Port Eliot Festival [image credit: Michael Bowles]

Budding designers and writers at Plymouth University will be able to learn from experts in their chosen fields at a major festival running from July 30 to August 2.

The University has this year become the official cultural and creative partner of the Port Eliot Festival, which takes place each summer at a country estate in St Germans, South East Cornwall.

The partnership aims to enhance knowledge transfer between academics within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the creative industries, and champion local and regional successes across the creative sectors.

But one of the key focuses of the collaboration is to create opportunities for students to enhance their employability by engaging with the festival’s annual roster of more than 500 creative workshops and 150 practitioners.

For the first year of the partnership, six BA (Hons) English and MA Creative Writing students will lead the festival’s social media team heading up the on-site festival reporting service.

They will provide regular updates about events taking place, interview some of the stars attending and write for a blog set up to showcase the weekend’s events and workshops.

Meanwhile, seven BA (Hons) 3D Design (Designer Maker) undergraduates will work alongside the esteemed publication Hole & Corner as they host a series of sessions with renowned craft and design practitioners.

This will include a variety of workshops, demonstrations and collaborative projects, offering festival-goers the chance to get their hands dirty and to meet makers of everything from furniture to ceramics, and pottery to paper.

The partnership is being coordinated by Affinity with Plymouth University, which exists to nurture and enhance engagement between academia and the creative industries.

Justin Bovington, Creative Industries Strategist at Affinity, said:

“This new and exciting partnership will enhance Plymouth University’s engagement and is part of a new initiative for the Faculty of Art and Humanities to engage with our regions Creative Industries sector via the facilitation of our AFFINITY team. The opportunities for our students at the Port Eliot Festival are amazing, as they get the chance to engage with – and learn from – a range of global leading thought leaders across the arts, literature and designer makers.”

The Port Eliot Festival is an annual celebration of words, music, imagination, ideas, nature, food, fashion, flowers, laughter, exploration and fun.

Since its launch over a decade ago, it has attracted an incredible range of performers, including the likes of Dominic West, Kate Winslet, Jarvis Cocker, Shami Chakrabarti, Jakob Dylan, Jessica Hynes, Suggs, Caitlin Moran, Suzy Menkes, Tracy Chevalier and Hanif Kureishi.

This year’s festival is taking place from July 30 to August 2, with confirmed attendees including Ralph Steadman and Ceri Levy, Sarah Waters, Alan Johnson, Ezra Furman, The Unthanks and Rick Stein.

Catherine St Germans, Port Eliot Festival founder, added:

“Our new partnership with Plymouth University is the happy result of several years of collaboration on specific events during the festival. Making the link official is already increasing the opportunities for students to be involved in the process of creating a festival, and to work directly with the performers on our eclectic line-up. But it will also bring a new ingredient to the festival, which is our aim every year and one of the reasons why we’re able to keep evolving and springing surprises, while keeping the spirit that Port Eliot fans love. It’s also a continuation of our work to ensure that the festival has a positive impact on Cornwall, and we’re delighted to welcome Plymouth University as our cultural and creative partner for 2015.”