Michelle Lam IoA

Cumbria launches new website showcasing talents of emerging artists


2020Vision is a virtual gallery giving University of Cumbria arts graduates a clear platform to show off their skills developed over the last three years.  

A total of 129 final-year students at the university’s Institute of the Arts have teamed up with lecturers to collaborate with Manchester web outfit 34SP to create the site – 2020Vision.gallery.  

The university’s Brampton Road campus in Carlisle, which has been a creative arts campus for 70 years, is usually transformed each summer by its talented students completing an array of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.  

Lockdown restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic mean that this year the traditional celebration has moved online for the first time.  

2020Vision is a showcase featuring the work of more than 100 artists awarded degrees this year across 11 different fields, ranging from photography, graphic design and illustration to performing arts and games design.  

The digital degree showcase also provides the new graduates with the opportunity to extend their reach beyond normal geographic boundaries and influence a much wider audience, including potential employers and other industry professionals.  

Senior lecturer Dwayne Bell, programme leader on the university’s BA (Hons) Illustration degree who helped to co-ordinate the 2020Vision project, said: “This year coronavirus has cheated us out of our physical degree show exhibition, so we’ve gone online to celebrate our students’ achievements in completing their creative journey at University of Cumbria.  

“We hope people will enjoy browsing the online exhibition over a glass of wine or a cup of tea. Hopefully normal service will be resumed next year and we’ll be able to welcome people back to our wonderful Brampton Road campus and Vallum Gallery for the full-on live experience.”  

University of Cumbria has a dedicated team on hand to help anyone who is interested in starting university this year.  

Whether you still need to apply, are looking for a course, have changed your mind about the course you have chosen or are looking for a career change, the university’s Clearing hotline is now open. Call 0808 178 7373 or go online at https://www.cumbria.ac.uk/clearing  



Among those to feature on 2020Vision are Michelle Lam and Lorna de Mello, who have been awarded first class honours degrees in Film and TV.  

‘After the Rain’, their short six-minute documentary made together with fellow final-year student Thomas Thorne, provides a snapshot of the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when strict lockdown measures were in place including only being allowed to go out once a day to exercise.  

Carlisle-based Michelle, 21, from Northern Ireland, said: “It was quite a challenge to create this film for our final project. We’d already worked on our original plan for a long while when we knew we were going into lockdown as our project was due to get underway.  

“We knew that it was important to capture this time in lockdown. When we were filming the regulations were that you had to be in quarantine, only going out once a day.  

“It meant we had to be very creative but very organised. Fortunately we were able to turn to people Lorna knew, including her mum who is a primary school teacher and her mum’s boyfriend who is interested in psychology.”  

Lorna, 21, of Mawbray on the Cumbrian coast, added: “Lockdown meant that we were in the perfect position to adapt to the situation we found ourselves in. Resilient, we were putting our skills to the test by being more creative, being innovative and coming up with new ways of working whilst still working to the same deadline for our final project. The support from University of Cumbria these last three years has allowed us to do that and shine; it is a real community, a family.”  



Cameron Paterson, who is originally from the North East of England and who now lives in Ayr, Scotland, has seen his final-year project - a two-part documentary photography series entitled “One Man Tells Tales” and Other Parts – picked up by influential photography networking website The Pupil Sphere.  

Gaining a first-class honours degree in photography, Cameron said: “The facilities at Brampton Road were what really made my mind up about joining University of Cumbria. The dark room, the studios and the support of the technicians in the lab, our lecturers and small class sizes where you’ve always had a chance for one-to-ones with staff have been a massive factor for me these last three years.  

“It has been a terrible blow not to have our physical show but I got together with the others on my photography course to make our own website, Photosight, which is now part of 2020Vision. It is great that we’re able to celebrate in this way and show off our work.”  



The entrepreneurial success of performing arts graduate Kate Robinson reflects the increasing need for those in the arts to identify career pathways into the creative industries. It is a focus which forms an integral part of University of Cumbria’s new Theatre and Performance undergraduate programme starting in September.  

Based in Carlisle, Kate, 28, is a freelance creative arts facilitator, running her own operation, Compass Creative.  

Aged 18 and with an ambition to be an arts therapist, Kate chose to leave the North West to do a degree in creative expressive therapies.  

After graduating and going into a job she did not enjoy, a bereavement led Kate to rethink her future and she chose to follow her passion for performing. 

In 2017, Kate embarked on her second undergraduate degree, one in Musical Theatre at University of Cumbria where she was the oldest student on her course.  

Loving the ability to be creative and entrepreneurial, Kate chose to transfer onto the university’s Performing Arts course for her final year and recently celebrated achieving a first-class honours degree. 

She said: “I was terrified starting the Musical Theatre course yet I needn’t have been. I was the oldest in the group but that really didn’t matter to anyone. I also didn’t have any previous training like many others but I was passionate and wanted to learn. Lecturers were supportive and reminded me what I was bringing to the course and how much I was putting into it. I’ve loved the experiential flair of the programmes.  

“I love singing, dancing and acting and realised during my second year that, whilst I love musical theatre, it was about developing and having your own creative freedom that was becoming increasingly important to me. 

“Two years of the musical theatre course meant I was well equipped and had transferable skills and so I moved to join the Performing Arts course. 

“Having that sense of creative freedom has given me the opportunity and confidence to continue a career being self-employed. If I’d not opted to do Performing Arts I’d not have had the chance to do my advanced skills module where I created, research and developed Wobble Club, a project of accessible for all joyful movement sessions that I was fortunate to receive a grant from the university’s Bright Futures Fund for.” 


1. Michelle Lam, Film and TV graduate, University of Cumbria

2. Lorna de Mello, Film and TV graduate, University of Cumbria

3. Cameron Paterson, Photography graduate, University of Cumbria

4. Kate Robinson, performing arts graduate, University of Cumbria


5. 2020Vision logo, University of Cumbria's virtual degree showcase by Institute of Arts final-year students