Plymouth College of Art wants to fight for creative education

The university has worked with studio Templo on a new print and online campaign called What’s Your Proposition?, which invites the public to put forward their case for art and design skills to the Government.

Plymouth College of Art has worked with Templo on a campaign that looks to put “creative education back on the Government’s agenda”, according to the studio.

The What’s Your Proposition? campaign makes use of the university’s 10-point manifesto: a strategy document laying out how creative skills contribute to social good and justice.

Points on Plymouth College of Art’s manifesto are based on the benefits of instilling creativity in young people, and include “Making comes before knowing”, and “Making is as important as reading, writing, science and maths”.

The campaign centres around the 10th proposition in the manifesto: “What’s your proposition?” This puts the question to students, graduates, tutors and anyone else, asking them to contribute their answers via an online tool, in a bid to engage people in the importance of creative education.

The basic form of the campaign has been designed by Templo and is mostly typographic. It features a monochrome colour palette, a bespoke version of sans-serif typeface Franklin Gothic, which has been warped in shape and size throughout the campaign, and portrait photography featuring Plymouth College of Art students and graduates, taken by graduate Taylor Harford. A two-by-five grid forms the backdrop of the campaign, which features the manifesto’s 10 points.

While Templo has designed the campaign’s core structure, it is an open-source project encouraging the public to contribute their own propositions. Anyone can do this by visiting whatsyourproposition.com.

These are then reflected in the campaign itself. Students’ personal propositions, such as “stop cuts” and “art pays”, are spelt out in larger letters and splashed across the centre of campaign materials like posters, layered over the photography. These words are themselves constructed out of smaller words repeating the campaign’s two key points: “social justice” and “creative learning”.

The aim of the campaign is to take the university’s behind-the-scenes strategy and make it public and accessible, says Pali Palavathanan, creative director at Templo, while giving as many students as possible a voice.

“This campaign takes something quite static, like a strategic plan, and converts it word-for-word into something powerful,” he says. “Normally, these 10 points would be hidden away in a document somewhere, but we’ve used them to frame the whole public campaign.”

The points provide a “solid, fixed grid”, adds Palavathanan, while the individual propositions contributed by the public will “constantly be in flux”, meaning the campaign will change regularly. Plymouth College of Art is also sharing propositions as they come in via its Instagram page.

“There’s no censorship to this,” he says. “With this online activism tool, everyone is chipping in. These will filter into the campaign, and there’s a longevity to it that will hopefully go on for years.”

Palavathanan adds that it was important to involve students and graduates in the project themselves as it helps it feel more genuine and personal.

“It’s all about authenticity,” he says. “Millennials are very sceptical of brands jumping on the bandwagon by ‘trying to do good’. Proposition 10 is an open call – it empowers students.”

The design style of a black-and-white palette and distorted text has been created to fit in with Plymouth College of Art’s existing branding, and a student recruitment campaign it launched last year, also designed by Templo.

The campaign is currently rolling out across the university and nationwide, in the form of print marketing materials like posters, leaflets and university newspapers, wall murals, online on the What’s Your Proposition? And Plymouth College of Art websites, and across social media.

It will continue to roll out over the next two years, with plans to lobby Government after this, to impact policy on UK creative education. Further details of this will be revealed in the future.

To submit your proposition, head here.

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  • Nick Corston November 27, 2018 at 10:00 am

    This is absolutely fantastic to see. Plymouth are leading the pack wIth this and their Red School project (Google it if you want to see what all schools might one day be like)

    As I said at an NUT meeting (my first) I spoke at in Manchester a year or so again alongside Kevin Courtney (NUT General Secretary) and Angela Rayner (Shadow Education Secretary) our teachers and other school community leaders don’t need a union as much as they need a good PR and comms agency agency to fight the onslaught of near toxic, often ad-hominem attacks that arts education and creativity are under here in the UK. (of course they need a union too 😉

    We face a real #CreativityCrisis in the UK – it’s starting now in our schools, will soon hit our creative industries and the economy and ultimately society.

    It’s great to see our students rising up to speak out for art, with their art.

    I left the world of brand innovation and communications to start a social enterprise that advocates, inspires and actions creativity in schools, work and lives. We called it STEAM Co. – Co. for Collaboration not Company.

    We’re calling for creative people and companies to #CollaborateForCreativity through our community engagement model.

    This week, inspired by #EltonJohnLewis’s Christmas film and a version we made, we’re heading off on a Land’s End to John O’Groats UK Tour and need sponsors for each stop, just £300

    See: http://www.steamco.org.uk/12creativexmas

  • Anthony Sully December 2, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    I was an art and design student for 7 years from 1958, and practiced and taught interior design at various universities. Whilst I admire the energy of your campaign, I am wondering if it is because you are bored with your studies? In my experience, such campaigns are confrontational and usually organised by politically motivated individuals who have their own agenda pretentiously masked by ‘do good’ topics favoured by the media. They see it as an opportunity to raise their own profile rather than addressing concerns within the various creative industries in relation to their own courses. Such energy ought to be transferred to your studies in the pursuit of skills acquisition and problem solving. Art and Design education is taking a bashing that is true, but so are many other disciplines in Higher Education. My advice to you is please direct your talent and energy towards your own disciplines reflecting the curiosity and willingness to experiment. The products of your work should be the best way of proving a point by making the world sit up and listen.

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