Meet the students who locked down together to complete their studies

30 June 2020

Lockdown for many students meant returning to the family home with the pros and cons of parental cooking, walking the dog and sibling quarrels. But one group of Leeds Arts University students decided to remain together in their Headingley student house in order to support each other through the summer term.

Image: Rooms in the student house adapted into studio and workshop spaces. Courtesy Bethany Midgley.

Six of the seven are in their final year of degrees in Fashion and Fine Art and have spent the last few months completing their studies and preparing for the Leeds Arts University Show 2020 that launches online tomorrow.

The resourceful students adapted their home, turning their living room into a sewing room, the basement into a photography studio and bedrooms into workrooms and studios. They also pooled equipment borrowed from the University at the start of lockdown meaning together they had more resources and space than they might have had in their family homes.

Image: Some of the Fashion and Fine Art students in lockdown 

Lockdown prevented access to the extensive facilities in the University’s buildings, from industry standard sewing machines to professional photography studios and woodwork, metal and print workshops. And, with shops closed and less availability online, materials were also harder to come by than normal. But despite these challenges the group found many positives in the new way of working.

Image: Bethany Midgley (L6 Fashion) Final year project, 2020

Bethany Midgley (L6 Fashion) said: “Once we got over the initial hurdle of accepting what was happening and the disappointment that the end of year show wouldn’t take place in the University, we decided to embrace the new situation and really go for it. The impact of the support and encouragement of everyone in the house has been a major positive with collaboration across courses that is unlikely to have happened otherwise.”

Image: Charli Senior (L6 Fashion), Final year project, 2020 

Charli Senior (L6 Fashion) continued: “And, there have been some surprising positives, such as having time to learn new skills. I’ve learnt to crochet, for example. And, we have been able to refine design ideas and think more deeply about the details in our designs without the pressure of making as many garments as we would have in the University.”

Support has not just come from within the house. Joe Harris (L6 Fashion) described how Instagram has proved to be a valuable platform for finding support, ideas and inspiration.

A situation that came out of necessity - the house included those with family homes in Australia, America and France as well as Yorkshire – has turned into a positive life experience in collaboration, resourcefulness and creativity under challenging circumstances.

The students in the house were Beth Midgley (L6 Fashion), Jess Morley (L6 Fashion), Ella Liversidge (L6 Fashion), Charli Senior (L6 Fashion), Joe Harris (L6 Fashion), Sarah Robinson (L6 Fine Art), Lily Susser (L5 Fine Art).

Find the Level 6 students’ work in the Leeds Arts University Show 2020.