In a day of sun and celebrations, students from the north east’s leading art and design school enjoyed the time honoured tradition of throwing their caps in the air as new graduates.
Students from Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) celebrated their academic success at the fourth graduation ceremony for the specialist arts institution at the Town Hall Theatre in Hartlepool, and the last under the CCAD brand as the college launches as The Northern School of Art in September.
With proud families and friends watching on, all the students were recognised for their hard work and academic achievement during their studies in a ceremony attended by John Kampfner, Chief Executive of the Creative Industries Federation, as well as local dignitaries and teaching staff across the whole College.
As guest speaker at the ceremony John said: “The creative industries are the fastest growing sector of the UK economy spanning advertising, architecture, and heritage to video games, performance, and publishing. They are worth £91.8bn GVA – more than oil and gas, life sciences, automotive and aerospace industries combined. It is the economic powerhouse of this country.
“This is a momentous day for all of you, where you have learned a lot, opened your minds and feel prepared for the next phase of your life. The best is yet to come, working in the most exciting part of the UK industry and CCAD has helped to lay the foundation for your next journey.”
134 students received their certificates in degrees ranging from Illustration for Commercial Application, Film, TV and Theatre Production to Textile Surface Design, Costume Interpretation with Design to Production Design for Stage and Screen and Fashion to Photography.
21-year-old Textile Surface Design graduate Hannah Bew from Hartlepool is celebrating her first class honours degree and has recently returned from exhibiting at prestigious trade show New Designers, where she received interest in her work and is now exploring business opportunities from the show.
She said: “Graduating feels amazing, it has been the perfect day and all the hard work has been worth it in the end. To come out with a first class degree is the best feeling ever.
“It was a privilege to be chosen to display my work at New Designers among the top textile graduates in the country. I received lots of lovely comments about my work and some interest so will see what comes of it and it was an amazing opportunity.
“I am now looking for an internship or work experience and also applying for jobs in textile art in which I hope to pursue as a career.”
Jamie Jones, 21, from Norton, graduated with a first class honours degree in Film, TV and Theatre Production and was also a recent winner at the prestigious Royal Television Society Yorkshire’s Student Television Awards.
The awards recognise the best in student television and prizes were given in six categories: Animation, Factual, Comedy & Entertainment, Drama, News and Short Feature. Alongside fellow students Sarah Maher, Janice Lee, Jamie Jones, Bethany Taylor and Shaun Hunt, Jamie was recognised for his editing talents in the Comedy and Entertainment category for the film ‘Cirque’.
He said: “We all worked especially hard on Cirque because we enjoyed filming together and experimenting with new techniques and for me that was the beneficial part. Just to be recognised and compared to other university students was amazing but winning is the icing on the cake.
“It still feels crazy to think that something I’ve worked hard on has been noticed and praised by other people. Seeing all our names on the list along with other universities was a nice reminder that the work we do here has built up to prepare us for the real world.”
On graduating with top honours, Jamie said: “I didn’t expect a first at all, but the fact that I got a one just blew me out of the water as it proves that not only do I enjoy what I am doing but that I am good at it.
“As part of my final major project I studied professional practice so I’m hoping to get started as a freelance editor after graduating. Although I was initially interested in scriptwriting during my early studies, this has evolved into editing, which I got the chance to experience during my final year through work experience on live film sets in the north east.”
Photography graduate John McCabe, 21 from Billingham also achieved a first class honours degree, and received the Anjool Malde Photography Award and £300 cash prize in recognition of his talents.
John, who also studied photography at CCAD’s Middlesbrough FE campus before gaining his degree, said: “Winning the Anjool Malde Fine Art award was a big surprise and a huge honour. As an artist it brings more confidence to my working practice and was unexpected but shows that all the hard work I have put in over the last five years has paid off.
“It’s been a tough three years but you get out what you put in and graduating with a first class honours is better than I could have hoped for. I can’t thank CCAD enough for what they have done for me, as they have really helped me find myself as an artist.”
John is planning to take some time out of study to go travelling and gain inspiration for his future work. He added: “I will use the time to consider some projects that I want to work on but I’m really keen to continue my studies with a Masters degree in photography in the future. My interest is in documentary and street photography so I want to build up my portfolio and personal development in terms of experience ahead of my MA.
“Before that I will be working on some personal projects and travelling, which really broadens the horizons. But I’m ambitious and looking forward to the ideas that I have got come into play in my career.”