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Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design

d.werbner-medal Deborah Werbner, awarded for her medal design

wallball-gallery 'Wall Ball', an interactive installation created by Alexander Wendt, Elaine Thomazi-Freitas and Luke Hastilow

f.gatley-erosion08 Fred Gatley's work is on show at the APT Gallery

ana-rico Ana Rico Robles' new hair brush, designed for a sustainable future

knowledge-connect Londonmet Polymer Centre awarded to develop low cost cricket kit for Cricket for Change charity


News and Events Archive: March 2009

Cass Medal is a Winner

A Jewellery and Silversmithing student from the Cass (The Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design) has on a prestigious award for her medal design. Deborah Werbner a final year student on the HND (now FdA) Silversmithing and Jewellery Design course at the Cass impressed the judges of the British Art Medal Society (BAMS) competition by using the medal form to tackle contemporary politics. She won the award called a ‘Herbie’ against stiff competition from hundreds of students from 11 different institutions. The design, called ‘VOTE’ took it’s inspiration from the political climate of 2008 where many significant votes were cast.

The obverse side of Deborah’s medal shows individuals climbing a spiral staircase - depicting seemingly endless years of voting struggle - towards the wheel which appears on the reverse side with its promise of freedom and liberty of choice. The language and texture is deliberately rough and hand drawn rather than smooth and precise to reflect simple election slogans and signage and the often bumpy business of election politics.

Talking about her design, Deborah said, "I am inspired by the extraordinary in everyday situations. VOTE commemorates those who are still fighting for a voice and those who have taken the first steps towards achieving their goals. Throughout 2008, our newspapers were filled with images of people waiting in lines to vote. So many lives and so much effort stood behind these images. How to compare the suffrage rights of peoples from third world nations and the most developed countries in the Western World? These images were my inspiration; the commemoration of these events my challenge."

Michael Upton, Academic Leader at the Department said, "We are delighted with the news of Deborah’s success. Students and alumni from our Silversmithing and Jewellery subject area have had quite a year, claiming many national and international awards. In keeping with The Cass’ approach of ‘heritage on the cutting edge’, Deborah’s work demonstrates how traditional techniques can be used to communicate very contemporary issues in an exciting and inspiring way."

March 20, 2009

Wall ball will bounce to New York!

An innovative interactive installation created by a group of Music Technology lecturers at The Sir John Cass department of Art, Media and Design is to feature simultaneously at exhibitions in London and New York.

‘Wall Ball’ is currently one of the highlights of the Liminal Exhibition, wich runs until the 25th April at Rivington Place, a major publicly funded arts venue in London's New Media quarter, Hoxton. Liminal intends to reveal the invisible thresholds of meaning that are associated with the power relations of the modern city. Concurrent with this London showcase, the installation will also be recreated for the New York Festival of Electroacoustic Music in April 2009.

But what is wall ball? [w_:l b_:l], to give it it’s correct title, is the creation of Alexander Wendt, Elaine Thomazi-Freitas and Luke Hastilow who teach on he BA Music Technology (Sound for Media) course. It invites audiences to participate in a playful interactive wall installation that incorporates the quest for cultural identity and position. Visitors are invited to explore a media database - throwing a ball to find or reconstruct eight real faces out of 231 billion different jumbled ones. The people on these panels reflect contemporary life here and abroad. Most of them were neither born nor bred in London - it is the journey or migration that unites them here, creating a collective of friends originally from European, Asian and African backgrounds.

Initially Anne Berndt’s photography project ‘Will you be my twin?’ brought these people together. Photographing them in pairs, she explored the physical manifestations of close friendship. Extending the [w_:l b_:l] experience into the Liminal group exhibition, this series of large format portraits is dissembled and re-contextualized, focusing on their indi-visual facial expression.

You can experience the 'Wall Ball' in London at the Liminal Exhibition at Rivington Place which runs from Wednesday 11th March - Saturday 25th April 2009.

Gallery opening times: 11am - 6pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 11am - 9pm on late Thursdays, and 12pm - 6pm on Saturdays.

March 19, 2009

Lecturer’s work curated for APT exhibition

Work by Fred Gatley, a lecturer at the Cass (The Sir John Cass department of Art, media and Design) has been selected for inclusion in an exhibition called Confluence at the APT Gallery in Deptford.

Confluence is an exhibition curated by Eileen Cooper RA and is the result of an unusual collaboration between six artists, with works in ceramics, on paper and in print. The work is rich and varied. But the subjects and ideas converge around a common reference in the use of imagery: an interest in distance and containment, horizon and proximity. Waterways, bridges and crossings feature strongly. There is a haunting quality to many of these pieces; water is never very far away.

Gatley, who has completed both an MA by Project and MPhil at London Metropolitan University explains, "This is my biggest ever show and follows on from my two research degrees here. Both of these investigated the surface polishing of ceramics. My work often looks like polished granite or marble. The idea of the show is to take the developments made within the research and show it to the public, and then see what happens."

There is an article in the March / April edition of Ceramic Review, Britains leading magazine for those involved in craft or arts ceramics, explaining the process Gatley uses in his work.

Gatley and the other artists participating in Confluence, Eileen Cooper, Caroline Isgar, Sara Lee, Sara Radstone and Annie Turner have all worked independently and professionally over many years. They are linked by a fascination with process and deeply rooted in their craft, with ideas being developed through ‘making’ and an engagement with materials.

Confluence runs from the 19th March until the 5th April at the APT Gallery, Harold Wharf, 6 Creekside, London SE8 4SA

Tel: 020 8694 8344
Gallery opening hours: Thursday - Sunday, 12noon - 5pm

March 19, 2009

Cass Student Short-Listed for Major National Award

A student at The Cass (The Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design) has been shortlisted for a prestigious RSA Design Directions award thanks two her ingenious hi-tech sustainable design ideas. Ana Rico Robles, a second year student on the BA Graphic Design course is one of seven students selected in the national competition for her response to a brief called ‘A Changing world, products and services for a sustainable future.’ Students were asked imagine the world in 2025 and the sort of sustainable products and services we will be using in our everyday lives. The project asked for design outcomes in two market themes, ‘Personal Care’ and ‘Surface Covering’.

Ana’s response to the personal care brief was an innovative hair brush that can clean hair without the need for water. Talking about the design Ana says, "From my research I found that most women wash their hair almost every day, wasting water and leaving water pollutants behind. My idea is a brush which works using nano-fibres (nanotechnology) to absorb oils and repeal dirt."

Her surface covering idea is equally creative: a system which uses energy created by office workers’ foot movements to create a colourful workspace. Ana explains, "Research shows that the choice decoration and colours can have a positive effect on workers. My system uses using energy harvested from movement created by users walking on the carpet to power lights which are projected onto the walls. When users walk on the carpet, kinetic energy is transformed into electric energy thanks to ‘piezoelectric technology’ - the ability of some materials to generate electric potential in response to applied mechanical stress."

Ana and the six other finalists will be interviewed by a panel of industry experts on Friday the 13th March, after which the winner will be revealed.

The award is supported by Forum for the Future, a sustainable development charity which works in partnership with leading organisations in business and the public sector. Winners will benefit from The opportunity to participate in a development workshop with Forum for the Future, and with Dulux and Unilever, two of the organizations with whom Forum for The Future are currently working to further work up their concepts. There may also be the opportunity for an internship within one of the companies. In addition the winner(s) will be presented with the £3500 Wally Olins Opportunity Award which was established to honour Wally Olins by Wolff Olins, the company he co-founded and one of the world’s leading brand consultancies.

Michael Upton, Academic Leader at the department said, "We are delighted with this news. To be short-listed for this award is a fantastic achievement in its own right, especially given the complexity of the brief which would challenge even the most experienced product designers. One of our Graphic Design students won an RSA Design Directions award last year, so our fingers are crossed for Ana."

March 9, 2009

Owzthat!- Polymer Centre to Develop Low-Cost Cricket Kit

The London Metropolitan Polymer Centre has been awarded £10,000 by Knowledge Connect to support a charity called "Cricket for Change" to develop a low cost cricket kit consisting of two bats, two sets of stumps and balls in a self-contained unit. The London-based charity has been providing cricketing opportunities to young people living on housing estates, and young people with a disability across the globe. The new kit will support their inner-city programmes where a version of cricket called "Street20" is played. The charity aims to launch the new product in time for the Twenty20 World cup competition that is due to take place in Britain this June.

The London Metropolitan Polymer Centre, a part of the Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design offers research, consultancy training and other specialist services to the plastic, rubber and allied manufacturing industries. Knowledge Connect is a programme which helps London businesses grow and prosper by connecting them to the knowledge and expertise of the City’s universities, colleges and research organizations.

March 8, 2009

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