As Cleveland College of Art and Design students prepare for the next academic year and life at college and university, the north east specialist art and design college takes a retrospective look back at the highlights of the past 12 months.

September 2015

gavin-vaughan-sleeve-7The academic year began with former BA (Hons Textiles and Surface Design student Gavin Vaughan winning a national award for his blended art concept and a £1,000 bursary to fund a creative venture. The 25-year old textiles and accessories designer entered the Hiive Remix 2 competition and took his love of the macabre, embroidery and gold beadwork, along with tattoo needles, to create a winning concept for an Elizabethan-inspired sleeve design.

sarina-in-new-yorkFinal year BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design student Sarina Mazfari enjoyed a four-week internship in the bright lights and big city of New York, and even managed to meet her idol Rihanna! As part of her course, she arranged the month-long work experience with LuRu Home, an interiors fabric design company, where she learned all about the textiles business and develop her creative and business skills.

sarah-steve-and-laura-2At the campus in Middlesbrough, Laura Holmes and Sarah Stevens from the BTEC Extended Diploma in Graphic Design course won a creative challenge to design a Christmas card for business and science park, the Wilton Centre, and saw their designs in print.

The college was also invited to join a select group of education institutions from around the world to exhibit at international trade textile show Indigo Brussels Home Edition in Brussels as part of a ‘Creative Talent’ initiative.



In October, the first of many guest lectures took place, with international acclaimed designer and art director Simon Costin kicking off the programme with a lecture on his career working with designers and clients such as Alexander McQueen, Hermes, Harrods and Gucci. Simon revealed to staff and students the process behind his elaborate sets for leading international designers and fashion houses, including Stella McCartney, Faberge and Louis Vuitton, as well as his more recent projects as director of the British Museum of Folklore and the Museum of Witchcraft.

img_2761-jasmine-walker-beth-clark-chloe-oakley-jenny-eastonAt Green Lane, students from the BTEC Extended Diploma in Art and Design descended on Hartlepool’s Historic Headland and took to the streets with graffiti, all in the name of folk. They worked on a live project with Hartlepool Folk Festival organiser Joan Crump to design and create a series of pop up art images for the town’s first folk festival.

By visually interpreting phrases from local folk songs, as well as taking the history of Hartlepool for their design concepts, the students brought their graffiti art to life.

students-drawing-3The Middlesbrough campus was also home to a four-day drawing event as part of ‘The Big Draw’ – the world’s biggest drawing festival – with some of the regions most talented professional artists getting involved.

In a completely blank white room, the college invited students, staff and local artists, including Luke Dixon from The Bear Hug and Ste Angus from Silver Tongue, to ‘find a space and draw a face’ as part of the month-long international celebration of drawing.



richy-smallerThe college celebrated further alumni successes with 2012 (BA (Hons) Photography graduate Richy Leeson hitting the dizzy heights of success after being appointed head of photography at designer clothing retailer, Ted Baker.

After achieving first class honours, the award-winning international photographer made a name for himself in the world of fashion photography, and is now in the prestigious role at the company’s headquarters in East London, where he shoots campaigns and editorial imagery for web and print, as well as ecommerce content for the website.

robyn-wright-neon-bike-2(BA (Hons) Graphic Design & Communications graduate Robyn Wright demonstrated her brilliance after winning a competition to showcase her work at Artichoke’s Lumiere, the UK’s largest light festival in Durham.

Robyn took part in Lumiere’s BRILLIANT competition in 2015 and her bright idea of creating a neon bike – re-inventing the popular mode of transport using light – was one of four winning designs. The installations of neon flex attached to a custom-made frame were a simple yet stunning design to encourage visitors to reflect on the joy of cycling.


jane-rapley-18November also saw a number of appointments at the college. Professor Jane Rapley OBE, former Head of College at Central Saint Martins (CSM) and Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Arts London (UAL) was appointed as a governor.

After postgraduate study at the Royal College of Art in London, Jane worked in the global menswear industry for 19 years, running her own company. An academic for 46 years, the fashion educator led the School of Fashion and Textiles at CSM in London as Dean for 17 years, and her graduates include Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Christopher Kane.

frances-nik-and-tony-10The college also welcomed Tony Charles as fine art lecturer alongside Nik Holmes and Frances Moffatt as illustration lecturers, to the teaching team in Hartlepool. Tony, Nik and Frances bring over 41 years of industry and academic experience to the roles.


matti-and-mae-at-hobb-2As the year came to an end, illustration students exhibited a passion for art as they took over Middlesbrough art gallery The House of Blah Blah on Exchange Square with a collection of their works to an audience of almost 450 people over three-days.

Hundreds of pieces of artwork from students studying BA (Hons) Photography, Illustration for Commercial Application, Fine Art and Graphic Design and Communication courses were on display. The students also arranged the exhibition as part of their degree studies.

kayleigh-aveling-and-jessie-saint-4Jessie Saint, a 2014 BA (Hons) Entertainment Design Crafts (now Production Design for Stage and Screen) graduate took the next step into retail after going into partnership with Middlesbrough boutique, Pretty Twisted, expanding the stores’ product range to include her new range of clothing, hand-made jewellery and homewares.

She joined forces with Pretty Twisted owner, Kayleigh Aveling, to create a ‘mini’ department store at the outlet on Newport Road after the launch of her own range, Saint. The retail entrepreneur and designer set up the business specialising in bohemian clothing, jewellery and homewares, which she has launched under the ‘Saint’ brand, and now features as part of the Pretty Twisted collection.

January 2016

The New Year brought our second guest lecturer to the college. Prominent British photographer Dan Holdsworth – who has exhibited his works at acclaimed galleries including the Centre Pompidou in Paris as well as the Saatchi Collection, Tate Britain and Barbican Art Gallery – gave a presentation on his career and photographic style.

sapphire-harland-with-tina-sherifa-hicks-on-the-haunted-histories-of-hartlepool-streetThe beginning of the year also took a spooky turn as second year (BA (Hons) Production Design for Stage and Screen students designed and built a full-scale studio set of a street inspired by Hartlepool’s rich architectural history as a shipping port and commercial centre.

Visiting the college to officially unveil ‘The Haunted Histories of Hartlepool’ street was TV production designer Tina Sherifa Hicks – whose credits include Waterloo Road, Scott and Bailey and Eastenders –   and was stunned by the efforts of everyone involved.



curtis-jobling-4In February, Curtis Jobling, famous the world over as the designer of BAFTA-winning show, Bob the Builder, inspired a whole new generation of artists when he visited the college.

The former CCAD student has gone on to achieve a highly successful career in illustration and storytelling after studying a higher national diploma in illustration at the college’s campus in Middlesbrough in 1994.

During his entertaining lecture, the 43-year-old artist gave an insight into his successful career – including his work on Wallace and Gromit’s A Close Shave, the Tim Burton movie Mars Attacks – with engaging and irreverent anecdotes and insights which entertained everyone.

grant-hegedus-brian-cannon-and-harry-garrens-1This month also saw a visit from Brian Cannon, a photographer behind some of the most iconic album designs in the history of British music. Through his graphic design company Microdot, Brian is best known for producing the sleeves for leading 90s bands such as The Verve, Suede, Inspiral Carpets, Super Furry Animals and Oasis.

In addition to creating music related imagery, Brian also talked about his promotional materials for blue chip clients including Absolut Vodka, Levi’s and Converse and expanded on his more recent career as a photographer with his ‘Northern Soul – A Photographic Journey’ project.

kurtis-mulholland-alan-kitching-and-toni-johnstonAlan Kitching, a practitioner of letterpress typographic design and printmaking and famous for creating designs using wood and metal letterforms, made his first visit to the college, where he worked with (BA (Hons) Graphic Design and Communication students in a letterpress printing workshop followed by a lecture to a packed audience.

The artist made his name creating visuals for commissions and his own limited edition prints through his company, The Typography Workshop. As well as compositions for corporate identities, magazine and book covers and illustrations, Alan’s work has also featured on postage stamps, theatre posters, shop windows, billboards and a 30 x 15ft typographic mural for The Guardian newspaper’s London office.

img_3925BA (Hons) Textile and Surface Design students were given the chance to show off their most creative designs at Premiere Vision Designs international trade show in Paris.

The leading show for creative textiles and surface designs the saw students showcase their work produced as part of their course. They also helped to design, set up and man the college’s stand as an enhancement to their studies, which featured designs on sale from the students attending the show as well as work from other selected students from the course.



_mg_4132BA (Hons) Illustration for Commercial Application students were treated to a two day ‘Illustratorpallooza’ event, with artists from all over the UK speaking at the college in a celebration of the art of illustration.

The Times and Marie Claire fashion illustrator Lucy McLeod, Stuart Trotter of Rupert Bear fame, satirical cartoonist Hunt Emerson and fantasy and horror artist, Godmachine, talked about their journey into the world of illustration to inspire the next generation.

sbs-official-photo-low-resA graduate from Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) impressed business leader and former Dragon’s Den star, Theo Paphitis with the launch of her new online fashion retail website.

Former BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design student Claudette Cooling successfully created her own fashion accessories business, The Cool Line, which specialises in silks scarves in bold and daring designs created by the young entrepreneur. She achieved recognition for her new business, after winning the weekly Small Business Sunday competition backed by former Dragon’s Den star, Theo Paphitis.

Her business was one of six chosen by Theo and as an SBS winner, she met the famous entrepreneur at a special event, and gained a place on the dragon’s SBS winners’ website as well as receiving exclusive support, networking and business opportunities, including regular retweets to all of his 500,000 followers.


rebecca-hayne-2During April, second year BA (Hons) Fine Art students showcased their artistic talents when they unveiled a series of new contemporary artworks at an exhibition at the Python Gallery in Middlesbrough.

This was the first exhibition at the Python Gallery for the talented artists – after a successful debut of works at the art venue House of Blah Blah in December – and included sculptures, paintings, mixed media art, video and photography.


festival-of-illustration-best-event-teesside-at-the-journal-culture-awards-2016-group-pic-at-hartlepool-art-galleryHartlepool Festival of Illustration – which celebrated the illustrative arts – was recognised by the cream of the creative industry across the north east at a prestigious awards ceremony in Sunderland Minster. Hosted by the college, the festival made its debut last summer in Hartlepool, and was awarded Best Event Teesside at The Journal Culture Awards 2016.

Hartlepool Festival of Illustration presented a month-long event for children, families and illustration fans young and old – with world-renowned artists featuring an exhibition of major illustrators’ work – including Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell, and Ralph Steadman. It attracted 8,300 visitors and included a series of illustration workshops in schools and libraries for over 800 children, two days of guest lectures and masterclasses and a street market of illustrators’ artwork.

jamiekirk_tarot_bookletTwo alumni from the FE campus in Middlesbrough were recognised for their achievements after leaving college. Jamie Kirk and Ben Benoliel used their Foundation Degree in Art and Design studies as a stepping stone to success and are now making waves in the illustration and fashion photography business.

After graduating from the University of Huddersfield with a first class degree in graphic design, Jamie won the prestigious D&AD (Design and Art Direction) New Blood Pencil Award last year. Specialising in hand lettering and illustration, he has now set up as a freelance designer, working on projects such as illustrating and animating a video for US professional skateboarder, Mike Vallely, and seeing his work turned into stickers after contributing to the ‘Stick It’ sticker book alongside other illustrators.

ben-benoliel-2Ben Benoliel is now an industry renowned fashion and interiors photographer, having worked with some of the top names in the business, including iD magazine, Wallpaper magazine, Bang and Olufsen. He was also appointed as an official photographer for leading British fashion designer, Nigel Cabourn and is one of the founding partners for London designer retail outlet, LN-CC.

claire-barrow-and-hannah-johnston-2Hannah Johnston, a final year BA (Hons) Fashion student was inspired by a visit from leading young designer and former CCAD student, Claire Barrow. The designer, who studied Fashion and Clothing at the college in 2008, is currently making waves in high end ready-to-wear and returned to her former college to inspire the next generation of Vivienne Westwoods and Stella McCartneys, with a candid presentation and discussions. After successful commissions for Vogue, Joseph and iD Magazine, amongst others, Claire now designs her own collections for sale at outlets around the world, and has presented as part of London Fashion Week.

The 26-year-old designer spoke at length to a group of first, second and third year fashion students, including Hannah, about working in the fashion industry, running her own business and her top tips for carving out a career in couture.

alan-vest-1Final year BA (Hons) Illustration for Commercial Application student Alan Vest made his mark in the industry as he began his commission for a weekly column in one of the UK’s leading national newspapers, The Guardian.

He is now producing illustrations for the newspaper’s new weekly column, ‘My Writing Day’, which looks at various writers and authors, talking about their typical writing day and featured in a weekly column every Saturday.

Students from BA(Hons) Textiles and Surface Design had a successful trip as they attended the textile trade fair, Surtex, in New York. Sharron Bates, a final year student, exhibited her designs at the prestigious event and sold some of her designs to a Belgian wallcoverings company, alongside fellow final year student Kelly Nolan who designs also attracted interest from buyers.

First year students from BA (Hons) Costume Interpretation with Design worked with fellow second year students to design and produce a stunning range of costumes for ghost characters which inhabited the Haunted Streets of Hartlepool set. The first year students were each given a design from the second years to interpret and make themselves, ensuring the design suited the time period the costumes were set in and reflecting the social status and wealth of the character.

_mg_7667Game of Thrones costume embroiderer, Michele Carragher, paid a visit to CCAD to give an informative, fascinating lecture and behind-the-scenes look at her work behind the massive hit TV show. A packed lecture theatre saw students learn about Michele’s technique and style, as her career in fashion and film, with titles such as Elizabeth 1 and Assassin’s Creed.


degree-show-2016-fashionIn June, the final year students across all programmes showcased their amazing talents at the opening night of the degree show. The students exhibited their works from ten degree courses including BA (Hons) Fashion, Fine Art, Illustration for Commercial Application and Creative Film and Moving Image Production.

At the exhibition, which is now a popular regional event, visitors experienced a huge array of works, including costumes, wallpapers, clothing, prints, films and illustrations.

mike-louden-at-due-north-on-brick-laneAs part of the degree show programme, BA (Hons) Illustration for Commercial Application students wowed industry professionals and visitors alike at a three-day exhibition in London’s Brick Lane. The students took their show, titled’ Due North’, to the hugely popular Free Range event at the Old Truman Brewery, an arts and media quarter on Brick Lane in East London.

The exhibition took place over a weekend, and at a private viewing on Friday evening, attracted over 100 industry professionals, including art directors, illustration agents and publishers. During the weekend, over 1,000 visitors were able to view the creative talents of the students and buy their work.

tianne-coleman-with-her-final-major-projectThe degree shows were closely followed by the sensational summer show over at Green Lane. Students from Access to Higher Education Diploma, A-Levels, Foundation Diploma and BTEC Extended Diplomas showcased their works from a wide range of courses, including fashion, photography, 3D design, fine art and design crafts.

Hundreds of visitors attended over the next five days, where they experienced a fantastic array of designs in clothing, wallpapers, clothing, prints and 3D designs.

Tianne Coleman completed her BTEC Diploma in Interior, Architecture & Product (3D Design) and celebrated receiving an unconditional offer to study architecture at Lincoln University. Roisin Mennell achieved a BTEC Diploma in Textiles, and also secured a place at Ravensbourne in London to study fashion promotion. She also won second place at the UK’s National Fashion Textiles Competition as part of the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show.



Over summer, the college celebrated a number of achievements, including taking on some of the best education institutions in the country and outperforming them with a stunning graduate success rate.

Employability statistics put the college not only top in the region but fifth in the UK overall rankings and joint number one in the country for art and design degrees. For the second year in a row the college has gained the top spot in the UK for art and design graduate employability, proving that small is beautiful. This follows results from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) national survey of recent graduates.

ccad-graduates-celebrate-with-the-traditional-morter-board-throwAt the end of the academic year, students celebrated their academic success as the third graduation ceremony got underway at Christ Church in Hartlepool.

134 students received their certificates in degrees ranging from Illustration for Commercial Application, Creative Film and Moving Image and Textile Surface Design to Costume Interpretation with Design, Production Design for Stage and Screen and Fashion.

Following graduation, a number of students have already gone on to develop their careers and achieve success with their creative talents.

After graduating with a first class honours degree, BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design sharron-celebrates-her-graduation-from-ccadgraduate Sharron Bates has received her first commission to design wallpaper for an international textiles studio, and will be flying out to Belgium to see her work produced later this year. Atlas Wallcoverings have commissioned Sharron to create a collection of designs, with a contract worth thousands.

Fellow BA (Hons) Textiles and Surface Design graduate Jo Stenberg won a national design competition by leading brand, Absolut Vodka. At the New Designers exhibition at London’s prestigious Design Centre – where over 3,000 of the most promising graduate talents from Britain’s leading design courses exhibit – Jo entered Absolut’s competition, now in its fifth year, to create a new design for its iconic vodka bottle. She received £500 of artists’ materials, and her work will be exhibited for one year in the foyer of the Absolut UK London offices.


A number of graduates have now set up as a collaborative business at an innovative workspace developed to boost the creative industry in the north east. The up and coming artists and designers are commercial residents of the Creative Hub within the Hartlepool Enterprise Centre – developed in partnership with the college and Hartlepool Borough Council.

creative-hub-opening-2-groupBA (Hons) Illustration for Commercial Application graduate Alan Vest is just one of the new tenants at the Creative Hub. As well as his weekly column in The Guardian, during the summer he also won the opportunity to be featured as a ‘rising star’ in the top ten graduates by Creative Review, with his work showcased on digital screens all over the UK.


img_9758In August, students celebrated after achieving a series of fantastic results in A-levels and BTEC Extended Diplomas.

Eleanor Brennan achieved three As for her A-levels in History of Art, Graphics and Fine Art and is now going on to study Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University, her first choice of university. Fellow A-level student Robyn Stock also gained excellent results – with two As and one B in Fine Art, History of Art and English Language – and is now planning to study a degree in The History of Art at Edinburgh University

The college maintained its record of a 100 per cent BTEC pass rate for more than 11 successive years. 66 percent of its BTEC Extended Diploma students gained a triple distinction (DDD) or above, which is the equivalent of three As at A-Level, an increase of three percent on last year.

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