Showcasing employability, placemaking and new economy projects across Plymouth 2019
Successful collaborationIn 2019, following several years of successful collaboration between academics and students from the University of Plymouth and Plymouth College of Art on the city’s international light festival, Illuminate, senior figures kick-started a collaborative project to combine their end-of-year graduate shows into a festival of creativity that would offer a new national platform to showcase artistic excellence.
Greater national reach and increased impact for graduating students
Chris Bennewith, Head of the School of Art, Design and Architecture at University of Plymouth, and Ian Hutchinson, Head of Development at Plymouth College of Art, put a team together to extend and contemporise the show. The aim was to give it greater national reach, increased impact for graduating students and to demonstrate to UK industry leaders that Plymouth is both a career destination for creative graduates and a growing national hub for the creative industries.
“Ignite is a fantastic pitch for business to come and see art projects and the people behind them 24/7, outside the traditional event format, and students are starting to realise how powerful a tool it is for them.”
The inaugural IGNITE Festival of Creativity
Opening in June 2019, the inaugural IGNITE Festival of Creativity, comprised a programme of events, exhibitions and networking opportunities that attracted hundreds of visitors and realised the aim of bringing together two of the region’s most respected arts institutions with a focus upon showcasing and championing the creative economy.
The result was IGNITE, led by University of Plymouth, Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth City Council, and supported by the Cultural Development Fund through Arts Council England and DCMS, as part of the iMayflower project.
The festival was a success
By common consent, the festival was a success. For example, Plymouth College of Art BA (Hons) Interior Decoration, Design & Styling graduate Susan Clements-Loftus developed the idea of The ZenCube (a therapeutic space for people who are experiencing symptoms of stress, anxiety or depression) and showcased her first prototype during IGNITE. There she attracted the attention of Rob Love, co-founder of Crowdfunder, the UK's largest crowdfunding rewards-based network. Rob invited Susan to recreate The ZenCube at C-Space, a collaboration between Crowdfunder, the Cornwall Food Foundation and the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO). The ZenCube in Newquay, now overlooks Fistral Bay, and showcases the work of local Cornish designers, with a pendant centrepiece by South West artist and designer Tom Raffield.