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The Ulster Orchestra, in partnership with Ulster University’s Belfast School of Art, launched a competition amongst final year Illustration students to design artwork for its new line of branded merchandise.

The winning design was awarded to student by Lauren Kelso (Lauren Kelso Illustrator) whose artwork will appear on the new range of goods and gifts from September onwards.

Christine Blaney and Pat Griffin, Joint Course Directors, BA Hons Illustration, said:

“A huge thank you to the Ulster Orchestra for this wonderful opportunity for Illustration students at Ulster University to collaborate with such an important creative and cultural institution. We look forward to seeing the winning illustrations helping to promote the exciting new UO programme for Autumn 2023 and beyond.”

Winner Lauren Kelso comments:

“I’m delighted to have been selected as the Winner of the Ulster Orchestra Merchandising Competition. Within my design, I illustrated Strings, Woodwind, Brass and Percussion instruments, reflecting all aspects of the Orchestra. As the musicians and people are at the heart of the Ulster Orchestra, the design therefore demonstrates a rich diversity. I’m really looking forward to seeing my illustrations on the branded merchandise, helping to attract new audiences through the style of the design.”

Michelle Baird, Head of Marketing & Corporate Fundraising, Ulster Orchestra, adds:

“We wanted to finally launch our own range of branded merchandise and create something attractive and unique to the Orchestra as opposed to just putting the logo on something. As part of our new, refreshed look for the 2023/24 Season brochure, it made sense to harness the wonderful skills of local talent to achieve that. We’re delighted with the end result of the competition! Congratulations to Lauren and well done to all the Illustration students for their impressive entries.”

The Ulster Orchestra’s new merchandise will be available to buy online at or at Ulster Hall concerts from September 2023, making a perfect gift for supporters of the Orchestra or visitors to Northern Ireland!

More of winning illustrator Lauren Kelso’s designs can be found at