The 2021 Design Week graduate show guide

This year we’re expecting a mix of in person and online graduate shows as the country emerges from lockdown – here is our guide to what’s on offer.

South East England

University of Brighton – digital showcase

The School of Architecture and Design End of Year show will be taking place on 18 June. Following this, the Brighton Graduate Show will take place on 25 June and the MA show on 16 July.

Buckinghamshire New University – digital and print showcase

Bucks will have two elements to its showcase in 2021 – the first is an online showcase of work launching on 16 June. The second part is a printed showcase with international arts and culture magazine Aesthetica. 

University for the Creative Arts – digital showcase

The platform celebrating UCA students’ work will go on 28 June. It will feature work from students across the university’s disciplines, including animation, gaming, fashion, graphic design and architecture. 

University of Hertfordshire – digital showcase

The university will again be celebrating its design students online in 2021, with a dedicated virtual platform for visitors to explore students’ work. A launch date has yet to be announced.

University of Portsmouth – digital showcase

This virtual exhibition from the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries celebrates creative excellence from the Schools of Architecture; Art, Design and Performance; Creative Technologies; and Film, Media and Communication. It will go live on 20 August. 

University of Reading – digital showcase

Students from Reading’s BA typography and graphic communications course will be showcasing their work in an online show called Think Rethink on 17 June. It will feature work that focuses on “real solutions to real problems”. You can sign up to the event using the link provided. 

University of Suffolk – digital showcase

Suffolk’s online platform will feature work from its architecture, graphic design, fine art, illustration, photography digital film production and screenwriting courses. Titled East Show, it will go live on 24 June. 

South West England

Arts University Bournemouth – digital showcase

Grad shows at AUB will again be online, with the platform launching on 19 July. Some courses may be arranging physical shows, with details available at a later date.

Falmouth University – digital showcase

Falmouth will be going online again, with a dedicated platform for students’ work. It will launch 26 July.

Winchester School of Art – digital showcase and physical exhibition

The Summer Degree Show will feature work from six undergraduate programmes, including graphic arts and textile design. Visitors will be required to wear masks at all times, social distance and pre-book. For those unable to make it, the show will also be displayed online at Artsthread.

West England and Wales

University of West England – digital showcase and physical exhibition

The university’s online showcase of work will go live on 15 June, and will feature work from across 25 of its creative courses including design and animation. The uni is also holding a graduate exhibition – it is not supposed to be a substitute for an actual grad show but will include posters designed by each student. The exhibition will be open to the public 18 to 20 June, and 23 to 27 June. 

University of South Wales – digital showcase

The USW digital showcase will be going live on 11 June at 6pm. Additionally, graphic communications students will be hosting their own three-day showcase, between 28 and 30 June, where students will chat through their projects and answer questions. 

Swansea College of Art – digital showcase

Swansea is offering another digital showcase this year. A launch date has yet to be published.


Birmingham City University – digital showcase

Students of the university’s graphic communications course will launch The Grad Co on 25 June, and will display work created throughout their course.

Coventry University – digital showcase

The Coventry Degree Show will bring together work from students across the university’s arts and humanities faculties. Work will be separated into “rooms”, and the platform will launch 17 June.

University of Lincoln – digital showcase

Lincoln School of Design will be going live with their online degree show platform on 14 June.

Norwich University for the Arts – digital showcase

The NUA graduate showcase will feature 600 students’ work from across the university’s design, art and media courses. It will launch in July. 

Nottingham Trent University – digital showcase

Students of the university’s School of Art & Design and the School of Architecture will be celebrated with an online platform, launching in July.

Staffordshire University – physical exhibition

Work from more than 200 students will be featured in this year’s show, which will take place across the university’s campus from 7 to 12 June. Tickets are free but booking is essential.

University of Worcester – virtual showcase

An exhibition of student work was held from 20 to 26 May, and those who missed out can now navigate and explore that exhibition virtually.

North West England

University of Central Lancashire – digital showcase

A digital platform for all creative students to showcase their work will launch on 17 June. Additionally, the university’s graphic design students has curated, designed and funded its own platform, which will launch on 14 June. 

University of Cumbria – digital showcase and physical exhibition.

More than 200 students will be included in a digital showcase from the university called Unmasked, which launches 1 June. This will be supported with a “presence” in Carlisle city centre, which will follow Covid regulations.

Manchester School of Art – digital showcase

Graphic design students at Manchester School of Art will be honoured with a virtual show called Brave New Normal. The platform aims to “place students at the centre” and will launch on 16 June.

Yorkshire and North East England

University of Huddersfield – digital showcase

Huddersfield art, design and architecture students will have their work displayed digitally this year, with one of the overarching themes being the pandemic and how we they have risen above it. It will go live on 24 June.

University of Sunderland – digital showcase

For the second year running Sunderland is showcasing student work online, with projects addressing topics as diverse as bullying and the loss of creativity felt because of lockdown.  

Northern Ireland and Scotland

Belfast School of Art – physical exhibition and other events

A group exhibition for photography graduates will take place at the Belfast Exposed Gallery from 3 June. The school has also promised a series of other celebrations for other students, but these haven’t been revealed yet.

Edinburgh College of Art – digital showcase

The virtual platform for Edinburgh students will launch on 18 June with a celebration that features a selection of students who will talk about their work. a virtual afterparty will follow.

Glasgow Clyde College – digital showcase

BA Hons graphic design students and illustration students have had a successful year at Glasgow Clyde, with five students passing the ISTD. All will have their work showcased online again in 2021, with an exhibition that showcases not just their final project, but work throughout their uni career. Both are available to view now. 

Glasgow School of Art – digital showcase

Student work will be shown via a digital platform, which will launch on 9 June.

Gray’s School of Art – digital showcase

A digital platform has been built to showcase student work, and will be live between 9 and 19 July.


Brunel University London – physical exhibition

Brunel design students will have their work featured at London’s Oxo Tower and Bargehouse from 17 to 20 June.

Central Saint Martins – physical exhibition

CSM students will also showcase their work at London’s Oxo Tower from 1 to 4 July. The show is titled Unmute and will feature work from the school’s ceramic and product design courses.

Goldsmiths – digital showcase and physical exhibition

This year’s events will be a mix of online and in person events. The online platform will be live between 28 June and 8 July.

Kingston University London – physical exhibition

Another one at London’s Oxo Tower, students of Kingston’s art, illustration and animation courses have curated their graduate show. It will be open from 25 to 27 June. 

Ravensbourne University London – digital showcase and physical exhibition

The students at Ravensbourne will present their final projects online from 26 June. This will be accompanied by an outdoor exhibition later on in the year, in October. 

Royal Academy of Arts – physical (catch up) exhibition

The RA didn’t accept applications for entry this year so that it could designate the time to its current students. It has made a “firm commitment” to a physical degree show this year, but no concrete date is available yet.

Royal College of Art – digital showcase and physical exhibition

The RCA has developed what it is calling a “digital discovery platform” to showcase students work, and this will go live on 26 June. It will be supported by a series of Covid-secure satellite events around the capital, which will occur throughout the summer.

Collection Shows

ARTSTHREAD Global Design Graduate Show

ARTSTHREAD has teamed up with Gucci this year to put on the Global Design Graduate Show. All graduating students in an arts-related discipline have the chance to be involved, but the deadline to submit your work is the 31 August. A team of professionals will then narrow down the submissions, which will then be showcased on the ARTSTHREAD platform later this year.

Interactive Design Institute degree show

The Interactive Design Institute was a UK provider of online courses in art and design, in collaboration with the University of Hertfordshire. The Graduate Degree Show 2021 will be one of the last Degree Shows, as the University of Hertfordshire will be taking over these courses. The graduate degree show will showcase works in late September. 

New Creatives – physical exhibition

Curated by Oxo Tower Wharf, the New Creatives show will feature work from students at Central Saint Martins, Brunel, Kingston and City & Guilds of London Art School Class of 2020. The showcase will take place throughout the summer.

New Designers – digital showcase

A digital platform will be developed to showcase young people’s work at New Designers, with the launch scheduled for 30 June.

Is your institution holding a graduate showcase that isn’t listed here? Send us details via [email protected] and we’ll add it to our list.


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