UCLan graduate wins Community & Culture Award
Sam Clegg scooped the top spot at the Size? Syllabus Awards
A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student, who graduated from our Fashion Promotion and Marketing course in 2022, has won the Community & Culture prize in the Size? Syllabus Awards, for his proposal to make ‘shared community spaces’ more accessible for all.
Sam Clegg, a mature student from Penwortham, used to work at Scene, a skate shop on Friargate. His time spent there became his inspiration for his competition entry, which centred around hostile architecture and how certain buildings - although seemingly inoffensive - are actually often designed to restrict the use of the space.
Hostile architecture is an urban-design strategy that uses elements of the built environment to purposefully guide or restrict behaviour. It often targets people who use or rely on public space more than others, such as young, poor and homeless people, by restricting the physical behaviours they can engage in.
"I never really went into it expecting to win, but it feels great to know your work has been recognised"— Community & Culture prize winner Sam Clegg
Sam’s project, which was a live brief in collaboration with Size?, the footwear and clothing retailer, and Vans shoes and clothing, looked at how architecture can shape human behaviour, and how objects and designs such as spikes, steep slopes and security cameras can all be seen as ‘negative’ architecture. This is because they restrict what can be done in that public space. Sometimes, this is helpful, such as for deterring anti-social behaviour – but not always, and the adaptations can instead suppress those who genuinely want to pursue their hobbies outdoors, such as skaters.
Talking about his award Sam described his feelings: “It was little bit out of the blue, I never really went into it expecting to win, but it feels great to know your work has been recognised. I really enjoyed the process of putting the project together, and I’ve learnt a lot along the way too.”
Sam’s project also looked at how benches - which many would consider useful - are designed to prevent homeless people from being able to sleep on them. He believes that there should be a different solution.
"It’s a great opportunity for our students to collaborate and work on live briefs gaining valuable industry feedback and insights"— Eve Astle, Senior Lecturer for Fashion Promotion and Marketing
He said: “It’s about the idea of displacing people so there’s nowhere to go, so you are just creating the problem elsewhere with this type of architecture, you’re not really solving it.
“But in places like Denmark they are very forward thinking about public space, particularly an area called Superkilen. Due to the amount of immigration from all over the world, this part of Denmark decided to create a place designed by the neighbourhood.”
Sam’s work therefore took inspiration from these Scandinavian designers using public friendly structures rather than just moving people on - and he believes this could be a great inspiration for the UK too.
Eve Astle, Senior Lecturer for Fashion Promotion and Marketing at UCLan, said the Size? award is something not to miss out on: “No other universities in the north west are part of the size? Syllabus and it’s a great opportunity for our students to collaborate and work on live briefs gaining valuable industry feedback and insights. Sam winning the Community & Culture award is fantastic and truly reflects his excellent research skills and understanding of social trends. The Syllabus projects are about innovation and challenging, and Sam did a fantastic job of this. We’re really proud of him!”
Daniel Langhorn, Senior Talent (Influencer) & Community Manager at size?, added: “Sam’s work showed a deep understanding into the psyche of not only both size? and Vans, but of the wider public’s perception of the current town planning landscape and cityscapes. Touching on political and socio-economic factors, the project was impressive in it’s depth, social commentary, brand alignment and really captured the wave of unrest which can be found under the surface of most establishment-owned directives within public spaces and beyond. A complex and brilliant piece of work which really did empathise with the sub-community surrounding skate and street, but also the wider feeling on public spaces which aren’t really for the public anymore.”
Written by Ethan Banks