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Thursday 2 July 2009

Wimbledon fatigue? Take in a show…

Do you wish Andy Murray all the best, but find the ‘Murray Mound’ hysteria all a bit much? Maybe you should check out some other sickeningly young and talented rising stars.

The season for Wimbledon and Pimms, now is also the time of year graduate degree shows are endemic. Across the country, arts graduates from photography to fashion are now exhibiting their work to the public. For students, the graduate degree shows are the years’ highlight, a chance to display the culmination of 3 or 4 years hard work and commitment. For the exhibition attendee, the shows present an exciting opportunity to sneak-preview the future of British design.

Last week I was inspired at the opening night of the Leeds College of Art and Design; personal favourites were the graphic design projects. The innovative use of different materials used by the designers to engage with philosophies and convey visual solutions was stunning. Font and type-face have never been so stirring! As Peter Saville highlights: “The actual visual material, which was a big step for people, would not have been so openly received had it not been n the context of pop affiliation,” it’s bringing the specifics of design to all.

I’m hoping to make it to Nottingham for another show later this month. Fine and decorative arts, fashion design, knitwear and textiles, fashion marketing and communication, photography, graphics, multimedia and product design are just some of the disciplines you can take in at Work the Way the World Works, brought from the graduates of Nottingham Trent’s school of Art and Design. More than 100 students from 15 countries are exhibiting, in a show which truly reflects culture, creativity and diversity from across the globe.

Carol Jones, Academic Team Leader for Masters Programmes, explains the thinking behind the theme,”Work the Way the World Works, reminds us to keep our focus on a world which, whilst experiencing a global economic downturn, is also rich in multi-level opportunities in many different contexts.” Graduate projects include an investigation into the buying behaviour of design-conscious Chinese males, strategies for the improvement of fashion e-retail websites in Taiwan and research into the relationship between the Bombay film industry and the Indian fashion market.

I’m particularly intrigued to see one student’s product design project, where intricate symbols and meanings from traditional Chinese furniture design are incorporated into a table created using Western design practices.
This East-meets-West merging of ideology and design is a hot topic in the Aesthetica office at the moment. China’s current economic boom has translated into an extremely powerful contemporary art market. Within the space of a generation, the changes in this country’s culture have been immense to say the least. The seemingly ever-rising popularity and importance of Chinese art is discussed with artist Chen Ke in our current issue.
Work the Way the World Works is open from July 11-18. If you fancy a break from all the tennis coverage, or – more likely – the last British hope is knocked out, a visit to a graduate show comes highly recommended!

[Image credit. 1. Ken Wong, Interim. 2. Valeria Artistidou, Motion Graphic Design]

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