The Nationwide Degree Show

In 2020 the world was on lock down, and all around the country degree shows were being cancelled due to COVID-19. Graduating creatives had to find other ways to showcase their work so we put together a Nationwide Degree Show to help. 


We launched The Nationwide Degree Show in lieu of all the student shows in 2020 to ensure that industry professionals still got to see all of the groundbreaking work that is being produced. The aim? Working together to keep the creative industries buzzing and full of fresh, young creativity and talent. 

We partnered with the amazing Ocean Outdoor, who gave us almost £100k’s worth of billboard space across the country.

We began reaching out to students across the UK to submit work. We spoke to universities, online communities and students to spread the message. Our submissions were open to any art or design students graduating in 2020.

The submission form was live for 10 days, and we received over 1000 submissions from over 100 universities spanning 17 disciplines from all 4 countries in the UK.

46 students were selected in total to have their work featured on the billboards. Our selections were based on the following criteria:

    • Does the submission explore a topic or craft in a way we hadn’t seen before?
    • Would the work ‘WOW’ on a billboard?

And once we had a long list, to get to the short list:

    • Does this selection demonstrate a good spread of talent from across multiple industries.

Supplied by Ocean Outdoors, the billboards were across the nation, from London to Glasgow, Manchester to Bristol. We managed to see a couple of the billboards in London ourselves, and some of the graduates got out and about to see their work up too.

Above: Steve Garnett.

The billboards went live from the 25th of May, 2020. 

This initiative offered students a platform to showcase their work, and we received some amazing feedback. Creative Review wrote an article on it, and it was also featured by ItsNiceThat and Musli.

“I am still amazed at the fact that my work was displayed on a busy road in Manchester!! You guys have done an amazing job in organizing all this! Thanks so much for all the effort you went through to organize this” 

– Kate Warrington, winning graduate.

“I was really impressed, particularly by the graphics – an incredible amount of work, and some really beautiful execution. Many things I would like on my walls also!”

Phillipa Simpson, Director of Design, Estate & FuturePlan, V&A

But the Nationwide Degree Show didn’t stop there. We wanted to find more ways to get the student work that we’d collected in front of the eyes of the industry.

We created ‘The Curations’: Industry leaders, creative pioneers and trendsetters in various differing roles across industry to choose their 5-15 favourite pieces submitted to the Nationwide Degree Show. 

To level the playing field, promote diversity and help break down the system of feeder-universities that supply the industry we anonymised all of the entries – removing names, universities and disciplines. The work was judged purely by image and description alone.

We had an overwhelmingly positive response to the #NationwideDegreeShow and you can still view all of the online curations here.

Above: Credit Fraser Milne Photography.

Above: Credit Andrew Rankin.

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