Student designs are brought to life and sold in the gift shop

Students from New College Durham have created brand new product ranges for the gift shop inspired by the Rose Window and Sanctuary Ring

The idea of getting students involved stemmed from a desire to create a refreshing new range, that highlights the talent from local students. Working in partnership with New College Durham, the students were given the experience of working with a business, understanding the process from brief to production.

Initially 50 students from New College Durham were selected by Visual Arts and Graphic Design Programme Leader Danielle Gabriele, to participate in creating designs for the brief.

Following a review and selection process, Level 5 FdA Visual Art students Amber Turner Smith and Sophie Hughes, along with Graphic Design Level 5 Fda student Chris Gibson were chosen to have their final designs made into products.

Hannah Ellis, Head of Enterprise at Durham Cathedral said,

“Working together with New College Durham has been a perfect example of our core mission and has enabled us to celebrate the local community and talent. It’s been such an enjoyable process to see the students enthusiastically engage with the project and I am beyond impressed with the results and very excited for visitors to be able to see these wonderful products."

At the beginning of the process 50 students were invited attended a tour, before being given a design brief which was based on treasures and artefacts, however the design also had to be commercially viable and versatile enough to work on a range of products. The students had the option of designing work based on the iconic Rose Window or the famous Sanctuary Ring located on the North Door where people enter the cathedral.

The enterprise team then visited the students onsite at the New College to provide feedback to the students on the designs and challenged the students to think about real life situations such as the cost to print, and versatility to manipulate their design onto a product.

Danielle Gabriele programme leader said,

“Collaborating with Durham Cathedral and its Enterprise team has proven to be an enriching journey for students enrolled in the FdA Visual Arts Degree and FdA Graphic Design programs at New College Durham. The college, along with the dedicated programme faculty, were genuinely impressed by the students' unwavering enthusiasm and their diligent pursuit of excellence in response to the client's directive.”

Gift shop manager Billie Carlisle-Ogden, along with Hannah Ellis Head of Enterprise and Andrew Usher Chief Officer: Visitor Experience and Enterprise worked through the final designs and selected the work of Amber, Sophie and Chris to proceed with.

Danielle continues,

“Embedded within these degree programs is a profound emphasis on experiential learning and cultivating opportunities within the realm of freelance endeavour's. This affords students across both programs the chance to immerse themselves in commissioned projects while acquiring invaluable insights into the intricacies of design, printing, and production methodologies. These competencies hold undeniable appeal for prospective employers, rendering our graduates well-equipped for the professional landscape that awaits them.

We have eagerly awaited the unveiling of these products. Moreover, our commitment to continued collaboration with Durham Cathedral is unwavering, fuelling our excitement for the future projects that lie ahead.”

The gift shop has been open since 2016, and hosts a range of memorable items. Students Amber Turner Smith and Chris Gibson product ranges are available now, with Sophie Hughes products being available at the beginning of Autumn.