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Apr 15, 2014

Animation student gets commissioned to perform her sand animations live

Lindsey McConnochie is a second year BA (Hons) Animation student with a unique talent for creating enthralling pieces of art and animation using sand. After posting videos of her work online she has started to gather interest from influential figures in the industry and has just landed a number of exciting commissions to perform her sand animations live.

The first of these commissions came from the charities Interpal and Action4Change who are working together to raise money for the people of Palestine. Lindsey performed a specially created piece called ‘Bringing Hope to Life’ at their recent Volunteer Appreciation Evening at London’s Porchester Hall in front of 500 people.

Soon, she will perform at the ‘Theatre by the Lake’ in Keswick as part of Splash Media’s ‘The Four Elements’ production, which sees international musicians, poets, and artists collaborate to produce a number of performances based around the elements earth, wind, fire and water. Lindsey has been chosen to represent fire, and will be preforming alongside a live orchestra and together they will be telling the story of Stravinsky’s famous ballet ‘The Firebird’.

Although she has had a keen interest in art in all its forms since she was young, she always knew that if she was to stand out she had to do something different. She took inspiration from an artist she saw painting with sand and decided to give it a try herself. “It turns out I was more of a natural than I thought I would be” she says. Once she got the hang of drawing faces, object and environments with the sand, she then spent hours upon hours training herself to manipulate the sand, transitioning from scene to scene in order to tell stories in a way that touch and engage her audience.

Since she started studying animation at the University of Salford she has been able to broadened her skill set into areas such as digital animation and stop motion. Her confidence as a sand artist has also greatly improved and it’s because of this renewed confidence that Lindsey says she continues to receive requests to perform her work. “Since starting at Salford my passion for art and animation has grown immensely. Some of the modules have been challenging but the support from tutors has pushed me to show my work outside of University and this is what has got me the work! Hearing people believe in me showed me that I may just have what it takes to make a profession out of my talent. It’s making me push myself even more to learn and work hard in order to become a creative professional.”

Take a look at this video of Lindsey performing and talking about her sand animations at last year’s Create Festival:

Apr 9, 2014 / 1 note

Graphic Design students create mural for the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.

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Graphic Design Programme Leader, Tash Willcocks recently led a group of University of Salford design students and graduates, as well as some of her industry friends - inlcuding Will Berry and Kid Milk of the Generic Greeting Collective - in the painting of a huge mural on the wall of the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

Between them, they created 12 illustrated characters that subtly represented the Chinese animals of the year, such as rabbits, rams and rats. The theme behind the mural was #iresolve, and as Tash explains, “Each creative chose an animal and created a persona for them. The idea is that each character has a chalk board or a piece of clothing that you can write a resolution on, take a photo and post it out to the stratosphere in order to make the promise and help you keep it.”

Lewis Loughman is a 3rd year BA (Hons) Graphic Design student who took part in the day of illustration, contributing his interpretation of the ‘year of the dragon’ to the mural. He said, “This was a brilliant opportunity to paint a mural in an interesting space, on an engaging subject matter, alongside friends who also happen to be really talented local artists.” 

The project marks the start of a long lasting relationship between the University of Salford and CFCCA, and next month the collaboration continues when Tash Willcocks presents her work Mundaneaday there. On 15 May, Tash will be hosting a live demonstration of her interactive wall installation as part of The Voice Currency exhibition. The work is made up of a collection of overheard conversations, observations and muttered musings, delivered in interesting typographic illustrations. For more information visit http://www.cfcca.org.uk/exhibition/mundaneaday/.

Apr 1, 2014

Bar Shorts goes super sonic in Salford

Fans of short films and animation should get themselves down to The Eagle Inn in Salford this Wednesday 2nd April for Bar Shorts, a free event that will be showing a whole range of works by various established and up-and-coming filmmakers, including a number of “stings” by Salford students (see video below).

The event is based around a ‘super sonic’ theme, with many of the films being shown being inspired in some way by sound. It is curated by BAFTA nominated director Chris Shepherd and the animation studio behind Channel 4’s Modern Toss, 12Foot6. Among the filmmakers featured on the line up are Greg Jardin, Will Sweeney, Steve Scott, Phil Mulloy and world renowned animator Bob Godfrey, one of the animators responsible for the 70’s cult kids TV show Roobarb and Custard.

There will also be the first public screening of Myszochujek, a short animation film made in 1957 by Polish director Kristof Babaski, which had disappeared into obscurity until it was recently re-discovered and restored into HD by The Polish Film Club.

Bar Shorts will be held from 7pm till 11pm, with the first film being shown at 8:30pm. Entry is free, however, if you are interested in attending please register your interest online to ensure you get a seat.

Apr 1, 2014

Salford graduate wins Best Cinematography award at National Student Film Festival

University of Salford MA Wildlife Documentary Production graduate Tom Rowland has picked up the award for Best Cinematography at the prestigious Screentest National Student Film Festival for his film Adapting Anolis.

Tom’s award adds to the University’s gleaming track record for MA Wildlife Documentary students as he joins the likes of Salford alumni Tania Escobar and Amber Eames who in previous years have picked up awards for Best Documentary and Best Cinematography at the glitzy ceremony held at London’s South Bank.

His film documents the many varieties of Anolis lizards that dominate Cuba’s rainforests, whose various adaptations make them suitable for life high in the trees, in the undergrowth or by water; making them one of the planet’s most diverse and evolutionary significant animals.  

In order to make Adapting Anolis, Tom spent a month on location in Cuba collecting footage in the dense jungles, as well as at the Cuban film school Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV, where himself and Production Co-ordinator Ivan Medina set up a special lab that replicated the rainforest environment. It was here that he was able to spend time getting up close and personal with the lizards, filming them with cutting edge macro and long lens techniques.

Tom said; “I was pretty taken back and was not at all expecting winning, especially since the competing films in my category were of such a high standard. You wouldn’t have thought they were student films at all. I was also nominated for Best Film and Best Documentary, which as the only wildlife film in the festival, was also a real honour. It was great to be flying the natural history flag alongside the many great fiction based films and human based documentaries.”

Tom has been involved in media production and drama since the age of 10, always knowing he wanted to pursue a career in television. That coupled with his obsession with biology and animals meant that becoming involved in wildlife documentary was an easy career decision to make. When deciding on where to complete his Masters, he had already heard good things about the University of Salford, and once he saw the facilities on offer at our MediaCityUK campus, he was sold.

As well as the world class facilities, Tom also puts his award down to being able to work with world renowned wildlife film professionals such as Paul Reddish on the course, who he says gave him “a real insight into the industry, the skills needed to break into it and the knowledge of how to make a good wildlife film.”

Tom is now continuing to travel the world as a wildlife documentary maker, working as a researcher for National Geographic’s Wild Brazil, as well as making films for the charity Save the Rhino in South Africa.

Apr 1, 2014

Animation student has work shown at Edinburgh’s Hidden Door Festival.

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The Hidden Door festival got underway in Edinburgh on Friday, showcasing independent artists, musicians and film makers from the UK and Europe over 9 nights in 24 disused vaults down Edinburgh’s market street. These doors were unlocked and the vaults restored especially for this unique pop-up festival. 

One of The University of Salford’s Ma Animation students, Eleonora Asparuhova had 5 of her short films played at Hidden Door’s cinema in Arch 17 on Saturday night as part of the Edinburgh College of Art’s Animation Showcase. The showcase featured some of the best films produced in the ECA’s history, including some BAFTA and Oscar nominees. Interspersed between these films were a number of shorter animations that were were originally produced as part of the 10x10x14 project, which saw Eleonora as well as students from Edinburgh, Sofia, Lucerne and Vancouver  create one animated film a day, for ten days straight. A total of 465 films were made and of these the best 70 were chosen by the students themselves to be aired at Hidden Door.

Eleonora’s style is inspired by the slightly dark and spooky works of people like Paul Berry and Tim Burton, mixed with the “cuteness” of Hello Kitty. As for subject matter, she draws inspiration from the people around her and her childhood, growing up in Bulgaria. The film that received the most votes out of all of the films submitted for 10x10x14 was Eleonora’s The Orange Song, which she based on her favourite Bulgarian nursery rhyme.

When asked how she felt about her films being selected for Hidden Doors, Eleonora said, “I was like a child on Christmas Day! Especially when I found out that The Orange Song had got the most votes. The films screened at the festival were selected by the students themselves, so I really did feel happy finding out that the other participants supported me with their votes. I am the type of person who hides my drawings under the bed so for me festivals like Hidden Door are not about winning prizes or competing with the others, it’s about making connections and meeting people who share the same passion as you.’

Eleonora’s passion for animation has flourished since she began the MA Animation course at the University of Salford. After starting out with a love for fine art and drawing, she decided to pursue animation so she could bring her characters to life. And although when she first arrived from Bulgaria she confesses that she barely even knew how to switch on her Mac, thanks to everything that she has learned on the course she is now a gifted animator, gaining the admiration of her peers and getting her work shown at one of Edinburgh’s newest and most exciting arts festivals.

For more information about Hidden Door Festival visit www.hiddendoorblog.org

Click here to watch all of the videos selected for the Edinburgh College Showcase.

Apr 1, 2014 / 1 note

Check out these gorgeous set of images entitled ‘Last Night’ by final year BA (Hons) Fashion Image Making and Styling student, Claudia Kershaw-Rae. We likey! 

Visit Claudia’s website to see more of her portfolio work here.

Mar 31, 2014

The Salford Sonic Fusion Festival 2014 kicks off this week at the MediaCityUK and Peel Park campuses. From Thursday 3rd April to Sunday 6th April, the University will be alive with upcoming and established artists in the world of classical, electronic and contemporary music.

Check out the video of last year’s event for a flavour of what will be happening over the weekend.

If you like your music to be challenging, thought provoking and experimental then you really don’t want to miss out on Salford Sonic Fusion Festival 2014. Visit www.salford.ac.uk/sonicfusion for the full programme. Entry is free for all University of Salford students and staff.

Mar 28, 2014

Welcome to the world of Art and The Mannequins.

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Enterprising  BA (Hons) English Literature student, Naqqash Khalid has put the skills he gained while studying at the University of Salford to excellent use by setting up his own publishing and production company, as well as editing and publishing an anthology of short stories and poetry entitled Art and The Mannequins: The Prelude. As if that wasn’t enough work, this dedicated individual also wrote, directed and produced three short plays which he took to stages in London, Salford and Manchester as The Prelude Tour. We spoke to Naqqash about his various projects.

Who are Art and the Mannequins?

Art and the Mannequins is a publishing and production company, which was set up in my second year at University. It’s a collaborative company made up of a network of young artists and writers starting out in media based careers.  The company is home to many different talents - we have everyone from set designers to copywriters from the UK and across the world. ‘Art’ and ‘The Mannequins’ is also a narrative that runs through The Prelude and was the base of The Prelude Tour

What inspired you to put this anthology together?

We wanted to celebrate fresh talent and build a platform, a vehicle, to promote new work. Being at university is such an enriching experience. We’re constantly surrounded by creative people but it’s frustratingly difficult to get your work out there when you’re a student.  Instead of waiting for an opportunity we decided to make our own. So we devised that vehicle in the form of The Prelude and The Prelude Tour.

How did you go about sourcing the various short stories and poems for the book?

I started with the people I knew. I created a social media campaign, flyers, and posters to get the word out. Then I set up a team of editors who read the content that came into Art and The Mannequins and actively scouted for work. We had hundreds of submissions coming in from Australia, China, the US, and across the UK thanks to the promotional campaign. 

How has your time at the University of Salford helped you grow as a writer?

You’re constantly inspired as you’re exposed to a lot of content. The broad range of modules available provided me with different types of inspiration. For example when studying Cinema and Psychoanalysis I had an idea to compose a short experimental Freudian film. As an artist I soak up everything I learn and apply it to my own work.

My fellow students were also really supportive of the project and got involved in many ways either through the company internship or actively submitting something for the collection. I couldn’t have done it without my peers

What advice would you give to other students who are considering getting stuck into a project like this?

If you want to do something then go and make it happen. Stop putting it off and thinking it’s too big. Identify the boundaries and eliminate them. A lot of the writers in the book have now gone on to publish more work and have gotten involved in other projects - we’ve all gained confidence through the publication of The Prelude. Fake it till you make it! 

The book is entitled Art and the Mannequins: The Prelude. I’m assuming this means there is more to come?

The Prelude and The Prelude Tour were both a way of saying “hi” and introducing the company. We built up a global audience as the book ships worldwide and networked with many people around the UK through the tour. We’re currently working on a collection of short movies. We cannot wait to announce what we’re doing next with Art and The Mannequins. It’s big. Stay tuned!

Art and The Mannequins: The Prelude by Naqqash Khalid is available to purchase now on Amazon .

Mar 21, 2014 / 1 note

Salford’s journalism students go global!

Journalism students from Salford will be teaming up with others from around the world to produce 12 hours of continuous news.

The Global News Relay will see our students working collaboratively on a rolling news programme with around 250 other students from across the world. The broadcast will move from country to country, with each host organisation transmitting for up to two hours at a time.

The ground-breaking project is co-ordinated by Sarah Jones, Journalism Lecturer based at MediaCityUK, along with representatives at other institutions, including RMIT, Melbourne, Australia; West Texas A&M University, USA, and the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, India.

Sarah said: “The aim of the project is to engage students with the concept of global news and bring them together to work collaboratively on a single journalistic assignment.

“It will develop innovative methods of broadcasting internationally and encourage the students to reflect on news around the world, as well as getting an insight into the variations in culture and news techniques.”

Topics covered during the broadcasting marathon will include social media, fashion, gay marriage and Salford Sonic Fusion - our international music festival.

The 12-hour Global News Relay will begin at 9am on 27 March 2014, with the Salford team taking the first slot.  The transmission with be broadcast online at www.quaysnews.net, so make sure you log on and take part!

Have you ever fancied making a game but not known how? Well now’s your chance. Students on our BA (Hons) Computer and Video Games course will be holding a Games Jam this Friday 21st March at MediaCityUK for 12 hours straight and want you all to join in! 
Its open to people of any ability and you’ll be encouraged to work together with people you have never met before, learn new things and network with each other. Anyone from the University can attend, including Alumni. There will be a theme for the game too, which will be announced on the day.
To get more of an idea of what a Games Jam involves, take a look at the Games Development Society blog showing some previous jams.
http://gamedevsociety.tumblr.com/gamejamarchive/280214
Mar 19, 2014 / 1 note

Have you ever fancied making a game but not known how? Well now’s your chance. Students on our BA (Hons) Computer and Video Games course will be holding a Games Jam this Friday 21st March at MediaCityUK for 12 hours straight and want you all to join in! 

Its open to people of any ability and you’ll be encouraged to work together with people you have never met before, learn new things and network with each other. Anyone from the University can attend, including Alumni. There will be a theme for the game too, which will be announced on the day.

To get more of an idea of what a Games Jam involves, take a look at the Games Development Society blog showing some previous jams.

http://gamedevsociety.tumblr.com/gamejamarchive/280214