What is Unit X? A Student Perspective

Video produced by Danny Orwin

This year we have had a short film produced with some current students offering their perspectives on Unit X, and how their thoughts have changed since they were first introduced to it during their first year.

We hope you find it useful, and that it may answer any questions you have with regards to Unit X. Click on the link below and enjoy!

What is Unit X?

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Gallery: Unit X Festival 2017

Images provided by staff from Manchester School of Art

Following a truly fantastic week of events, below is a gallery of images from this year’s Unit X Festival, along with photographs from activities and events that happened during the Unit.

 

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Unit X Festival 2017 – Punk Project

Words & Images: Aimee Plumbley

‘I didn’t know what to put here’ consisted of three exhibitions made up of contributions from students studying Curating; Textiles; 3D design; Fashion and Art Direction; Interactive Arts; Graphic design, and Fashion design.

Students investigated the wider theme of Punk, and interpreted ‘new Punk’ and considered whether Punk still has currency. The outcome of this resulted in a mixture of zines, photo exhibitions, graphic scrapbooks and exhibits. Themes such as feminism, inequality, politics and climate change were explored. The response to the theme was a physical manifestation of contemporary issues and anxieties of young people, as well as an opportunity to express rebellion and protest to them.

The quality of work produced was amazing, well done to everyone involved.

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Unit X Festival 2017 – Exploring the Narrative

Words & Images: Aimee Plumbley

‘Exploring the Narrative’ invited first year Textiles in practice students to explore narrative through textile media. Their narratives were shaped by research into ethical, political and environmental and sustainability issues.

Pieces included narratives about concerns over Brexit and fake news, the impact that human behaviour is having on the planet and its climate, and anxieties over artificial intelligence and job security. Well done to the students involved for designing such creative narratives.

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Unit X Festival 2017 – Identity

Words & Images: Aimee Plumbley

First year Three Dimensional Design and Interior Design students displayed their work in Manchester’s quirkiest independent bookshop ‘Chapter One’ as part of the Unit X Festival.

Interior Design students responded to the concept of ‘paper towns’, which are towns or places created by mapmakers that don’t exist, in order to deter plagiarism. Students explored the concept of ‘paper towns’ within the Manchester context. The response to this topic varied greatly; from the placement of fake blue plaques misplacing Manchester’s history, to dreamy visual constructions depicting fake towns in popular culture and the blending between realities.

3D Design students explored the identity of Manchester in their pieces. The prevalent themes were: what Manchester is, its histories, its culture and what Manchester could be in the future. Students drew on things such as Manchester’s architecture; communities; industrial past; homelessness issue; drug culture- to defining events such as the Strangeways riots. Pieces included ‘knuckledusters’ made out of everyday objects and accompanying zine, inspired by the Strangeways riots, to plant pots inspired by Manchester’s connection with its canals and sustainability.

Well done to everyone involved!

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Punk Workshop

Words: Aimee Plumbley

Images: Zoe Hitchen

Last week, level five students on the option three Punk project stream took part in a process led workshop held by graphic designer Malcolm Garrett, and stylist and art director Judy Blame. Malcolm and Judy are old school punks who studied in Manchester in the 1970s.

 

The students prepared research in advance of the workshop, which fed into a physical response to image and identity. The brief required students to ask questions such as ‘What inspires/ frustrates you?’ and ‘What do you feel a part of?’ to inspire their physical manifestations of punk.

Our students approached the brief from different perspectives, and the physical responses varied. Some of the ideas explored throughout the workshop included:

  • Punk and femininity acting as masks.
  • The commodification of punk and feminism. Especially conversation i.e. wearing the punk aesthetic, but not actually making any political statement.
  • Does punk still have currency? What is punk in 2017? In this world of hyper-reality, is making conversation with eye contact breaking the norm and rebelling? Could putting away our phones and in fact talking to one another be punk?

Malcolm explained the workshop was a unique opportunity for students to act unprofessionally in a professional setting, the punk aesthetic after all is supposed to be fun. The students were learning in a different style of learning as opposed to usual workshops at University.

“Punk encouraged personal expression and endorsed positive, personal intervention in society.”

We caught up with a second year Interactive Arts student who found the workshop “exciting”, and was inspired by the sense of community in collaborating with various creative students. She felt the workshop “allowed me to express how I’d like to present my work”, and was a welcome break from the academic model.

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Gallery: Unit X Final Show 2016

Images provided by Staff & Students from Manchester School of Art, and visitors

This year’s final exhibition was a perfect end to a truly full on ten weeks for our students. The standard of collaborative work produced seems to improve year on year, and we are incredibly proud to share their results with you.

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