It has been a pleasure to work with the Class of 2021. We all pulled together to create a really exciting Degree Show, tried some new initiatives, and had some amazing results, with a number of students finding jobs in the creative industries straight away.
The students made the decision in January to run their Degree Show virtually, realising that it was unlikely that we would be able to safely exhibit face to face in May. Following the success of the 2020 Degree Show, which was also virtual, we knew that there was real potential to reach a wide international audience and effectively use all those digital media skills.
The students brainstormed branding ideas and titles for their Show, and agreed on “virtually impossible” – a clever play on words. Using the hashtag #makingitpossible completed the loop. The extensive campaign was developed and the website built, adopting a wave synth look and feel, with an on-trend palette of 1980s inspired neon colours. The majority of the work was done online, catching up with each other regularly on Blackboard Collaborate.
In order to specifically target potential employers, the students designed and printed a suite of branded merchandise which was posted out to land on desks of creative industries big players the day before the launch of Virtually Impossible. The package had a festival feel, including a lanyard with a VIP early access pass, a branded bag, a pen and stickers, and a beautifully designed email landed around the same time to reinforce the brand, to draw viewers to the Show’s website. Together with the carefully planned social media campaign across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, our strategy was a huge success, with hundreds of views in the first few minutes of the VIP Launch, followed by 3500 views on launch day. Just a few weeks later, as I write, we have had 7500 views.
Although we managed a couple of months in person teaching at the beginning of the academic year, we had to move online until just before Easter, meaning that the students hadn’t had the opportunity to be together very much. As restrictions lifted a little in May, we were able to arrange a farewell ‘get together’ for our students, even though it had to be outside. We hired a huge cinema screen to play the students’ showreels, dissertation pieces and feedback from industry clients, and ran a Facebook Live session from our video studio. Of course I always want everything to be perfect for our students, they deserve it, but one thing I couldn’t pre-plan was the weather. After some lovely warm May days, on the day of the ‘get together’ we were hit with pouring rain and wind. The little gazebos didn’t really help, but at least it will be an event to remember!
The Degree Show 2021 website, Virtually Impossible, is now live at VirtuallyImpossible.org. Take your time browsing the students’ work and reading about them. Printed catalogues are available to be posted out to you. If you would like a catalogue, or would like any information about the Degree Show or our Course, then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org