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MullenLowe NOVA Awards 2021

Remember that balloon dress that had tongues wagging all over the design world in 2019? The latex brainchild of Fredrik Tjærandsen, it was the overall winner of the MullenLowe NOVA Awards for Fresh Creative Talent, a 10-year partnership between Central Saint Martins and global marketing communications network MullenLowe Group.

NOVA Awards

Fredrik Tjærandsen’s Moments of Clarity was the winner of the 2019 MullenLowe NOVA Awards.

In case you haven’t heard of Central Saint Martins, it’s only one of the world’s leading lights for education in art, design and performance. Students of Central Saint Martins past include Antony Gormley, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Yinka Shonibare, Laure Provost, Isamaya Ffrench, Isaac Julien, Christopher Kane and Mowalola Ogunlesi, to name an exalted few. The school churns out some of the best creative talent on the planet. CSM students possess innovative superpowers, and their projects also reflect the environment and the ever-changing world in which we live.

Every year, MullenLowe and Central Saint Martins come together for the much-anticipated annual degree show, a student exhibition which showcases some of the most original thinking and creative talent the school has to offer. From 1300 graduating students, 49 are nominated by their course heads to take place in the graduate show.

The 2021 Graduate Showcase includes: a ‘grow your own meat’ device and app; a dress made from duck eggs; a mask that reacts to online emotions; an embryonic otherworldly cocoon garment; vibrant organism-inspired Mexican tableware; an improvised dance piece featuring a costume made of foraged moss; and an urban architectural project in Harare. It’s then up to 10 expert judges to decide on the final 14 MullenLowe NOVA Awards nominees.

NOVA Awards judges

The 2021 MullenLowe NOVA Awards judges include: (from top left to right and down) Sau-Fun Mo of London Transport Museum; Shahira Fahmy of Shahira Fahmy Architects; Sandra Poulson, artist and winner of the 2020 NOVA and YourNOVA Award; María Inés Rodríguez of Tropical Papers; Tony Wright, founder of the MullenLowe NOVA Awards; Tammy Hourigan of Unilever; Jose Miguel Sokoloff of MullenLowe Group; Isak Åkerlund, designer and animator; Katy Cowan of Creative Boom; and Jodie Eastwood of Knowledge Quarter.

Due to COVID restrictions, both the Central Saint Martins Graduate Showcase and NOVA Awards will be online this year. So, what are the 2021 NOVA judges looking for? It’s all about talent, innovation and pushing the creative boundaries. Jose Miguel Sokoloff, Global President, MullenLowe Group Global Creative Council says: “Over the last decade, the MullenLowe NOVA Awards have focused the attention of the creative community onto some of the most outstanding emerging talent. Central Saint Martins’ students have challenged us to view things through a different lens and taught us how to use creativity in response to the world around us. It’s been a privilege to give graduating artists, designers and innovators a platform for recognition, and to shine a light on the artistry, ingenuity and excellence of these brilliant minds.”

MullenLowe NOVA Awards, Central Saint Martins

After much rumination and cogitation, the judges will announce the six winning students in an online ceremony on August 18. These will include one overall winner and two runners up. A fourth student will be awarded the #Unstereotype Award, presented by MullenLowe Group client, Unilever, in recognition of work that breaks away from limiting and outdated stereotypes. Creative Boom, a leading art and design magazine, will award the fifth winner with a brand new prize for 2021: the Creative Boom Conscious Award. The judges will be on the lookout for a project that delivers, reflects, responds to, or champions lasting positive change in today’s society.

The MullenLowe YourNOVA Award 2021

Finally, and this is where we all come in, the sixth award is one which is selected by the public. The MullenLowe YourNOVA people’s choice is where you get to have your say in selecting a favourite student from the final shortlist. Voting for YourNOVA opens on 26 July, so watch this space for more information, and make sure you cast your vote.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

A London arts and culture blog featuring articles about art, theatre, opera, dance, music and design.

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