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Hundreds of students attend Detour Ahead event

Landscape Architecture Project

Detour Ahead has given UEL’s art and design students a glimpse of the future.

The week-long event recently brought 29 experts to the University to share career advice and insight into fields such as animation, art and illustration. Around 250 students belonging to UEL’s School of Arts and Digital Industries attended at least one session.

“Some of the industry advice, the career advice, has been absolutely priceless. There are absolute pearls of wisdom dropped constantly,” graphic design lecturer Ed Gill said.

“That’s exactly what it’s about: really delivering straight to the source information that students need to hear from a professional,” he continued.

Claire Nansamba, a fine arts student, said Detour Ahead provided her with lots of useful information.

The best advice? “I’d have to say it was getting yourself out there as much as possible. Making sure that people can hear your voice and see your work,” Claire said.

Graphic design student Zuleka Rahman also picked up a number of good tips.

“It was really useful and I really enjoyed it. The speakers have lots of experience,” Zuleka said.

Detour Ahead offered three ‘headline’ events that featured animator Ian Emes, Turner Prize-nominated sculptor Professor Richard Wilson and illustrator James Jarvis.

Professor Wilson spent more than an hour with students discussing how he built his Slipstream sculpture, an 80-metre twist of aluminium that stretches across Heathrow’s Terminal 2. The sculpture is the longest piece of permanent art in Europe.

Programmes such as Detour Ahead are “absolutely vital in a day and age when there is less and less money being put into the arts and arts education,” Professor Wilson said.

“The idea of getting professionals in their field together, for them to engage with each other and for them to engage with the students, and to have that as a very rich moment in the calendar, is fantastic,” he said.

Mr Jarvis showed work from his own student days and talked about how he moved into a successful professional career that’s ranged from toy design to animation.

Mr Jarvis said young people should take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way.

“You can’t just like the idea of being an illustrator. You have to really love it because you won’t necessarily make lots of money from it,” he advised.

Mr Jarvis noted that he still has relationships with practitioners who visited his university art classes.

“Some of the most inspiring things I saw when I was a student were when practicing people came in,” he said.

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Notes to Editors

The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.