering quite a lot.”

Sir Lenny Henry said: “Not Quite There Yet’ …will strike a chord with anybody who has mental health issues and had them during the Covid pandemic. Considering there was no budget for this film, and he was working with students helping him out for nothing, he did a fine job. There are some lovely visual moments so congratulations.”

Congratulations Duncan, Zachary, Joe and Samuel!

Duncan Stephens graduated from BSc (Hons) Film Production and Interactive Technology in 2021.

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Read the full article

Black Sabbath Collab

A dark purple demon, with twisting tentacles that make up the anthropomorphised anatomy. With five legs spread out over a bubbling petri dish, one arm torn off, and the other raised above with three claw like fingers. The head is similar to a fish with sharp pointed teeth. In the background is a large Erlenmeyer flask, with a dark faded background.
The demon that will be used throughout the novel - created by Kol

Since graduating with a BA in animation in 2009, Kolin Humphries, also known as KOL, has worked throughout the gaming industry as a 2D Artist, from mobile games to AAA console and PC games.

During the pandemic Kolin created some artwork, including a beast towering over Villa Park (Up the Villa), which he later gifted to Terry ‘Geezer Butler, the bassist from Black Sabbath. Terry’s management subsequently contacted Kolin and asked if he would like to collaborate with Terry in making a short animated graphic novel which was planned to be released as an NFT.

Kolin was enthusiastic and excited about the opportunity to work alongside a multi-Grammy award winning musician and felt honoured that Terry was impressed with his art.

The NFT part 1 (of 3) goes on sale on the 25th March via YellowHeart as well as Kolin’s own brand of NFTs ‘The Grumpus’ which is now available on OpenSea.

Kolin Humphries graduated from BA (Hons) Animation in 2009.

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Read the full details of the collaboration

Previsualise your future

The background is of a computer screen with a digital image of a man’s face in an animated style.  To the right of the rendered face, is coding for alteration and rendering of the image. In the top left in a red box with white writing are the words “What is Previs?”. Along the bottom of the image are three circles, one is the The VFX Artists Podcast Logo, followed by an image of Kofi smiling into the camera, and the third circle is of Jamie Bakewell. To the right of the circles in white writing are the words “with Jamie Bakewell” “Bigtooth Studios”.
Graduate Jamie Bakewell was interviewed by The VFX Artists Podcast, hosted by Kofi Opoku-Ansah and Daniel Mark Miller.

With over 12 years’ experience creating previsualisations, 2009 3D Character animation and special effects graduate, Jamie Bakewell is continuously making his mark on the VFX industry for film, game and animation. His portfolio ranges from working on some incredible big screen projects such as Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, James Bond: Skyfall, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, to the recent creation and running of his own previsualisation studio, Bigtooth Studios.

Bigtooth Studios uses the latest technology to turn storyboards into fully visualised 3D sequences, enabling producers to refine and coordinate budgets whilst allowing directors to explore ideas in a virtual prototype before getting on set.

In his interview for The VFX Artists Podcast, Jamie discusses the studio creation, epiphany moments during his career, the balance between business and art, along with some key tips for anyone interested in the incredible world of the visualisation industry!

What an amazing career so far – we will be following with interest to see what Jamie does next in this fascinating, dynamic and fast-moving sector. Congratulations!

Jamie Bakewell graduated from BA (Hons) 3D Character Animation and Special Effects in 2009.

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Listen to the interview

Ready to report!

Lewis is wearing a dark blue suit and tie, with a heavy raincoat. He is standing in front of a reporter’s camera with a bright light highlighting him as it is at night. Behind him is a building of flats with fencing and a grass area. Lewis is standing in the grass area.
A must watch on ITV!

From Station Manager at Staffs TV to Reporter at ITV News Central, Broadcast Journalism graduate Lewis Warner is currently presenting the latest news on our television screens, and popping up in the morning on Good Morning Britain!

Starting at ITV News as a Production Journalist, his development to Reporter has led to reports on diverse subjects from the Peaky Blinders mural, the proposals to ban ‘amplified noise’, and even insights on the Stafford forest helping scientists to tackle the climate crisis.

Having only graduated in 2018, Lewis is also the founder of The Young Journalist Network – a club for young and aspiring media professionals. Keep your eyes peeled for Lewis, we are sure he is going to go from strength to strength.

Congratulations on your promotion Lewis!

Lewis Warner graduated from BA (Hons) Broadcast Journalism in 2018.

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Meet Lewis Warner at ITV