A study of how media campaigns could be used to prevent suicide is one of the exhibitions at this year’s Dundee Masters Show.
More than 50 students from Masters courses at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, part of the University of Dundee, will be exhibiting at the event, which takes place from August 28th – September 4th.
Emma Gault’s project, part of her Master of Design course, saw her train as a suicide intervention officer and create an awareness campaign, which – if adopted by the Government or a mental health charity – she believes could help to highlight the problem and bring the topic into the public eye.
During the course of her research, Emma discovered that one of the biggest problems in trying to prevent suicides is a lack of awareness of the facts concerning the issue amongst the public. In response, she sought to examine how design and a high-profile campaign might be used.
Emma (22), originally from Lenzie, explained the motivation for her project. ‘The statistics showing how bad the problem of suicide among young people in Scotland is shocked me,’ she said.
‘Obviously this is a very important topic in Dundee at the moment as a lot of people are grieving for the loss of young people and asking questions about why this is happening.
‘Road safety campaigns are common, yet we rarely see adverts raising awareness about the issue of suicide. Suicide is a major problem in the UK today, but its seriousness is often overlooked because people are afraid to talk about it.
‘In this project, I have explored how design can tackle the issue by raising awareness and breaking the taboos surrounding the subject. To fully understand the problem, I trained to become a suicide intervention officer, and undertook extensive research, learned the facts about the issue, participated in discussions, took part in role plays, and interviewed some experts on the subject.
‘It’s clear that one of the biggest problems is lack of awareness amongst the general public about the facts concerning suicide. For the project I created posters, television adverts and websites which would help people access information about signs to look out for in loved ones they are worried about, get advice on how to approach them and find places where they can get help.’
‘I think this is a subject which I believe should be approached sensitively and not sensationalised, and this is reflected in the designs. A lack of awareness is obviously not the only factor influencing suicide rates, but the experts I spoke to told me that it definitely contributes and that it was one of the things we can do something about.’
Emma’s exhibition is just one of the displays at the Dundee Masters Show 2010, which highlights work from some of the UK’s most exciting and innovative arts programmes.
A range of conceptual, thought-provoking and vibrant exhibitions that push the boundaries of art from five Masters programmes – Design, Fine Art, Media Arts & Imaging, Medical Art and Forensic Art – will be on display.
Jeanette Paul, Head of Postgraduate Studies at DJCAD, said, ‘Every year, the exhibits at the Masters Show demonstrate the rich diversity of the work that students undertake at postgraduate level in art, media and design.’
‘The 2010 Show continues this trend and I would encourage as many people as possible to come along and check out the diverse, challenging and innovative exhibits in person.
‘The creative practice has a strong research foundation which infuses the work, resulting in focussed, intelligent and thought-provoking work that has allowed our students to build upon their creativity and technical ability.
‘From multimedia, time-based and animation workthrough art installations and painting to innovative design solutions to contemporary issues, this Masters Show exhibits an incredible range of strong ideas and an enormous amount of talent.’
The Master Show 2010 celebrations will begin on Saturday 28th August when an Open Doors event takes place at DJCAD between 11am and 4pm. A range of events showcasing the work of Masters students from all programmes will take place throughout the day.
The Show will conclude on Saturday, September 4th. A special evening event to recognise the students’ achievements will be held the evening before.