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News Design talent showcased at student exhibition

Innovative design and thought-provoking projects feature in Staffordshire University's annual Art and Design Show.

Hayley Towns has created a comical pet calendar
Image: Hayley Towns has created a comical pet calendar

The exhibition celebrates the final-year work of over 250 students from a wide range of Art, Design and Media courses. Author and illustrator Jonny Duddle, a graduate of the University, will open the show and members of the public are invited onto campus to view the exhibition from Saturday 1 June 2019 – Sunday 9 June 2019.

Among the diverse range of work on display is a series of images taken by BA (Hons) Photography student Polly Snook, 22 from Berkshire, which documents her mum’s deterioration while waiting for a liver transplant.

She explained: “It’s been the hardest year of my life but I wanted to share our family’s story to show the reality of what it’s like waiting for a transplant.

“There is a significant lack of organ donors and I hope my project will help to raise the profile of organ donation and encourage more people to sign up.”

In contrast, Photojournalism student Hayley Towns has created a comical pet calendar featuring animals in an array of guises including Star Wars favourites Han Solo and Chewbacca.

The 21-year-old from Crewe said: “I love animals and have focussed on wildlife photography throughout my degree but wanted to work in the studio for this project. I’m going to launch a pet photography business when I graduate and hopefully this fun calendar will appeal to the future clients!”

Meanwhile James Shakespeare, studying Transport Design, has imagined a vehicle to combat the congestion in busy cities. His ‘flying taxi’ will save time for commuters and reduce the environmental impact of travelling.  

Designed for the year 2035, the autonomous shuttle features bladeless fans inspired by Dyson – something which hasn’t been done before.

He said: “Flying cars are something that has been in Sci-Fi forever but it genuinely could help because flying vehicles aren’t limited by road infrastructure.

“I spoke to the Head of Aeronautical Engineering to help me make design work in the real world. We talked a lot about the bladeless fans and I asked if it would be possible – he said that he didn’t see why no-one had done it before!”

Surface Pattern student Georgia Webster was inspired by bold geometric shapes she found on a course trip to New York for a collection of high fashion fabrics.

She explained: “The idea is, if all the human race were to die out, then all the tropicals and the flora and fauna would grow over the concrete structures that man has made.”

Georgia accrued a wealth of work experience during her degree, winning a live brief set by Wilkinson’s who bought her stationary designs. She also came first in a Christmas card competition set by Clintons and secured a work placement – which led to a job offer.

She added: “I’ve grown so much while being here and if I hadn’t come to university then I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now. I’m so grateful.”

Get a sneak preview of the show and hear about more student projects on Staffordshire University’s YouTube Channel here.

The Art and Design Show 2019 is open to the public from Saturday 1 June 2019 – Sunday 9 June 2019. For full details and opening times visit

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