School of Art, Design and Architecture Graduate Show to play central role in new festival of creativity

A new annual festival launches this year built around the University's School of Art, Design and Architecture Graduate Show

With news that the creative industries now contribute £10.8bn to the UK economy – up £390m in just one year – Plymouth is harnessing the economic power of the sector with Ignite – Festival of Creativity.

While the city's education institutions including the University produce a relatively high numbers of graduates in creative subjects each year, many are not staying to live and work in Plymouth. Throughout June, Ignite – A Festival of Creativity will shine a spotlight on nurturing, growing and keeping this talent in the South West, through a month-long programme of events, activity, networking and debates.

Ignite is a joint initiative between the University of Plymouth, Plymouth College of Art, Real Ideas Organisation and Plymouth City Council.

Supported with funding from the Cultural Development Fund through Arts Council England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Ignite is the inaugural event in iMayflower, a three-year, £3m project to drive growth in Plymouth's creative sector. The festival aims to showcase the creative talent produced in the city, to encourage more potential students to think of a future in the creative industries and to support creative start-ups, as well as highlighting the benefits to employers of using these skills and looking at ways to bring the city’s wider creative community together.

Underpinned by the School of Art, Design and Architecture Graduate Show and Alumni Show, as well as Plymouth College of Art's Degree Shows, the Ignite programme will examine how creativity can be harnessed to create a sustainable, inclusive economy that is at the heart of a bright future for Plymouth. 

Professor Chris Bennewith, Head of the School of Art, Design and Architecture said:

"Ignite will help to showcase the fantastic talent of our final year students, as they come to the end of their undergraduate journeys and go into further study, employment or an entrepreneurial endeavour.

“Plymouth has a huge wealth of talented creative graduates coming out of education and into the workforce each year (not only from the University). We know that many of them would love to stay in the city and the region after graduation, but feel they need to look elsewhere for the great jobs for which they are qualified or the opportunity to start up their own businesses.

“We need to provide them with the opportunities and incentives to stay. They are an essential component of the city’s future success.

“Through Ignite, iMayflower and our wider work to boost the creative economy, we are helping enable more and more of them to remain in Plymouth and use their talents and energy to help the city realise its potential.”
Ian Hutchinson, Head of Projects and Partnerships at Plymouth College of Art said:
“The creative industries are the UK’s fastest growing sector, increasing by almost 45 per cent since 2010, and growing by 7.6 per cent in 2015-16, which is more than twice the growth rate for the UK economy as a whole. Part of the reason for this growth is the tenacity and innovation of our creative graduates, who are not just artists, but creative problem solvers, offering skillsets that are more resilient to future automation than other graduates.

“Creative graduates have a key role to play in the growth and innovation of businesses across the South West, which is why we’re thrilled to collaborate on this opportunity to showcase what they can offer to the region.

“From digital design and prototyping skills for local manufacturing to data visualisation and cutting-edge marketing techniques, it’s vital that we retain these skills within the South West. Ignite is a showcase for the talent, ingenuity and potential of Plymouth’s creative graduates, something that we can all take pride in.”

Lindsey Hall, Chief Executive, Real Ideas Organisation said:

“Plymouth abounds in creative talent. It is in our schools, communities, colleges and universities.

"Ignite celebrates this talent, wherever it is in the city, shining a spotlight on all the wonderful, challenging, entertaining and diverse work being made. Most importantly, Ignite is inclusive; graduate shows sit alongside creative industry networking; live streaming from the Royal Opera House connects with business start-up events for young tech creatives.

“It really is a case of creative talent fuelling the economy – light the touch paper and watch it burn bright!”

Council leader Tudor Evans said:

“It’s show time! We’re showing off the best and brightest that Plymouth has to offer and I am chuffed to bits that Ignite – which is the first major initiative to come out of the iMayflower scheme – is enabling talent to truly shine.

“We’ve got bags of talent right here. These young people are creative, they’re acquiring skills us people of a certain age can barely dream of and we want them to stay, to flourish and to help Plymouth build its digital creative sector.

“But don’t take my word for it – go and see for yourself”

Highlights of the festival include: the University of Plymouth’s Art, Design and Architecture Graduate Show from 8-15 June and Plymouth College of Arts Degree Shows from 15-20 June. A special Industry night on 13 June opens the doors for local businesses to come and explore how they can connect with creative talent in the city. On 28 June there will be a live screening of the Royal Opera House Bridge Annual Conference; ‘The Thriving Child’ will look at how the arts, creativity and culture can help children and young people face up to social and economic disadvantages.

For the full programme and to find out more visit

<p>Graduate Show 2019</p>

Alumni Show

On display from Saturday 8 June to Saturday 29 June 2019

Running alongside the School of Art, Design and Architecture Graduate Show 19, the Alumni Show brings together some of the finest alumni from the school including artists, designers, filmmakers, illustrators, photographers and architects, who since graduating have built successful careers within their respective fields.

Come and see how our creative alumni are making their mark on the world.

Discover more about the Alumni Show 

<p>Synesthesia Alumni Show 2018</p>