MIMA and Me

Clare Varga talks about the decision to return to university to study for a journalism degree as a mature student and the internship opportunity this opened up for her

At the ripe old age of 35, I decided it was about time I got the degree I had been promising myself since I was 18, so I studied Media and Communications BA (Hons) degree at the School of Arts & Creative Industries.  I have always been interested in the media and the arts and after graduating I was given a really exciting opportunity to work at MIMA gallery as an intern for 3 months. I have learned a huge amount in that three months.

My role focusses on supporting the communications manager with activities both in MIMA gallery and with the School of Arts & Creative Industries.  As well as being passionate about media in of all its various forms I am an appreciator of the arts, so I feel incredibly lucky to be working in such a fantastic environment, surrounded by such creativity.

I’ve always enjoyed art. I love the way that everyone interprets works in their own individual way, and also how a piece of art can evoke such strong emotions.  I’ve really enjoyed learning about how a gallery is run and I have been working on social media plans, public relations and have been contacting the media, both local and national about events and activities going on at MIMA Gallery.

I have also been witness to the flurry of excitement and activity that goes on just before a big exhibition opening. Chemical City opened on 25th November, and in the days and weeks beforehand, MIMA was a hive of activity. This culminated in an opening night event, which I had the privilege of not only attending, but also helped at the event. Seeing the gallery change from one exhibition, to an empty space and then filled with a whole new show was fascinating. I really had no idea how much work went into staging an exhibition and that the planning takes place a year or two beforehand, there’s a lot involved in putting on an exhibition – as I have learned! I was also privileged to have a sneak peak of the exhibition with a guided tour from Helen Welford, curator at MIMA, before it was opened to the public.

Ive also been really surprised to see how involved with the community MIMA is. From schools to elders, MIMA is at the heart of Middlesbrough. The recently launched Saturday Club, for 13-16 year olds has been a roaring success and I’ve seen some of the amazing work that they have produced.

I will be sad to leave MIMA when my internship is at its end, but I will be eternally grateful to the team for allowing me to join them and learn so much about what they do, as well as utilising the skills I learned during my degree. Anyone who is thinking about a creative career path, I would 100% recommend experience in an arts and culture environment.

You can find out more about creative subjects to study at the School of Arts Creative Industries here

*** MIMA NEWS ***


Fine Art students from the School of Arts & Creative Industries at Teesside University, recently curated their own exhibition with the support of Pineapple Black‘s contemporary arts space in Middlesbrough

The all-female student collective, in the second year of their Fine Art degree course, described their work as being based  upon responding and reacting to the works that they have discovered within their environment.


The exhibition process created an opportunity for the students to experiment with their craft and to find their preferred methods of work. It also allowed them to find faults in their work and correct future pieces – all vital learning for future events as they progress on to employment within the creative industries following graduation.


Identifying the challenges of curating an exhibition as a group was a new experience for the students, who come from a variety of art backgrounds – some studied art in college but for others this was a completely new direction.  Working out how their works were going to be installed, how to complement the space and each others work, and how to find appropriate entertainment to add that something extra to the event were all challenging considerations.

The students also recognised obstacles with their own work, with some pieces taking a lot of physical labour to complete and install, but these were overcome by working effectively as a team, resulting in an inspirational immersive arts experience, Bamboozled.


Lecturers from the School of Arts & Creative Industries supported the students, offering new perspectives to both making and displaying works and working closely with the them to ensure they were fully satisfied with the overall look and feel of their work and the exhibition as a whole.

The installation period was collectively our favourite part of the process

quotes student Leah Roberts,

seeing all of our hard work come together in a much larger space was really enjoyable.”


More of the students’ work can be seen on their Instagram accounts:


The BA (Hons) Fine Art at Teesside University provides studio-based learning that allows students to specialise in painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography and/or new media. Students have open access to all media workshops to develop their personally defined project themes.

Teeside University’s has an Open Day on Saturday June 25th for anyone wishing to explore the facilities, tour the campus and chat with lecturers and students

New product development, who needs a designer?

Mark Beckwith, Senior Lecturer in Industrial Design talks about the changing industrial design landscape. Mark teaches students on the BA Product Design in the School of Arts & Creative Industries

Changing design processes

Product / industrial designers initially conceptualise a new product that creates emotional connections with the end user. Development draws together fit, form, and function, optimising all to create the best possible solution. Designers strive to create visually appealing designs and ensure that the product is manufactured in an economic and sustainable manner, creating a product that can stand the test of time.

When I graduated in the late eighties manufacturing companies would leave industrial design to the end of the engineering lifecycle, or leave out completely often with a new product struggling to find success in consumer-driven markets.

The situation has now changed with designers involved from the initial ideas stage. Designers now must embrace several challenges, as manufacturers face more competition and faster development cycles than ever before. Consumers are becoming ever more discerning in a global market, with design and engineering teams increasingly integrated therein.

The way forward

Within manufacturing industry, there has been much discussion dedicated to the way forward for product design as a profession, especially with its power to impact corporate thinking or influence culture. Design is affecting society on previously unheard-of levels. Apple, for example, is now worth over $3 trillion and has unquestionably changed societies all over the world. And it’s no exaggeration to say that industrial design has played an enormous role in their success.

As long as people feel the need to create, build and manufacture, industrial design will remain vibrant. Just look around, there are many national and international companies that are dedicated to good design and bring awareness of them to the masses.


Product Design at Teesside

The Product Design course at Teesside University equips students with the skills and knowledge for careers across the design industry in roles from consultant to in-house designer, enabling employment with a wide range of employers from small independent businesses to large-scale manufacturers.

Teesside University is ranked 13th out of 71 institutions for Design & Crafts in the Guardian University Guide 2021