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In response to the end of year show cancellations, brought about due to the pandemic, ARTSTHREAD and i-D launched the first ever online Global Design Graduate Show initiative for all of the students graduating this year, in collaboration with Gucci. The competition was open to all Art and Design students graduating in the year 2019-20 (undergraduate and postgraduate) in any related creative discipline, located anywhere in the world.

Over 4,000 students uploaded their end of year projects and took part. Four students from the University have now made it to the shortlist for their particular category.

They are:

Members of the public are now invited to vote for the winner of each category – with voting closing on September 14. Details of how to vote for each graduate can be found below.

Alicia is shortlisted in the Fashion/Textiles/Accessories category. For her project, Alicia has produced TWNTY - a 500-page magazine, which was created to showcase the amazing work from the BA Fashion Marketing and Communication course, otherwise known as Studio 204, at the University of Chester. This first edition of TWNTY focuses mainly on the graduating class of 2020, celebrating three years of dedication, hard-work and persistence. Throughout the publication, Alicia has strongly captured this diversity, ready for the reader to be immersed into each individual graduate's unique identity. In addition to this, Alicia also included work samples and interviews from the Graduating Class of 2019, as well as industry professionals too.

Alicia said: “After completing this project in the midst of the pressure of a global pandemic, it’s such a surreal moment to know that TWNTY has been recognised amongst over 4,400 other emerging creatives who also submitted their work into the competition! When I first entered my project, never in a million years did I expect it to get this far, so I already feel like a winner, and I am beyond grateful for that. For me, this competition is now not just about getting my own work noticed, but it is also an opportunity to share the work of the other incredibly talented people that I was lucky enough to study alongside for the past three years…It has been a challenging few months for us all, but I am so proud of everyone involved in this magazine and what they have achieved.” 

To find out more - and vote for Alicia’s project - please visit:

Thomas Jones, Chelsea Dillon and Beth Staveley are all shortlisted in the Product/ Architecture/ Interiors category.

According to the website, Thomas’s ‘Digitally Bespoke’ project combines digital manufacturing with the authenticity of hand-crafted componentry in order to capture the ‘mark of the maker’. This enables the product to be replicated in batch quantities whilst maintaining a specific uniqueness to each piece. Supplying the owner with a piece of bespoke furniture utilising the capabilities of digital design to achieve high levels of accuracy and consistency, but complemented with the irregularities, passion and uniqueness of craftsmanship.

Thomas said: “Being a designer in these difficult times has certainly been a challenge, with a number of new obstacles to tackle whilst working remotely. It has been a rewarding end to my studies at the University of Chester to be recognised and shortlisted for my major project work. This recognition makes me feel that there has been no difference in my project output, just the way in which I have solved the problems that the disruption has created.”

To find out more - and vote for Thomas’s project - please visit:

Chelsea Dillon’s project is entitled ‘Decisions of Tomorrow’. As Chelsea explains on her project page: “The world in which we live is sadly becoming less, and less wild. The fragile ecosystems in which our planets wildlife exist are under attack. My project is a series of pop up installations that will emerge throughout Chester city centre creating a diverse and exciting trail for people to embark on. It will highlight the challenges and hidden threats our world is currently facing. The installations will then pack up leaving the temporary locations untouched to embark on their next journey to tell the story on a global scale. The installations will focus on each major factor that contributes to the loss of wildlife and habitats that could potentially lead to animal extinction.”

Chelsea added: “Receiving a First Class degree through those unexpected and unprecedented times was emotional enough, and now I have been shortlisted in the Global Design Graduate Show 2020! I am up against another 25 candidates under the Interior Architecture Specialism, who are based around the world.

“Winning for me would mean spreading even more awareness of the issues our world is currently facing - especially as a designer being environmentally conscious. I feel as though getting my work noticed and out there may encourage other designers/ corporations to do the same by producing a cleaner, sustainable ecosystem, that can not only protect us but also the wellbeing of our endangered animals.”

To find out more - and vote for Chelsea’s project - please visit:

Beth Staveley has produced a final degree project entitled ‘Dee House’. Built around 1730, Dee House is a vacant historic building in Chester city centre. An understanding of the building provided the stimulus for Beth’s proposal and led to a design that is both sympathetic to the original building and dynamic in nature. In the design that Beth created as part of her degree work, the Chapel provides the setting for a new flexible exhibition space at ground floor, adaptable studio space for workshops, events and meetings at first floor and a live/work space for resident artists at second floor level.

Beth said: “I can’t believe it! My work is up against 25 other projects and talented designers, which in itself, is absolutely incredible. I feel very overwhelmed and grateful to have been selected.”

To find out more - and vote for Beth’s project - please visit:

Associate Professor Bernadine Murray, Head of the Department of Art and Design, said: “The Department of Art and Design at the University of Chester is very proud of the way our students responded to the enormous change in the way they undertook their studies when the University locked down in late March. The practical nature of our Art and Design courses and the lack of access to the usual specialist equipment, at the fingertips of students when working on campus, required a tremendous amount of creativity, resilience and adaptability from our students. The success of these four students, in reaching the final of the Arts Thread Global Design Graduate Show, is testament to the students and the staff within the department who were determined not to let the pandemic get in the way of producing their best work.

“The Fashion Marketing and Communication, Interior Design and Product Design courses are relatively new with these students being just the second gradating cohort since the programmes opened four years ago. This is the first time these courses have been involved with Arts Thread and to have four students shortlisted from the thousands of entrants is fantastic. The Department team, students and staff are casting their votes and hope the readers of this article will support our students too.”

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