Industry experts line up to encourage fresh talent

Southampton Solent University final-year graphic design, illustration, photography and fine art students received top tips from industry experts at its Creative Conference for the Visual Arts 2015 on Monday 11 May.

Students heard from Andrew Diprose, Creative Director for Wired Magazine, Mikkel Lehne, Head of Operations at Expology and Matt Curtis, Art Director for The Sunday Times Magazine.

The speakers, who are all Southampton Solent alumni and specialists in their field, each shared the story of their post-university career paths and knowledge of the creative industries.

Andrew Diprose studied at Solent in 1994 and was himself inspired by a visiting expert. Since graduating, he has worked for numerous publications including ID magazine, Smash Hits, SKY magazine, Elle, FHM, Tatler, Esquire and GQ.

In giving advice to the students, Andrew said: “There is an idea in there somewhere, listen to your competitors, take criticism and learn from it.

“Surround yourself with talent and whatever industry you go into, be prepared, the industry will change. Move forward with it,” he continued. 

Held at the University’s graphic design studios, the conference aimed to help students understand what employers are looking for and educate them on how best to ‘sell’ their skills.

Graphic design alumni Matt Curtis, who graduated in 2006, said, “For my final major project I interviewed some of the best Art Directors in the country and one of them offered me an internship. That’s how my career in the magazine industry began.”

Graphic design student Adam Shipp, said: “It was inspiring to listen to ex-students who have become so successful in their chosen careers. They had a clear plan of where they wanted to work when they graduated, and just kept pushing until they got there.”

The importance of networking was also discussed with another session focusing on fine-art, which looked at Arts Council England and other funding bodies and related careers.

Event organiser and Programme Group Leader, Visual Communication and Applied Arts, Nick Long said: “The conference was a great opportunity for students with designs on a career in the creative industries to learn from professionals, broaden their knowledge and polish their employability skills.”

For more information on the University’s creative courses, visit www.solent.ac.uk.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT THE MEDIA OFFICE ON 023 8201 3642 or press.office@solent.ac.uk

About Southampton Solent University 

Southampton Solent University offers more than 19,000 students over 200 qualifications ranging from HND to PhD, in subjects such as maritime education and training, fashion and design, media and television, music, health, sport and leisure, business, IT and technology. The University was awarded the 2013 Quality Assurance kitemark for quality and standards of teaching and learning. Solent was voted one of the most creative universities in the UK in a Which? University 2014 poll of students. Solent Business School has been awarded the Small Business Charter Award, which is supported by the Association of Business Schools and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and ‘gold approval’ by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

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About Us

Home to around 11,000 students studying everything from HNDs to PhDs, Southampton Solent University is dedicated to enabling learners of all backgrounds to become enterprising citizens and responsible leaders, while also promoting economic and social prosperity. Winner of the Times Higher Education ‘Most Improved Student Experience’ Award 2015, Solent is a dynamic university with strong local links and a growing network of global connections – and a reputation for developing grounded, well-prepared graduates with the skills and experience employers want. Holder of the small business charter, home to one of the world’s leading maritime training academies and voted one of the UK’s most creative universities in the 2013 and 2014 Which? University student polls, Solent applies passion and innovative practice to all its courses. Spanning business and law, the creative industries, engineering and technology, maritime, media, sport and tourism, those courses deliver a practical blend of career-focused tuition and real-world experience – giving our students the tools they need to shape their own success.

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The conference was a great opportunity for students with designs on a career in the creative industries to learn from professionals, broaden their knowledge and polish their employability skills.
Nick Long, Programme Group Leader, Visual Communication and Applied Arts
There is an idea in there somewhere, listen to your competitors, take criticism and learn from it. Surround yourself with talent and whatever industry you go into, be prepared, the industry will change. Move forward with it.
Andrew Diprose, Creative Director for Wired Magazine
For my final major project I interviewed some of the best Art Directors in the country and one of them offered me an internship. That’s how my career in the magazine industry began.
Matt Curtis, Art Director for The Sunday Times Magazine