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News Art and Design showcase returns to campus

Staffordshire University is welcoming the public back onto campus next week for its annual Art and Design degree show

James Gibson who has Cystic Fibrosis hopes to raise awareness of the hidden condition with his project
Image: James Gibson who has Cystic Fibrosis hopes to raise awareness of the hidden condition with his project

Honestly it’s been quite emotional, especially when we came in and started painting the studio. It marks the culmination of what has been a very difficult 12 months I think for everybody

James Gibson, BA (Hons) Graphic Design

Friends, family, employers and anyone with a love of the arts are invited to exhibitions showcasing the work of around 200 final year students from a range of Art, Design, Film and Media courses from Monday 7 June to Saturday 12 June.

Students and staff have risen to the challenge to safely host the first public event on campus since before the pandemic, with COVID-secure measures in place and allotted time slots for guests to ensure social distancing is maintained.

BA (Hons) Graphic Design student James Gibson who has Cystic Fibrosis was shielding for much of the pandemic before returning to university to be part of the exhibition. He said: “Honestly it’s been quite emotional, especially when we came in and started painting the studio. It marks the culmination of what has been a very difficult 12 months I think for everybody.”

The 28-year-old from Werrington is hoping to increase public awareness of Cystic Fibrosis through his degree show project and has designed a typeface inspired by his condition.

“It’s been my life goal to raise awareness of Cystic Fibrosis, what it does and how it can affect people on a daily basis. It is a hidden disability where the walls of the lungs become clogged with mucus so for my ‘Fibrosis Sans’ typeface I used strands for each of the letter forms representing what is going on inside the chest out of view.”

In the Henrion Gallery is the work of BA (Hons) Photography student Vicki Guildford whose project is also close to home. Unable to access photography studios during lockdown and with travel restrictions in place, the mum of three from Tean decided to capture the emotional impact of isolation on children in her village through a series of photos.

Armed with a trolley of camera equipment, all photographs were taken within walking distance of Vicki’s home and many subjects were photographed through front doors or windows due to social distancing.

The 39-year-old said: “The project looks into the face of confinement and the effects it had on a cross section of children aged between 5 and 11. As adults we can pick up the phone and speak to people, but young children can’t do that and were isolated from their friends.

“Having an eight-year-old myself I saw it first-hand so decided to photograph other children suffering with the same problems. I also asked the parents to write about how they were coping – some were doing well and some weren’t – and that made my study even more interesting and helped to document the extraordinary times we’ve all been through.”

Other projects on display include innovative ideas for new products from Industrial Design students including Liam Dawson who has come up with a wearable device that monitors air quality.

The 22-year-old from Lightwood said: “The idea is that the device is worn everyday so people can monitor their own air quality levels and make lifestyle changes based on those readings, all while contributing data to a community sourced map. I think the best target market would be commuters or someone living in a big city with large levels of pollution in the air to help them to adapt their daily routine to better their health.”

‘Aura’ uses an inbuilt sensor to measure air quality, recording the data in an accompanying app, and is magnetic so that it can easily be worn in multiple ways including as a necklace, badge or keyring.

Liam added: “Before a drop in levels during the pandemic, The World health Organisation labelled air pollution as the single biggest environmental threat to human health. As people are starting back at work and entering back into industrial areas, many cities across the globe have seen double digit increases in particulate matter in the air so I definitely think it’s a big issue that a lot of people should be concerned about.”

Discover more student projects featured in the show on Staffordshire University’s YouTube Channel.

The Art and Design Degree Showcase 2021 is open to the public from Monday 7 June to Saturday 12 June book your FREE tickets.

Car parking is available on our Leek Road site and parking charges have been lifted for the duration of the degree show.

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