Case study

Creating global communities: Graphic design summer school

30 Mar 2017

Last summer the Southampton Solent University International Development team welcomed staff and students from Shanghai Institute of Technology, to take part in a two week international graphic design summer school.

The summer school offered those attending the opportunity to learn about art and design in the UK and to study a range of creative subjects with staff from the School of Art, Design and Fashion. However, activities weren’t just confined to the campus as the attendees also took part in a number of cultural and social activities in the surrounding cities of Oxford, Winchester, Salisbury, Bath, London and Brighton. 

While at Solent, students produced a number of prints under the direction of Charles Shearer (Associate Lecturer in Illustration) who himself is a professional painter and printmaker. Charles said he was impressed with the “collective spirit of the group” and was pleased with the progress the students made during their short stay in Southampton. He explained how, for the students, it’s “a challenge to let go of the control you have with a computer.” During the summer school he encouraged them to “allow the medium to have some control” over the creative process.

For many of the art students from China, the summer school was the first time they had worked with their hands to create art without the assistance of a computer. One of the participants, Xiang Miao felt that the experience would change his approach to his art “in the future,” Miao said, “when I make posters I will combine computer and hand-made art.” 

Qing Qei Wang enjoyed learning about the card-cutting technique during her time at Solent. “This technique is very convenient, and the materials are easy to find” she said. “I will continue to use this technique when I return to China.”

Nick Long, Head of Visual Comms and Applied Arts, said: “The quality of the artwork produced by the students was uniformly high and a credit to those delivering and organising these experiences. The summer school continues to broaden and deepen our relationship with this important international partner."

Peter Lloyd, Director of the School of Art, Design and Fashion and Visiting Professor at Shanghai Institute of Technology presented certificates of completion to the students on the final day of the programme, after taking the time to review selections of their best work.

Professor Feifei Wu from Shanghai Institute of Technology expressed her gratitude to all of the Solent staff for this year’s summer school, both for giving of their time to student learning “and the space to learn which is comfortable and relaxed.”

This was the fifth occasion that Shanghai Institute of Technology has brought its students to study at Southampton Solent School of Art, Design and Fashion, and planning for this year’s programme is already underway.