Jessica Reid - BA (Hons) Communication Design

Jessica Reid
Jessica Reid from Irvine in North Ayrshire, is graduating with a BA (Hons) in Communication Design from Gray’s School of Art and is planning a move to Inverness to continue her career in the creative sector.

As a school leaver from Greenwood Academy, Jessica says she’d always had a love for learning, and it made sense for her to continue studying straight after leaving school.

“I’d always aspired to go into higher education and had various positive role models in my life, including my mum who’d attended University whilst I was a child and encouraged me to apply.

“I was also extremely lucky with my art teachers at secondary school, who were so encouraging and gave me advice on creating my portfolio. They prepared me for interview questions and gave me an insight into their experiences at art school.”

Jessica says she was attracted to study at Gray’s School of Art because of the variety of specialisms on offer and because of the overall atmosphere.

“There is such an amazing community within Gray’s School of Art. I remember having a tour on the day of my interview and just feeling a rush of yes, I really want to go here! It just felt right!

“The course itself has so many amazing opportunities, whether that be placements, work experience, collaborations, and the overall flexibility of what you can achieve within your projects in the later years of the course! I didn’t feel that anywhere else could offer me that!”

Whilst a student, Jessica worked as a student ambassador for the University’s school’s engagement programme, ACCESS RGU, which has proved an invaluable experience.

“RGU is filled with extra opportunities and extracurriculars! As a student ambassador for the ACCESS RGU programme, I acted as a student voice, giving tours at open days and experience afternoons. These experiences helped me develop my personal skills and gave me a glimpse into other aspects of university life.

“It was such a rewarding process to encourage young people who aren’t sure about higher education to see a bright future and to encourage them to consider trying out courses they might be interested in!

“There are always events and exciting things going on throughout the University and a big highlight for me was Gray’s Degree Show in early June which celebrates all the creative disciplines and is an annual highlight in the University’s calendar.”

Throughout Jessica’s honour’s year, she worked with the Community Arran Seabed Trust, (COAST), on the isle of Arran, and created an engaging and educational experience that tells the story of the amazing marine life in Arran. Her aim was to encourage the preservation of Arran’s seabed and to create an immersive connection to the creatures that live there.

Jessica says she is absolutely delighted that her university project will be featured at the COAST Discovery Centre in Lamlash in July and says she owes a huge thank you to the Ayrshire Community Trust’s digital department (TACT Digital), who let her use their virtual reality software to create her project, and to the supportive lecturers from Gray’s School of Art.

For Jessica’s other degree show project, she drew inspiration from her large family, as she is one of ten children, and created a picture book called Fred Loves Socks which is a story about greed and consequences - but in a really silly and light-hearted way.

 “I played a lot with perspective, having the character talk directly to the narrator. I wanted to create a story that both adults and children can identify with! Everyone knows that washing machines eat socks leaving us with lots of odd ones and I thought it would be really funny to create a story around the concept!

“Accessibility was also a huge part of my thought process for the outputs of this project, having four different version of the storybook, a physical softcover book, an interactive special edition with activities, an eBook and an mp4 animated narration of the book.”

Whilst at Gray’s, Jessica said she has so many amazing experiences within her course including chances to collaborate with industry, placements and work experiences. Her talent was also recognised as she won Gray’s Collaborative Four Pillars Award and also the Design and Code Creative Talent Award. Another highlight was exhibiting as part of the ‘In at the deep end’ exhibition at the Bon Accord Baths in Aberdeen, which gave her a huge confidence boost and experience displaying and selling her work.

Now that Jessica is graduating, she looks back fondly on her time at Gray’s and says she has had so many amazing experiences within her course including chances to collaborate with industry, placements and work experiences.

“Gray's has been such an amazing chapter in my life! It has such a great community of creative people! The Communication Design staff at Gray's are so supportive and have really pushed me to get to where I am now with my work! There are so many amazing opportunities for workshops and guest speakers to take inspiration from! I’ve honestly had the best time and I’m so proud of all of my classmates, everyone has worked so hard, and their work is unbelievable!

“I can’t quite believe it! Graduating with a First and then receiving Gray’s Four Pillar Award in Collaboration as well as the Design and Code Creative Talent Award, I can’t believe it!

“I’m delighted, honoured and so grateful and appreciative to everyone who supported me through my degree as I wouldn’t have achieved what I have the past four years if it hadn’t been for, the amazing community at Gray’s and the communication design team, the Ayrshire Community Trust, my family, and of course all of my peers! I am so unbelievably proud of our course at Gray’s. Everyone worked so hard and the outcome of the degree show couldn’t have been better!”

“I’m looking forward to launching my Virtual Reality Experience at the Community of Arran Seabed Trust, straight after graduation. I also plan to move to Inverness at the end of August to complete my PGDE at the Highlands and Islands University for a year or two whilst working on some more freelancing projects and another children's book!”

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