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Danielle Maw juggled home-schooling two young children during the pandemic as well as keeping up with her studies for a degree in Product Design.

As part of her degree Danielle designed Lumi, a multifunctional children’s toy that adapts into many different elements of play. Described as a ‘box of possibilities’, the Lumi can be transformed into a play kitchen, ride along toy, a doll’s pram, a car track or a theatre and was designed to ease the boredom and pressures of lockdown restrictions while being a sustainable, environmentally friendly toy with very little impact on the planet. 

Danielle credits the portfolio that included Lumi and a blog she developed during her time at the University which showcased her skills and examples of her work as helping her to secure the design job at Harp Ceramics, a bespoke bathroom and ceramic showroom in Colne.

The 28-year-old, from Todmorden in West Yorkshire, chose to pursue a degree in Product Design as it enabled her to learn new digital skills.

She said: “I felt as though I lacked computer aided design experience and my tutor Rebecca Falcon helped me a lot in this respect. She was very knowledgeable on the subject and helped guide me through what I struggled to grasp. I also spent a lot of time self-studying to learn new skills.”

Balancing studying with home life was not always easy for Danielle, but she was determined to succeed often set against the challenge of a difficult commute to lectures.

She added: “I was trying to home-school two young children during a pandemic and try to fit my studies around them. My parental duties were my first priority and when the kids were finally asleep I would work on my degree. Sometimes they would be in the background during lectures and trying to keep them entertained whilst also listening was quite challenging, especially having a young child. I would record the lectures and when the kids were sleeping I would play catch up.

Although public transport was a nightmare and sometimes I felt like giving up I had a lot of determination to finish the course and achieve what I knew I was capable of. Sometimes the challenges that life throw at us make us feel as though we are incapable. I wanted to overcome that perception.”

As well as achieving a first-class degree Danielle was also highly commended in the University’s annual Art and Design Degree Awards show.

She said: “When I heard my degree result I felt a great sense of achievement and that all my sleepless nights and efforts had paid off. I wasn't expecting to get any recognition at the degree show and that was a lovely surprise. 

“I’m looking forward to gaining further experience in this field and hope to buy my first home in the next few months.

“Had I not had the expertise and support of my tutors at the University I don't think I'd have achieved what I have.”

Rebecca Falcon, Lecturer in Art and Design at the University of Chester, said: “Danielle is an impressive graduate. She has juggled two young children, as a single mum, and home-schooled throughout the pandemic alongside her studies. Her family had to self-isolate on a number of occasions and her travel time to University by public transport once took up to five hours! However, despite this additional pressure, before the end of the year Danielle secured a design job beating hundreds of other applicants. We are incredibly proud of her.”

 

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Product Design Art and Design COVID-19