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York College University Centre Guild of Media Arts 1

Guild of Media Arts to showcase University Centre work at Bedern Hall

AN impressive array of gowns - designed and made by our fashion degree students - will be among the pieces of work on display during an exhibition in York’s 14th-century Bedern Hall this month.

As part of York College University Centre’s exciting new partnership with the York Guild of Media Arts, first-year students from our BA Fashion Design & Garment Technology course were handed a brief earlier this year to create robes that would capture the essence of the Guild and the city it is based in.

The finished products will now be showcased on Tuesday June 20th in the historic St Andrewgate building that was originally used as the dining hall for the Vicars Choral of York Minster but also once served as the premises for William Wright’s pork pie factory and is now home to three of the city’s ancient guilds.

Other stunning works of art, produced by our BA 3D Creative Practice and BA Graphic & Communication Design students with the brief of portraying a “York Story”, will also be on view at the exhibition which will be open from 11am to 4pm and is free to members of the public.

Having been tasked with conceiving a gown that would be fit for eminent members of the Guild’s court to wear, the fashion students embarked on collaborative projects where their concept and design was brought to life by one of their fellow undergraduates on the course.

The colour scheme was to be blue and yellow to reflect the Guild and city of York respectively.

As a group, meanwhile, it was decided that the fabric used for all the robes would be made from 100 per cent wool due to its sustainable and durable properties, as well as its capacity to regulate body temperature in hot and cold conditions.

After exploring York and delving deeper into its history, whilst also learning more about the origins and significance of Guilds, the cohort found inspiration from the city’s Cats Trail, trees, hidden mid-20th century shop signs, haunted past, St Crux Church face carvings and night-time charm.

The gowns (on a mannequin) and conceptual motivation (with the assistance of a slideshow) were then presented by each designer to Owen Turner, Master of the York Guild of Media Arts, and Court Member Richard Hunt on campus this week ahead of the public unveiling.

For the graphic and 3D design students, the diversity of work that evolved from the same brief was again striking, including a stunning book on architecture, a necklace incorporating pieces of York stone inspired by the geology of York Cemetery and a Terry’s Chocolate Orange jewellery box.

The use of long-exposure photography, meanwhile, was used to capture the stories of York’s haunted past and the endangered, iridescent green-coloured tansy beetle, known as the “Jewel of York” due to the numbers that can still be found on the banks of the River Ouse, provided inspiration for another eye-catching exhibit.

Visitors to next month’s display should also look out for the series of different-sized ceramic pots that depict the city’s secret passages and snickelways and can be positioned in a manner that you are able to see right through them.

York became the UK’s first UNESCO City of Media Arts in 2014 and the Guild are committed to bringing media arts into the lives of the city’s residents, as well as projecting the best of York’s media arts scene to a global audience.

The body also runs networking events and skills workshops and, commenting on the presentations he witnessed ahead of the exhibition, Guild Master Owen Turner said: “The enthusiasm and the passion of the students throughout the whole project has been a real highlight and inspiring for me, as has been their commitment to completing the brief in the most creative ways that they could. It’s been good to see the variety and that they have delivered very different things.

“The exhibition is being held in the city centre at a very accessible venue and it will be great to see the students’ family and friends, as well as members of the public, to show off what media arts can be and the talent that we have in this city.”

On the benefits of the partnership with the Guild, York College University Centre BA Fashion Design & Garment Technology award leader Rebecca O’Leary said: “We try and embed as much professional practice as we can across all of our modules, but this has been a particularly good example of us engaging with local industry and organisations such as the Guild to simulate real-life scenarios and act upon a working brief.

“For the students to have the opportunity to have regular touchpoints with the Guild and to share their knowledge of local creative industries has been very valuable. We are very keen to ensure that our courses deliver students who are work ready and, in the world of education, the only way we can do that is by having conversations with people like Owen and Richard to see if the skills they have been seeing are what are needed in the media arts industry.

“The students have also really embraced this opportunity to engage with place, belonging and identity. Some of them are from York, but some aren’t, and it’s really encouraged them to explore where they are in the world.”

Looking ahead to the exhibition, meanwhile, Rebecca added: “The final presentation is such a huge part of our industry whether that be catwalk, a fashion video or, for this project, curation in an exhibition scenario. It’s what our students live for.

“In York, we have this beautiful scenario where we are surrounded by culture, and it will be great to present these young, conceptual ideas within a historical building like Bedern Hall. We also have the ability, with digital technology, to present ideas to a global audience now and our students are lucky to have this raft of inspiration in York.”

Come and see our Degree Show

If you can't make it to the exhibition, then don't worry. From 16th to 18th of June you are invited to our 2023 Degree Show!

This will provide a broader chance to view the work of our degree-level creative students.

3D Creative Practice | Graphic & Communication Design | Fashion Design & Garment Technology | Acting | Media Make-up, Special Effects & Hair Design

Spurriergate Centre, York, YO19 9QR.