I’m not biassed but… amongst the best course shows at the 2013 Leeds College of Art’s graduation show – This is not the end – was from my own, the BA (Hons) in Visual Communication. It was clear that there were many very talented people leaving the third year, but they had also put in the blood, sweat and tears to master a high level of professionalism in their work. Handmade books, etched jewellery, beautifully lit films, and impactful photography, as well as graphic design, illustration and animation all featured, and the ability to follow their individual passions is what made this exhibition so special as it elevated the work to the next level. It felt like the students were ready to confidently step out into the world.
The BA (Hons) Printed Textiles & Surface Pattern Design graduates didn’t fail to impress either. In fact their exhibition pretty much blew me away. It was like walking in to a preview for next season’s lines for Laura Ashley, Farrow & Ball, and Paperchase. Beautiful and tasteful designs that not only could you welcome into your everyday life but would find yourself asking people around to your house just to look at your wallpaper! It is therefore of little wonder that the achievements of the students has been recognised with two students – Natalie Ratcliffe and Hannah Bowen – winning a total of three awards at the New Designers 2013 awards in the following categories: New Designers John Lewis Award for Design Excellence and Innovation, The New Designers Wilkinson Award for Commercial Surface Design, and The New Designers Harlequin Award.
Another course that wowed was the BA (Hons) Photography that produced very thoughtful work that explored a wide range of subjects matters. Some of the graduates showed a deal of commitment to their work having spent a great deal of time creating a series of images, travelling great distances, or challenging authority and risking taking photographs in places they shouldn’t be.
Overall it was an excellent show and you could have easily spent the whole day at Leeds College of Art exploring the work of the new crop of creatives. Unfortunately it was let down by the uninspiring and thrifty marketing, particularly in comparison to the integrated campaign and associated events that were run by Leeds Metropolitan University and the colour and controversy in the two Leeds University shows, Play and £383,911.73.