Sutton Coldfield College (@BMetC) students had the opportunity to showcase their innovative art and sculpture designs for their local town to its Mayor, Councillor Terry Wood this week.

The captivating designs were part of a 45-week industry placement for the college’s level 3 art and design students, with the Royal Sutton Town Council.

The project brief was to create eye-catching images for the “Sutton In Bloom” project, to enhance and modernise popular attractions including key roundabouts in the area.

Twenty-five students were able to use their creative skills to build on a community, environment and horticulture theme. Five were shortlisted and were given the unique chance to have their designs displayed in prominent public areas in Sutton.

Due to the country’s Covid19 lockdown, all the placement work took place remotely with the council, including virtual sessions with their college tutor, Emma Buet.

Speaking of their experiences, the shortlisted students who are studying level 3 art and design diplomas had the following to say:

Ella said: “Being part of this placement was extremely beneficial for me, as it is the first opportunity I have had to work with a real client. Among other things, I was able to learn about the importance of meeting client needs, being adaptable and working to a set brief.”

Faathimah said: “This project helped me gain a wealth of skills that I feel I can utilise in my future role as an interior designer. As well as learning how to stick to a brief, I developed communication skills, presentation skills and resilience.”

Kamran said: “I developed an increasing knowledge of design skills needed to grab people’s attention in popular community places. I also learned a lot more about nature and how artwork can bring real vibrancy to outside spaces. I feel even more passionate now about being an architect, as I know I will be able to utilise the skills I have gained.”

Matthew said: “I really enjoyed working on this project, as it enabled me to showcase the history of Sutton through design. I now know more about what clients are looking for and how very important it is to meet their needs.”

Issey said: “My design was inspired by NHS workers and was in the form of a memory tree. I utilised 3D modelling in my work too, which I feel added extra value to the piece. I was so passionate about it all, that I will be using the work for my final major college project that focuses on local heritage.”

The Sutton Town Council placement enabled the students to follow a real client brief, centring on “civic pride”, “happiness” and “community integration” through vibrant designs.

Among other things, students had to consider factors typical of a client brief including:

  • Can you incorporate flowers or plants in the design?
  • Will passers-by be wowed by the design?
  • Will it be interesting, different and unique?
  • Can you use coloured lighting or incorporate lighting into the design?
  • Costings associated with the design process

Speaking of the rewarding industry placement, Emma Buet, the college’s design and visual studies lecturer, who tutored the students during their project said: “It is an absolute honour and privilege for our students and the college as a whole to be involved in this exciting initiative, that can make a real difference to the look and feel of Sutton.

“All of the 25 students have gained invaluable work experience, including pitching ideas for a real client brief, that they can carry forward to their future careers.”

Following the fantastic work of the shortlisted students, Sutton Town Council are now looking into the next steps to bring the student designs to life in the public arena.

Cllr Terry Wood, Mayor of The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Sutton Coldfield College to meet with final year art and design students. I was blown away by the enthusiasm and talent of the students. I would like to congratulate the students, who adapted well during the pandemic and continued to work on their projects from home. Well done everyone!”

Olive O’Sullivan, CEO, Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council added: “The Town Council was delighted to work with the college acting as an employer for the students Industrial Placement Project. At the Town Council, we are committed to working with young people and hope to continue a partnership with the college next year.”

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