Activate Learning

Activate Learning (@Activate_Learn) is excited to announce that four of their creative industries students have been selected to take part in University of Arts London (@UAL) Awarding Body’s Origins Creatives 2021 Showcase. 

Every year, UAL Awarding Body celebrates the next generation of creative students who are studying their qualifications through their Origins Creatives Showcase. 

This year the showcase was available through three platforms, consisting of an online gallery, a live event and a playlist. Together, these three platforms showcased the work of 150 students, selected from over 600 submissions, by the curator, Monica Biagioli, Senior Lecturer in Design Innovation at London College of Communication. 

Two of our students were selected to have their work in the gallery, which was a virtual exhibition space where a curated collection of 2D and 3D artwork that could be viewed from 22-29 July. 

Becky Guo is studying an Art and Design Level 3 Extended Diploma at City of Oxford College, specialising in Fashion and Textiles. Sericulture is a fashion response exploring the ancestry of the Chinese culture of silk production from cocoon to fabric. Her garment features experiments in fabric manipulation, recycling silk cut off, natural dyeing techniques and tea bags. 

She said: “I was delighted when I found out that I was chosen to take part in UAL Awarding Body’s Origins Creatives 2021 Showcase because it offered a wider platform to display my work and share the history of Sericulture. 

“Sericulture is based on my grandparents’ experience of breeding the silkworms for eight years in the 1980s. My grandmother told me silk was the treasure of their lives because they were encouraged and taught by the Chinese authority to raise silkworms for their income. This completely changed their lifestyle, which I found it extremely personal and have used the patterns of silkworms, mulberry leaves and cocoons to reflect my grandparents’ journey of raising silkworms.  

“I focused on the ingredients of silk cultivation and the loss of traditional skills. Then I constructed the garment with silk fabric, tea bags, leaves, beads, prints, natural dyeing and natural fibres to demonstrate the ancestry from Chinese culture of silk production from cocoon to fabric.   

“My final major project helped me to acknowledge that more and more traditional skills and culture are being forgotten. While we need to be aware that the present is important, the past needs to be known and reflected on, in order to update the world.” 

In September, Becky will be progressing to study a degree in Textiles at Chelsea College of Arts, part of the University of the Arts London. 

Ashleigh Simpson is studying a Creative Practice: Art, Design and Communications Level 3 Diploma at Guildford College. Expressions is a pencil drawing, depicting uncertainty.   

She said: “In the last year, we have been forced to assume emotions without seeing the whole expression.    

“I attempted to show how people can convey fake emotions through forced facades. My aim was to develop a hyper-realistic drawing style whilst employing griding techniques. I left the working out, the maths and lines visible to show the scaffolding of the features and expression lines. This in turn makes the expression feel manipulated and constructed.    

“When photographing the model, I used tungsten direct lighting as if the model was under questioning. I asked them to imitate the expression from a randomly drawn card, to put on the persona of that emotion. The viewer should question whether they feel the emotion portrayed in the drawing is truly authentic.”      

As part of the showcase, UAL Awarding Body also created a playlist to celebrate the UAL Awarding Body musicians. Two of our Music Performance and Production students at Reading College were selected to have one of their songs featured in the playlist, which was launched on 22 July and is available to listen to via Soundcloud.  

The first song is Spectre by Sam Watson, who is studying a Music Performance and Production Level 1 Diploma. Sam's track draws from a range of post-industrial and synth-wave electronica production styles and conveys a dark mood that is balanced by a contrapuntal uplifting 80s-inspired synth chorus melody. 

He said: “It felt great when I found out my work was selected for the UAL Awarding Body Origins Creatives 2021 Showcase. I developed an interest in pursuing music during my previous studies before I joined Activate Learning and this year was the first time I had produced music, so to see that the work I put in through the year got me a place in the showcase was extremely motivating and gave a boost to my confidence in my producing skills. 

“Moving on was the track I produced for my final major project of the year. I took a lot of inspiration from synthwave music, mainly from the soundtrack of the Netflix show Stranger Things and used some aspects from industrial music for the drums and extra synths I use throughout the track. 

“The main thing I have learnt while creating the track was to frequently ask my peers and teachers for feedback as during the start of year I tended not to ask for help or feedback and I found that hindered my ability to create tracks, as I'd often get stuck creatively not really knowing where to go next. By allowing others to listen to my work, I have found that I am able to get ideas from their feedback and get stuck a lot less.  

“In September I will continue my studies by moving on to the Music Performance and Production Level 3 UAL Extended Diploma at Reading College in and plan to continue to develop my skills in producing. I am looking forward to be able to get into and use a studio as I am very interested in sound engineering and want develop my skills for it, possibly get some work experience and volunteer for events like festivals.” 

The Frame by Craig Harris is also featured in the playlist, who is studying a Music Performance and Level 2 Diploma. His track is a Chiptune derivative, heavily influenced by 8bit game music from the 80s and 90s. It has Lo-Fi production values and a degree of monotony to accurately create the feeling and purpose of the genre.   

He said: “It felt great when I found out that my track had been chosen to take part in the showcase, like my hard work on my project is starting to pay off. 

“I made an original piece in the genre of Chiptune. This is where you use synthesizers to make a sound that you would hear in a retro game. 

“Taking part in the showcase has helped me to learn more about marketing my music. When, where and how to promote your music using social media. 

“It’s also helped my track reach more people than if I had just put it out there without any form of marketing.” 

Ginette Cox, Director of Delivery for Activate Learning’s Creative Industries faculty, said: “We are so proud of our four students who have been chosen to take part in UAL’s Origins Creatives 2021 Showcase, which celebrates the next generation of creatives.  

“Taking part in this showcase will enable our students to have their creative talents recognised on a wider stage.  

“UAL Awarding Body believes in transformative education; they design and award creative qualifications that empower and inspire educators to help students reach their potential. We cannot wait to see what each of our students will do next.” 

Ross Anderson, Director of UAL Awarding Body, said: “It’s been an extremely challenging year for all of our students and I hope you will join with me in celebrating their amazing achievements.  

“What you’ll see through the work presented in Origins Creatives 2021, is their creativity, their resilience and their flexibility.  

“We’re incredibly proud of the work that these students have achieved and indeed all the rest of the students who haven’t got work here today but have also produced wonderful outcomes.”  

Activate Learning’s Creative Industries faculty offers a wide range of qualification and non-qualification-based courses, primarily focused on Visual Arts and Design (Fine Art, Photography, Graphics, Illustration, Fashion and Textiles, Ceramics, Model Making, Wood and metal work), Music Performance and Production, Furniture, Performing Arts and Creative Media Production, Technology and iMedia. Studying with Activate Learning enables our students to build their creative skills, challenge their thinking, and develop key employability skills ready to take on the myriad of opportunities that Creative Industries offer today. 

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