On the 21st of March, second-year students from Kingston University’s BA in Graphic Design exhibited in the FUSEBOX in Kingston Town Centre. The event was the culmination of their Community Engaged Learning project with Kingston Hub.
Community Engaged Learning allows students to act as consultants, researchers and content creators for live clients as part of their curriculum. This enables them to gain real world experience in their field while still being in a supportive learning environment (if you want to learn more about Community Engaged Learning, check out our previous blog series).
The Graphic Design students worked with four of our community partners, throughout London, to develop solutions to various social issues. While aiding our partners, they got to put their creative and investigative skills into practice. With the support of Kingston Hub, the students engaged in three key areas, sustainability, community spirit and community heritage. In teams, they worked on specifically designed briefs, choosing the ones they felt a personal connection with. It was an excellent opportunity to learn more about these topics from experienced organisations.
Above: Zines and projected imagery produced by Eve King and Isabel Hooks for Love Not Landfill.
Two of our briefs were provided by ReLondon, a partnership of the Mayor of London and London’s boroughs, whose mission is to make London a global leader in sustainable ways to live, work and prosper. The campaigns the cohort engaged with included Love Not Landfill, a fashion sustainability campaign. This was especially relevant as the campaign’s target audience included university students. Elizabeth Woods of Love Not Landfill notes;
“We’ve loved working with Kingston students this year to develop materials for Love Not Landfill. As a campaign targeted at the 16-24 demographic, it has been hugely insightful for us to work with students that match our target demographic. We’ve been blown away by the creativity and passion on show from the students involved and it has been a pleasure working with each and every one of them.”
-Elizabeth Woods, Love Not Landfill (ReLondon)
The other ReLondon project that students engaged with was Foodwave, a campaign encouraging sustainable food consumption and an understanding of food waste. This was a particularly interesting project for students, as it also addressed the cost of living crisis and its relation to the food we bring into our homes and how we make the most of it. This led to some fascinating insights from the students, who were able to work from their own experience of the issue. These new approaches were of great interest to Arielle Vetro, who worked with them on the project:
“It has been such a joy to work with these students and the Kingston team on this project. Our group is exploring interventions to address household food waste, and the teams have offered truly inventive and creative ideas. Their enthusiasm and curiosity have been infectious, and as a professional working in this field, it’s been inspiring to see so many fresh, innovative approaches to tackling an issue that I seek to address in my own-day-to-day life.“
-Arielle Vetro, Foodwave (ReLondon)
Indeed, the topics being so pertinent to the students led to outcomes that were both innovative and considered. The level of research they put into the topics they took on was extremely impressive. Many, such as the C Changer initiative created by Haein Joung, Mari Hattori, Moritz Strobel and David Novák, have great potential to go on to become fully-fledged and alive in the local community.
“The objective was to encourage the participation of young individuals in discussions about sustainable clothing and actively engage them in the process. To accomplish this goal, the C Changer project was developed based on the concept of clothing swaps, which have demonstrated success in the Czech Republic and Germany. This initiative is deeply rooted in the community and can be implemented in various locations, such as an art school or shared gardens. By setting up a clothing closet, the younger generation can be gradually encouraged to adopt sustainable practices.”
Above: A collection of newspaper inserts detailing Tolworth’s history created by Millie Hunter, Rachel Kinchin and Luke Alexander for Community Brain.
Through working with our community partners, students also got the chance to truly embrace the community they live, work and study in. For many, it was the first time they had learned of the opportunities that were on their doorstep.
This was the case with Creative Youth and Community Brain, who provided the final two briefs. Creative Youth is a Kingston-based arts charity that works to provide young people with the space, funding and opportunities to pursue the arts, while also promoting local heritage. Community Brain is a much beloved local charity that works hard to improve the quality of life for those in Kingston Borough by spreading community spirit, empathy and joy. Collaborating with these partners encouraged the students to get to know and interact with their local area in a deeper and more sustained way, which is shown wonderfully in how Lucia De Francia, Jade Atkins, Dani Rivera Navarro and Rish Raghu chose to undertake their brief:
“Through working with the Creative Youth organisation, we developed an interactive display which aims to encourage creativity and celebrate Kingston’s culture. We worked in collaboration with children from Ham Youth Centre to realise an art installation created for the community, by the community.”
-Lucia De Francia
Overall, the project was a fantastic success. We at Kingston Hub loved seeing the immense creativity, adaptability and compassion that the students displayed throughout our time with them. Many of the students have built strong relationships with the partners they worked with, including several student groups who have received funding from Creative Youth and Love Not Landfill to develop their projects further. We are all excited to see where these opportunities take them as they move into their final year and their sure-to-be bright futures.