Dear friends of HCA,

Thank you for your interest and support for Hereford College of Arts during this extraordinary year. I hope you enjoy this competition-winning Christmas image below by Illustration BA (Hons) student, Harry Anderson. I love its quirkiness and individuality but for me, it also has a resonance for our times, as so many plans are again disrupted by Covid in the run-up to Christmas. The illustration raises a smile with the possibility of a make-do celebration whatever the circumstances

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I write just as we prepare to close HCA for the holiday, the campus already quiet following the departure of students, with almost all staff already on leave or working from home. Throughout the college though, student work is still on display for assessment, and its ambition and quality is a huge tribute to students’ tenacity and talent as well as to the strength of their teaching and other support.

This is naturally a time to celebrate the achievements of the calendar year, and I remain incredibly proud of the way HCA supported students across our programmes throughout 2021 to keep learning on campus whenever we could, and proud of the vote of thanks and confidence our final year degree students gave us in the National Student Survey published this summer.

But in this note, I just want to share one seasonal highlight, our Performing Arts students’ Panto, and look ahead to the start of 2022.

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We considered very carefully whether or not to go ahead with Panto performances but I am so glad that we did, albeit with a greatly reduced audience, lateral flow testing, face coverings and ventilation. It was a huge pleasure, not just for seeing students throw themselves into the high octane and inventive mix of Cinderella and Aladdin, but also for the joy of seeing their audience, bundled in coats to survive the draughts from open doors and so clearly loving the experience of live theatre.

We need live performance as we need laughter and physical community. Please support professional theatre’s call for more government support through Covid closures.

Now, be inspired by colour!

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Thanks to L3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design student Esther Davidson for these colourful prints which have just gone on display in our College Road and Folly Lane Campus.

After the Christmas holiday, January can seem a dark and sometimes bleak month in terms of daylight and national mood, and this January threatens to be more challenging than most, but the world is full of colour inside and out. In HCA we’re planning to beat January blues with a mini-festival of exhibitions, talks and events across our campuses exploring and celebrating the wonderful richness of the experience of colour in life and art, ‘HCA Inspired by Colour’. In his fantastic new book ‘The World According to Colour’, art historian James Fox ranges across cultures, centuries, arts and sciences exploring colour’s ubiquity and mystery (if you’re short of a Christmas present for a creative reader, I’d highly recommend it). They constantly influence our moods, they suffuse our day, and pause to pay attention to colour and the world is transformed.

Look out for our colour celebration on our website and social media or share your own thoughts and images with us on the theme of how colour enriches your life and work. You can do this by tagging HCA in an Instagram picture or pictures using #HCAcolour and @HerefordArts

Additionally you can add these tags alongside #HCAcolour #inspiredbycolour

You can also share your own thoughts and images with us by emailing

But to finish this HCA update, another of our students’ Christmas images.  Alongside individuality and bravery, collaboration is one of our key college values and I loved this image by BA (Hons) Illustration student Megan Lorraine Corrick for the collaborative strength of the two small figures, undaunted by their journey.

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Have a safe, creative Christmas, and I hope you will join us in starting the new year inspired by colour.