Case study

From Norway to Derby: 'the England you see in the movies'

BA (Hons) Illustration graduate Marie Blomqvist talks about discovering Derbyshire as a University of Derby student. 

The best of both worlds

Marie chose to study at Derby because she felt it would give her the full English experience: “I wanted to see the England we see in movies and read about in books and by choosing Derby as my city, I think I have achieved this, as it is close to the countryside and the urban environment.”

The University of Derby’s Kedleston Road campus is just 10 minutes from Kedleston Hall, which plays a starring role in The Duchess (2008) and less than an hour from Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall, filming locations for Pride and Predjudice (2006) and Mary Queen of Scots (2019), providing Marie with plenty of inspiration for her BA (Hons) Illustration studies. The campus is also just 10 minutes from Derby city centre. 

“I really like Derby as a student city, because it isn’t too big, but has everything you need, including parks, shopping, restaurants, a good night life and affordable public transport.

“The UK has a lot of diversity and has played a big part in shaping the world as we know it today, and there is more opportunity here than in my home country, Norway. To work as an illustrator is always a risky choice because everyone has a distinct style that might not currently be popular, but thankfully the job market is a lot broader and more international in the UK.”

An illustrated scene of a man pointing at an old woman and child
A cartoon street scene with people socialising out on the street

Illustrating her future

Throughout her studies, Marie was encouraged to showcase her work across the UK, including exhibitions on campus, in London and through UK-wide competitions. “We were given varied tasks and projects with a lot of room to explore individual ideas and we had tutorials every week for more individual feedback, as well as visits from guest lecturers in illustration and publishing. My experience overall was very good.”

Marie is now at the beginning of her career as a freelance illustrator and looking back on her time at Derby as a BA (Hons) Illustration student, she says the experience boosted her confidence, as it “made me trust myself more and realise I can do a lot more than I think. I am much more open and surer of myself.”