Daisy Lancaster, 18, recently graduated from Plymouth College of Art’s dedicated pre-degree campus, specialising in fashion and textiles.
We believe that high-quality education for life in contemporary arts practice is the creative catalyst for personal, professional and cultural transformation, and our manifesto includes ten propositions, written by our Principal, Professor Andrew Brewerton, that added to the themes of CREATIVE LEARNING and SOCIAL JUSTICE, define our strategic plans for the future. For our new campaign, we invited thirteen current students, recent graduates and alumni to contribute their own propositions.
From costume design to fashion photography, Daisy wants to make her voice heard through her passion for producing high-quality garments with a purpose. We sat down with her to find out more about her change of direction and her proposition.
Tell us about yourself.
I’ve grown up with theatre, my mum being a wardrobe manager at the Theatre Royal Plymouth, so I feel like I’ve always been surrounded by creativity. Art helps people to find other ways to communicate. I’ve got dyslexia, I can write but spelling is really difficult for me, photography, for instance, is much more visual so I find it easier to speak through it. I think other people with learning difficulties benefit from it too, having art as an outlet and a way of communicating.
Why did you choose to study at Plymouth College of Art?
At school my textiles teacher was really good, she taught me a lot, but when moving up to sixth form level I wanted to find somewhere that offered specialisms so that I could focus on the skills I wanted to develop.
Tell us about your proposition.
A lot of institutions are stopping funding for the arts, it’s being cut dramatically across the country. Before I came to Plymouth College of Art, they cut my textiles class at school because they didn’t have enough funding for it, which really had a direct impact on me.
I’m highlighting the issue because it’s important to show different generations that we’re passionate about something. I want to subvert the stereotype that students and young people are lazy, and show that we’re going to stand up and fight for the things that are important to us.
So you started out thinking you wanted to create garments, and then what happened?
Yes, so I started off wanting to do pattern cutting, and then as the year went on I started to think I like the design concepts a bit more than the final thing, I liked the messaging behind it.
And then when I photographed the designs I had made I realised I was more interested in this aspect of the work. So then I went on to focus on photography for the remainder of my studies. I also had the opportunity to join the BFI Film Academy as well, from that I knew film and photography was what I wanted to do.
What has been your highlight from studying this past year?
Having the independence and opportunities to do what I want with my studies. My teachers have been so supportive, one to one support has been fantastic, having that when you really need it is invaluable.
We’ve had students describe the campus as feeling like a community, would you agree?
It’s definitely a community. We had our end of year fashion show, and what I really loved about that experience is that we did everything ourselves. We came up with the theme, we made the props, we made the outfits. Doing that as a collective really brought everyone together. It would be really cool to stay in touch and collaborate with them in the future.
Can you tell us about your final major project?
It was about clothing and identity, I made a magazine full of pictures and interviews, poems and drawings. The messaging was about how clothing creates character, so you wear something and someone might take something from that, they might stereotype you or they might copy you. The project was really tough, I came up against some obstacles but the workshops and learning I received on the course equipped me for making the necessary changes.
What advice would you give new students?
Take every opportunity. In my first year, I did everything that was on offer, all the workshops and trips, that was how I found my love for fashion photography. If you sort of know what you want but you’re not quite sure, just use the opportunities given to you to try out everything and find your specialty.
At Plymouth College of Art, they not only equip you with the tools you need, they also teach you how to use them to a professional standard. This is why the city is becoming a real creative hub.