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Posted 21.11.17

Celebrating the success of our 2017 graduates

By Kat Peberdy
From film festival official selections to award-winning designs, our graduates of 2017 have had an extraordinary journey. Ahead of this years graduation ceremony, we catch up with some of this year's cohort to review some of their highlights and hopes for the future...

After being named one of the best creative graduates outside of London by Creative Bloq, BA (Hons) Animation student Jessica Mehler recently screened her animated short film 'Catawampus' at Encounters Film Festival in Bristol, an event she has admired since she moved to the UK from Denmark.

Since finishing her studies she’s secured herself a position at Yellow Mouse Studios in Crediton, “It’s a really fun place and it’s nice to still be surrounded by animators. When you’re in the college you kind of get used to having all these creative people around and everyone bouncing ideas off each other, I’m really glad to be somewhere where I can still have that now.”

Earlier this year our BA (Hons) Commercial Photography for Fashion, Advertising and Editorial students had the opportunity to hone the skills learned on their course with a live brief and a fashion shoot at the Pentillie Castle award-winning five-star estate.

The brief was themed around New Romanticism and was set by top fashion photographer Holly McGlynn, who has shot for global brands including Louis Vuitton, Levis and Mulberry. Take a peek behind the scenes...

BA (Hons) Contemporary Crafts graduate Chloe Burke had amazing levels of success when launching her handcrafted Whinblossom products online. “After finishing my studies I had a busy few months ahead of me with the Best of Summer Show exhibition, London Design Fair, and getting married before I began my MA at the Royal College of Art.

“Once I returned to the Isle of Wight I decided to sell the last remaining bowls from the 'Into the Beguiling Wild' collection on my Instagram. It sold out within the hour, an incredible and totally unexpected response.”

Pieces from Chloe Burke's Into the Beguiling Wild collection

Another unexpected moment came for BA (Hons) Costume Production & Associated Crafts graduate Sara Whetherly when she flew to New Zealand, after her work was selected for the finals of the iconic World of WearableArt competition.

“The moment I saw my costume on stage, it was like a cliché where everything else around me disappeared. It was the most surreal and intense experience, I burst into tears when my creature crept out of the wings and made its way to centre stage, stopping to interact with the set and performers.”

Sara Whetherly's costume design 'Exuvia Prodigium' on stage at WOW

Active Tilly is a brand that has emerged from a task set to BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing students as part of a final year module. Graduate Chloe Hodgkinson fused her passion for media and marketing, and health and fitness to create a campaign and business that not only helps create a generational shift but a national change

“Active Tilly has been a bit of a whirlwind, it started as a project and ended up as a business. In the future I’m aiming to reach more schools and colleges throughout the UK to teach how we can get happy energy through health and fitness, creating guides, recipes and more merchandise to really help push for change.”

BA (Hons) Fashion graduate Franziska Wagner (Carter) has embarked on an exciting journey after making a key industry contact at Graduate Fashion Week. Elena Fajt, a Slovenian professor at the University in Ljubljana and the founder of the award-winning project called 'Shirting', has enlisted Carter to design a piece for her new collection.

The project works against overproduction, overconsumption and tackling unethical and non-ecological fashion industry practice by redefining the idea of garment ownership. Their ninth edition is a collaboration with a number of designers, including Carter, who designed a shirt as an extension to her graduate collection. This can now be rented on their website along with other shirts from various designers. Shirting has just won the best startup of the year in the field of creative and cultural industries.

'Yes' by Franziska Wagner at this years fashion show

Since completing his studies, BA (Hons) Film graduate Luke Sims has been working with top digital learning provider Sponge UK as their in-house videographer. Primarily working within their marketing department, he is Sponge’s first videographer, working to shape the role and determine how to best use moving image within the company.

“My goal right now is to help push Sponge UK’s use of video further and make it something bigger than it currently is.

I'm not too sure what I'll be doing in 5 years time, and honestly, that's incredibly exciting. All I know is I'd like to keep moving forward and keep growing as a filmmaker. Now I've had some time to reflect on what I was creating at Plymouth College of Art - I'd like to really knuckle down again and create some more short films."

A trip to London for our BA (Hons) Graphic Design students saw them visiting industry leading studios that have worked alongside notable brands such as Fortnum and Mason, Dior and Virgin.

Recent graduate Kate Arbon said, “It was interesting seeing the differences and similarities between the different studios, such as atmosphere, clientele and the number of team members that work on a single project.

“This trip was a really valuable experience, it has allowed me to build up a larger picture of exactly what kind of studio that would be best suited to me.”

BA (Hons) Graphic Design Kate Arbon's work at this years degree show

Jake Williams was awarded the highly coveted New Designer’s ‘Designer of the Year Award', named by Creative Bloq as one of the best creative graduates outside of London and also secured a book deal with London-based publisher Pavilion Books. All achieved in his final few months studying on our BA (Hons) Illustration programme.

“I've signed a 3 book deal with the publisher Pavilion Children's Books. The first of these will be Reptiles due out around September 2018 and will be around 96 pages which I will both write and illustrate. The following two book are currently undecided but with a rough plan to release them around 2019 and 2020.

“When I'm not working on a book I would love to work within editorial, packaging and advertising as well as any other exciting projects that my work is right for. I'm also interested in working with an illustration agent to help further my client base and range.”

Resilient Reptiles from BA (Hons) Illustration graduate Jake Williams

As joint winners of this year's Principal’s Award for Enterprise and Innovation, BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking graduates Amelia Webster and Marie Taylor have access to an incubator space and business mentoring for their start-up business Inside Edge, which supports emerging artists as they leave education.

During their studies they also collaborated with arts education organisation Q-Art as part of their professional practice development, leading tours at the Tate Modern and establishing a student-led Crit Club launched by Q-Art Director Sarah Rowles.

Booklet produced by Amelia Webster and Marie Taylor as Inside Edge

Being talent-spotted by the likes of The Jealous Curator, South West Graduate Photography Prize, the National Open Art Competition and Lensculture, BA (Hons) Photography graduate Josh Huxham is not slowing down as he enrols on our MA Photography programme.

When asked about his experience exhibiting his work at the recent Free Range show in London, Josh said, “It was a real whirlwind. The opportunity to work alongside my cohort in order to present a show that is concise and impressive was important for me. The process of organising, building, publishing, advertising and fundraising gave me a sense of pride once the show was up, and my cohort and I could evaluate how far we had come since beginning our degree.

“Exhibiting is something I find very exciting and I continue to think about solo shows and other opportunities for exhibiting my work in the future.”

SILENCE © Josh Huxham

During her final year on the BA (Hons) Printed Textile and Surface Pattern programme, Sarah Court not only saw her designs for Mercedes-Benz come to life but she also produced a large scale bespoke piece of work in association with Vispring.

Visitors to our Breaking Through degree show will have seen the Smart Car printed with Sarah’s winning design positioned in front of The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art, and the luxury bed on show inside.

“It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to work with such a respected brand during my degree. Seeing the completed smart car, featuring my designs, has been a real high point in my career so far.”

The respected car manufacturer was so satisfied with the quality of interactions with our students that they have initiated another live brief with the college. In collaboration with Mercedes Benz South-West, BA (Hons) Creative Advertising & Brand students are holding initial meetings to plan a creative strategy for marketing the new designs.

Sarah Court's design could be seen on the Smart Car parked outside The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art

Throughout their studies, our students have had access to industry-standard facilities, open studios and expert teaching. Along with support from the Careers and Enterprise team and the opportunity to make the most of internships and work placements with funding from the Charitable Trust bursary, our graduates are taking their next steps armed with the skills and experience to succeed.

We wish our students all the best with their futures, and if you want to be a part of their big day you can head to our Instagram and Snapchat for live updates at our Graduation Ceremony.

Join the conversation using the hashtag #PCAGrad17