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How The Drum and Canon joined forces to kickstart the careers of lockdown students

What happened when The Drum and Canon teamed up to devise, build and execute a purposeful campaign to support art student graduates, inspire creatives by connecting them to this up-and-coming talent – at the same time proving the value of print in driving emotion in a digital world?

Launched earlier this year, the Class of 2021 virtual exhibition was set up to give student graduates a second chance to showcase their final year artwork, having missed out on their degree shows due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The digital platform was designed to connect them with the global creative community and was supported by personalized printed materials to offer them added value.

Part one of this documentary-style video encapsulates the ‘Class of 2021’ as a dynamic case study, including the purpose and journey – from where it all began to how the project was developed to create a real-life experience of innovative digital print being integrated into an omnichannel user experience (UX).

The story begins with Gordon Young, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Drum in conversation with Cathy Bittner, strategic business development manager at Canon Europe to discuss why and how the digital hub was created. They also explore the thinking behind the idea and how Canon and The Drum introduced print as a completely new concept to this generation of young student talent.

We speak to Emma Bentley, a creative art student from the University of Gloucestershire, to find out what the Class of 2021 project meant to her, and how it made her “so proud” to see her work physically and be able to show it off to friends, family and even future employers.

We also sit down with Emma Critchley-Lloyd, founder of Big Little LDN, to learn about her experience with the Class of 2021 digital exhibition, as well as her thoughts on the value of print in a digital world and discover what it was about a particular piece of student work that caught her eye.

Watch part 1 of ‘Class of 2021: the making of’ above and keep an eye out for part 2 later this week.

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