Annual creative arts exhibition transformed into online experience

Final year BA (Hons) students at University Centre St Helens, with the support of their lecturers, have recently transformed their end-of-year creative arts exhibition, Vortex, into a visual, online experience.

The annual exhibition, which has traditionally taken place in a variety of venues in St Helens, is renowned for attracting the local and regional arts community, and this year proves to be no exception.

Despite Covid-19, lecturers and students from a range of creative arts degrees, including BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting, BA (Hons) Graphic Design, BA (Hons) Game Art, BA (Hons) Theatre and Performance and BA (Hons) Photography, have overcome social restrictions as a result of the pandemic, by creating a unique digital space, which showcases the incredible talent of final-year degree students.

In a digital age, and even more so due to the pandemic, this new online space means the students’ portfolio of work can be accessed at any time, from anywhere in the world, creating enhanced opportunities to raise their profile.

Ian Greenall, Curriculum Manager at University Centre St Helens, said, “Our Vortex exhibition is the main highlight of our academic calendar every year, and whilst circumstances have forced us to do things differently this year, the new online space still clearly demonstrates the skills, hard work and dedication of the students and staff within the creative arts department.”

He added, “Although the loss of a real-world exhibition was initially a disappointment, it has opened up an exciting opportunity for students to showcase their work online. With many of our graduates now preparing for the next stages of their careers in the industry, or in post-graduate study, it gives us great pleasure to be able to share their work with a much wider community.”

University Centre St Helens, based in the heart of St Helens Town Centre, delivers a range of creative arts degrees, validated and approved by University of Chester and the University of Central Lancashire, with significantly lower tuition fees.

Students have unrivalled contact time with lecturers, who are professional creatives, performers and artists in the industry and their employer links provide many opportunities for collaboration and live brief experience with the local and regional community.

Commenting on the successes of students, Ian said, “It’s been an outstanding year for our creative arts undergraduate degrees with some exceptional work highlighted across all areas, resulting in 86% of graduates achieving a First or Upper-Second Class degree.”

The online Vortex exhibition is now live at



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