Littleover school pupils exhibit artwork at national festival

20 July 2023

Over 300 Year 8 pupils from Littleover Community School worked with academics from the University of Derby to create artwork and designs that were exhibited with S.H.E.D at Timber Festival in the National Forest.

The workshops were delivered as part of an annual event called MADfest, held by the school's Creative Arts Faculty, that encourages young people to explore social justice issues such as climate change, through the mediums of Music, Art and Drama (MAD) to address the relationship between creative careers, community, and society.

Recycling bins, donated by Derby City Council, were upcycled by the students with fun and creative designs to encourage members of the public to recycle. Students also took part in a session on astrophotography, creating photographic images of the night sky using Photoshop, whilst discussing the effects of light pollution.

Works created by the pupils at MADfest were then curated and showcased via S.H.E.D at the Timber Festival, which had an audience of over 5,000 in attendance. The installation was a thought-provoking exhibit featuring artwork including podcasts, research data, design ideation and QR codes to take audiences to a range of videos about MADfest and S.H.E.D.

Dr Rhiannon Jones, Associate Professor (Civic) at the University of Derby and CEO/Founder of Designing Dialogue, said:

“S.H.E.D was commissioned by Wild Rumpus for Timber Festival, providing a great opportunity to bring environmental challenges to young people and together we delved into the role of design education in placemaking and the important role of people.

“The resulting installation for Timber Festival was playful and creative. It shed light on the importance of nature connected design to share information and educate others on the climate crisis. We were delighted to gift some of the young people and their families with tickets to join us at S.H.E.D to see their work and experience a festival, which brought new audiences to Timber Festival, whilst offering fun for all the family.”

David Ashman, Coordinator of Creative Arts at Littleover Community School, said:

“The success of MADfest would not have been possible without the involvement of S.H.E.D, who played a crucial role in facilitating the individuals and organisations that contributed to the workshops. MADfest was an outstanding event that brought together creativity, education, and environmental consciousness.

“It provided a platform for students to learn, grow and contribute to positive change in their community and a safe space for students to share their ideas and be empowered to generate creative outcomes. One of the powerful aspects of MADfest was how it emphasised student voice, actively encouraging them to express their ideas and views in a range of formats on relevant environmental issues.”

Delivery of the workshops was facilitated by S.H.E.D – Social Higher Education Depot, a research and innovation space that engages the public with lifelong learning and teaching through creative industry and cultural practice. S.H.E.D can adapt to multiple situations and designs, supporting diversity and bringing people together from a range of communities and disciplines. S.H.E.D is delivered by Designing Dialogue, a spin-out company from the University.

S.H.E.D was able to support the event by facilitating connections between academics at the University and other creative professionals, and the school, as well as through its relationship with Wild Rumpus and Timber Festival, providing an opportunity for young people in the region to showcase their work on a national platform.

The University of Derby launched its Civic University Agreement in June 2022 – a set of five goals demonstrating its civic commitment to supporting Derby and Derbyshire and its communities. Working with organisations and groups across the region is a key part of the University's civic commitment and vital for creating opportunities and supporting the ambitions of local communities and people.

Visit the Civic Hub for all the latest updates and civic news.

The S.H.E.D project at Timber Festival
S.H.E.D at Timber Festival

For further information contact the press office at