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Friday 15 May 2015

Top tips from experts at the Creative Conference

Southampton Solent University final-year graphic design, illustration, photography and fine art students received top tips from industry experts at its Creative Conference for the Visual Arts 2015 on Monday 11 May.

Students heard from Andrew Diprose, Creative Director for Wired Magazine, Mikkel Lehne, Head of Operations at Expology and Matt Curtis, Art Director for The Sunday Times Magazine.

The speakers, who are all Southampton Solent alumni and specialists in their field, each shared the story of their post-university career paths and knowledge of the creative industries.

Andrew Diprose studied at Solent in 1994 and was himself inspired by a visiting expert. Since graduating, he has worked for numerous publications including ID magazine, Smash Hits, SKY magazine, Elle, FHM, Tatler, Esquire and GQ.

In giving advice to the students, Andrew said: “There is an idea in there somewhere, listen to your competitors, take criticism and learn from it.

“Surround yourself with talent and whatever industry you go into, be prepared, the industry will change. Move forward with it,” he continued.

Held at the University’s graphic design studios, the conference aimed to help students understand what employers are looking for and educate them on how best to ‘sell’ their skills.

Graphic design alumni Matt Curtis, who graduated in 2006, said, “For my final major project I interviewed some of the best Art Directors in the country and one of them offered me an internship. That’s how my career in the magazine industry began.”

Graphic design student Adam Shipp, said: “It was inspiring to listen to ex-students who have become so successful in their chosen careers. They had a clear plan of where they wanted to work when they graduated, and just kept pushing until they got there.”

The importance of networking was also discussed with another session focusing on fine-art, which looked at Arts Council England and other funding bodies and related careers.

Event organiser and Programme Group Leader, Visual Communication and Applied Arts, Nick Long said: “The conference was a great opportunity for students with designs on a career in the creative industries to learn from professionals, broaden their knowledge and polish their employability skills.”

For more information on the University’s creative courses, visit