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Thursday 11 December 2014

Tips for Halloween makeup!

To be visually indulged is one of the advantages of my post in the Faculty of the Creative Industries, but to be invited to judge an evening of horror make-up has to be one of my most interesting jobs to date.

This was my second visit to the make-up and SFX department at Westerdals – Oslo School of Arts, Communication and Technology, and this time I had the chance to take in their annual Halloween horrorfest!

This event was particularly unusual because it took place in the lower floors of the building, which were delightfully renamed as the ‘Horror Tunnels’. Before we even entered we were treated to screams emanating from behind closed doors and an image of a body bag hanging from the front of the building – neither of which will be forgotten in a hurry.

A scene from the ‘Horror Tunnels’

Southampton Solent University’s relationship with Westerdals began in 2013 when their make-up and SFX course was still known as NISS. Unsurprisingly, Southampton Solent University’s make-up degrees were seen as a natural progression for students who wished to advance their studies after completing a NISS course.

Several students from NISS courses had already independently applied to study here, but the meetings between Southampton Solent University and Westerdals were an opportunity to collaborate more formally.  This relationship is one of several that have been developed with institutions across Norway, all of whom have been impressed by the fact that we have our very own Norwegian society on campus.

NISS students deserve a special mention though, because of the enormous impact that they’ve have had on the make-up courses we run here at Southampton Solent. When they arrived, they brought with them a totally different perspective on representations of beauty, character design, and the fashion and film industries. This has allowed these students the freedom to creatively explore ideals of body image without being led astray by a Westernised media model.

The impact that this has had on our other students is noticeable and now, more than ever, seminars and workshops are filled with critical discussions that allow students to question the ethics of standardised depictions of beauty. This makes for an exciting mix of opinions, and all students recognise how fortunate they are.

While Westerdals currently specialises in make-up and SFX , next year the programme will transform into a degree in character design, providing students with the opportunity to dedicate studies in creative application for film, TV and theatre.

I’m endeavouring to continue developing this relationship in the future – hopefully I will have the chance to be a horror judge again soon!