Scotland’s design graduates lead the field

Scotland’s role in the forefront of innovation and creativity has been underlined by half of this year’s New Design Awards, the UK’s biggest showcase for young designers, being won by graduates of its Higher Education institutions.

Six of the thirteen main awards and half the associate prizes presented at the first tranche of New Designers 2015 in London were won by graduates from Scotland’s art schools and universities, including Calum Wilson, who graduated from the University of Dundee last week.

Callum, who studied Textile Design at the University’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, won the New Designers Harlequin Award. He was one of 25 graduates of the Textile Design and Jewellery & Metal Design programmes at Dundee who travelled to London for New Designers.

Glasgow School of Art graduates won three awards, including two from the Goldsmiths Company (Jewellery Award, Ieva Mikutaite and Silversmithing Award, Karen Westland), and the overall New Designer of the Year, which went to Olivia Qi.

The New Designers Weston Beamor Award was won by Alexandra Von Trapp from Edinburgh College of Art. This award, which has only been running for three years, has been won by a graduate from a Scottish HE institution for each of the three years.

A sixth award secured by a graduate of a Scottish HE Institution, the John Lewis Award for Design & Innovation was won by Herriot-Watt graduate Anja Alexandersdottir who was based in the institution’s creative campus in Galashiels.

Professor Paul Harris, Dean of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, said, “These results show that Scotland is producing some of the best young design talent to be found anywhere in the world. All winners and exhibitors should be congratulated on their contribution to an exceptional show that highlights the strength of emerging Scottish design, which will be vital to the country’s economy and wellbeing in years to come.

“From a personal point of view, I am thrilled to hear of Callum’s achievements and all of the other successes recorded by our Dundee graduates. We have an excellent record at New Designers over the years and it is a source of pride for me to see this continue in such a successful way.”

Additional prizes won by Dundee graduates include Emma McCluskey (New Designers Clothworkers Company Associate Prize), Megan Falconer (Graduates Membership Award 2015 from Contemporary British Silversmiths) and Vaila Cameron (John Lewis Loves tag). Rebecca Hardie was winner of Textile Study Group prizes while classmates Rachel Taylor and Heather Colvin were runners up in the same competition.

The awards are made annually at the opening of each of two New Designers exhibitions in London which showcase the very best in recent graduate work. A second tranche of New Designers awards will be announced early this month.

Isobel Dennis, Director of New Designers, congratulated the winners, saying, “New Designers showcases and represents the very best graduates from all over the UK.  The Awards presented on the opening night at New Designers are independently judged and it was fantastic to see how incredibly strong the graduates are from this year’s Scottish cohort. It gives me great pleasure to congratulate all the winners and commend the passion and commitment of the teaching staff at our exhibiting Scottish universities.”


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