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Sustainability at the fore of final year design projects for Degree Show

Wednesday 07 July 2021

July21 Tom Andrews
Sustainability is at the fore of a host of final year projects, featuring at Gray’s School of Art Graduate Digital Degree show, Onwards.

One of those exhibiting, is 21-year-old product designer 3D design student, Tom Andrew from Torphins. With a keen interest in the future of transport and an environmental consciousness, Tom has created ‘TEXTAM’, a light weight and highly functionable skateboard that reduces the reliance on private cars.

Tom says: “I want to challenge current modes of transport. Currently, mobility in urban locations is environmentally unfriendly, congested, and unsustainable. I have created a compact and sustainable skateboard that tackles short but important journeys.   I want to challenge urban transport issues and to push micro-mobility into the future.

“Textam’ provides a practical solution to the first and last mile often needed at the beginning and end of a trip made on public transport.  Whilst you may take a bus or train for the most part of your journey, your final destination maybe too far to walk onto. Microbility products such as my lightweight skateboard, Textam, plug the gaps often found in public transport routes. In turn, this will reduce the need for private cars in city centres and make cities such as Aberdeen, greener and cleaner places to live.”

Another student with an environmental ethos at this year’s degree show, is Communication Design graduate, Leanne Daphne Goodall. 26-year-old Leanne-Daphne who recently won the Scottish Kelpie Illustration Award and has been shortlisted for the Penguin Books Student Design Award 2021, uses illustration to tackle the effects of climate change through a fantasy adventure story, Hollow as she explains:

“The story for ‘Hollow’ is heavily influenced by the issues we face today such as global warming, pollution and over consumption.  My project had to appeal and educate young audiences in a fun and engaging way.  Hollow embodies the concept of a living planet and plays with the question of how we would treat Earth if we could see it as a living creature instead of a resource?  I want people to see the world in a way where we can empathise with it instead of just seeing it as a resource to harvest.”

Jewellery designer and 3D design student, Maria Laidlaw showcases a collection of jewellery made from repurposed scrap metal to make intricate jewellery. With a rich cultural heritage, Canadian born, Maria hopes to inspire other creatives to embrace sustainability in their own work and is passionate about addressing our throw-away society.

Maria said: “I have always been quite practical and dislike waste of any kind.  As a result of our times and a desire to work more sustainably and ethically, it only seemed right to use materials that could be repurposed in some way.  I feel very passionate about this and believe that artists and makers can be pivotal in changing social perceptions.     I adore old things and am inspired by their stories - whether it's material, architectural or historical.   I hope people who view my work will consider its material legacy.”

Other highlights from Gray’s Digital Degree Show, Onwards, include Fashion & Textile design student, Cameron Lyall who is showcasing a unisex collection of clothing called ‘NO-PLACE’. His work was inspired by a trip to a desolate spot at Balmedie beach, north of Aberdeen. He invites viewers to go on their own reflective journey as they watch a 3-minute screening, set in a dimly-lit atrium, where they can find their own ‘NO-PLACE’.

Head of Gray’s School of Art, Libby Curtis, said: “Our students have created an exceptional body of work for this year’s digital degree show, Onwards, which we look forward to unveiling to a global audience at our launch event, on July 9. Sustainability underpins a number of our graduate projects and demonstrate how forward-thinking our creatives are.”

Gray’s School of Art annual degree show, ‘Onwards’, officially launches online to the public on Friday 9 July and runs for ten days. Throughout the show, there will be a mix of talks, interactive workshops, fashion shows and music.     

Visitors will be able to explore a traditional archive of artists, with a simple click through of art works, featuring audio descriptions and visual images. There will also be the option to explore the exhibition in a more experimental way, as visitors are invited to go on an immersive journey, as they navigate their way through a series of 3D virtual spaces.

Robert Gordon University, Gray’s School of Art, Digital Degree Show, ‘Onwards’, has been developed in partnership with Gray’s students, Gray’s School of Art’s creative unit Look Again, which hosts a biennial festival in Aberdeen, and Aberdeen-based design agency Design and Code.

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