Helping Harrogate sparkle – students capture the Christmas window displays

Harrogate’s shop windows are sparkling again for Christmas – and our students have been helping to showcase some of the finest examples.

Each year businesses are asked to produce eye-catching creations for the Harrogate Christmas Shop Window Competition, which is sponsored by Harrogate Business Improvement District (BID).

This year, four of our Art and Design students – Levi Hughes, Alfie Dorwood, Tilly Fiorini and Maria Rocha – got involved by photographing the entries for the organisers, the Rotary Club of Harrogate.

A credit to the college

Kathryn MacColl, Chair of the rotary club’s Youth Services Committee, said: “The students were a joy to work with and their enthusiasm for their subject shone through.

“They were very polite, well-mannered and considerate as they photographed the shop windows and took care with the general public.

“They were an absolute credit to the college and we wish them every success with their ambitious plans for their future careers.” 

The competition entries were judged on three criteria – illumination, innovation and spirit of Christmas – and the overall winner was announced as Weetons Food Hall.

Serving up a festive feast

Our hospitality students, meanwhile, recently served up a festive feast for local residents.

The event involved transforming the canteen area into a fully operational restaurant where students prepared and served a three course meal .

Based around a traditional Christmas theme, the menu included traditional seasonal fare including turkey crown, nut Wellington, roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings.

Christmas pudding and snow-dusted mince pies were also on offer, along with mulled wine.

We hold a number of themed and seasonal meals each year to give our hospitality students valuable experience of working in a fast-paced, public-facing environment.

Discover your inner artist at Harrogate College

Our Art courses are so good that established artists have been signing up with us to hone their skills.

Three local artists, Tom Ransom, Irene Vassiliou and Douglas Thompson, recently achieved their MA Creative Practice degrees at the college.

Another respected local artist, Catt van Leijen, is currently halfway through the two-year, part-time programme and is urging others to embark on the same creative journey.

A rewarding creative journey

She said: “The MA in Creative Practice will take you on an unexpected path of discovery.

“This course at Harrogate College is a great opportunity to explore your creative self on another level.”

Catt, who is a ceramic  and paper mache  tutor at local charity, Henshaws Arts and Crafts Centre, hit the headlines recently through the ambitious collaborative project she did for her course.

Teaming up with the National Trust and Art Maker students at Henshaw’s Arts and Crafts Centre, Catt oversaw the creation of all kinds of nature-inspired artworks. Those were then installed in and around Fountains Abbey’s water garden and stream, to the delight of visitors.

Confidence-building support

Douglas, meanwhile, who also teaches at Henshaws and specialises in paper cutting, also thoroughly enjoyed his time with the college.

Speaking just after receiving his degree, he said: “I really loved the course. All of my tutors’ support has boosted my self-confidence so much, and created a rigour in my practice that wasn’t there before.”

While the MA Creative Practice degree caters for those who have already begun their artistic journey, and want to specialise, the college also offers a range of courses for others at different levels.

A liberating alternative to school

Those include short, part-time introductory courses like Arts, Crafts and Design along with full-time programmes for school leavers, such as Art and Design Level 2 and Creative Practice (Art & Design) level 3 Extended Diploma.

Level 3 course lead for FE Art & Design at Harrogate College, Jonathan Leng, said: “We offer an exciting learning experience here, in level 2 and level 3 art and design, for 16 to 18 year olds.

“We continue to have outstanding success, in fact amongst the highest in the country, on our Level 3 course – with more than 40% of our students gaining a distinction (three A*s at A level) last year. We are able to do this by offering each of our students individualised learning and the chance to work with practising artists and highly skilled technicians.

“Our students recognise that this approach gives them the freedom to explore and develop their skills and be the individual that school, perhaps, does not allow. As the new academic year begins we look forward to welcoming lots more aspiring artists!”

Enrolment for this year’s art classes is underway now and there is still time to apply. Click here to find out more.