Creative arts students and graduates in the city of Plymouth have taken the opportunity to network with business leaders as part of an innovative employability festival.
Ahead of the formal launch of Plymouth’s fourth annual IGNITE Festival of Creativity in the summer, students from the University and Plymouth College of Art met representatives from a host of companies at The Box to discuss employment and collaboration opportunities for the coming year.
They were joined by Hannah Harris, CEO of Plymouth Culture, Louise Sharland, Careers Advisor at Plymouth College of Art, and award-winning young entrepreneur and artist Jenny Evans for a series of discussions around themes such as employability, placemaking and the new creative economy – as well as what to expect from the upcoming IGNITE.
Michael Deacon, a BA (Hons) Directing student at the University, said:
"The launch event was a great way to connect with other students, staff and local business people, and also provided the chance to re-evaluate my goals, ideas and ambitions through a series of motivational and educational talks and elements. The launch was a springboard for some new creative ideas that I am excited to be working on now."
Oliwia Nowotnik, a final-year BA (Hons) Fashion Design student from Plymouth College of Art, opened the event with a talk about her personal journey and the preparation that she’s making for life after university.
"I’m currently designing and making my graduate collection, which focuses on self-expression and confidence around body dysmorphia. Growing up, I wasn't confident in myself and definitely wouldn’t have had the confidence to speak in a room full of people like I am today, but studying fashion has pushed me through my fears. As I approach the end of my degree at Plymouth College of Art, I’m getting myself out there to the public as a fashion designer and founder of my own brand WIA WEAR, which I can’t wait to share with you."
Representatives from Barclays, Plymouth Citybus, Millfields Trust, Just Enough Brave, Altitude, The Samphire Club, Outset, Real Ideas and many more businesses and organisations attended the networking event.
This year’s IGNITE Festival of Creativity is scheduled to take place between May 27 and 15 July. Its programme includes public degree shows across multiple city-wide venues, including galleries, studios and event spaces; an award-winning website for businesses to explore hundreds of graduate profiles, helping them engage and employ emerging creative talent; and a programme of talks for both businesses and graduates.
"What excites me, as an artist looking for an artistic future, is exhibiting with artists from different disciplines, such as fashion, architecture, or interior design,"
said Scott Jenkin, BA (Hons) Media Arts.
"Not only does IGNITE expand the audience exposure to my work but it also allows me to engage with unique perspectives and practices beyond my scope. And the real privilege of attending the launch event was witnessing first-hand the value business leaders within the city place on the arts. Being able to understand the hunger within the city for more art gives me the confidence that Plymouth will continue to flourish and push the boundaries with vibrancy and enthusiasm.”
IGNITE is supported by Plymouth City Council as part of the iMayflower project, and by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, which funds the Cultural Development Fund (administered by Arts Council England).