Designers scoop national awards for creations with a conscience

Three Staffordshire University graduates have won industry awards for projects highlighting important social issues

Tara Bishop's 'Kill The Bear' zine addresses health anxiety

I was in disbelief at first and was shocked to be the only one on my course to win an award! Hopefully it will help to set me above the rest when I apply jobs.

Tom Fallows, BA (Hons) Graphic Design

Recent BA (Hons) Illustration graduates Tara Bishop and Rosie Wooliscroft along with Tom Fallows, who has just completed his BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree, have been recognised in the Creative Conscience Awards.

The annual event welcomes exciting projects from students and graduates which tackle some of the most relevant issues that the world faces today. Shortlisted projects are judged by a panel of industry experts based on entrants’ creative approach and the potential impact of their project.

24-year-old Tara Bishop from Warrington scooped a Silver Award for her zine bundle Kill The Bear - an honest and vulnerable account of her battle with health anxiety and introduction to CBT therapy. The project includes an autobiographical A5 twelve-page comic, cover illustration, and various mental health resources.

She explained: “When my mum was diagnosed with cancer two years ago, I began experiencing severe health anxiety. When you have health anxiety your body feels like it is out of control, like you’ve been taken over by a ghost. You think that no-one else has ever felt like this.

“It was only through medication and therapy that I got through it and I wanted this zine to provide inspiration and hope for other people going through the same thing.”

Available on her website, Tara has already received positive feedback for Kill The Bear from others dealing with similar mental health issues.

Fellow winner Rosie Wolliscroft was Highly Commended for picture book Little Ghosts which she created to raise awareness of child neglect.

The 27-year-old from Alsager, said: “Although the format is a children’s book, the popularly of picture books for adults is increasing and this is aimed at all ages. Even people who have experienced neglect themselves can fail to recognise it, so I think it’s important to start that conversation.”

Graphic Design graduate Tom Fallows was also Highly Commended for Murmuration, a short film created during his final year in response to a brief based on the word “migration”.

The 21-year-old from Sneyd Green said:“My research into bird migration told me about the phenomena, reverse migration. Where, due to a factor beyond their own control, the bird flies off course or in the wrong direction during migration.” Tom explained.

“A fitting analogy would be that of refugees, as their reason for migration mirrors that of the astray bird. Something beyond their control.”

Tom chose the medium of film to capture the movement and energy of mumurations. The digitally animated piece, which can be viewed below, replaces birds with typography to represent the conflict in Syria and how it is displacing refugees.

He said: “The industry experience of our tutors is something that has been excellent on the course. They encourage you to enter competitions, to get your name out there and build your brand.

“I was in disbelief at first and was shocked to be the only one on my course to win an award! Hopefully it will help to set me above the rest when I apply jobs.”

Winners of the Creative Conscience Award 2020 were announced during a special virtual ceremony this week - see the full list of winners here.

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