Creative students celebrate top academic success
AFTER achieving a first class honours degree in Fashion, Hannah Johnston is planning to move to London and launch a career as a fashion buyer for a high-end department store.
And it might have taken six years, but Sharron Bates has also graduated with a first class honours degree and after selling her work to a New York based textile trade fair she has been commissioned to create a collection of designs.
They are just two of 134 former Cleveland College of Art & Design students celebrating their academic success as the third graduation ceremony got underway at the Christ Church in Hartlepool.
They were presented with certificates in degrees ranging from Illustration for Commercial Application, Creative Film and Moving Image and Textile Surface Design to Costume Interpretation with Design, Production Design for Stage and Screen and Fashion.
Hannah, 21, from Acklam in Middlesbrough who is pictured above, said: “I wasn’t expecting that result at all and I am totally over the moon. I aimed for a first but you never think that you will actually get one. I was really excited about graduating, although a little nervous on stage, and will celebrate with a family meal then some well-earned drinks afterwards!”
Meanwhile Sharron, 45 from Newton Aycliffe, graduated with a first class honours degree in Textiles and Surface Design. After successfully selling her work at a New York-based textile trade fair earlier this year, Sharron has gone on to achieve an even greater level of success after Belgium-based AV Design Studio commissioned her to create a collection of designs.
Anneke Vercammen and Romain Saillart, owners of Atlas Wallcoverings, flew to Hartlepool to meet with Sharron after they bought her Art Nouveau wallpaper panel in New York at the Surtex Trade Show in May.
They loved the hand-rendered work that Sharron had produced and are looking to replicate the designs with etching and 24 carat gold leaf.
After studying the degree part-time for six years, Sharron said: “The meeting was very positive and it was decided that not only would I produce a repeat wallpaper design for them inspired by the panel, but that they would like me to create a collection of wallpaper designs incorporating Art Nouveau styling.
Sharron has been invited to Belgium as a guest on completion of the collection to see how they produce their wallpapers, with a view to creating further wallpaper collections with them in the future.
She added: “I am overwhelmed and incredibly excited to be working with this amazing company. This has happened just at the moment I was beginning to consider how I would move on in my career following my graduation. I have worked as freelance artist alongside my degree, and I knew I wanted to continue to work for myself, so this opportunity has helped to realise this dream.”
On graduating, Sharron added: “I felt really daunted on the day until they put the mortar board on, then it felt right! This was the final chapter before I embark on this journey that I have wanted to do for so long. As a mature student, I gave it my all and wouldn’t have settled for anything less than a first and will enjoy the hard work by celebrating with my family.”
Pat Chapman, Head of Employability and External Relations, said: “Graduation is just one step on ladder to a career in the creative industries which these talented graduates started when they joined CCAD. Through their time with us we have been preparing them for work as well developing their creative skills. Through real project work for external clients, exhibiting work overseas, and working with our extensive network of industry partners, our aim is to create career gateways for students and maintain our status as UK number one for graduate employability in art and design.”
With proud families and friends watching on, the students were recognised for their hard work and academic achievement during their studies in a ceremony attended by Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of the Arts Council England and Prof Jane Rapley, Governor of CCAD and former Head of College at Central Saint Martins, as well as local dignitaries and teaching staff across the whole College.
Martin Raby, Principal of Cleveland College of Art and Design, said: ““It gives me great pleasure to see our 2016 students graduate at the awards ceremony in Hartlepool. It is not only an important day for graduating students, but also for their family members and friends who have supported them through their studies. The College has been a feature of life in Hartlepool for over 140 years and this is an important day for the College and for the town.”