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Virtual talks give Gray’s students access to international designers

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Leena Kisonen
Over the past academic year, the Communication Design course at Gray’s School of Art has continued to involve a series of renowned creative and design practitioners in its guest lecture programme, providing students with valuable insight into the creative industries

The course maintains extensive links with industry and this initiative provides students the opportunity to hear from professionals and understand the broad range of career options available to them upon graduation.

The guest talks would have normally taken place in the student’s design studios, however, in response to the COVID pandemic the course has had to adapt and embrace more online activities, which in turn has enabled the continuation of presentations from both local and international practitioners

Leena Kisonen, who is a graphic artist from Helsinki, Finland, featured as a recent guest. Her work blends illustration, design and art which is presented and applied through print and digital, textiles, packaging and products.

Her clientele includes Google, Snapchat and the Helsinki Design Week and she has also collaborated with Isetan Mitsukoshi, Epos Card and many more clients in Japan.

Iain Morrison, Stage 4 Coordinator for Communication Design, said: “We are very grateful to Leena for offering her time to talk about her career to our students. Getting input from some one that is working internationally is so important to helping our student understand how they can work not only with in Scotland but internationally as well.

“Gray’s ongoing commitment to developing our students’ professional practice alongside their academic studies, is crucial in giving them the very best opportunities to gain employment in their chosen field.”

Leena Kisonen said: “I was excited to be invited to speak to the students at the Gray’s School of Art as I enjoy sharing my experiences with students. I wanted to give a talk that I would have needed to hear when I was a student myself.

“I hope to encourage students to build their own career path and find their own, unique way of being a creative. I hope hearing about my experiences in the illustration industry was useful to the students and they feel empowered to follow their own path.”

Viiivi-Emilia Kurronen, Stage 4 Communication Design student, said:” “Working towards graduating, I've found it useful to have the chance to hear advice from industry professionals, especially now when we're not able to work in the studio as much as normal due to COVID-19. It was motivating and interesting to hear from Leena how she has developed after graduating as well as seeing the variety of commissions she has been working on.”

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