Panama calling for intrepid illustrator, Amy

A Senior Lecturer from the School of Arts & Creative Industries at Teesside University experienced the trip of a lifetime, visiting the Panama to capture the life stories of animals in her drawings and illustrations.

Illustrator Amy Dover

Amy Dover has written the following blog telling a brief story of her travels.


Panama has one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity in the world where species from both North and South America live, from strange bugs to colourful toucans, howling monkeys, sleepy sloths and prowling big cats. Naturalists, artists, and illustrators have travelled to be inspired by nature in Central America for 100s of years.

Toucan in tree

But, what was once drawings made of new discoveries, are now drawings of a world which is fading due mostly to the impact of the developed world. I was incredibly fortunate to be given the opportunity to experience an artist’s expedition to learn from the nature and communities there and create artwork telling the story of animals that live in this biome.

Monkey in tree

In a remote area of Panama between the sea and one of the world’s most dangerous jungles lives one of the last surviving indigenous communities of central America. With special permission from the tribal council, I went on an artist’s residency to live in this community and learn about their unique relationship with nature. The Kuna’s (of sometimes called Guna’s) live across their own district and islands known as the Guna Yala (Kuna land).

The Kuna community

The community that I went to live with are located close to the Columbian boarder next to a jungle known as the Darién. To reach it involves a very small plane into the jungle and a boat over some quite ferocious waves.

Kuna collecting bananas from the jungle

The residency involved many treks into the jungle exploring the flora and fauna, the sounds and smells. I lived within the community for three weeks learning about the mythology, lifestyle and artwork they embroider into the women’s clothing. Creating drawings and printmaking in this environment produced unusual results, with a conscious effort to conserve and not take anything from nature.

Magnificent birds of prey

Travelling on to The Smithsonian Tropical Research Island, I was trekking with an expert learning further about nature through their jungle in quite intense heat. We were followed around for hours by a troop of monkeys who never showed themselves, but you could smell their sweet fragrance in the trees above. The island also echoed with the sounds howler monkeys who’s chorus can be heard for up to three miles. The water around the island hosts a community of crocodiles who could be seen on the banks, as well as many tropical birds and raptors.

Amy trekking through the jungle

Panama city is unusual as it has both tropical and dry forests, the exploration of this showed how closely nature can live to humans. I next  ventured to the islands of Gamboa which is a tropical area close to Panama city, and met some quite gregarious monkeys as well as more crocodiles, birds of prey and a greater collection of mosquito bites. It also hosted the spectacular sloth rescue where these ancient creatures lived their slow lives eating flowers.

Sleepy sloths
Sketches and notes

This was a hugely inspiring trip and I will continue to make work from this adventure, which will be exhibited early next year, as well as the release of a book. The trip would not have been possible without the support of both Teesside University and Newcastle University as well as numerous private clients and Craghopper’s for the clothing.


Amy Dover is Course Leader of BA Illustration as well as Senior Lecturer on BA Graphic Design and MA Visual Communication. She is also a PhD candidate.

Illustration courses at Teesside University:

BA Illustration

MA Illustration

Fine Art students exhibit across Middlesbrough

This August sees a number of fine art students from the School of Arts & Creative Industries at Teesside University exhibiting their work for the general public to see


Friday 19th August sees the opening of an exhibition at Parkside West  featuring the work of MA Fine Art students. Titled ‘FEMELLE’, the exhibition is a showcase of the work of female artists including:

  • Amy Austin
  • Charley Duffy
  • Robyn Fyfe
  • Vanessa Langford
  • Donna Morris
  • Evelyn Rodgers

Amy, Charley and Donna all completed BA Hons Fine Art degrees in the School of Arts & Creative Industries at Teesside University before progressing on to study their masters in Fine Art.  Along with Robyn, a studio holder at Auxiliary, they have all been accepted onto teacher training courses in September, with a view to sharing their creative talents with the next generation of arts students.

Vanessa is an experienced Community Arts Practitioner of 20 years. She is looking forward to working towards showing her work in the local area on completion of her MA.

Evelyn also completed a BA (Hons) Fine Art at Teesside University and she has plans to develop her sculptural and textile practice, working towards exhibiting locally after her MA studies.

The exhibition opens to public viewing at Parkside West, Middlesbrough TS2 3LF at 10am on Friday 19th August, closing at 4pm. On the 20th August the exhibition is open between 10am and 2pm.

Another Fine Art student, Ellen Ranson, is currently exhibiting her most recent work, inspired by a fellowship in Venice, at Pineapple Black in Middlesbrough until 20th August. Ellen is an abstract expressionist painter who works on large canvases, using bright colours and layers to create a sense of depth on the canvas.

Ellen Ranson

 

Jam Jars, Judges and Journalism

Jim Entwistle, former journalist and head of comms and now a Senior Lecturer in Digital Journalism at Teesside University, reflects on the important role of journalism in society


To the side of my new home is a mouldering garage containing all kinds of odds and ends left by the previous owners – rusted tools, yellowed sheets of newspaper, jam jars filled with obsolete metal fittings. We’re renovating the place and it feels at times as if these remnants are breeding. We’re four skips in and counting.   

I was in the garage last weekend, desperately looking for something with which to write a note to the plumber. Among the cluttered shelves sat a yellow pencil with black writing on the side. I plucked it from the dust, wrote the message on the back of an old till receipt, and then went on to the next job.  

Yellow pencil

Later, at lunchtime, I pulled the pencil from my pocket and looked more closely at its inscription – WILL HIRSTWOOD – EASTBOURNE JOINERY WORKS AND GARAGE – DARLINGTON 2498 – knife-sharpened at one end and teeth marks at the other. Idly wondering about Will, and if he might like his pencil back, I ran his name through Google, and found a good match in an article by Chris Lloyd of the Northern Echo: The ‘despicable, revolting and repugnant’ coffin lid scandal of Darlington  

The story details how a William Hirstwood, a joiner from Eastbourne in Darlington, caused national outrage when he was discovered to be running a macabre scam. Will and his accomplice worked at the town’s crematorium in the 1940s. During a service they would wait until the coffin had passed behind the curtain, out of sight of the mourners, before removing the lid. They would then load the rest of the coffin – and its contents – into the oven before leaving in the hearse, ‘loot’ in the back.  

When detectives visited Will’s depot, they found some 30 coffin lids stacked up, presumably ready for reuse and resale. Will was sent to jail for 18 months for his part, although there was some debate in court about the severity of the crime, if indeed it was one.  

Picture courtesy of the Northern Echo

Chris’ feature, and of course the original court report it was drawn from, perfectly illustrate how much journalism contribute to our society. It is about open justice and holding power to account. But there’s more to it than that. It’s also about the scandal and the salacious and the threads that connect us with each other and that connect the past with the present.  

Journalists play a key role in documenting our social history. As people and events come and go, and everyday life rushes by in a blaze of micro-drama, we rarely get chance to stand still and truly absorb the moments that make life interesting. But in the middle of all this flux, journalists through their daily work give permanence to the otherwise transient.  

Jim Entwistle, Senior Lecturer in Digital Journalism

In March, I joined the team working with the next generation of reporters on Teesside University’s Journalism course. Clearly, times have changed since the 1940s, when the Northern Echo reported on Will’s appearance at Darlington Magistrates’ Court. On top of the fundamentals, our students produce news websites, make video and write for social media. The channels may have changed somewhat, but in essence, the job is much the same. It’s about rooting out those stories and presenting them to the public as a matter of record, however despicable, revolting or repugnant they may be.  

I’m very much looking forward to working with the next intake of Journalism students in September and would welcome queries from anyone thinking about a career in the trade, which is every bit as important now as it was in the days of the Coffin Lid Scandal of Darlington. 


Read all about our  Journalism students

Journalism experience leads Holly to her passion

Journalism graduates went from course to career at Teesside University

2022 Journalism Awards

Teeside University’s partnership with news publisher, Reach

 

Student Installations at the Rye Reflections Art Trail

Students from the School of Arts & Creative Industries at Teesside University have teamed up with the Ryevitalise Landscape Partnership Project to create a series of installations for The Rye Reflections Art Trail, which can be visited throughout the Summer at Sutton Bank  

Price of Progress by Natasha Holmes

The Rye Reflections Art Trail is a joint project brought together by the Ryevitalise Landscape Partnership Project in the North York Moors National Park and students from the BA (Hons) Graphic Design and Illustration course at Teesside University, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the UK’s largest funder of heritage. 

Graphic Design students created 5 installations which can be seen along the Art Trail – visitors are able to collect a map from Sutton Bank Visitor Centre which shows exactly where each installation is sited. The pieces have been inspired by memory landscape and changing human relationships to nature, agriculture, and technology. 

The Great Outdoors by Hazel Tilley

Central to the development of ideas have been oral histories collected as part of the Rye Reflections project. Details of each installation and the accompanying oral history extract can be seen on the Teesside University web page  

Students were supported by Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design, Charlie Tait, an inter-disciplinary designer who often works with cultural and heritage based subject matter. Charlie said: 

This project has required a deep engagement to develop creative responses that function in this specific environment. I think the students would agree the project has taken them into new areas of practice and given valuable insight into the practical constraints of realising their work.

We have worked together to analyse research, question concepts and test materials – it has been magical to see this work installed and reflect on the journey each student has been on as they respond to feedback to take their ideas forward.

The project has included an initial field trip with artist, Paula Hickey, and photographer, John Arnison, as well as presentations to project officers, Amy Carrick and Francesca Pert. These experiences have helped students gain insight into the collaborative nature of creative work. I would like to specifically thank our expert workshop technicians; their positivity and knowledge of materials has been invaluable.

‘R’ by Zhipeng Qiu

The installations will remain on the Rye Reflections Art Trail until October 2022 and represent a unique opportunity to see how students in the School of Art & Creative Industries work on live project briefs as part of their degree course. For further information about courses in Art and Design please visit the following pages  

Undergraduate courses in Art and Design 

Postgraduate courses in Art and Design 

What Cost Brand Loyalty?

It’s hard not to hear about the cost of living crisis, with food, petrol and utilities prices soaring daily – UK gas prices have now hit a three month high. With the government urging businesses to slash prices, how will this affect brand pricing and brand loyalty as we tighten our belts to make purchase decisions? Associate Dean, Angela Lawrence talks of her own brand loyalty challenges.


I love a tin of Heinz tomato soup, the flavour reminds me of my youth – Dad opening a family-sized tin of soup, warming it on the stove and dishing it out to our eagerly awaiting hands, scooping bowls like real life Oliver Twists. I’ve tried various supermarket brands, cheaper versions of tomato soup, but quite honestly nothing tastes quite like Heinz (with a dash of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce!).

 

We’re told that Britons are paying almost £3 more for an average 20-item shopping basket than 12 months ago and as my weekly basket cost increases, I noticed whilst browsing the supermarket shelves of late that my beloved tin of soup has now increased in price to well over £1. As I write, it is on offer at £1.10 in Sainsburys compared to 59p for their own brand version. A search online shows that I’m not alone in loving that Heinz taste and that the Asda version at 50p is as good as it gets. So, naturally I’m going to give it a try – if it hits the mark then Asda could become my new best friend. 

So, I am prepared to sacrifice my loyalty to the Heinz brand and The Grocer magazine reports that up and down the country frugal shoppers are making similar decisions – 34% of us are switching branded products for cheaper alternatives. Yet as a marketer, I am passionate about branding, I teach students about branding and I recognise the importance of branding for business success.  Branding enables businesses to grow loyalty, to command higher prices and to stand out and be recognised amongst competitors.

However, it’s not all about selling at a higher price – businesses invest heavily in branding campaigns and seek to connect with their target audience with strong branding. If we want our country to crawl out of the threatened recession then we surely want businesses to be successful – it’s not just the powerhouses such as Heinz, but the SMEs up and down the country who all invest in, and rely on branding for business success.

The struggle is real and the branding dilemma seems to be affecting stocks of branded products already, my favourite soup included. I wonder whether this is the end for branding – will newly formed shopping habits remain once this cost of living crisis is over, or will we simply revert to making purchase decisions based on brand loyalty? Will belief in the power of branding be damaged and will brands ultimately have less power? Perhaps brand owners will have to consider new tactics to appeal and maybe trimming a penny or two here and there will make the difference.

Lots to ponder over and I’m not sure that I have the answer, but I’m looking forward to healthy discussions about branding when students return to Teesside University in September. Meanwhile, I might just nip to Asda now, to purchase that tin of soup… which may help me to make up my mind!


The School of Arts & Creative Industries offers a wide range of courses that include modules on branding – here is a selection to browse through:

BA (Hons) Media and Communications

BA (Hons) Media Production

BA (Hons) Film and TV Production

BA (Hons) Journalism

MA Multimedia Public Relations

 

 

 

PR students land jobs before graduation

Even before they have received their graduation certificates and flung their mortar boards high into the air, 60% of our final year Public Relations and Digital Communication graduands* are already in their dream roles! 

(*a graduand is someone who is eligible to graduate, but has not yet graduated – it can be your fact for the day!)  


Don’t take our word for it, listen to what our future graduates have to say. We asked them three short questions about their time at Teesside University: 

How did Teesside Uni help me prepare for my job?  

“My time at TU helped me to build confidence in my abilities, which left me feeling prepared to take on a new career!” – Sarah  

“Working with real world clients and developing the skills to help clients achieve their goals really helped me prepare myself for working in the industry. It helped me develop a ‘can-do’ attitude, which proves useful in an agency environment where no one day is the same.” – Adam 

“My time at Teesside University has helped me massively prepare for my job in so many ways, I don’t think I’d be this prepared for it without going through the University route!” – Laura  

Laura – Marketing Manager for Skins and Needles, Durham & Middlesbrough

Laura also says 

“Through my course I’ve been able to have a better understanding of the industry and build connections through guest lecturers and modules pushing me to speak to other creatives in the Northeast (especially when building my portfolio), which then led me to push my work out further to the online community. 

Through one of my modules, Teesside University helped push me to start my own blog which allowed me to speak to different businesses and related individuals. My blog helped me gain my first marketing job and helped me get accepted into the role I’m in now. Without this, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”   

The best thing about the PR course is… 

“The fact I was able to work on real world projects for real clients in a safe space where I could experiment with ideas was my favourite part of my time at university as it gave me a solid foundation of real-world experience and skills and still allowed me to try new things.”Adam 

“The best thing about the course was that a lot of it was practical, meaning we got the opportunity to design and create a range of PR and communications campaigns.”Sarah 

“The best thing about the PR course was the detailed learning because I was involved in quite a small cohort, this allowed all of us to be a consistent support line for one another through social groups and being friends with one another outside the classroom. The smaller groups allowed for us to get in-depth answers from our tutors about certain topics and more involved help with our learning.”Laura 

How’s work going and what are you doing?   

“Work is going great thanks, I love it!  My role is a mix of internal and external comms for a global company”Sarah  

Sarah – Communications Assistant at Venator, Winyard (Head office)

Adam sounds rather busy too:  

“My job as an account executive at an advertising agency entails taking care of clients’ needs to relay that to the necessary departments within the agency. For example, if a client wants a front-page advertisement including in tomorrow’s Daily Telegraph, I would be the first point of contact for the client and would relay that message to the artwork department in order to ensure client’s needs are met. 

I’m also currently compiling a competitor review for a football club to analyse competitors messaging techniques and any changes in (kit) design, and I’m working on populating a social media video report to see which of our videos have a higher level of engagement, and which videos don’t.” 

Laura is also multi-tasking: 

“I’m the sole marketeer across Middlesbrough and Durham studios for both tattooing and barbers, Skins and Needles Apparel, and other barbershops we have in the Northeast.  

My day-to-day responsibilities include social posting, customer relations, brand management, content management (with the team), paid advertisements, email marketing, but they’re not limited to any ideas that the team or our artists can come up with! Sounds a lot I know but with the right time management you can do anything. “– great advice from Laura.  

    • Adam is an Account Executive for Drummond Central, Newcastle. 
    • Laura is Marketing Manager for Skins and Needles, Durham & Middlesbrough.  
    • Sarah is a Communications Assistant at Venator, Winyard (Head office) and range of global locations. 

Find out more about our undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses in Media and Journalism, along with other courses in the School of Arts & Creative Industries

Celebrating a Winning Year

Students and graduates from the School of Arts & Creative Industries are encouraged and supported by lecturers to enter national and international competitions, and to apply for funded programmes. Find out more about our recent successes in a truly winning year.


Competitions are a great way for students to gain experience of responding to live briefs, as well as creating noteworthy content for a CV and a topic of discussion for interviews. That’s why our lectures encourage students to enter their work.

The support doesn’t end there though – we encourage students to keep in touch once they have graduated and turn to the lecturers who know them so well for support in applying for a variety of funded opportunities.

We’re incredibly proud of all our students, but in particular wanted to give a shout out to a handful of students who have achieved some outstanding successes over the last 12 months and celebrate their success, including:

Keavey Gamwell, a Graphic Design student, was so successful in The Adobe Certified Professionals National Championships that she has been selected as one of just 20 students in the UK representing the UK and Ireland at Certiport’s Adobe Certified Professional World Championship in California, USA, from 24 to 27 July 2022. Read more about Keavey’s story here

Earlier this academic year, Fashion graduate Emily Dey completed a rigorous selection process to be selected for an exclusive and 10-month, paid training programme funded by YOOX NET-A-PORTER and The Prince’s Foundation, the YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP Modern Artisan paid training programme in responsible design and luxury textile craftsmanship.

fashion designs
Fashion designs from Emily Dey’s final year portfolio

3rd year Product Design student Kristina Kuzcenova has reached the next round of the Pro Carton Young Designers Award 2022. The Pro Carton Young Designers Award is Europe’s leading annual young talent competition for packaging design. Focussing exclusively on cartonboard, the award plays a pioneering role in promoting sustainable packaging and innovation amongst students across Europe.

Kristina Kuzkenova

There were over 800 entries and Kristina was notified in June that she is in the top 100. She has now sent her prototypes for the next stage of judging, taking place in the Hague. Judges will announce the shortlisted top 25 in July and these entrants will go to the public vote – if Kristina makes it to the top 25 she can be assured of the vote of all our lecturers and students!

Nick Moffatt

Nick Moffatt an MA Illustration student has been longlisted for the World Illustration Awards in the Book Covers category for his classic beat generation collection  With category winners yet to be announced we’re holding our breath and wishing Nick the very best of luck.

Zara King

Second year Product Design student, Zara King, secured a place as one of just six finalists in the Design Plastic Awards in April.  The challenge this year was to design an innovative product for use in any part of the healthcare sector and Zara desgined EASYMODE, a reusable bed pan.

The finalists presented their products to the judges in London on May 27, and the final award ceremony, announcing the results, takes place on July 1.

*** WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT ***

Zara King won the Design Plastics Award 

With the academic year drawing to a close,  lecturers are busy scheduling the next set of entry dates for competitions to share with students. Meanwhile, we’re holding our breath to find out if any students will be announced as 2022 winners…but if truth be known, they’re all winners in our eyes!

Three Good Reasons to Study for a Masters Degree

Studying for a masters degree is usually an option for anyone who has achieved a 2:2 or above in an undergraduate degree, although relevant professional experience is also considered. There are many reasons why people choose to study at postgraduate level, here are just 3 that prompted students to join the School of Arts and Creative Industries for their Masters degree study


Passion for a subject – many students just want to immerse themselves even further in the subject that they love. In the creative industries, often postgraduate students already run small businesses or sell their creations, so love to immerse themselves and learn even more about the subject that they love. Here’s what mature student Suzie Devay had to say

Employability – having that higher level qualification can make graduates more attractive to employers, so students often decide to further their studies to open more doors to their future career. Postgraduate study opened the doors to Neil Fatkin’s career in Journalism

Earning potential – evidence suggests that graduates with a postgraduate qualification have an increased lifetime earning potential. Hannah Cheetham decided to stay on to study at postgraduate level and aspires to progress to director level within a communications agency.

Emma graduated with an MSc Advanced Home Futures

With postgraduate loans of up to £11,836 and help available to find out what you may be entitled to, study at the School of Arts and Creative Industries may be more accessible than you think.

Hannah graduated with an MA Multimedia Public Relations

Whatever your reason, we’ve got a wide range of creative postgraduate courses available, many of which can also be studied with Advanced Practice, enabling you to enhance your qualification by adding a second year of vocational or research based internship to the one-year master’s programme – take a look at what you could study (in alphabetical order of subject):

MSc Advanced Home Futures

MA Comics and Graphic Novels

MA Curating

MA Digital Media and Communications

MA Design

MA Fine Art

MA Illustration

MA Interior Design

MA Multimedia Public Relations

MA Producing for Film and Television

MA Visual Communication

Join us at our Open Day on 25th June if you would like to chat to an academic about postgraduate study

 

Visitors at a Postgraduate Open Day

Winner of the inaugural MIMA Great Create competition

In January we launched our first MIMA Great Create competition, open to anyone over the age of 16 in the North East. With a regional theme, we invited entrants to tell us about their love of the North East in a creative way and a wide range of drawings, paintings, illustrations, comic strips, graphic designs, fashion designs, videos, photographs and musical pieces were sent in.

Five of our finalists (left to right) Airen Sopany, Jake Beddow, Jonathan Raiseborough, Ella Miller and Grace Coverdale

Picking a winner was a daunting task for our illustrious panel of creative industry judges, from Film Producers to Cartoonists and Heads of Brand, who anonymously marked each entry against its fit to the brief, creativity, originality and ability to convey a lived experience of the area, amongst other things.

Finalist’s entries on display in the MIMA foyer

Six finalists were selected and they brought family and friends to join staff from the School of Arts and Creative Industries for an informal finalists celebration lunch on 28th May at the MIMA Gallery, where a pop-up exhibition of their entries was displayed.

MIMA Gallery Artisitic Director, Elinor Morgan announcing the winner

Elinor Morgan, Artisic Director for MIMA Gallery announced the winner of the Apple MacBook Pro – Jonathan Raiseborough for his illustration “Boro Skyline”.

Winner Jonathan Raiseborough

Second place went to Ella Miller for her risograph print

Second place winner, Ella Miller

and third place went to Airen Sopany for her fabric and fashion design.

3rd place winner Airen Sopany

Comments on the winning entry from our industry judges included:

The line work and composition in this image is just extraordinary. I love the limited choice of colours. The sense of space is really interesting as well taking it from the natural to the urban in one image but presenting it as a ying and yang rather than as contrasting forces.

Beautifully detailed, from top to bottom. It really makes the viewer feel as though they know the area. Really nice use of colours, shading (especially on the water) and composition to draw the viewer in.

A lovingly executed work. So much to see, all beautifully tied together and well organised. Not a bit of wasted space. An excellent evocation of the wild, unseen side of Teesside, much appreciated by those who know about it. Thoughtful and well done.

The success of the inaugural MIMA Great Create competition has motivated us to continue with a new competition to be launched in September. The new theme will be revealed on our competition web page and lecturers will be visiting schools and colleges in the region to tell students how they can enter, so keep your eye on this page for news coming soon!

Finalist Grace Coverdale with her acrylic painting on canvas ‘The decline of the Teesside steelworks industry’
Finalist Jake Beddow with his musical composition representing the history and current story of the Teesside region.

Inside Interiors

Associate Professor Richard Sober pens his thoughts on a busy few weeks for the  Interiors team at the School of Art & Creative Industries


“Its been quite a frenetic May for the interiors team.  First came the opening night of the degree show exhibition showcasing the final project work of the BA(Hons) Interior Design, BA(Hons) Interior Architecture and Design and BSc Innovative Home Design and Construction courses.  The show was packed with students and their families alongside lots of professionals from practice on the lookout for new talent and it was lovely to welcome back alumni who came back to recruit from the new crop of talented graduates.

Mark Southgate presenting MOBIE certificates to students

“The BScs were awarded special certificates from George Clarke’s MOBIE organisation, with whom we co-authored the course, and these were presented by Mark Southgate, the MOBIE Chief Executive. It was a fantastic celebration marking the transition from study to the world of practice.

“Early the following morning together with 6 of our students from the first and second year we embarked on an unusual design and build project for ITV.  We had 5 days to complete this before filming was due to begin the following week.  Unfortunately we can’t yet share any details of what it is, but after a meeting with the company’s production and compliance team to share ideas and concepts we hit the computers, workshops and textile and print studios.  We couldn’t include anything on set that might be subject to copyright, so everything had to be bespoke made including wallpapers, textiles, fixtures and fittings, so as soon as each element of the design was created we then frantically rushed off to construct and make it before passing it on to the student team working on the installation.

Robson Green with Interiors students
Students with Robson Green

Fortunately the producer was delighted with the result, it was an exhausting, but fun, few days which culminated in a visit from the show’s star, the actor and presenter Robson Green, who generously called in to say thank you in person to the students and invited us all to a special event that will filmed as part of the show.  Although our lips are sealed until it’s broadcast later in the year we can’t wait to see our creations appear on screen and hear what you think.

“With barely time to pack the Interiors team was on the way to London for Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW).  This is the biggest national event of the year for the Interiors profession, when everyone from the industry descends on Clerkenwell and takes over its streets, warehouses and every inch of exhibition space to show the best and newest interior products, materials and furniture, as well as network and generally be inspired.

decorative glass bricks for interior design projects
Decorative bricks at CDW

“This was the first CDW since before the pandemic and it was clear that the dominant trends are health and wellbeing, whether in commercial office design or within the home.  Especially useful for an upcoming live summer project for an NHS Mental Health Hub that some students are going to help us with. At Clerkenwell it was apparent that the pandemic has widely influenced interior design thinking for example materials with infection control and anti bacterial properties were everywhere, not surprising after the last couple of years, as were wayfinding solutions to create clear circulation routes through buildings. There was an abundance of acoustic damping materials to create calmer spaces, often subtly built into lighting, desks and furniture but alongside all these functional necessities there was still enough visual overload of colour, pattern and form to delight the senses.

“Nature and natural materials are huge trends promoting biophilic spaces, all taking care to be as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible.  There were some incredibly innovative materials that recycle what would otherwise be landfill waste and developments in the use of fast growing timbers and seaweeds to overcome current worldwide shortages of more traditional timber and plant sourced products and finishes.

“We managed to line up some great people for next year’s course talks, bagged lots of samples for our materials library in the Interior studio and caught up with a number of past graduates who were there representing their practices.

“So heading back to Teesside on the train, tired and with aching feet I’m reminded that what I love about interiors is it never stands still, there are always new things to see, unusual projects and exciting events.  Interior design reflects whatever is happening in the world around us but creates spatial solutions for all human activity. Above all, as the last couple of weeks has certainly proved…it’s never dull!”

Interiors courses at Teesside University:

BA(Hons) Interior Design

BA(Hons) Interior Architecture and Design

BSc Innovative Home Design and Construction

MA Interior Design * subject to university approval

MA Interior Design (with Advanced Practice) * subject to university approval