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The series of sessions designed to teach and enhance our presentation and networking skills has taken us on a journey. Alongside this we have explored ideas to submit in a ‘Dragons Den’ style bidding exercise with a large pot of University money up for grabs to the best idea.

Our idea is fairly simple. Our new Art building called ‘The Alexon’ houses all the art disciplines of Photography, Graphic Design, Art and Design, Fashion, Animation, Fine Art and others but throughout the whole building there isn’t a place to relax, gather and enjoy a tea or coffee.

The basement of this 5 storey building is currently empty and thus prime for a purpose made large gathering space covering many functions. Key to this would be our idea entitled ‘The Art Cave’.

Art Cave blog

This would be a central space where the walls would display the best of the students work with each discipline taking turns to show their work. Positioned in the centre of this space would be a tree, the branches of which would be decorated with lights. To one side of the space would be a cafe bar serving drinks and around this ample seating to cater for formal and informal areas. A dividing wall along one side would open into a small cinema, allowing further study by showing films relevant to students course work and also popular movies. As the Art Cave would be accessible to all disciplines and show case the best of the work created by the students, inter disciplinary networking would be key to its success.

From this germ of an idea and under the tutorage of Mo Lea, we have been developing the skills needed to present this project to a wider audience. By examining our body language, posture, gestures, voice pitch and clarity, confidence has grown by those in the group uncomfortable with public speaking making these skill sessions even more valuable.

A recent session looked at the types of public speaker such as ‘King’ – commanding attention, Mother – caring and supportive and Trickster – uses surprise and mis direction to keep the audience guessing and interested. These are the three archetypes my colleagues described me as. Others drew on their humour (Joker) and other character traits.

Understanding your public speaking strengths and weaknesses is key to making any presentation a success and these sessions tackled these issues in a fun and informative way.

The final stage will be to present the Art Cave idea, (plus two other ideas developed by the other teams) to a team of project funding selectors, success or not is in our hands…

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