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Students soar as 2016 ADI Showcase gets underway

Academics praise quality of students' work at superb exhibition at Docklands campus

From big, beautiful women to the migrant camps of northern France, it’s all on display at the University of East London (UEL) 2016 Arts and Digital Industries (ADI) Final Year Showcase.

More than 300 final-year students from the Art and Design and Fashion and Textiles subject areas are exhibiting work at the Docklands Campus this weekend.

The showcase kicked off with a private view on Thursday which featured a catwalk show from foundation level Fashion and Textiles students, a speech from British artist Dan Coombs and the annual awards ceremony.

A variety of awards were handed out across the two subject areas, including the prestigious Dean of School Purchase Prize, which was presented to two students.

Textiles’ Jackie Passy (her work is pictured above) and artist Daumants Brunins shared the award, with the Dean of the School, Professor Simon Robertshaw, choosing to purchase their work among a number of nominees.
Head of Art and Design, Dr Hedley Roberts, was beaming with pride as he heaped praise upon the outgoing students.

“I’ve been here 12 years and I feel like our area is really coming of age,” he said. “Students’ production values have massively escalated in the last couple of years. Their understanding of what they’ve got to do to be current in terms of the quality of the work has really, really soared.”

Hedley put this change down to the social conscience of the students.

He said, “We’ve got so many students whose work is driven by ideas about racism, gender, social politics, environment, body issues and all kinds of things.

“Increasingly, we’re seeing the students think about who they are going to be in the world, not just ‘I am going to be an artist, I am going to be a designer’. They see their social and political responsibilities as an artist or designer and I think that’s what I am seeing as a big change over the last couple of years, particularly this year.”

Hedley also noted the University’s commitment to civic engagement and said he felt this agenda was “filtering down and connecting” with the students.

Graphic design student Jack Shepherd won the Civic Engagement Prize for his Calais refugee project which documented his trips to the migrant camps, otherwise known as ‘The Jungle’.

The Showcase is part of a very busy couple of months for the School of ADI with a series of summer events ongoing.

“Last night we were here until 12.15am working with students on their work,” Hedley revealed. “That was all the staff and all the students. We ordered pizza in and I think that’s what is really special about UEL. We’re a community that work together for each other, helping each other out.”