As the annual Culture Night activities ramp up across Belfast, Ulster University has opened a new student-led art and design shop, Unique, based in its Belfast campus on York Street which will showcase bespoke pieces of hand-crafted art by a wide range of students and alumni.
The space will act as an educational and recreational platform for students, alumni and the general public, and aims to further connect Ulster University with Belfast and Northern Ireland’s creative community. It will also offer an exclusive outlet for emerging artistic talent from the University, providing them with a platform to gain exposure, make professional connections and sell work.
Unique will feature pieces from many art and design disciplines including paintings, photography, ceramics, sculptures, jewellery, fashion, graphic design, illustration, printmaking, textiles and fine art. Customers can also commission items from the students and alumni.
Commenting on the opening of the art shop, Professor Raffaella Folli, Provost of Ulster University’s Belfast and Jordanstown campuses, stated:
“Unique provides a window to the world for our exceptionally talented students, where they can display and sell their unique, hand-crafted items. It is student-led, and as such allows them to gain experience in a professional environment. It also offers the University the chance to engage with its alumni, who are selling art all over the world, giving them an outlet in their alma mater to market their items in Northern Ireland.
“Unique is the result of close collaboration between staff and students. It’s a very exciting new venture for the University and the campus, because it harnesses student creativity to staff expertise, creating an avenue for students to sell their work and for the public to enjoy a vision of the full range of talent being fostered at Ulster University. Unique provides us with a simple but powerful opportunity to welcome alumni, locals and tourists to the Belfast campus to globally showcase the identity of this campus as creative, innovative and entrepreneurial.”
The shop will be managed by two full-time placement students and has a volunteering programme in place for other students to get involved.Commenting on the initiative, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Manager at Ulster University, Chris Shannon, stated:
“The art shop offers a fantastic opportunity for students to develop entrepreneurial skills, conduct market research and gather feedback on their work.
“Through full-time student placements and a comprehensive volunteering scheme, students will manage this exciting venture and gain experience of working in a social enterprise and selling their work commercially. This will benefit them enormously after University by providing them with the experience needed to sell their work in Northern Ireland and further afield.”
Unique is currently encouraging Ulster University’s Belfast School of Art students and alumni to showcase artwork in the new shop. To avail of the opportunity and to find out more on volunteering, buying and commissioning, visit www.ulster.ac.uk/artshop. Unique Art and Design Shop is open Monday – Friday from 10am – 4pm (1pm-9pm on Culture night, Friday 22 September) and the first Thursday of every month from 10am- 8pm. In the future, the space will also be utilised to host open evenings, workshop demonstrations and events for both students and the general public.