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Creative Challenge in Brazil

Brasil Yawanawá explains work at the original Yawanawá settlement of Escondido.

Brasil Yawanawá explains work at the original Yawanawá settlement of Escondido.

In December 2014 Uwe Derksen,  head of the Enterprise Team at UCA,  visited the Amazon in Brazil, invited by the Yawanawa tribe, whose member Nixiwaka (also known as Joel) works for Survival International, the movement for tribal peoples and has been involved in the Creative Challenge for the last couple of years.

The aim of the visit was to seek information and answers to a range of questions, which could  be shared with UCA students. There was also the possibility of developing the project further, depending on the outcome.

The Yawanawá tribe people are one of many indigenous people of Brazil. They, that are a few hundred of Yawanawá people, live in small villages or settlements along the narrow Gregorio river. In order to reach the various Yawanawá villages it is necessary to travel from Tarauacá by truck on the BR-364 for 1.5 hours to the river Gregorio where at the Ponte Sobre there is an access point to the river with a number of small commercial outlets. From there using a small narrow light-weight aluminum canoe boat with an air-cooled long-tail outboard motor it takes about 4-5 hours to reach the first Yawanawá village and another 4-5 hours to reach the last settlement, which is about 80 km away. The Gregorio river is relatively narrow, depending on water levels and extremely windy whilst littered with tree branches and stumps. The river has become more hazardous due to a major recent flooding (November 2014), bringing down riverside trees as well as destroying some houses and equipment of indigenous and non-indigenous people living alongside the river. The flood apparently was the worst ever and illegal tree logging is being blamed as one of the causes.

Uwe said,

I experienced the people them as welcoming, warm and friendly, hard working and giving, humorous and helpful, trusting. My deep respect and thanks go to all those people (Yawanawá and others) who opened their doors to me as a stranger in their home. It was privileged to be among them, albeit briefly.

Flooding at Yawanawa tribe

Floodwater-ravaged banks at Yawanawa tribal territory

Uwe has written some blog entries about his experiences at  http://mistakesandcontradictions.blogspot.co.uk.

Students’ hard work showcased in performances of Noye’s Fludde

DSC_0108Students from across UCA saw their hard work showcased in ACT’s collaborative performance of Noye’s Fludde by Benjamin Britten, in Picardy, France last month. This one-act opera, composed in 1957, has become a major collaborative piece, fuDSC_0401nded by ACT,  that has seen the involvement of students from UCA as well as Melbourne Village College, the Royal Opera House Learning and Participation and  Southend YMCA.

Many staff and students at UCA from a range of courses have taken part:

  • Computer Arts & Animation with Phil Gomm & graduates who were involved in the concept, research & designs for pop-up features such as kite, ark, moon, stars & sun.
  • Creative Arts for Theatre and Film with Chris Hunt, Colin Bean, Graduate Teaching Assistants and 4 dedicated students who were involved in the concept, design and fabrication of main character costumes.
  • Graphic Design: Visual Communication with Hugh Harwood & students who produced graphic images for marketing material in a competition & were involved in documenting the performances.
  • Broadcast Media: students are  involved in documenting the performances.
Scene from Noye's Fludde

Scene from Noye’s Fludde

Joy Golsbrough a student on Creative Arts for Theatre and Film student and costume designer for NF, said,

I thought the performance was beautiful, it was lovely seeing everything work together; the colourful rainbow set, seeing the children’s animal headdresses and LED lights, hearing the orchestra play and the actors sing.The Gossips looked fabulous and the costumes worked well with their characters. Although it wasn’t in the design, I liked the way they had incorporated belts around their waists and attached their shawls to their shoulders.   The patterns on their gowns worked really well and you could distinguish them from a distance. They were bright and colourful. They were better than I imagined them to be.The highlight of the trip for me was speaking to the actor who played Jaffeth, he was so happy with the costume that I had designed for him, and so were his parents. Being a part of a collaboration and working on a live brief was exciting. It meant the work you put in would actually pay off and be recognised by the public. Obviously it is great to add the work to a portfolio and CV. Working with ACT was valuable as it gave more experience outside of UCA and meant you could meet new people in the industry and have an idea of other people’s jobs. Going to France to see the performance and having a posh dinner out was a bonus as well.


Liam Hollingham, Graphic Design: Visual Communication student and poster designer for NF, said

Scene from Noye's Fludde

Scene from Noye’s Fludde

Through doing ACT project for the last year and a half and watching performances like the one that we did I must say that this performance was the most intimate out of the three; it gave a great feeling that you were made part of it. The highlight was the use of interaction and the combination of theatre and orchestra that moulded so well together .

It brought the theatre company together and really brought the characters alive.  I was amazed by everything that came out on stage as it was the first time that I had ever seen the costumes or anything that represented something in such a minimalistic approach.

I think anything more than a live brief like the ones I have worked on the past it make all what you are doing at uni become real in a sense; it builds contacts and understanding the world of work, as well. I learnt that working at uni is a place to learn skills that you can then use in these situations; these projects bring you in to the reality of the world of design work .

Chris Hunt, Course Leader for Creative Arts Theatre and Film, said

This was a great experience for students.  Working as designers on a professional, large-scale  production like this is something which students rarely get the chance to do, and the four costume designers involved – Keri Johnston, Joy Goldsborough, Fenella Barr and Steph Bolduc – really got their teeth into it.  They designed costumes which in essence are modern and colourful but which also resonate with past cultures and Biblical themes.   It was a real challenge for them to work on individual designs and then meet to adjust their designs so that the ensemble worked as a whole, and they managed this process of individual development and co-operation admirably well.


The show will be performed again in England on Thursday 5 and Friday 6 March at Cambridge at Melbourne Village College.

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ESADHaR and UCA join forces to design exhibition space

In November, five Fine Art students from ESADHaR worked with Level 2 Interior Architecture students for the initial stage of designing an exhibition space for the Despite Efficiency: Labour exhibition at the Herbert Read Gallery.  Here are some images of the process:

Interior Architecture and Design students address inefficiency in the workplace

from the UCA newsdesk….

Images from the Despite Efficiency: Labour exhibition in the Herbert Read Gallery, UCA Canterbury

Image from the Despite Efficiency: Labour exhibition in the Herbert Read Gallery, UCA Canterbury

Interior Architecture & Design students from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) have developed an ambitious exhibition with multidisciplinary studio Aberrant Architecture that challenges the efficiency of workplaces.

Currently on display in UCA Canterbury’s Herbert Read Gallery, Despite Efficiency: Labour is a participative exhibition thatlooks at the practical consequences and critical value of inefficiency in the context of work. Upon arrival, visitors are invited to sit underneath a 1.5 metre suspended ceiling on a desk chair in an area flooded with artificial light.

“Inefficiency can be understood as an effort without reward; as the negative result of a system designed to be profitable,” explained Emma Braso, UCA’s Cultural Programme Curator. “The project creates a working space where these ideas can be played out in different formats and shapes, independent of their utility.”

Openings in the grid ceiling also allow visits to stand up and enjoy a series of different micro-environments, which are naturally lit. A number of narrative panels, each individually designed by participating students and able to be viewed through binoculars placed by each opening, explore the history of office design.

The gallery is hosting a number of live performances, videos and projects as part of the exhibition, all presented by a group of international artists and related to situations and models of unprofitable, futile or ineffective work.

This project was supported by Recreate and ICR, two initiatives selected under the European Cross-border Cooperation Programme Interreg IV A France (Channel) – England, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

View over the top of the suspended ceiling - natural light

View over the top of the suspended ceiling – natural light

View of office desk with seats below suspended ceiling and video playing

View of office desk with seats below suspended ceiling and video playing

View of visitors on seats underneath the suspended ceiling

View of visitors on seats underneath the suspended ceiling


For more information about Despite Efficiency: Labour, please visithttp://www.ucreative.ac.uk/galleries/herbert-read.


ICR was selected under the European Cross-border Cooperation Programme INTERREG IVA France (Channel) – England, co-funded by the ERDF

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Interior Architecture students’ winning proposal celebrated in France

From the UCA newsdesk….

A proposal by Architecture students from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) to reimagine a former school building in Lens, France has been declared as the winner of an INTERREG ReCreate competition and celebrated with a launch event in Lens.

BA (Hons) Interior Architecture & Design students from UCA Farnham Veema Chellen and Charlotte Saben’s idea proposed a business start-up and exhibition space, which would act as a creative hub and support the area as a place of local art and design production. It would enable local artists, designers and students to create and display their work to members of the public.

“We focused on the design of the central exhibition space,” explained Charlotte. “It reflected the area of Lens’ past means of production – coal mining – as well as supporting new means of production, the art itself. The focal point of the space was the ‘black out’ pavilion, an enclosure where digital work could be projected and viewed by visitors.”

The inauguration event in Lens

The inauguration event in Lens

The proposal also included a Fab Lab – a digital fabrication space, which would provide access to a variety of digital fabrication processes.

Designers behind the winning idea

Veema and Charlotte

Charlotte and Veema were invited to the launch event in Lens, which was a grand lunch attended by community representatives, regional politicians, economists and entrepreneurs. Charlotte and Veema’s work was displayed around the venue and they were also interviewed by journalists from India, China and Korea.

“It was great to be a part of the launch party,” continued Charlotte. “We were able to hear ideas about the progression and changes of the project and how it fitted into the larger ReCreate initiative.”

The competition was part of the wider INTERREG ReCreate project, a collaborative initiative to support economic regeneration and job creation across the north of France and the south of England.

“This project was particularly enjoyable as we were able to face some of the challenges of working to a live brief,” said Charlotte. “Visiting Lens was a good experience – we were able learn about the area, its history and its culture.”

After graduating later this year, Charlotte hopes to work in the realms of sustainable design. For more information on the ReCreate project, please visithttp://interiorsfarnham.com/2014/02/10/recreate-live-project-lens-france/

The ReCreate initiative is selected under the European Cross-border Cooperation Programme INTERREG IVA France (Channel) – England, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Image from the winning designThe fabrication lab as part of the winning idea

Charlotte and Veema’s designs

UCA photography students takeover Medway

from the UCA newsdesk…..

Kate Morrison exhibits at Medway Photo Festival

Kate Morrison exhibits at Medway Photo Festival

Budding photographers from the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) exhibited at three sites across Chatham as part of the annual Medway Photo Festival. Students from BA (Hons) Photography and MA Photography at UCA Rochester had the opportunity to showcase their work at the Festival, which is now in it’s 7th year.

The festival, which took place between January 14 – 18, gave students from BA (Hons) Photography and MA Photography at UCA Rochester the opportunity to showcase their latest works.

Now in its seventh year, the festival featured five shows – Enigma, Envision, Ipseity, Within the Shadow, and Work in Progress – spread across Chatham’s Pop Creative Space, Sun Pier House, and Nucleus Arts Gallery.

Pop Creative Space on Chatham High Street hosted Enigma and Within the Shadow, which looked at the subjects of social documentary, and existence respectively.

Amongst the exhibitors at Pop were Luna Limbu, who portraits ex-Gurka soldiers, and Hannah Vigors, whose work “The Horse” examines the anatomical movement of horses.

Sun Pier House on Medway Street, Chatham,  exhibited the undergraduate show Ipseity and the postgraduate show MA: Work in Progress. Exploring the concept of identity, Ipseity featured the work of six photographers including Kate Morrison, whose series Our Normal looks at people who have modified their bodies with tattoos and piercings.

The final show, Envision, took place at the Nucleus Arts Gallery on Chatham High Street and looked at various mental states within society. Exhibitors included Catherine Stuart, whose work “The Lure of the Lighted Window” took a disorientating look at shopping addiction and consumption, and Charlotte Rose Edwards, whose series “My Mind is a Horror Story ” explored how mental illness is glamourised by the fashion industry and teen culture.

The Medway Photo Festival is supported by the Recreate project, which helps the development of the creative industries in specific regions of the UK and France.  Recreate was selected under the European Cross-border Cooperation Programme INTERREG IV A France (Channel) – England, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

UCA Rochester has a strong history of graduating talented photographers, with recent alumni Adam King’s latest work Chip off the Old Block currently featured on the influence Photomonitor.co.uk.

For further information about the festival, please visit medwayphoto.co.uk.