Ravensbourne University London
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20 Dec 2019

2019: The year in review

2019 has been a truly seminal year for Ravensbourne University London. Having been officially granted university title in 2018, we have now launched our own curriculum and can award our own degrees. We decided to reflect on some of the incredible achievements of our staff, students and alumni over the past year.

Our students regularly make an impact on industry long before they actually graduate; winning awards and leading national campaigns. Earlier this year, our Department of Architecture students proposed a redesign of Croydon Crematorium, with Croydon Council choosing a winning design by Ravensbourne students, Sarah Agill and Shpend Pashtriku. Sarah and Shpend won a £2,000 prize and will see their design developed to the next phase of the project.

In July, we enjoyed a highly successful night at the D&AD New Blood Awards, with two student projects recognised with D&AD Pencils and six named among the year’s ‘Ones to Watch’. With over 5,000 entrants from 48 countries, we were incredibly proud of our students for being recognised at such a prestigious event.

The celebrations continued when a total of ten of Ravensbourne's BA (Hons) Product Design students were recognised at the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) Student Starpack Awards, with two receiving Gold Awards for their innovative packaging solutions. A few months later, third year BA (Hons) Product Design student, Dariusz Kowalczyk, won the UK Pro Carton Young Designers Award for his innovative, sustainable packaging design. Dariusz became the third  Ravensbourne student to be recognised at the awards.

As well as giving our students the opportunity to participate in industry awards, collaborating with leading design and digital media organisations in-house at Ravensbourne is another core part of our commitment to students. This year marked the tenth anniversary of Mozilla’s annual ‘MozFest’ at Ravensbourne — the not-for-profit organisation’s festival themed around internet health. We were delighted to see second year BA (Hons) Advertising and Brand Design students Aaliyah Grant and Georgia Armstrong work with the organisation this year to design an installation for the event, teaching young people about artificial intelligence.

We were also pleased to be joined by The Guardian’s former Head of Photography, Roger Tooth and experts from Sony UK and Wex Photo & Video, delivering an immersive four-day masterclass for our photography students. In the same week, we welcomed Ralph Lauren to the building as part of Graduate Fashion Week’s National Masterclasses, with two of our students interviewed for a placement at their NYC Design Studio.

The achievements of our students culminate once a year in The Ravensbourne Degree Show, and in June we celebrated an extra special year with the launch of ‘RaveTV’ — a pop-up channel ‘by students, for students’,  delivering regular broadcasts across each term. RaveTV produced and broadcast a full schedule of programmes during the degree show, including a retrospective on the history of the institution as well as interviews with students exhibiting across the building. Speaking about the channel, Jack Price, a BSc (Hons) Digital Television Technology student commented, “Working as co-technical lead has been an eye opening experience. I've had the privilege of communicating with industry-leading companies and bodies that have given us a real understanding of the requirements for the industry.”

Our 2019 graduates concluded their courses on a high, with a number of awards and celebrations taking place before graduation. Graduating BA (Hons) Interior Design Environment Architectures student Joshua Welch for example, was also shortlisted for the Architects’ Journal Student Prize 2019 — an annual competition to celebrate the next generation of outstanding architects — for his ‘China Exchange’ cultural building inspired by teahouse culture.

We also saw third year BA (Hons) Digital Film Production students celebrate the end of their course with an exclusive screening of their final major projects at the Curzon Cinema in Soho. The screenings were followed by an awards ceremony to celebrate their hard work. Highlights from the screening included the award-winning music video directed by student Henry Oliver, for artist BiG Heath. The fantastical, lighthearted video amassed over 2.2 million views since being uploaded on Youtube in April.

It was a particularly successful year for our Department of Fashion students too, with accomplishments across every course and year. Graduating BA (Hons) Fashion Buying and Brand Management student Jainelly Portocarrero Torres was awarded The Considered Design Award Powered by Farfetch at the Best of Graduate Fashion Week and Exhibition Award Show. Five of Ravensbourne’s Department of Fashion students joined the esteemed Best of Graduate Fashion Week and Exhibitions Awards Show. As the year came to a close, Malaika Munshi, a Foundation Diploma in Design and Media student, and Nathaniel Mackie, a BA (Hons) Fashion graduand, were both selected to exhibit at the prestigious Global Graduate Showcase in Dubai.

These graduands will now go on to form part of our alumni community — a hugely important part of Ravensbourne’s network and some of our greatest ambassadors. Over the past 12 months, a number of our former students have been making achievements of their own, providing proof that Ravensbourne really is designed for industry. In March, Paria Farzaneh, who graduated from Ravensbourne’s BA (Hons) Fashion course in 2016, was shortlisted among 20 others for the LVMH Prize — an annual competition which showcases the best of emerging talent in the fashion industry. A few months later, she and fellow alumni Eden Loweth were invited to showcase at the prestigious London Fashion Week Men’s as participants in the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN initiative.

It was a great year for BA (Hons) Digital Photography alumni Ope Odueyungbo as well, who saw the publication of his first book Parallel Lines and collaborated with global brands like Huawei. Speaking on his time at Ravensbourne, Ope said, “I knew so much talent within various creative fields were (and still are) nurtured at Ravensbourne. I was built up with so much excitement at the time, I couldn’t really picture myself going anywhere else.” It was a pleasure to invite Ope back to shoot our graduation ceremony in December 2019.

As well as the many successes we have to reflect on this year, it has also been a year of significant change, and it is important to recognise the contributions of those who have begun a new stage in their journey. We are currently recruiting for a new vice chancellor following the departure of Professor Linda Drew in May, with our Chief Operating Officer, Andy Cook, steering the institution through the process as Acting Vice Chancellor.

We also saw Jon Drori CBE complete his second term in office, handing over to our new Chair of the Board of Governors, Andrew Summers CMG. We’re grateful to both Linda and Jon for guiding the institution through a period of incredible change and for their dedicated service.

We’re already looking forward to 2020, which we expect will be a transformative year for Ravensbourne. For the first time, Ravensbourne will have an additional building which will house The Institute for Creativity and Technology. We’re also introducing a range of exciting undergraduate and postgraduate courses that will equip our students with the skills needed for the future. From September 2020 students will enrol on our new courses which include BSc (Hons) Cloud Computing, BSc (Hons) Cyber Security and BA/BSc (Hons) Digital Marketing.

We wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone that made this year particularly special. The university has experienced a tremendous amount of change, fuelled largely by the hardwork and dedication of both students and staff. We’re grateful for the challenges and triumphs that have lead to our university status and look forward to sharing our continued journey with you.

Wishing you a relaxing winter break and a very happy New Year, from everyone at Ravensbourne University London.

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