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Winning BMet students’ creative talents bring Barclays wall to “cultural life”

Three art and design students at BMet College have been rewarded for successfully bringing creativity and culture to a Barclays wall in Birmingham’s city centre hub.

Alisha Masani, Deepika Chumber and Lucie Rolph, who have just completed a level 3 extended diploma at BMet’s Sutton Coldfield College, were chosen as the winners of the virtual competition – set to showcase diversity and inclusion through art at the One Snowhill headquarters.

The challenge was part of a five-month employer-led remote industry placement organised by the college and Barclays. Due to Covid restrictions, all activities took place online.

To celebrate the diverse population of employees at the multinational bank in the UK and globally, the task was for students to showcase culture through artistic creativity on a large prominent public facing wall, at the Barclays Birmingham site.

A grand unveiling showcasing the winning designs took place today by Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, who said: “We are blessed as a region to have so much creative talent and my warmest congratulations go to BMet art and design students Alisha, Deepika and Lucie whose work showcasing diversity and inclusion, will now be on display at the brilliant Barclays wall at their One Snowhill hub.”

Directed by their course tutors, 15 students took part in the placement project which began last September.

The rationale was to get students involved in a competitive live project brief related to their industry, where they could create original pieces whilst learning invaluable career-focused employability skills.

Here’s what the winning students said:

Deepika:

“To win was pretty cool, as I had started doing this project for fun and had not expected to win. To create the design, I first found a simple sketch of Birmingham, which is my hometown. I then drew and painted it in my style, using a lot of line-work and watercolours – together with the added small details such as the Barclays logo.

“The experience I gained is really helpful, as it should help me in the future when working with different clients. It will also be useful when applying to universities and jobs, as it will look good on my CV.”

Lucie:

“I found this experience different and positively challenging. It was particularly good that Barclays were open to any ideas that we all had.

“It was a privilege to be involved, especially as my design has personal relevance to me. I have deaf people in my family and creating the image brought back good memories of when I learnt sign language. It is amazing how sign language can give a commonly used word like “Barclays”, a fresh and eye-catching look.”

Alisha:

“My BMet course and this placement, has taught me how wide the art spectrum really is. I have developed so much as an artist.

“Having the opportunity to have my artwork displayed in a public area, is helping me in my art career and has given me valuable work experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed the process and am proud of the outcome. Winning has been the biggest achievement for me and has helped me get a university place.”

The learners were set a ‘real life’ problem related to their industry, with students working individually or in groups to consider solutions.

Violet Williams, BMet’s Senior Industry Placement Officer: “It is always a great opportunity for our students to gain industry placements that give them a real insight into skills that employers are seeking.

“Through working with Barclays, our passionate art and design students were really able to showcase their creative flair and expertise and be involved in a real live project from start to finish.

“Being able to follow a live and real project brief is not only exciting for all involved, but also enables students to take part in a real activity that is related to their future desired industry role. It was a mutually-beneficial partnership and project for everyone!”

The learners specific four-week project brief was to create an eye-catching design that reflected the diversity of One Snowhill and Birmingham. The designs were also required to deliver the message “we all stand together as one.”

Speaking of the project theme, Matthew Burton, Relationship Director at Barclays said: “We are very keen to celebrate our colleague and city diversity, show who we are and that we are proud to be “One” Barclays…and we think that a blank white wall next to our canteen space, provides a great opportunity to display an image that represents that diversity.

“It was great to be able to work with BMet and their talented students, all of whom were very passionate and focused on producing good work. The three winners were chosen for not only closely following the brief, but for also demonstrating a huge amount of commitment and enthusiasm throughout the project.”

As part of the rigorous task, the students also had to present their designs to a panel of Barclays representatives. Among other things, the winning designers were rewarded with £100 arts vouchers and had the opportunity to work with external “The One Off” graphic designers to bring the designs to life.

Following the success of the BMet student designs, Barclays are planning to build on the positive and captivating impact of the Birmingham city centre wall, by enabling college learners to “culturally bring to life” other major city walls across the UK including Liverpool and Manchester.

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