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Wednesday 15 April 2015

Solent students draw up Soton's history and heritage near Bargate.

Southampton Solent University has joined forces with Southampton City Council, the Chamber of Commerce, and City College to spruce up the hoardings on a vacant building that sits next to the iconic Bargate.

Illustration students in front of their work which has been unveiled to the public

Jan Ward – Southampton resident, local business woman and Board Member of both the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and Solent LEP – was appalled at the state of the tatty, boarded up property that sits right next to the city’s historic Bargate.

“My family go back a couple of hundred years in the city, and seeing things like this drive me crazy,” says Jan. “I wanted to do something to help make the area more attractive.”

With her Chamber hat on, she got permission from the city council and the property’s administrators to make the improvements and set Solent University’s School of Art the challenge of making the hoardings that cover the vacant Jongleurs building, Below Bar, more attractive.

Solent lecturers Jonny Hannah and Louise Weir incorporated the challenge into a unit which sets first-year illustration students, who are mainly new to the area, the task of exploring the city and depicting its key aspects.

The resulting images have been placed into a design that echoes the exterior of Tudor House.

“Welcome to Sotonia, is an annual first-year project that encourages the students to locate themselves and see what they make of area. Even if they are from Southampton it encourages them to look at the city with fresh eyes.” Says Jonny.

“It’s a group of people’s reactions to a new space and a new city.”

Speaking about the benefit of the public project to the students, Jonny adds: “For many it will be their first commission, they are seeing their work in public, and the images are six feet high! Not bad for your first year at university.”

Student Amy Woodham

Amy Woodham, 19, from Chichester, submitted several images, mainly of the parks just beyond the main High Street.

“I really enjoy the contrast of hard city walls and the big areas of plants and greenery,” she says.

Southampton’s history and heritage – from the Humble Vikings in the dark ages to the spitfires in the last world war, were Adam Allori’s inspiration.

“I found them interesting to draw as a representation of Southampton as it’s hard to get a sense of the historical events of the city just from walking around,” says the 19-year-old from Southampton.

“So many buildings were levelled in World War II and it could be quite easy to forget just how old and important Southampton has been in English history.”

Student Adam Allori

City College provided the supplies and labour to prepare the panels and, thanks to funding from the Ben 4 Volley charity, the panels were printed and installed.

“Everyone’s hard work and creativity has really paid off,” says Jan Ward. “The site looks so much more inviting.

“I love the way in which the illustrations document the landmarks, the events and the people that put Southampton on the map.”