Working on behalf of the region's 12 local authorities, the North East Improvement & Efficiency Partnership (NEIEP) yesterday (8 March) unveiled the winners of its Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) college recycling competition. The ceremony at Middlesbrough College was attended by representatives from some of the region's leading organisations who share an interest in recycling.
The overall winner for Middlesbrough College was announced as 17 year old, Philippa Cunion, with her piece entitled 'Hickory, Dickory Clock' .
Over 60 art students from Middlesbrough, Hartlepool and Northumberland Colleges have been switching on to the importance of recycling waste electricals after turning WEEE into pieces of art in order to promote such items as resources that have a life after breaking or being replaced.
Each college was judged on an individual basis with the NEIEP competition for Middlesbrough College divided into segments according to the structure of the art department. The college was given the overarching theme of "clocks" and Art and Design and Fashion and Textiles students competed against each other for prizes in both their areas and for the overall grand prize.
Using their ingenuity and artistic prowess in order to fulfil the brief of this real life client, students who entered had to convey the message that it is important for householders to take unwanted and broken electrical items to the right place so that they can be mended, reused or recycled. Thanks to Valpak and the NEIEP, the students were competing for a range of prizes including high street vouchers and the grand prize of a laptop.
Members of the judging panel were given the tough task of marking the submissions which were all uploaded to an online exhibition space and winners in each division have been announced as: Art & Design, First Prize: Ally Jefferson; Art & Design, Second Prize: Liam Manship; Fashion & Textiles, First Prize: Reece Handley; Fashion & Textiles, Second Prize: Amy McTaggart; Overall Winner: Philippa Cunion.
The students were marked on criteria including their creative use of WEEE and WEEE components and how well they interpreted the message that WEEE is both recyclable and a resource. Philip Shaw, Recycling Officer at Middlesbrough Council, presented the prizes on the day, on behalf of the NEIEP.
"We are overjoyed at the exceptionally high standards of work that the students have produced. They have really taken to this project and produced some incredibly thought-provoking pieces which highlight the importance of recycling WEEE."
Sarah Malone, Art and Design lecturer at Middlesbrough College, said:
"As soon as the students received the brief, it sparked such a diverse range of creative responses. The project has given the students such a fantastic opportunity to work on behalf of a real client. There is no substitute for hands-on experience and it has proved to be great preparation for their future careers."
Overall winner, Philippa Cunion, of Middlesbrough, who received a prize of a laptop from Nigel Tomlinson, Commercial Manager at Valpak, said:
"I was so excited when it was announced that I had won. I created this piece of work to encourage everybody to recycle WEEE materials as it is everybody's responsibility. We were given free rein to interpret the brief as we saw fit and it has opened all of our eyes to such an important cause."
"The students involved in this project have done themselves proud. They have fulfilled entirely the challenge of inventing creative solutions to raise awareness that WEEE can be recycled and its parts are vital resources in many everyday items, such as car bumpers or mobile phones.
Too many of our waste electrical materials end up in landfill and this competition has shown that actually it is possible to reuse and recycle the majority of products that have reached the end of their life as we know it."
Picture caption: Winning students from Middlesbrough College, with waste services manager at Middlesbrough Council, Ken Sherwood, who presented their prizes.