Nationwide Degree Show: The V&A Curation

  • Freya Umataliev
  • Klaus Christopher Mann
  • Amy Lewis
  • Jemima Whitaker
  • darius moldo
  • Reanne McArthur

The Nationwide Degree Show is a collection of work from art & design students, who's final year shows have been cancelled due to COVID19. What started as an initiative by Fresh Meet to plaster billboards across the UK with student work, has now resulted in an online collection of over 1000 submissions from over 100 universities and 17 creative disciplines. The Curation Series is a programme of student work selected by industry leaders, creative pioneers and trendsetters. Below you will find a selection of student work curated by the V&A, by the Head of Design and Construction, Philippa Simpson.

The Victoria and Albert Museum is one of the worlds leading design museums. It's permanent collection if of over 2.3 million objects, and means that the V&A is the leading resource for all things architecture, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, painting, jewellery, glass, ceramics, book arts, Asian art and design, theatre and performance.
The Head of Design and Contruction at the V&A, Philippa Simpson, has looked over the submissions to the Nationwide Degree Show and picked out her favourite. These graduates are tomorrow's talent.

#1 - Marieke Evans

The first piece chosen for this curation is this architectural design piece by Marieke Evans.
On this, Philippa says "This is a sophisticated knitting together of context and experience to create a space that speaks to everyone. It shows an understanding of how a building can be ‘humanised’."

Marieke Evans, Interior and Environmental Design, Duncan of Jordanstone, College of Art and Design.
On their work, Marieke says: "‘Ashore’ is an intercultural community hub in an abandoned public Edwardian baths which celebrates cultural diversity by bringing people of different ethnic and age groups together through providing skill and story sharing, food, workshops, education and performance. My project aims to challenge the negative connotations of immigration within the most culturally diverse area of Scotland and an area of urban deprivation by encouraging conversation on their journeys and heritage. A narrative of sail and sea crossings is used to influence the design. As well as this metaphor fitting the context and nature of the bathhouse, crossing seas is a shared experience of those who have migrated to Glasgow. People who could previously not imagine belonging together, may now discover their stories are not so different after all. Finally, the narrative aims to honour the bravery of refugees who have crossed dangerous seas."

#2 - Charlotte Tatlow

The second piece chosen for this curation is this Community Tree project by Charlotte Tatlow.
Philippa wrote "This is a lovely way of drawing people together and speaks to a long tradition of the tree as protection and gathering point. The fact that they are sustained by individuals, but enjoyed by everyone, is a powerful statement of generosity."
Charlotte Tatlow, Product Design at the University of Chester.
On this project, Charlotte writes "Sustainability and designing for a greener future is something I feel passionate about. The inspiration behind my major project was reducing food scarcity within an ever-growing population. - The Community Tree will provide the resources for users to grow their own fresh produce in an urban environment. Additionally at night, ambient dusk lighting transforms it into a safe social space, encouraging a greater sense of community. Each branch allows the user to plant and harvest crops, which can be accessed by lowering with a unique crank handle. The growing process is called aeroponics, which uses an air and mist environment without the need for soil."

#3 - Hannah Turley

The third piece chosen for this curation is this set design piece by Hannah Turley.
Philippa wrote "Set for The Libertine: Real thought has gone into the content of the play and the narratives that will fill this space. The parallels between celebrity behaviour across the ages are clearly drawn out, and would allow for really experimental performances."
Hannah Turley, Theatre Design, Nottingham Trent University.
Hannah writes: "The image depicts scene 5 of The Libertine, a play for which I designed the set and costumes. It is a restoration era play which I chose to set in a more modern period - loosely the 1980's - to reflect the rakish and excessive behaviour of the titular character, seen frequently in troubled rock stars of the 80's. The brutalist inspired concrete structures of the set provide an apt setting for the dark and debauched underworld that John Wilmot inhabits."

#4 - Sophie Hope

The fourth piece chosen for this curation is this architectural project by Sophie Hope.
Philippa wrote "Really nice reuse of an existing space that bring the contemporary into the heart of the countryside and the National Trust in a meaningful way. Context specific but forward looking."
Sophie Hope, Interior and Architecture Design, Nottingham Trent University.
Sophie explains: "The project brief is named Reimagined, and is about bringing Gen Z into national trust sites. Using an existing, disused paddocks house, I have formed a creative co working space with an artist in residence, a workshop space for visitors and a gallery space. There are then private and public areas of the site that allow artists to be in their own studio whilst allowing for visitors to peek a glimpse while they work. The backdrop of this site is beautiful woodland and trees so the artists are able to be freely inspired by their surroundings. Heavy and light spaces are conveyed through materiality which then link to the public and private ethos."

#5 - Reanne McArthur

The fifth piece selected for this curation is this graphic poster by Reanne McArthur.
On this, Philippa writes: "this striking design invites a closer look, inviting people to learn more about this hidden history".
Reanne McArthur, Graphic Design, Glasgow Clyde College.
Reanne writes "Poster 1 of a set of 2 based on the theme of Silence: After researching I found out about the 'Cichociemni', who were Polish paratroopers who fought in WW2. The name literally translates to 'silent and unseen'. They were special agents, trained in a variety of highly skilled techniques, such as: silent killing, cryptography, and guerrilla tactics. The arrangement of the type is designed to represent a cipher, with the words 'silent' and 'unseen' as the hidden message."

#6 - Maroa-Isabell Al-Sahlani

Next up is the sixth piece chosen for this curation, by graduate Maroa-Isabell Al-Sahlani.
On this, Philippa writes "This is a fascinating project, using a tight lens to explore a much bigger issue. The images and design take what could seem a dry subject and make it truly compelling".
Maroa-Isabell Al-Sahlani, De Montford University.
Maroa writes: "This is from a book called "Cables" I made in my final year at university, about the unstable electricity situation in Iraq. I was able to visit Iraq in 2019, one of the first things I noticed were the exposed wiring all around Baghdad. I took many photographs and compiled them into this editorial driven book with an emphasis on the images. Through research I found out a lot of the real reasons for the deteriorating grid and the politics of why Iraq has such a bad electricity system when it is one of the largest exporters of oil. A mixture of political meddling from neighboring Iran and the US with a corrupt government has ultimately led to images shown in my book. I explored this project using reportage illustration as well."

#7 - Rosanna O'Kane

The seventh piece chosen for this curation is by graduate Rosanna O'Kane.
On this, Philippa writes "A brilliant response to the problem of the echo chamber – the design principles both frame and drive the content, and the debate."
Rosanna O'Kane, Graphic Design and Illustration, The University of Ulster.
Rosanna writes: "I designed a print newspaper called The Mediator which provides unbiased journalism and rejects the sensationalism of the 24hr news cycle. Multiple journalists writing from multiple perspectives contribute to each single article, and the cover story is depicted by two conflicting headlines on the front cover layered over each other. A newspaper which challenges your beliefs, asks you to think and understand, and doesn't tell you how to think."

#8 - Shannon Greer

The next piece in this curation is sexual exploration piece by Shannon Greer.
Philippa explains why it stood out: "A fantastic way of raising awareness and building confidence. The scale, the palette and the message all working together to make a powerful statement, full of positivity".
Shannon Greer, Graphic Design and Illustration, The University of Ulster.
Shannon writes: "75% percent of disabled people say that they have difficulties meeting sexual partners due to their disability and the huge misconception around sex being ‘just penetration’. However, 58% of disabled people admitted to being more inventive in the bedroom due to the restrictions they face from their disability, so I named these unique and inventive forms of pleasure a ‘Sexability’. Audiences who download the app can answer a few questions to uncover their unique Sexabilility which is designed as a ‘blue badge’. They can then use it as a conversation starter on dating apps or wear it as a symbol of empowerment. Instead of a blue disability badge defining what you can’t do with sex, the aim of a blue Sexability badge is to get people talking about what you can do."

#9 - Hannah Leabon

The ninth piece in this curation is a book design by graduate Hannah Leabon.
Philippa writes "This is a great idea, and a way of not just explaining but enabling through direct action to address a really tricky issue."
Hannah Leabon, Graphic Design, Nottingham Trent University
Hannah explains that this is "A children's book on emotional intelligence - learning how to handle strong emotions through informative pages, activities in and out of the book and craft tutorials in the book."

#10 - Freya Umataliev

The tenth piece for this curation is by graduate Freya Umataliev.
Philippa explains that this is "an extremely beautiful way of presenting a fascinating personal narrative – it gives an authority to the voice and draws the viewer into exploring further. The design really embodies the experience"
Freya Umataliev, Graphic Design, Falmouth University.
Freya writes "This book is a visual representation of my personal experience in discovering my heritage. This narrative tells the tale of the hidden, rural beauty of Central Asia, expressed through intricate paper craft including embossing and paper cutting. The story unfolds by contrasting this beauty with the city lifestyle and the challenges that were faced, indicated through typographic play."

#11 - Klaus Mann

The next piece chosen for the V&A Curation is by graduate Klaus Mann.
Philippa writes "bold and simple, this cover does a lot with a little. The focus on optimism and possibility in difficult times is made clear".
Klaus Mann, Ravensbourne College, London.
Klaus writes "This is the cover to the magazine I have created. YNGSTR features young artists and showcases how these artists spread optimism in this increasingly pessimistic world"

#12 - Harry Warman

The piece chosen next for this curation is by graduate Harry Warman.
Philippa writes "An extremely innovative idea, which has seen potential in a most unlikely place and used it for something both helpful and joyful."
Harry Warman, Graphic Design, Kingston University.
Harry explains "Inflatable London is a project that aims to put wasted roofspaces to good use. By using the hot air expelled from rooftop airconditioning units, fabric windsocks become giant inflatable wayfinding for the capital. From directions to the circle line to where to find your nearest pharmacy, this project aims to revolutionize how we navigate the city."

#13 - Zinnia Warde Aldem

The thirteenth piece chosen for the V&A Curation is by graduate Zinnia Warde Aldem.
Philippa writes "a timely and necessary campaign, wittily executed"
Zinnia Warde Aldem, Graphic Design, Edinburgh College of Art, The University of Edinburgh.
Zinnia writes "Buy Local! Why look further when a bunch of independent food and drink shops are still open for business just round the corner and now providing a delivery service. Now's the time to support your local producers to keep these businesses bubbling after Covid-19."

#14 - Jemima Whitaker

The fourteenth piece in the V&A curation is by graduate Jemima Whitaker, as a collaboration with sculptor Ben Allan.
On this, Philippa writes "the form of this publication neatly communicates the oddness – and beauty – of its subject."

Jemima Whitaker, Graphic Design, Leeds Arts University.
Jemima explains "Transmutation is a collaborative publication with sculptor Ben Allan, focussing on The Crystal Palace Dinosaurs and how they transgress the borders between geology, biology and archaeology. The publication is ambiguous in its form, reflecting the transmutation of the Crystal Palace iguanodon."

#15 - Harriet Gardiner

The next piece in this curation is by graduate Harriet Gardiner.
Philippa explains "An arresting and incredibly successful way of addressing an insidious and often ignored issue. Very powerful."
Harriet Gardiner, Nottingham Trent University.
Harriet says "My project focuses on the expectations around a woman's appearance, in particular, being asked to smile. Smiling upon request can leave you feeling as though you've lost your autonomy, but is that better than coming across as cold and unlikable?"

#16 - Finlay Hamilton-Sardesai

The next piece in the V&A curation is by graduate Finlay Hamilton-Sardesai.
On this, Philippa writes "A strikingly effective way of encouraging empathy and awareness".
Finlay Hamilton-Sardesai, Graphic Design, Glasgow Clyde College.
Finlay writes "My piece is based on the theme of sound and silence, and what it is like for a deaf person to walk through a busy street not being able to hear all the noises made around them."

#17 - Chloe Turner

The next piece in this curation is an inventive piece by graduate Chloe Turner.
About this, Philippa says "Impressively inventive use of material which brings a familiar message to life, demanding a renewed attention. Very striking."

Chloe Turner, Norwich University of the Arts.
Chloe writes "Using thermochromic inks to visualise the impact of global warming a poster was screen printed to reveals facts and figures about the growing climate crisis. The process of printing the poster was also recorded andturned into a supporting film. The aim of the posters is to raise awareness about global warming and climate change."

#18 - Amy Lewis

The penultimate piece in the V&A curation is by graduate Amy Lewis.
Philippa writes "A really nice way of promoting Welsh, bringing a modern sensibility to letter forms associated largely with the past. Shows the beauty inherent in the language."
Amy Lewis, Graphic Communication, Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Amy explains "My final major project aims to create an environment where more people will want to use the Welsh language. In 2017, the Welsh Government announced a new vision for a million Welsh speakers by 2050. In order to reach this goal, Wales needs to provide the conditions to facilitate this increase. This body of work aims to increase exposure and accessibility to the Welsh Language. By using design to celebrate the uniqueness of the Welsh language, people will be able to understand the importance of keeping the language alive. Byw (meaning living) is a family of living Welsh typefaces, designed with this Welsh community in mind. The Welsh alphabet includes 8 digraphs which are special to the Welsh language- Byw has been designed with these unique letters as ligatures. There are 2 weights within the family; Byw Sans Serif, and Byw Variable The variable weight has been designed as a phonetic alphabet. The stroke width of each letter depends on the position of the tongue in the mouth when the letter is pronounced. This weight will give learners confidence with the pronunciation of letters through a visual system. The typeface has been applied to a number of outcomes that also encourage learners and the use of the language."

#19 - Charlotte Key

The last piece to be selected for the V&A curation is by graduate Charlotte Key.
Philippa writes "A wonderful way of bringing beautiful design to the visually impaired from a young age, and inspiring confidence."
Charlotte Key, Graphic Design, Nottingham Trent University.
Charlotte explains "A Braille children's book collection, about inspirational blind people and their carers. Braille is important for blind children as it teaches them vital literacy skills such as spelling, punctuation and grammer which audiobooks can not teach. This is a photo from A for Astronomy, focusing on Nic Bonne a visually impaired astronomer. The book is printed in both Braille and text, with tactile illustrations throughout."
You can find more talent from all of our submissions in the Nationwide Degree Show or through the Fresh Meet profile.
You can also visit the artists of this curation in the project credits below.

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