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Creative talents shine as students scoop awards

University of Chester graduating students have scooped awards for their exceptional work and achievements in art and design.

Leaders at the University have recognised students who have gone above and beyond to create outstanding final year Art and Design projects.

The accolades have been awarded to students who exhibited work at the Art and Design end-of-year show. The exhibition showcased the creative talents of the graduating class of 2023, from all seven of the University’s Art and Design BA Honours degree courses: Fashion Design; Fashion Marketing Communication; Fine Art; Graphic Design; Interior Design; Photography and Product Design.

Titled All Inclusive, it marked the culmination of students’ degree studies, demonstrated the uniqueness of each student, and offered an insight into their professional future.

The stand-out students chosen by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester, Professor Eunice Simmons, for awards were:

  • Fashion Design – Alexandra Novacki
  • Fashion Marketing Communication – Jess Gillet
  • Fine Art – Emilia Michalak
  • Graphic Design – Emma Persico
  • Interior Design – Jemma Roberts
  • Photography – Sally Elphick
  • Product Design – Bailey Jones

The students acknowledged with accolades by the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester, Professor Helen O’Sullivan, from work presented on the Contemporary Art Space Chester (CASC) website, were:

  • Fashion Design – Abbie Chiocchi
  • Fashion Marketing Communication – Erin Gribbon
  • Fine Art – Alicia Hodkinson
  • Graphic Design – Megan Austin
  • Interior Design – Ffion Jones
  • Photography – Ellie Castle
  • Product Design – Bailey Jones

Professor O’Sullivan’s overall winner was Graphic Design student, Megan Austin.

Megan’s project was a Depth Map – an image that contains information relating to the distance of the surfaces of objects from a viewpoint – depicted through a series of interlinking books with a focus on the supernatural, and inspired by her interest of fantasy worlds and stories.

The winner of the Dean’s Award 2023, chosen by Professor David McGravie, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University, has been named as Fashion Design student Alexandra Novacki.

She impressed with her high fashion womenswear collection, Furious Creatures. Alexandra reflected on her Polish roots for inspiration and created concepts based on the country’s national “creatures” including the grey wolf, stork and white eagle. Using sharp tailoring and luxurious fabrics, she has created looks bringing out strong personality and attitude, which wowed the audience at her recent debut runway show at Chester Cathedral.

Students who also received commendations from the Vice-Chancellor, Provost and Dean were:

  • Fashion Design – Elouise Robinson and Tash Rowland
  • Fine Art – Mark Steggal, Dave Smallman, Nicole Weatherley and Alex Williams
  • Graphic Design – Jenny Wood
  • Photography – Lucas North-Ryder and Jane Evans
  • Product Design – William Abbott

Professor Eunice Simmons, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Chester said:

“The dedication and creative talents of our exceptional Art and Design students deserve to be recognised and celebrated.

“Ambition, artistry, flair, inspiration, research, commitment, and quality shines through in these final year projects.

“Congratulations to the worthy winners and all our students. They show what can be achieved and we look forward to seeing their future successes. We wish them all the best as they graduate, taking their next steps and making a further impression in art and design – and beyond.”

Alexandra Novacki said:

“I’m honoured to receive the Dean’s Award for 2023 as well as the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Fashion Design. With a degree alongside these, it’s a cherry on the cake. It’s a huge relief to see the hard work has paid off and I’m hugely excited for my career ahead in the world of fashion.”

Megan Austin, winner of the Provost’s top award, added:

“I am extremely grateful, being chosen for this award. I have loved my time at Chester, all the new skills I’ve learned and people I’ve met. I particularly enjoyed putting my final project together and seeing everyone else’s too.”

All of the students’ final year projects – as well as work of first and second year Art and Design students from recent shows – can be seen on the CASC website at: and on Instagram: @uoc_artanddesign.

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