Create Salford Festival: New music, art, fashion, design & more

Susie Stubbs
mediacity interior courtesy salford university

The cream of the University of Salford’s crop showcase their talents in an unusual take on the traditional degree show.

Early summer is good for many things. Music festivals, long weekends and sunshine for starters – and, for those hoping to spot the next big thing, degree shows. Yet while most universities are content to stick with standard exhibitions and a private view or two, the University of Salford has decided to do something different for its annual celebration of the achievements of art and media students: it’s staging a four-day festival of comedy, theatre, art, fashion, new music, film, radio and more across two of its campuses.

Said festival is Create Salford, and it’s a chance to see the work of the University’s rather diverse mix of students – who, at its MediaCityUK and Allerton campuses, study disciplines as diverse as visual art and graphic design, fashion, English, music and journalism (don’t worry, a free bus runs between the two campuses during a preview evening on 17 June).

While traditional shows feature, Salford has decided to do its degree shows differently

So, theatre is on offer throughout the preview evening, for example, such as character actor Guy Hepworth’s starring role in Harold Pinter’s The Dumb Waiter (MediaCityUK, 17 Jun, 8.20pm) while the University’s British Fashion Council Award-winning fashion design programme stages a full runway show (Allerton Campus, 17 Jun, 4pm). At MediaCityUK, cinema-style screening rooms and “audio dens” play drama, documentary film and the radio work of current students and, a day later, Manchester Cathedral hosts the European premiere of Pittsburgh-based composer Nancy Galbraith’s The Passion of St Matthew (18 Jun, 7.30pm, free but registration required).

Traditional degree shows do, of course, feature, with the work of graphic design, animation and computer and video games students on display at the University’s MediaCityUK base and visual arts, photography, fashion, interior and product design students’ work on show at the Allerton campus (both 18-23 Jun, 10am-3pm daily with a preview on 17 Jun, 5pm-9pm). The collaboration between creative writing students and graphic design students looks particularly intriguing – it sees text reimagined as posters, illustrations and even experimental sculptural forms.

With partners ranging from CFCCA and the newly opened HOME to The Lowry, and the programme opened by the University’s new chancellor, Jackie Kay, it’s perhaps little wonder that it has chosen to go down the festival route for its degree shows – anything less intriguing for such a creative bunch would have felt far too pedestrian.

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