Educating the next generation – The Creatives in Residence Final Showcase
A little over six months ago four young graduates joined the “Creatives in Residence” project based at the CMYUK demonstration facility in Shrewsbury. After a difficult two years with little access to their university facilities from 2020-2021 the CIRL initiative presented a unique opportunity to explore digital manufacturing technologies and build their commercial knowledge.
The projects aim was to deliver a learning experience where the graduates would benefit from practical learning, expert tuition, hands-on access to digital equipment and the full support of the CMYUK team alongside industry mentors and peers. The graduates have also benefitted from the combined efforts of the sponsors application specialists who have visited the site to share their expert knowledge and training.
The graduates have now completed this six-month project which was brought to a close with a final showcase. As the graduates missed out on their official graduation when they completed their university education, this was an overdue celebration. They have worked through four design briefs and with each, have applied their new skills and industry knowledge to the manufacture of printed apparel garments, home furnishings, wallcoverings, upholstered furniture, carpets and many other decorative applications.
Caption: Reflecting on her learning journey at CMYUK, Keely Russell said, “This has been the best possible way I ever could have imagined integrating into the textile industry. So many opportunities have passed our way, including the chance to design for Epson’s showroom, being mentored by Debbie McKeegan and so many other design contacts.
The project has been a collaborative effort for all involved. Many mentors, specialists, and industry practitioners have shared their wisdom during the many online roundtables and mentor sessions, and it has been a privilege to steer this initiative as the FESPA Textile Ambassador.
CMYUK Group Commercial Director, Robin East commented: “It has been such an edifying experience to provide these young people with such a high calibre transitional experience between their graduation and the world of work. Our education lead and partner in this programme, Debbie McKeegan, produced a world class syllabus for these graduates that included hands-on mentoring from some of the most exciting and cutting-edge surface designers currently working today. Our graduates have received excellent technological training from our wonderful sponsors including Epson, Canon, Klieverik, Mimaki, AE Sewing Machines, EFI and Kongsberg. They have worked with the ultimate digitally advanced production technology. We have provided tailored careers and CV advice from Karen Collier Careers that will stand our graduates in good stead.
Caption: The project has been a collaborative effort for all involved. Many mentors, specialists, and industry practitioners have shared their wisdom during the many online roundtables and mentor sessions, and it has been a privilege to steer this initiative as the FESPA Textile Ambassador.
“I would like to thank all the team here at CMYUK who have invested in the programme with their time and support. We are very proud of the achievements of these young people and will be watching their forward progression with interest,” added Robin East.
Reflecting on her learning journey at CMYUK, Keely Russell said, “This has been the best possible way I ever could have imagined integrating into the textile industry. So many opportunities have passed our way, including the chance to design for Epson’s showroom, being mentored by Debbie McKeegan and so many other design contacts. Having access to the technology on offer at CMYUK has given me a much greater understanding of the digital print production processes and capabilities that will be invaluable as I move forward in my career.”
Evie Venables said, “Being able to continue designing collections and have hands on experience on the latest digital printing technologies fresh out of university has been a dream, especially in the comfort of my hometown. The advice and support from mentors along the way has been majorly beneficial to my development as a designer and I couldn’t have hoped for a better first job in the industry. I will look back on my time at CMYUK with fond memories.”
Sarah Willocks said, “My skills have grown tremendously through our project briefs, and I have cultivated valuable knowledge in the digital printing industry. With the help of the fantastic and patient team from CMYUK and our generous industry mentors, I have experienced AVA colour matching to digital factory production at Graham & Brown, Adam Slade too, from Standfast and Barracks helped me in my approach as a professional print designer. I have felt very lucky to have been part of this initiative.”
Caption: Sarah Willocks said, “My skills have grown tremendously through our project briefs, and I have cultivated valuable knowledge in the digital printing industry”.
Taylor Doggett said, “Creatives in Residence Live (CIRL) has been a fantastic opportunity to take part in as a filmmaker. The creative freedom to produce weekly video content with the resources provided by CMYUK has given me invaluable first-hand experience and I am excited to see where this role takes me in the future.”
In summary the graduates have explored the design and production of products for Apparel, Décor and Sportswear using digital technologies. They have gained expert insights from the many Industry veterans, mentors and established peers who have given their time to encourage this new generation.
As a project “Creatives in Residence” represents an industry first. If we are to build a vibrant industry, we must invest in the next generation and nurture our future talent.
The Fashion and Interior Décor Industry is in the midst of a seismic shift towards digitalization – the four CIRL graduates now hold a great commercial advantage gifted by this unprecedented opportunity. They have the skills and knowledge to succeed - with which they can be sure to build an exciting career.
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