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UoG and council chiefs join forces to promote CheltenhamZero

Graphic design students will draw on their creativity and sustainability credentials to play a key role in a significant new partnership between the University of Gloucestershire and Cheltenham Borough Council to raise awareness of the CheltenhamZeroinitiative.

Postgraduate students on the University’s Master of Design Graphic Design course will collaborate on the research and development of a brand identity for CheltenhamZero – the Council’s climate emergency response and its ambition for carbon-neutrality by 2030.

The important initiative marks the start of an ongoing joint initiative between the University’s School of Arts and the Council’s Climate Emergency projects, using design to inspire and communicate a sustainable Cheltenham for its residents, students and visitors.

Supported by the Course Leader, Jean Boyd, graphic design students will apply research methods and knowledge gained on their course to visualise how Cheltenham town centre, its green spaces, campuses and infrastructure might be imagined and communicated through CheltenhamZero’sgoals. 

As part of the collaboration, the student team have produced a ‘Countdown to 2030’ CheltenhamZero logo for use across the town to convey the project’s urgency and pace, together with supporting designs for a range of digital platforms.

Reflecting the University and the Council’s commitment to sustainability and green credentials, the project was also chosen for display by organisers of the 2021 Green Grads and Planted Exhibition in London last week.

Claudia Brewster, Course Leader on the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course at the University, was invited onto the panel judging the Green Grads Awards, while organisers also accepted an animated short film – Whale Carbon – by MDes student Sarah Harris.

Professor Angus Pryor, Head of the School of Arts, said: “This major new initiative with Cheltenham Borough Council underlines our longstanding commitment to supporting more sustainable futures, the professionalism of our Graphic Design students and the forward-looking ethos of the Masters in Graphic Design programme led by Jean Boyd.

“The CheltenhamZero campaign is an important opportunity for our students on the programme to collaborate with members of the senior leadership team at Cheltenham Borough Council in producing designs that will have real-world impact and help to create a sustainable town for everyone living in it.” Laura Tapping, Climate Emergency Programme Officer at Cheltenham Borough Council, said:

“We are excited by this new partnership and are delighted to present an opportunity for the students’ work to have positive and meaningful impact. Achieving our ambitious net zero target by 2030 will require action from individuals and organisations across the borough. We are confident that the designs will inspire the community to support the council in tackling the climate emergency.”

Councillor Max Wilkinson, Cabinet member for climate emergency, added: “The climate emergency is the biggest challenge facing Cheltenham, the UK and the planet.

“Cheltenham Borough Council is working with Vision 21 to bring together businesses, the public sector and community groups in the effort to fight climate change as part of the CheltenhamZero Partnership.

“To do that, it’s really important that we have a professional look and feel to the brand, so I’m really grateful to the talented designers from the University of Gloucestershire for all their hard work.

“I know it will make a huge difference when we are signing up new members to the Partnership.” The University welcomed the Carbon Battle Bus – the UK’s first 100% electric coach – to its Park campus last week as part of the national Net Zero tour, organised by Cheltenham Borough Council, Tewkesbury Borough Council and Commercial Group. The day included presentations on the UN’s Race to Zero and carbon jargon information sessions, including from the Cheltenham Zero Partnership.