27th September 2016
Over 800 delegates from the international UNESCO Geopark organisation have arrived in Torbay for the 7th International UNESCO conference on Global Geoparks. The conference takes place every two years and has previously been staged in China (2004), Northern Ireland (2006), Germany (2008), Malaysia (2010), Japan (2012) and Canada (2014); 2016 will be the first occasion that the conference takes place in Great Britain. Guests represent 120 UNESCO Global Geoparks from 33 countries around the world.
The conference commenced with an Opening Ceremony comprising a GeoOpera titled ‘Earth Echoes’, inspired by the history, unique geology and culture of the world’s UNESCO Global Geoparks.
The GeoOpera is a 45 minute performance piece and is directed by Mark Laville, Artistic Director of the Barbican Theatre, Plymouth. The performance incorporates voice, music and multimedia with a special performance from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
South Devon College students from the Foundation Degree Fashion with Textiles and Three Dimensional Design programmes alongside the Level 3 UAL Art and Design Diploma students worked in collaboration to create costumes and display banners for the GeoOpera using natural and pigment dyes, sourced from local geology. This method encompasses sustainability with a natural representation of the Geopark’s habitat. Special recognition was made to the student’s hardwork during the proceedings from Nick Powe, Managing Director of Kents Cavern Prehistoric Caves.
To ensure an accurate portrayal of the landscape, the students participated in field trips with University of Plymouth Geologist Hazel Gibson PhD, who was able to provide an essential insight into the rock and cliff formations of the Torbay scenery. From this, the students were able to produce detailed drawings, patterns and prints for the costumes.
The students also worked with artists Sarah Bell and Mark Bell from ‘AKickUpTheArts’ to produce 28 large-scale banners which represent a panorama of the Torbay coastline. The banners were hung during the Opening Ceremony and will be displayed throughout the conference.
This opportunity has provided invaluable industry and employability experience for the students, and has been a very exciting and ambitious project. UAL Level 3 Art and Design student Nikita Coombes said, “Working on the banners project was really enjoyable, it was exciting to work on something far bigger than we’ve ever done before. It was intriguing to work with established artists and see how a professional brief comes to light.”
Sam Aspden- Constructed Textiles Lecturer at South Devon College said, “We prioritise employability and preparing our students for the design industry, so to be given the opportunity to work on an international Arts Council funded project is so exciting. It’s provided the students with a fun, inspiring and real-life look at the world of large scale professional arts projects. Everyone has worked incredibly hard.”
For more information on Art and Design courses at South Devon College, please contact our Helpzone team on 08000 380123 or email [email protected] You can also visit our website sdcdev
Alternatively, come along to our next Open Evening on the 16th November at our Vantage Point Campus, Long Road, Paignton, TQ4 7EJ 5pm-8pm