Case study

Creative Enterprise Event brings arts students and businesses together

In May 2022, the Business School and the School of Arts hosted an evening of enterprise and creativity at Derby Cathedral buildings. The event aimed to showcase student talent and encourage arts students and the business community to come together while bringing a new audience to the venue.

A creative showcase

The event was attended by more than 50 people, including students, University employees, and representatives from local and regional arts organisations like QUAD, Derby Museums, Deda, Arts Derbyshire, UK New Artists, and many creative businesses. One of those was graduate business Goldbox Productions, who were also commissioned to create the following video of the event.

Watch the video about the Enterprise Event

View Derby Cathedral Enterprise Event video transcript

The evening started in the Cathedral itself, where guests experienced the large-scale art installation known as Peace Doves, created by renowned sculptor and artist Peter Walker. It featured around 8,000 paper doves suspended on ribbon above the nave of the Cathedral, accompanied by a soundscape from composer David Harper.

University of Derby dance students then performed in the Cathedral and out into the street, leading guests across the road to the Cathedral Café. Here, students from the Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism served canapés, while guests networked and browsed stalls selling the products of artists and makers from the University’s creative incubation unit, Banks Mill. There was also a silent auction of original and printed student work.

The programme for the event had been designed and developed by students from the Centre for Contemporary Hospitality and Tourism and they also managed the whole evening. This gave them valuable experience in running a real event.

Speaking during the evening, David McGravie, then Interim Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Education, said:

“Our creative community supports in helping our students shape their individual identities and styles, helping our students to establish themselves as artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians and in many other creative fields.”

Derby Cathedral

The impact of the event

Hana York, Business Development Manager for the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences summarised the key impacts of the evening:

“The key successes of this event were that we celebrated student talent with potential future employers, and so connected the business and student communities. It was also great to see students on different courses working together. By taking the University into the heart of the city, we were able to reach new people and businesses.”

Erica Horne, graduate and founder of small business, CAD for Fashion, said:

"I met lots of interesting people - academics, start-ups and established businesses and influential people in the Derby cultural scene - and it was really great to speak to the students displaying their work. I still speak to a few contacts I made there. I think it's super valuable for everyone involved, mixing the various different groups of people together. The art and music were a really lovely touch too."

Tim Elliott, entrepreneur, mentor and facilitator, said:

"I really enjoyed the multi-faceted approach of this event - the visual doves display, the performance art, then the chance to listen to a talk and network. I found it much more engaging than having just one format."