Brighton Marina Reignites Design Innovation: University of Brighton Students Invited to Transform Marina Benches

December 11, 2023

Brighton Marina is excited to announce the return of the successful and captivating bench design competition, inviting students from the University of Brighton’s School of Art and Media to unleash their creative talents. This unique opportunity challenges aspiring artists to craft an innovative vinyl wrap that encapsulates the theme of ‘Sussex Nature and Wildlife’.

Competition Opens: Monday 11 March 2024

Submission Deadline: Friday 5 April 2024

[Panel shortlist by: Friday 12 April 2024]

Public vote opens: Friday 19 April 2024

Public vote closes: Friday 3 May 2024

Winner announced: Monday 6 May 2024

This exciting competition kicks off today, with submissions accepted until Friday 5 April. The primary objective is to spotlight the abundance of fresh and inspiring artistic talents within the university. Students are invited to design a vinyl wrap for benches, themed around ‘Sussex Nature and Wildlife’.

The chosen design, whittled down by experts and selected by public vote, will have the honour of being replicated, printed, and prominently displayed on benches throughout Brighton Marina, much like 2023 winner Abby French. These benches are strategically positioned, including at the iconic waterfront, which has consistently been recognized as one of the most ‘Instagrammable’ spots since 2019.

Professor Tamar Jeffers McDonald, the Dean of the School of Art and Media, expressed her delight: “Brighton Marina’s call for entries is a fantastic opportunity for our artists to unleash their creative imagination and contribute positively to the local environment. We nurture diverse talents in fields such as illustration, animation, photography, film, fashion, textiles, and 3D art, with a rich history of producing exceptional artists, including three Turner Prize winners. We eagerly anticipate the innovative designs our students will create for this unique local competition.”

Sophie Chandler, the Marketing Manager for Brighton Marina, shared her enthusiasm: “After the incredible success of this year’s competition, we are committed to discovering the city’s future generation of artists emerging from the University of Brighton. Collaboration with local educational institutions is a tradition we cherish, and as a local business, we take pride in our active role in supporting the community. Providing students with a platform to showcase their talents is an honour, as their creations will be enjoyed by every visitor to our marina and, hopefully, open doors to their future careers.”

All design entries will be proudly showcased across Brighton Marina’s digital channels, with three finalists selected by a distinguished panel of judges –

Sue Breakell is Archive Director and Principal Research Fellow at the University of Brighton Design Archives, and co-leads the ‘Museums, Archives, Exhibitions’ strand of the University’s Centre for Design History. She is co-editor, with Wendy Russell, of The Materiality of the Archive: Creative Practice in Context (Routledge, 2023).  

Vanessa Marr, RSA, is Principal Lecturer and Course Leader at University of Brighton. Her creative research practice crosses disciplines of drawing, creative writing and autoethnography, underpinned by visual design-theory. She exhibits and publishes internationally.

Kellie Miller carved out her career by dedicating her life to creativity and the arts.  She gained her Arts BA from the University of Brighton (1994) and her MA in Arts Criticism from City University (2001), London.  She is a recognised international artist, businesswoman, lecturer on creative entrepreneurship, artist mentor, critic and gallery owner.

Bill Wallsgrove is a brand strategy consultant, creative director, designer and copywriter. A Visiting Lecturer at The London College of Communication and an Honorary Visiting Lecturer at the University of Brighton, he also advises young innovators and entrepreneurs on how to build and grow their businesses and brands at Plus X Innovation and Soho House. 

The ultimate winning design will be determined by a public online vote, taking place between 19 April 2024 and 3 May 2024. The triumphant design will be unveiled on 6 May 2024 and it will have the privilege of being displayed throughout the rest of 2024 and beginning of 2025, reaching the millions of visitors that Brighton Marina attracts annually. All expenses related to the production and installation of the selected bench design will be covered by Brighton Marina.

Bench Dimensions –

Fixed silver metal ones – Sizes – back 200mm x 1800mm, the seat 320mm x 1800mm.

Wooden ones  – Back 260mm x 1700mm, the seat 320mm x 1700mm.

Please allow leeway for printers on the artwork for us to adjust if needed.