University gets on the Derby Ram Trail

19 April 2021

The University of Derby is joining other local organisations by sponsoring a ram sculpture at this Summer's Ram Trail through the city.

A flock of 30 uniquely-decorated 5ft high rams in the style of the original stone carving at Burrows Walk, near the Derbion shopping centre, will be on display at locations across the city centre. The aim is to raise awareness and funds for Derby Museums Endowment by holding an auction of the rams in September.

Work has been undertaken alongside the arts organisation Wild in Art, which has previously organised similar trails in cities across the world and has helped raised millions of pounds for charitable causes, including a trail in London during the 2012 Olympic Games.

Derby Museums is creating a free walking tour which provides public access to art, with the sculptures inspired by the 18th century poem of the city's mythical ram.

The University's ram has been designed by alumni Phillippa and Rachael Corcutt, twin sisters who both graduated from Derby in 2018 with a first-class honours degree in Illustration. With the University being home to the pioneering Nature Connectedness Research Group, its ram will bear a colourful motif celebrating one of the UK's most well-loved, and yet endangered creatures.

A painting of a bumblebee on the University's Ram.
A section of the University's ram, showcasing the design and the focus on the Bumblebee

Phillippa said: "We are delighted to have our design chosen by the University and really enjoyed being able to work on the ram sculpture, and create work that supports a wonderful cause and the brilliant work done by Derby Museums.

"Working on a 3D sculpture is a great way to showcase our illustrations and it was exciting to work on a large scale. It's also a fantastic way of getting your work seen by lots of people who can enjoy exploring Derby, looking for all the amazing ram sculptures.

"Our design highlights the importance of bumblebees across Derbyshire. They are responsible for pollinating crops, fruits and flowers, and we can all get involved to help by planting bee-friendly plants in our garden. Our ram features friendly bumblebees, colourful flowers and plants, and lots of honeycombs."

As well as a walking tour, the Ram Trail also provides the opportunity for local school children to take part in a cross-school art competition, with the opportunity to get their own mini ram on a trail around the Museum and Art Gallery for the duration of the main trail.

Professor Kathryn Mitchell DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University, and Chair of the Derby Opportunity Area, which aims to improve outcomes for young people in the city, said: "The Ram Trail is a fantastic initiative for Derby, and we are proud to be a sponsor of one of the rams.

"It is brilliant way to brighten our city with its historic and distinctive emblem, as it re-emerges from the pandemic this summer, and to engage people of all ages in the tour and other activities linked to it. This is something that has worked so well in cities right around the world, and I am sure it will be a huge success here too. I am looking forward to seeing the finished ram, with its brilliant design by two of our graduates.

"As a University, we are focused on sharing knowledge, and our museums play a vital role in that too. Derby is fortunate not only to have fascinating collections held by the city's Museum and Art Gallery, but a brand-new Museum of Making opening its doors later this year. I very much hope residents and visitors will take up the challenge of tracking down as many rams as possible."

The rams will be unveiled in their locations on 27 May, with the trail open until 22 August.

People will be able to navigate the trail using a map and interactive phone app developed by Bloc Digital, a Derby-based company which, last year, relocated part of its operations to the University's Enterprise Centre, having already worked with the University on a number of successful knowledge transfer partnerships to develop its range of immersive technology products and services.

Learn more about the Ram Trail

Learn more about Phillippa and Rachael Corcutt's work