Hereford College of Arts students are helping Herefordshire reach out to European Businesses with an exhibition at the European Parliament in Brussels.

West Midlands Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre secured the opportunity for the students. Though Anthea supported the Remain campaign, this is not about the politics of Brexit but the ambitions of Herefordshire to speak to European businesses and individuals through the arts and to provide the students with a platform to showcase their work, which will have a positive impact on their professional profiles and CVs in the future.

Anthea McIntyre, West Midlands Conservative MEP said, ‘Living and working in this most beautiful of counties, I am excited about sharing it with my colleagues in the European Parliament. With the help of Hereford College of Arts and its talented students, we will be letting them know what an interesting and beautiful place this is to visit, what wonderful produce it has and what great opportunities there are to invest.’

The 26 students from across the college’s Degree and Foundation Diploma in Art and Design programmes are travelling to the European Parliament to construct and invigilate the exhibition designed to showcase Herefordshire to the thousands who work within or visit the Parliament. The exhibition runs this month from the 18 February to the 21 February.

The college’s degree students are designing the exhibition following consultation with staff, local business and cultural organisations. It’s a bold and sensory evocation of the county with abstract sculptural forms and film that feature some of the essential materials of Herefordshire’s past, present and future such as the county’s rich red soil, iconic cattle hide, Ryeland wool and sessile oak. The materials used in the exhibition speak to both Herefordshire’s rural and industrial heritage and prospects.

Justin Gregory, Head of Higher Education at Hereford College of Arts said, ‘This is a county of rootedness, making, and innovation that often springs from tradition. We hope that through our exhibition visitors will feel both intrigue, curiosity and connection and ultimately be inspired to visit and invest in our exceptional region.’

Students will actively engage with visitors, talking about the county and invite them to take a digital journey through The Shire website to discover more about the county of craft and culture, educational ambition and innovation, high tech design and business vision through to the vast array of cultural and business sites. In this way this new website will bring together digital destinations that are often isolated from each other.

Abigail Appleton, Principal at Hereford College of Arts, said, ‘I’m thrilled that students and staff have thrown themselves into this project and that Anthea McIntyre and the Herefordshire business community are supporting their bold creative approach. The arts and business are deeply intertwined, and we share a common ambition to promote our remarkable region to the world.’

The exhibition and related costs are being supported by local businesses, Herefordshire Council and Herefordshire Community Foundation. Student travel is being supported by the European Parliament.

Councillor David Harlow, cabinet member for economy and communications said, ‘We are delighted to support this exciting and innovative approach to promoting our county. We are ambitious in our plans for future investment and economic growth for Herefordshire, and it is important that we encourage as many people as possible to visit here and see the opportunities on offer’.