Guest Blog by Ivan McDouall

I’m Ivan McDouall and I manage the various creative arts provision at Heart of Worcestershire College. We are very excited to be working with Arches Participate in terms of FE audiences for the Arches. At the start of June we launched a live brief to our students across Music, Performing Arts, Art & Design and TV & Film – we are asking them to work on creative concepts and event ideas for the Arches. Live briefs are so important to get students working outside of the College bubble and engaging with a wider Creative community in the county. The Arches brief fits this bill and gives students the opportunity to influence a real space that we envisage them using in the future. Responses so far have been predictably varied – from dress designs to collaborative performance pieces but some key themes have emerged.

Many students have taken the opportunity to imagine the space being finished or adapted. Over laying of images and graphic design of the spaces has featured heavily – as shown by example here (images 1&2 by Sophie Quiney). This has been a valuable and interesting way into the brief for many and feeds into the ideas of understanding the spaces around them and interrogating how they might use in the future.

Artist: Sophie Quiney (1)


Artist: Sophie Quiney (2)

Other students have approached the brief in a more abstract way which has led to some wonderful concepts and ideas. The example here, by Fern Dunne, takes the arch of a foot as a starting point and the production of murals illustrating movement. I love how students can reimagine concepts and create their own slant – truly creative.


Artist: Fern Dunne (1)

I also think historical context and interest has been a good by-product of the brief and students have uncovered all sorts of old photos illustrating the arches and also the old spur which may end up forming part of the walkway plans. I love the fact that young people are looking into this context and a vanished Worcester. Not only can it inform their work but it gives them an ownership and value of the places that they live and study in.

Student Research (1)


Student Research (1)


Student Research (2)

This is just a sample of the work that we are seeing and there are many more great examples which I will look to share wider as the year progresses. We are still planning an exhibition of work and will be launching the live brief with our first years around half term.

To finish, we have a new Level 1 Creative Arts course at the College and we are planning a field trip imminently to the Arches to sketch, photograph and capture the space so we can generate ideas. It is so exciting to hear these students – and others across our various courses – talking about the ‘Arches Project’. As you can see from the examples here it has captured their imagination as I hope the space does for the City as whole.


Guest Blogger: Ivan McDouall, Creative Arts Department Manager at Heart of Worcestershire College