Students' wild times at Dudley Zoo brings rewards

A partnership between Dudley Zoological Gardens and Dudley College saw 40 media students go wild to produce conservation posters of their favourite endangered species and pick up £250 in cash prizes from the pioneering project.

The six-month programme, which brought together first and second year photographic and graphic design students from the Evolve campus, has been hailed a huge success by zoo chiefs and college lecturers and plans are already underway to continue the partnership over the next four years.

Their artwork, illustrating the zoo's worldwide conservation work, will be showcased across the 40-acre site throughout summer.

A further project for young film-makers to supply a series of videos about vital conservation work at the Castle Hill site is also in the pipeline.

DZG Head of Media and Communications, Jill Hitchman, said: "Working with Evolve media students has been hugely rewarding on all sides. We have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the students' ideas come together and they in turn have discovered a lot about the zoo on their doorstep and the work that goes on behind the scenes to protect some of the rarest species on the planet."

The project is quite literally on the doorstep – students based at Evolve, in The Broadway, have just a five minute stroll to the zoological gardens to work on their designs.

Jill added: "It's been a very interesting journey and has culminated in some great posters which we will be delighted to display across site, and we are really pleased to continue the programme for future terms."

"We are also excited about the latest project whereby media students will be working on a series of videos and can't wait to see the results."

Dudley College Lecturer in Photography, Phil Brooks, said:  “It has been a fantastically fruitful collaboration.

We are so grateful to all the staff at Dudley Zoo for their hospitality and kind support, in enabling our photography and graphic design students access and guidance in our commission to make conservation posters.

“Our students have loved being given this amazing opportunity to showcase their skills in a project leading to public exhibition and prize money.

“We hope our posters in some way compliment Dudley Zoo’s valuable work in raising awareness of the importance of conserving endangered species.”

Students worked in three-strong teams across their chosen zoo section each week throughout term time to produce a series of posters spreading the zoo's conservation message.
The £250 cash prize was split between winners: Charlotte Coddling, Ruth Gadd, Emily Gallie, Hannah Mason, David Kirkham, Kathryn Kear, Caron Martin, John Evans, Sophie Flavell, Jonathan Holburn and Qaees Khan.

The prizes were handed over to students during a presentation evening at Evolve, by DZG Chief Executive Peter Suddock who said the standard of the students' work was exceptionally high.

Photographs from the project inspired fashion and textile students at Evolve to produce a series of garments incorporating the animal images. The items were displayed during the end of year Final Major Project runway show and later worn by media students at the zoo for a photo shoot with their favourite species.