The Weaver Incorporation, one of the Seven Incorporated Trades of Aberdeen, has been presenting its annual Career Enhancement Awards at Trinity Hall since 1987.
Each year, the award is given to an outstanding student on the Fashion & Textiles degree course at Gray’s and it reflects the commitment of the Weaver Incorporation towards supporting the development of skills and helping students prepare for a career in textiles.
The 2019 prize was won by Isabelle Rice, with Kirsty Robertson receiving the runners-up award, at a ceremony hosted by Deacon Adam Byrne.
Isabelle, who is in her final year of her degree, was presented by Deacon Byrne with the J Gray Kilgour Medal, a certificate of excellence and £600. While Kirsty, who is in her third year, took home a certificate of commendation and the runners-up prize of £300.
The awards, which are judged on the basis of a submitted portfolio and an interview, go towards helping the students fund an opportunity that will help them in starting their career – for example, to purchase a piece of equipment and materials, a study trip or a specialised workshop.
Isabelle, whose portfolio of work is based around the difficulties humans face in truly expressing themselves, commented: “When I was selected I was over the moon, I worked so hard throughout the year to develop my own personal style and create work that had meaning and passion behind it, and to have my work recognised by the Weaver Incorporation was such an honour and achievement.
“These awards are so important as they help students to feel motivation within university to keep trying their best, and for the people who are shortlisted and selected as winners it helps to develop our CVs which can help when applying for jobs.”
Kirsty, who picked up the runners up award for her work focusing on urban and rural decay, added: “I think the Weaver Incorporation award is very important as it means you aren’t just thinking within a university bubble, you get a feeling of how others, outwith university, respond to your work. It is definitely important in terms of progressing my career after university as it stands out on a CV to employers.
“I was so pleased to have been selected as the runner up, it was such a confidence boost as it showed that work I had created while in stage two was already of a high standard.”
Graeme Nicol, Ex Deacon of the Weaver Incorporation, gave a presentation which provided the historic basis for the award.
He said: “From the 13th century, our trade in Aberdeen had craftsmen of similar skillsets banding together for the same broad reasons: to set and maintain standards of their craft; to ensure that their skills were passed on to future generations; and to support and look after their fellow members.
“When the textiles industry in Aberdeen fell into decline, the concept for the Career Enhancement Award was born. The winner and runner up each receive a cash prize aimed at building on their degree course to provide them with the additional skills and knowledge to progress them towards a fulfilling and rewarding career in their chosen area of textiles.
“We have been extremely proud to help nurture and encourage the students at Gray’s School of Art, to ensure that the centuries-old principles and practices of the Weavers continue on.”