Unit X panel crit at Manchester School of Art

POSTED ON: BY Maria Adamo
mmu unitx exhibition soup kitchen

Last month I was invited to sit on the industry panel for Unit X at my old university, Manchester School of Art. Unit X brings together students from different disciplines to work on live project briefs created by a wide range of partner organisations of the university. I went back to the old stomping ground to take a look at the work produced by the second year Unit X students on my old course, BA (Hons) Graphic Design, & provide a bit of helpful feedback.

The students were asked, in groups of 5-6, to produce a publication in response to a word, phrase or theme, given to them by the course tutors. In addition to this, they also created posters & Kickstarter films to promote their publications, which were exhibited at Soup Kitchen a few days after the panel crit.

I was on a panel with fellow MMU alumni Phoebe Sing, Art Director at Twin Magazine, & we saw around 8 groups that afternoon. The amount of work & effort put into these publications was immediately obvious & very impressive, especially as a handful of the students were from different courses such as Fashion & Illustration. I think everyone can relate to the trials & tribulations of group work at school/college/university, so to see the vast majority of groups display collective passion & enjoyment for the work they had produced was really positive to see.

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One of the stand out publications for me was ‘Fluid Magazine’, who wanted to challenge the perception of fetishes. Through suggestive art directed photography & interviews with members of the general public, the group set out to break the taboo surrounding various sexual fetishes. The biggest piece of advice I gave to this group was to have more confidence in the strength of their suggestive photography. I don’t think they realised how clever their art direction actually was & myself & Phoebe urged them to make more use of this throughout the final version of the magazine. At the exhibition evening at Soup Kitchen a few days later it was great to see the Fluid group had taken the feedback on board & made a few tweaks to their final publication & promo poster which really strengthened the overall look & concept.

I have to admit, it was a little surreal being on the other side of the table for the afternoon, as it wasn’t so long ago that I was navigating my own way through the Unit X brief. However, the whole experience was so refreshing & thoroughly enjoyable to see students having fun with such creative freedom. It was great to see the same strong & diverse ideas flowing from the course that equipped me with the invaluable skills to earn a spot in the Design By Day crew a couple of years back.

To check out some of the brilliant work coming out of Manchester School of Art right now, get down to the 2017 Degree Show, open 10th – 21st June.

WRITTEN BY

Maria Adamo

PUBLISHED IN

Education

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