Last Thursday, Hereford College of Arts celebrated the successes and triumphs of another year of graduating degree students during a ceremony at Hereford Cathedral.

Over 100 students graduated this year from a range of BA (Hons) degrees and MA programme. Of the 103 honours degrees awarded, 73% were 1st class or an upper second (2.1) classification, including 24% first class degrees.

Students, together with their friends, families and tutors, gathered to mark the students’ achievements during their time at HCA. Graduates in Artist Blacksmithing, Contemporary Design Crafts, Textile Design, Graphic and Media Design, Illustration, Photography and Fine Art had recently exhibited at major Graduate Shows held in London organised by New Designers and Free Range.

These national exhibitions celebrate emerging artists and creatives from across the UK. HCA students’ work generated a lot of interest. At New Designers, John Sanders graduating from the college’s BA (Hons) Textile Design degree was offered a place by Nottingham Trent University on their MA Textile Design Innovation.

An influential and distinguished guest was honoured in the ceremony and awarded a Fellowship at Hereford College of Arts. Deirdre Figueiredo, MBE is Director of Craftspace, a leading craft development organisation and creative producer creating opportunities to see, make and be curious about exceptional contemporary craft.

Deirdre has worked as a curator and manager in the field of contemporary visual arts, craft and museums for 30 years. She has developed expertise in diversity, social engagement and audience development issues.

Deirdre Figueiredo said:

‘I am proud and privileged to be in a position to promote the ingenuity of artists and craftspeople as well as devising initiatives that enable diverse people of all ages to engage, collaborate and explore their creativity and personal development through making.’

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Principal, Abigail Appleton, speaking to graduates during the ceremony, said:

“I know that I speak on behalf of all the staff of the Arts School, academic staff behind me and the many others who have supported you in saying how much we respect you and respect the educational choices you have made.

You don’t need me to remind you that creative degrees take time and tenacity, the development of making through skills through materials and performance, and critical thinking.

Our society often undervalues, in education, making in favour of a narrow view of what it means to be academic. As we look around this cathedral we can see as well as anywhere the absolute interconnection of physical and intellectual craft – of how ideas can be pursued through thought and material and media.

As one of our honorary fellows said at an event during your degree show, creative education is vocational, not only for being directly connected to a vast array of real-world jobs as it is, but also for answering a calling in the heart. Many of you have taken brave decisions to change direction in life and following that calling and we salute you for it.’

The celebrations moved from the cathedral to The Left Bank, where a drinks reception provided the opportunity for everyone to relax and enjoy the celebratory occasion.

To see more of the graduation photos visit our Facebook album.

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