A student who has lived in the Highlands for just two months has been honoured by tourism industry leaders for her stunning digital interpretation of some of the area’s most iconic landmarks.
Kamila Rozanska’s response to a challenge set on her first day at college has been chosen as the programme cover design for the record-breaking 2016 Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) which reach their climax on Friday (4 November).
She and fellow student Niall Gordon were announced as joint winners in the competition set as part of the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.
Event organisers asked students at Inverness College UHI (University of the Highlands and Islands) to devise a new and innovative design to use at the awards’ finale when 15 category winners will be revealed.
The competition was set as a mandatory task for more than 40 first and second year students on HND Art and Design courses during their induction day.
The standard was so high that judges decided on two winners, with Niall’s spectacular acrylic paint on paper design chosen to feature in the on-screen presentation announcing the HITA winners.
Kamila, a first-year student in HND Visual Communication, and Niall a first-year in HND Contemporary Art Practice were chosen from a range that judges praised for its quality and diversity.
An exhibition of all the entries, sponsored by laundry firm Fishers, will be held at the HITA final in the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness, and will also be used for the students’ individual exhibitions at the end of their current year as part of their course work.
Kamila, 20, who moved from Poland to Inverness in August, featured landmarks including Eden Court Theatre in Inverness, Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness and the Glenfinnan Viaduct in Lochaber in her winning design.
She said: “I’m delighted to win. Some of the buildings I have only seen on a website, but I was attracted by their shape and design and put my own interpretation on them.”
Niall, 34, from Inverness, incorporated a wide-ranging collection of images in his work, from Jacobite warriors and the Highland Clearances monument, to wind turbines and the area’s wildlife.
He said: “I threw myself in at the deep end to see if I could forge a way forward with an idea of a series of iconic representations of events that have happened across the Highlands and Islands.
“The art took over and produced a result which I had hoped for but didn’t anticipate would be quite so effective as it turned out, so I really am quite proud of it.”
Rachel Burgess, a lecturer in Visual Communication in the college’s Creative Industries department, said: “The students were given this challenge as a real-life industry collaboration brief on the very first day of their attendance at the college this year.
“It is part of their course to become familiar with industry standards and what will be expected of them when they qualify as practitioners, so it is extremely valuable to have these industry partners to collaborate with.
“Myself and Mark Lomax, the Contemporary Art Practice lecturer, were slightly apprehensive about throwing them a live brief with a tight deadline from day one, but the students met the task head on and produced some truly original and creative work to present.
“They were all very excited about the event as it was a great opportunity for them to showcase their designs and get some recognition for their hard work.
“As it is an industry collaborative project the students can include this as a live project in their portfolios for progressing on to employment or furthering their education. It is essential that they have this kind of work in their repertoire and experience working with client briefs in order to make them well-rounded and employable individuals when they leave us.”
Craig Ewan, HITA chairman, said the competition was an innovative and collaborative way of involving local students in the awards event.
He added: “Congratulations to Kamila and Niall, and to all the students who took part. We were astounded by the response to the competition and the amazingly high standard and range of work made it extremely difficult to choose winners.”
Scott Inglis, Commercial Director at Fishers, said: “At Fishers, we don’t just think of ourselves as a laundry company, we are an important part of Scotland’s tourism sector and we are proud that we are able to show our support for the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.
“The student’s involvement in designing the event programme has been outstanding and a fantastic way to celebrate the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and the role of tourism in the Highlands and Islands.
“At Fishers, we have been working in partnership with VisitScotland to celebrate the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design by commissioning designs of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks that are being applied to our fleet of vehicles showcasing iconic tourism landmarks as they travel throughout Scotland and the UK.”
HITA, which is run in association with SSE, is recognised as one of the premier industry hospitality awards programmes in Scotland. The awards highlight and reward excellence throughout the sector which is worth more than £4.5 billion to the Scottish economy.
The awards were launched in March by the then tourism minister Fergus Ewing. In all, 203 businesses or individuals entered or were nominated in 15 categories this year in the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, the biggest ever response in the event’s 12-year history.
Judges reduced the number of competitors to a 50-strong shortlist. Winners, with the exception of the Highland Rising Star and Highland Ambassador categories, will go on to represent the region at the glittering national final of the Scottish Thistle Awards next year.