Welcome to Ten

Written by Maya Heath

This year, The Collective is holding an Art + Design exhibition that’s vastly different from the previous years. This, our 10th annual exhibition, is a milestone for us and one that we wish to celebrate as much, if not more, as all the others preceding it. The Covid-19 outbreak meant our original, ambitious exhibition plans were impossible to realise and we have had to adapt. Instead of the usual gallery exhibition, we have changed to an entirely digital format, with an accompanying publication. 


During this time of a global pandemic, technology has greatly aided and supported society. Tools such as Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom are all helping aspects of normal life to continue in inventive ways we might never have dreamed of just 10 years ago. However, for our exhibition, it may feel as though a virtual version will only pale in comparison to what it could have been in a real life, physical exhibition. Now, we are each displaying just a few pieces of work we have available, out of a whole two years of study. It’s hard not to worry that some of the complexity and gravity of our projects will be lost when condensed into such a small 2D snapshot, or that the immersive experience of walking through each artistic display will unachievable to convey. 


But this online showing has advantages of its own - we are sharing our work on a wider scale than ever before, which seems fitting for such a monumental anniversary. This change gives us the opportunity to invite people everywhere to join in celebrating this strange culmination of the last two years with us. We are also implementing a whole new set of skills to make this happen; it’s a challenge The Collective has risen to, and one we are learning from.


We have all had to adapt as a society too. During this time, the examples of ingenuity and perseverance shown by so many is a source of great inspiration, and of much needed positivity in such a difficult time. In isolation, it’s easy to feel alone and unheard. It can stop us from seeing the good in the world, and it can stunt our creativity and passion. As artists, we understand the importance of creativity as a form of inspiration and escapism, and also as a tool to making your voice heard in the world. Art, in this time, is vital. We are honoured to share ours with you.

Designed by Ethan Shore

The Logo

Written by Amy Matthews

This, our ten year exhibition milestone, carries significance reflected in the design of our logo. The binary code digits are that of the number ‘10’, and are also symbolic of the shift to the now digital format of the exhibition. The font is the same as was used in the iconic ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ posters, which is hugely fitting for this time of perseverance and hope. This design is meaningful, yet fun and clever: a tone we hope to convey in the exhibition itself.

Illustration by Jake Bleasdale

Our 2020

Written by Amber-Jade Jones

Grappling with the events of the past few months feels like navigating the landscape of a dystopian novel. My parents say that, in years to come, we will be known as the ‘coronavirus students’ - the pupils hit hardest and most effected by the pandemic; cancelled exams, no graduation, no prom. No certainty in entering our futures, only unknown territory paving the way forward for us. 


A lot of my peers will understand when I say these two years of college have hugely aided my personal growth. As someone, like many, who didn't enjoy high school, sixth form college was a breath of fresh air. I met my best friends in college classrooms, I learnt skills I never dreamed I could, I discovered interests I never thought I would, and I found my future career path. It came as an unpleasant surprise to see it all end so abruptly.


Thankfully, those of us in The Collective were given a platform to express our views and opinions artistically. I think I can speak for the whole group when I say that it gave us valuable insight into the workings of the design industry, and a new lease of creative independence and artistic voice. It’s upsetting to see that our hard work isn’t coming to fruition in the way he had hoped, though members of this talented group have found new ways to continue while quarantined, just as many students are finding fun and productive ways to persevere. It’s safe to say that never has there been so many bedrooms freshly decorated and so many hobbies found in such a short period of time. Personally, I entered and won a competition to make a music video for ‘Garden Song’ by singer Phoebe Bridgers. I used stop-motion, to deepen my understanding of the medium before I take Animation at MMU, hopefully in September. The sheer range of impassioned and skilled entries for this competition is just one example of our ingenuity and pragmatism. Despite misconceptions and generalisations, we are a more politically aware and engaged generation than perhaps ever before. The fight for equality is being driven forward at an unprecedented rate; we are finally addressing the devastating effects of climate change, and now we are living through a global pandemic. This is another thing to overcome, learn from, and use to improve healthcare standards. If nothing else, we need to use our experiences from this pandemic as a guide for disaster prevention in the future.


For now, a struggle we are all facing as a society is what to do with our immediate future. This is true for universities, who seem as confused as the rest of us about to how to handle this situation, with each institution announcing a different plan for new students. While most college education could continue to a certain degree of effectiveness online, for art students, key aspects of our learning has been hugely limited, and our artistic progression potentially stunted by the now virtual nature of education, which is daunting for those of us hoping to find a career in this field. Right now, it feels like job prospects are plummeting, while travel plans are uncertain, and a safe time for work experience or solid education cannot be pinned down. So much uncertainty is an unsettling prospect. The beginning of our whole adult lives is on hold.


But we still have optimism. The world will be different as it recovers from Covid-19, and its legacy will stay with societies forever. We don’t know how exactly this will affect the course of our lives, but still, we share words of hope with our peers, show support for one another’s achievements, find ways to connect digitally, and rest assured knowing that we are resilient. 


We are a passionate, determined generation and we will continue to push forward. The last few months will become a mere chapter in our history, and one that we won’t let it define us. We will adapt and overcome the obstacles that have been put in our path, and we will grow in spite of it. And with everybody else, we’ll get through this. Have faith.