MA Visual Communication

Abigail Whitelegg

Artwork by Abigail Whitelegg

I'm a traditional animator who specialises in a traditional frame by frame animation in combination with textures and photographic elements to create a unique style. My film explores how physical objects can help you recall memories. With digital and social media becoming more and more prevalent in people’s lives the act of buying or collecting objects to remember events by is becoming a rarity with special moments being broadcast online opposed to having something physical that symbolises that memory.

However, as we age we remember memories attached to physical objects much clearer than those posted online as a physical memento strengthens the link in your long-term memory every time you see the object. The memories shown in my film are loosely based upon my own memories that I have physical mementos from however, I wanted the perspective of the film to remain anonymous as we all have have objects that trigger special memories. I used watercolour textures in my film to create a soft, almost dream like feel as we don’t recall memories vividly and don’t recall much detail.

I would like to move into the gaming or children’s television markets as I am very passionate about these two areas of animation and researched animation in these two fields through my dissertation entitled “How Can Animation and Creative Subjects Improve Children’s Learning?”


Eddy Otu: Testing Brotherhood - Cultural Conflict & Humour

Artwork by Eddy Otu

My project is an animated documentary that seeks to convey how the dynamic of brotherhood can be tested in a foreign cultural setting; exploring the different reactions, adaptation and development of the brothers involved. It is based on the authentic experience of myself and my brothers making the trip to our parents’ ethnic home of Nigeria (Africa) to witness their induction into the prestigious institution of Chieftancy (awarded to people who contribute significantly to their communities’ development). The subsequent events represent how myself and my brothers (as second generation immigrants) interacted with our ethnic home for the first time. It features the challenges that we undertook to adapt to our new surroundings such as taking on new customs and traditions.

This Animation reflects some of my core values in life such as my view that the relationship between blood-related brothers is the most important social connection. Humour is also of high value to myself as it is prevalent in the media that I view and my research into humour theory has helped me to realise that it alleviates stress and enhances my social ingenuity. The cultural conflict was also one of the most challenging experiences I have ever endured and has developed my cultural awareness and maturity. It has consequently provided interesting subject matter for the animated performance.

The overall aim of my project is to educate and entertain a wide audience of children and adults. I am confident that it will appeal to this demographic as the animated portrayal represents the common experience of individuals having to adapt to new situations and develop maturity. The theme of cultural conflict will educate viewers on how aspects of Nigerian (African) culture differ from the west and the humour seeks to add levity to the story and will entertain by providing an extra source of enjoyment for the viewer.


George Scowby: The cul-de-sac

Artwork by George Scowby

My name is George and I am an illustrator. For my project I have looked at all the things that happened on my street as a child. I wanted the work to contain a lot of detail so that every time you look at the image you find something new each time. In the work I wanted to include a big event however include just small day to day things that happened all the time. I didn’t want the houses plain and wanted to carry that detail over so I’ve used holes to show the detail behind the wall. I like to mess with perspective and different points of view, this comes together even though it shouldn’t and this gives the work a unique look.

Iosif Chezan

Artwork by Iosif Chezan

The outcome of my project takes the form of a show presentation with motivational, inspiring content, with sliding or zooming illustrations, with well pointing texts and short descriptions, all blended with a musical background, in a delicate “ballet pace,” trying to ignite a little light from sparks of philosophy, theology, psychology or science.

The content relates to some anchor points in a sketched panorama upon life in a human skin, as thrilling, tender or inspiring touches in moments of awe and wonder.

The emphasis is on wondering, unshackling the creative energies inside and make something that would speak about us, an offering to the life force, instead of remaining trapped in the paralyzing moments of too much awareness of the perceived reality.

The format encompasses two opposing states of mind, like “We may have demoralizing experiences […]” but we also have “reasons to WONDER […].”

Inspired by Ernest Becker and Otto Rank I paid much attention to the need of panoramic views and interconnected ideas in an outcome spanning different fields of knowledge or expression; to the idea of unification of experiences to form greater meaningfulness, to include them in a larger, panoramic “aha” view.


Liam Tuckwood: The Markings of Old Basford

Artwork by Liam Tuckwood

My body of MA work is the culmination of a year and a half’s worth of work documenting, investigating and photographing markings within the area of Old Basford, Nottingham. The markings are names, initials and statements of love or aggression carved or written onto local buildings, benches, power distributors, shopfronts and more.

The project utilises the practice of cultural geography, which investigates the marks left by the intersection of cultural activity and place. It was decided that these markings were a cultural activity related to Old Basford and a thorough investigation has shown that the markings function as social, community forming, expressive objects that hold the intention of reclaiming space. This investigation has culminated into a series of photographs sized 82cm x 55cm printed onto lustre paper and mounted onto foam board. The purpose of these photographs is to allow viewers to search for details and allow for a more objective look into a practice often seen as redundant.

The work is a documentation, as such it must remain objective. By utilizing the medium of photography, it allows an unfiltered and raw approach to the project. These photos presented at the scale of 82cm x55cm which allows the viewers to investigate this practice themselves and draw their own conclusions. It also encourages further exploration with user intentionally searching for smaller details within the photographs that aren’t visible at smaller scales.

The subject of the works is the subcultural practice of marking. The work has investigated and attempted to further understand why this practice occurs specifically within the context of Old Basford.

Matthew Kel: 'This Way Up' and 'Made for You'

Artwork by Matthew Kel

Midlands based artist, designer and printmaker Matthew Kel continues his exploration and fascination with the social construct of capitalism and its salient relationship with modern popular and consumer culture. Using repetition, scale and aesthetical qualities and production methods adopted from 1960’s Pop Art, Kel adopts a variety of media, to reflect his personal point of view, formed over 10 years of working in the fast food industry. His installation work reflects the thirst for mass consumerism that embodies so much of contemporary life, using mediums such as screen printing and sculpture. During his Master's study, Kel produced 2 solo exhibitions over 3 venues: 'This Way Up' 2017 in Derby City Centre and 'Made for You' 2018 at Banks’ Mill Studios, Derby, moving to Surface Gallery, Nottingham.

Michail Sklavenitis: Can practitioners or individuals create brands combining two or more identities or fields of interest?

This project examines the most effective ways through which individuals and sole designers with more than one area of practice can create an effective and convincing visual identity. The project questions what the best way is where each identity or field of practice is to be used in a single brand within the same visual identity system? The fast-paced environment of the design industry and the emerging applications of graphics renders this question more interesting than before.

Using both a theoretical and practical approach, this project aims to inform other graphic designers, practitioners or individuals with two or more identities on the possible ways to evolve a unique brand through multiple identities. Through this project I aim to communicate my values as a designer and person. Also I intend to inform others about my interest in creating multi-identity branding systems that could communicate common values.

Samuel Fawcett: Good Day

Artwork by Samuel Fawcett

I am an animator utilising hand drawn animation to create my films. My project is an animated film made using pencil and paper about two characters getting into slapstick situations. The film features two characters with exaggerated body parts, one with long ears and the other with a long neck, whose actions, along with their meeting and interaction, result in slapstick comedy inspired by Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes animations.

The film stared after I had created a character I was fond of and decided to make an animation about them. After a while I added a second character to interact with the first, mainly so the film had some story to it. I found that the characters created interactions and reactions were interesting and humorous, and that the film should be about that.

Originally I had planned to make the film about the first character, along with being a collection of small animations about that character. However, I found that a better animated film could be made with a second character for the first to interact with, so I made the second character.

All of the following resulted in the film I made during my MA, which I have called Good Day. I aimed to make the film present the relationship of my two characters, and what a day for them is like for the both of them.

Shieh Yung Chen: My Culture Journey

Artwork by Shieh Yung Chen

Design has the power of being unique in every project. It can never be repetitive because the culture background of the designer is reflected constantly into the design and ideas are researched through a creative process.

I am a graphic designer who comes from Malaysia and is completing a master's degree in the UK. In my final project, I chose animation as the approach to present myself and my cultural backgrounds: Malaysia, a young and special country where three cultures are fused together; and the UK, a country with long history and culture. Because of such experiences, I am able to expand my horizon and strengthen my cultivation. Through this narrative self-introduction of my cultural journey with light music and my Malaysian-accented English, I would like to let my course mates, professors, even strangers to start to know about me: the story of a student with Chinese cultural background, who lives in a country fused with three core cultures and is currently experiencing the British culture in the UK.


Virginia Hussey: "Black Dog"

Artwork by Virginia Hussey

‘How can the use of the 'black dog' metaphor visually promote mental health positively?’

I am a contemporary graphic and print designer who utilises the use of photographic elements entwined with type to create a unique style within layout and publication formats. My dissertation is entitled, ‘What kinds of graphic design successfully signify happiness?’

'Black Dog' is a proposed campaign to raise awareness, inform and educate members of the public on how dogs can benefit and improve mental health. The metaphor is a sign of depression, a bleakness or darkness as stated by Sir Winston Churchill’s in relation to his mental health as he suffered from manic-depressive disorder. My work explores images of the 'Black Dog' to convey positivity and happiness throws a controversial light on the negativity that the black dog represents metaphorically, conveying the happiness and full heartedness dogs bring to their owners and people through their behaviours. 

'Black Dog' will not tilt away from the seriousness of mental health conditions, however, will endeavour to positively address how mental health is important for people’s welfare and can benefit from interactions with animals, specifically dogs. Dogs are being chosen as they are a common form of pet (by popularity), scientific evidence suggests that they improve mental health within humans, and by their natural behaviour. I would like to see the proposed campaign become live with mental health and dog charities throughout the United Kingdom and progress further with print design in the public, health or animal sectors. 

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