Migration theme sparks students' creativity

Published: 23 March 2012 at 11:05

Jo and Trudi are named joint winners of Anglia Ruskin’s annual Searle Award

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Jo Miller and Trudi Esberger are the joint winners of the 2012 Searle Award for Creativity.  Named in honour of the late artist Ronald Searle, the award recognises excellence across all artistic disciplines and is open to every student at Anglia Ruskin University’s Cambridge School of Art.

The theme of this year’s Searle Award is migration and the exhibition, which is on show at the Ruskin Gallery on Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus until 12 April, features the work of all 13 of the shortlisted artists.

MFA Fine Art student Jo Miller, whose sound piece Fairy Tale records the voices of immigrants telling stories from their past lives, shared the award with MA Children’s Book Illustration student Trudi Esberger, whose book The Lost Children depicts the migration of children in care transported to a ‘better life’ in Australia, New Zealand and Canada during the 20th Century.

Jo said:

“Folk tales and fairy tales are part of everyone’s history and they migrate along with people.  Although the listener won’t understand everything that is being said, hopefully they will enjoy the musicality and rhythm of the piece.”

The judging panel consisted of Chris Owen, Head of Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin; Rachel Calder, literary agent for the late Ronald Searle; David Ryan, Reader in Fine Art; and Martin Salisbury, Professor of Children’s Book Illustration.

Chris Owen said:

“This award is a fitting reminder of the greatness of Ronald Searle, who sadly passed away on 30 December.  Ronald was a great friend of the university and attended Cambridge School of Art, which is now part of Anglia Ruskin. 
“Ronald established this annual award to encourage creativity among Anglia Ruskin students and the bronze trophy, the ‘Flying Pen’, is based on one of his drawings.  Each year a theme is chosen with particular relevance to his life and work, and this year the competition has been based on migration. 
“Ronald was himself a migrant, living in France for much of the latter part of his life.  As a prisoner of war working on the infamous Thailand to Burma railway line he also bore witness to the disruption caused by mass movements of people in the Far East, and these have been depicted in his remarkable Second World War sketchbooks. 
“As judges, we were particularly impressed this year by both the quality of the work and the remarkable range of interpretations of the theme, which range from the experiences of immigrants to the journey of the soul.”

Entry to the exhibition is free and the Ruskin Gallery is open 10am-5pm, Monday to Friday.  Visit www.anglia.ac.uk/ruskingallery for further information.