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Community engagement

At Kingston School of Art we believe that a healthy community serves its people well and its people serve the community. We want to contribute to community life locally and globally. We seek collaborative projects that will both help the development of our students and enrich your community.

Here are some examples of our past community projects.

if I could bring attention or awareness to anyone about the information and help available it would definitely be worth the effort.

Garfield Kar C Li, Fashion MA student

Working with Kingston Council to crack down on loan sharks

Kingston Council was launching an initiative to prevent loan sharks operating within its communities. Loan sharks prey on the vulnerable and create poverty, fear and suffering. Hard‐hitting poster campaign The Council wanted to use a poster campaign to warn people of the dangers of illegal money lenders. They wanted to put across a strong message and were looking for the right designer to create the poster.

Kingston School of Art student union got together with the Council and came up with a plan to run a competition to design the poster. The competition attracted strong entries from talented students at the School.

A winning entry

Garfield Kar C Li won the competition with a striking poster that really hit the mark. The Kingston School of Art Fashion MA student was delighted to have won. He said: "I decided to enter because I feel that this is such a good cause to support. I felt that if I could bring attention or awareness to anyone about the information and help available it would definitely be worth the effort."

Garfield's poster was then displayed on Kingston town centre notice boards. This was an excellent initiative to help strengthen the community and protect the vulnerable. The School is always keen to collaborate with projects that make a difference to real people.

an inspiring event and a wonderful way to bring together people from right across the borough.

Councillor Rowena Bass, Deputy Mayor Kingston

Councillor Rowena Bass, Deputy Mayor Kingston

Local community impact

Kingston School of Art brings jobs, students and wealth to the local community

Kingston School of Art has a positive impact on the local community and the country as a whole. As one of England's leading art schools, it attracts some of the most talented students from around the country and the world. Its work creates jobs and generates wealth.

In 2016 the School organised an event to highlight its work in the community and to showcase some of its creative projects.

Bringing the community together

The school invited leading business people, borough councillors and community leaders to civic event on its campus. Creative works from the School's talented students were on display for guests to appreciate. The exhibition gave guests a chance to learn more about the works; the practitioners who created them; and the School's involvement with the wider community.

Associate Dean of Research Professor Louis Nixon described the show as the "culmination of hours spent thinking, making and manifesting thoughts and ideas into actual things – products, furniture, paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs, films, clothing, books and buildings."

Deputy Mayor Kingston Councillor Rowena Bass was greatly impressed by what she saw on campus, describing the reception as "an inspiring event and a wonderful way to bring together people from right across the borough."

Lupane Women's Centre

Lupane Women's Centre

Weaving a living from basket making

The women at Lupane Women's Centre in rural Matabeleland supplement their farming income by producing hand‐woven baskets.

This craft has been handed down orally for generations. The women kept the knowledge in their heads. None of the various basket designs were written down or catalogued. The way they operated had not changed much in years and the process was not very efficient.

Learning new skills while helping the community

Head of Design at Kingston School of Art, Simon Maidment, saw an opportunity to exchange knowledge with the Zimbabwean basket weavers.

Simon led a team of students to identify ways that the Zimbabwean women could solve a number of problems. They looked at marketing, transportation and production processes. The students also studied basket weaving designs and methods.

Global recognition and a growing market

The women's work was displayed at the London Design Festival and the National Gallery of Zimbabwe. Some of the women attended Cape Town's prestigious Design Indaba conference.

The women's hand‐woven baskets are now succeeding commercially. They are popular with tourists to southern Africa and also stocked in specialist shops in Europe and the United States.

The manager of the Lupane Women's Centre, Hildegard Mufukare, says her members are now much more confident.

Kingston School of Art would like to hear more about any global community projects in which students might engage.

Kingston School of Art
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