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Introducing Mission Mammoth

Staff and students from Arts University Plymouth have joined forces with Plymouth City Council’s Building Plymouth initiative to help create designs for Mission Mammoth STEAMFest 2022.

Arts University Plymouth students and staff have joined forces with Plymouth City Council’s Building Plymouth initiative and a host of local construction professionals to set local primary school children an imaginary mammoth challenge this summer.

Mission Mammoth will see around 500 children help design a new ‘Mammoth House’ to accommodate the well-loved Mildred the mammoth and her friend George who will be coming to stay with her. Mildred’s home is currently in one of the galleries at The Box, but it’s too small for two mammoths! With George’s visit imminent, local children will be using their STEAM skills to work out a grand design that will house the two giant, hairy beasts comfortably.

The Box Plymouth view of exterior of the building

The Box is Plymouth’s £46 million cultural destination, proudly led by Plymouth City Council in Britain's Ocean City. (Image courtesy of The Box)

The mammoth characters for the project were designed by Zara McDermott, a first-year BA (Hons) Illustration student, and the activity booklet for the children was designed by third-year BA (Hons) Graphic Design student Jade Storey. Both students answered the call to take part in live briefs set by Building Plymouth, and will see their work featured across all aspects of the project.

Jack Viant, a Lecturer in BA (Hons) Illustration at Arts University Plymouth explained: “Our Illustration students were really excited at the opportunity to work with Building Plymouth on a live brief. This opportunity offers invaluable industry practice for them and to have one of our first years’ artwork selected is something to be celebrated. As one of their tutors, I had the pleasure of seeing the early stages of their idea generation and thought processes. All submissions were excellent and we’re so proud that our students are getting out there and putting their creative stamp on the world! We are also really lucky to have The Box right on our doorstep and are always happy to collaborate with an establishment that is built around creativity and discovery.”

Two mammoth characters designed by Arts University Plymouth BA Hons Illustration student Zara Mc Dermott holding an orange banner for Mission Mammoth

Mammoth characters George and Mildred, designed by first year BA (Hons) Illustration student Zara McDermott.

Hosted at The Box and Arts University Plymouth from 11 - 15 July 2022, Mission Mammoth STEAMFest is designed to offer children an exciting experience that covers hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) activities. The children’s STEAM skills will be challenged through a variety of workshops and activities covering design, architecture, green skills and sustainability, engineering and surveying; and the mammoth’s environment, all delivered and supported by industry experts from construction and the built environment, The Box and Arts University Plymouth.

Dr Stephen Felmingham, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Arts University Plymouth said: “We’re proud to have collaborated with Building Plymouth on this creative project and to be able to support children from across the city. The collaboration within this project between architectural and construction companies, artists and other organisations is an excellent example of STEAM in action and why it’s so important to ensure that students have opportunities to develop complementary skills in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.”

Mission Mammoth background designed by Arts University Plymouth BA Hons Illustration student Zara Mc Dermott

Backgrounds for the Mission Mammoth project designed by first year BA (Hons) Illustration student Zara McDermott.

Adam Murray, Learning Officer at The Box said: “We are really excited to host STEAMFEST this year. Throughout the week students from local schools will be able to explore their local heritage, enrich their STEM skills and enjoy an inspiring and fun day of activities. Learning is at the heart of our organisation and it’s a great opportunity for local students to engage with the collections here. We’re really looking forward to this fantastic event!”

After their exciting day at The Box, the children will then be supported back in the classroom by representatives from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), who will assist the children in further developing their Mammoth House design ideas ahead of entering a competition to bring their creative ideas to life, followed by an awards ceremony after the summer holidays.

Mildred The Mammoth at The Box Plymouth

Mildred in her room at The Box in Plymouth. (Image courtesy of The Box)

Emma Hewitt, Skills Lead at Plymouth City Council said: “Our Building Plymouth partnership is working together to inspire and raise awareness about the breadth of career opportunities in construction and the built environment. By delivering STEAMFest, we will be able to positively influence over 500 children about the wide range of jobs and skills needed across design, engineering, surveying, sustainability and management. As a city we have significant skills shortages particularly in STEM sectors which accounts for nearly 60% of all jobs in Plymouth so it is critical that we engage positively with our children to increase their interest and take-up of these subjects throughout their education journey. I extend a huge thanks to construction friends who have committed time to help plan our activities and also for hosting our hands-on activity sessions across what will be a fantastic week.”

See more of Zara's illustrations on her instagram at @zaralily_illustrates and check out Jade's graphic design portfolio at @graphicdesign.jade.