What will the designers, producers, influencers, and disruptors of the future look like? Who is the face of the creative industries’ future? The answer can be found in Nottingham Trent University’s Online Showcase 2021. It consists of three websites aimed towards both art enthusiasts and industry professionals, each highlighting new work such as biodegradable fabrics and clothing that push past and break down gender conventions. Dr. Andrew Knight, Executive Dean of the School of Architecture, Design, and the Built Environment, and Michael Marsden, Executive Dean of the School of Art & Design, discuss what to expect from this year’s cohort.
A: How would you describe the Class of 2021 at Nottingham Trent University?
MM & AK: Our class of 2021 is the group that not only survived but flourished in the face of a global pandemic, overcoming the trials of the last 18 months and producing some very remarkable art. Our community of creative kids are the global pandemic’s agitators, disruptors, solution finders, and problem solvers. The creative industries require their resilience now more than ever.
A: Your portfolio is divided into three sections: Art & Design, Product Design, and Architecture. How did you go about putting together an online exhibit?
M.M. & A.K. : Our students will have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to promote themselves to international audiences and extend their networks by participating in an online showcase. It’s been inspiring to watch how our students have innovated and created, and we’re delighted to have been able to design an interactive experience that allows each student to display their talent through an online profile.
A: What are the major topics, ideas, or new mediums that are surfacing in graduate work? Could you give some specific examples?
MM & AK: Our exhibition is as diverse as our students, and it embodies Nottingham Trent University’s attitude of collaboration and creative freedom. From sustainable architecture to fabrics that help sensory learning for autistic children, work that examines the link between gender and fashion, and even footwear for space travel, there’s something for everyone. Students have produced work that not only questions our society but also offers innovative and practical answers to societal problems.
A: What do you hope visitors will take away from the showcase?
M.M. & A.K. : Nottingham Trent University’s creative community is known for its adaptability, collaboration, and perseverance. Our achievements are the result of a broad group of students, a dedicated academic staff, and a group of technical professionals. We are really proud of our graduating students’ work and hope you like it.
A: We’ve arrived at a pivotal juncture in history. What does the future hold for the arts? What do you think the next generation of creatives will bring to the table?
MM & AK: Creativity is the key to our future, and those who can disrupt, experiment, and change will have a lot of opportunities. To address the major societal issues that we are currently confronted with, we need to be creative. The creative economy is constantly evolving, and the pandemic has caused the creative and digital industries to expand and converge at a greater rate than ever before. This pattern is only likely to continue in the future.
A: What recommendations would you provide to students and professionals interested in the creative industries?
M.M. & A.K. : Continue to remain interested, eager to explore new ideas, and willing to adapt. Over the previous 18 months, these skills have become increasingly vital for every creative person, and they will continue to do so.