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NTU’s graphic design students champion the city’s poetry in new project

In celebration of Nottingham’s literary heritage, graphic design students at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) connected with six talented poets from the city to create experimental new work for its Poetry of Publishing project.

Joel Scott design
Joel Scott design for Gregory Woods, Internal Exile

Poetry of Publishing is a series of collaborations between first year BA (Hons) Graphic Design students and six Nottingham poets – Gregory Woods, Di Slaney, Sue Dymoke, Trevor Wright, Lytisha Tunbridge and Hazel Warren – who responded to an open call by the University’s strategic partner, Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature.

The project challenged students to interpret, manipulate, and subvert the content of 30 contemporary poems to create a new publication. Although it had to be something publishable, the brief was open to interpretation, giving students the creative freedom to choose which methods to employ. From illustration and typography to photography and film, students each used a different approach to create personal and unique visions inspired by the poems.

Jakub Staniszewski design
Jacub Staniszewski design for Sue Dymoke, Games Before Tea

At the start of the project in mid-March, contributing poets were invited to attend an event at NTU. However, the COVID-19 outbreak meant that new safety measures were put in place, and the live event was replaced with recorded interviews with the poets. Workshops and activities also had to be reworked for online delivery. Despite these unprecedented circumstances, the students rose to the challenge and adapted to a new way of working, as the project went digital.

Our students valued the collaborative nature of the project, and the chance to explore their work in print.

First year student Ella Eldridge told us: “Working during lockdown was a creative challenge due to the lack of stability, resources and sometimes motivation. However, I found the combination of tutorials and design blogs helped me to see the project through to the end. Moreover, it was great to experience working with the poets as it gave an insight into the real design world.”

Amy Hancock design
Amy Hancock design for Lytisha Tunbridge, Bloody Poems

A specially commissioned online gallery, Poetry of Publishing, has now been created to showcase the students’ final designs, allowing the work to be shared publicly and with the poets themselves.

Module leaders Joe Pielichaty and Ellie Wild were extremely happy with the outcome of this collaborative project. They said: “The standard of thinking, experimentation, crafting, and production that was achieved in such restricted circumstances was nothing short of astounding.

“Their outcomes are as much a testament to the students’ ongoing tenacity as they are to their creativity, ingenuity and love of local poetry.”

Visit this page to explore the students’ work.

Published on 3 July 2020
  • Category: Business; Culture; Curated & Created; Current students; School of Art & Design