Design competition for schools launches Sharp Futures

Design competition for schools launches Sharp Futures

Posted 17th Jul 2009 at 07:38 by

Sharp Futures competition entry
Sharp Futures competition entry

The Sharp Project has kicked off its partnership with local schools – Sharp Futures – with a design competition to create a giant poster that will surround the building during refurbishment work.  While work is in progress the building will be “wrapped” in an enormous poster – half the size of a football pitch.

The Sharp Project worked on the design competition with MOTIV, a social enterprise which campaigns to improve attendance at schools and Astra Signs, who will produce the finished product.  The team briefed students in North Manchester schools to come up with a poster design that answered the question, “What will living next door to a digital grow bag do for your career?”

Students from North Manchester High School for Boys, North Manchester High School for Girls and Plant Hill Arts College presented to a panel of judges at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  The judges were Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council;  Sue Woodward, Director of The Sharp Project; David Darbyshire, Business Development Director of Astra Signs and Lee Stanley, Director of MOTIV.

At the end of the presentations, the judges awarded three prizes because they were so impressed by the standard of work presented.

“The idea of Sharp Futures,” commented Susan Woodward, “is to engage fourteen-year-old pupils now so that by the time they do leave school they have an armful of real projects they have delivered on their CV – giving the best opportunity for their future.  They were given a real design brief and the mural ideas they presented were outstanding”.

Lee Stanley, a former pupil of North Manchester High School for Boys, said: “I really wanted to give the pupils something to get excited about.  The idea of having artwork down the side of such a prominent building in the area – I knew that would get them thinking.”

Sir Richard Leese said: “This goes to the heart of innovative and creative Manchester, giving the opportunity to our young people, in this case from North Manchester, to show what they can do, and to see what doors might open for them in the future if they put the work in. Great stuff!”

Three awards were presented at the end of the contest for the best concept, the best design and the best communications.


David Derbyshire, Richard Leese, Sue Woodward, Lee Staley
Judging panel David Derbyshire, Sir Richard Leese, Susan Woodward and Lee Stanley with North Manchester High School for Girls pupils

Winning Concept – North Manchester High School for Girls


The judges decided to award the winner of the concept category to the school who demonstrated the greatest ability to meet the given brief.  The winning concept was clear and delivered a concise message for The Sharp Project.  The team from North Manchester High School for girls will work with Astra Signs to complete their design which will be wrapped around the Sharp building and unveiled in the new school year.

Winning Design – North Manchester High School for Boys


The team produced a ‘stunning’ piece of design but the judges felt that it did not demonstrate as strong an understanding as the winning concept of The Sharp Project being a ‘digital grow-bag’.  However Sir Richard Leese was very impressed by the design and saw it as an excellent representation of Manchester’s opportunity for young people, saying that he would like to use this design for future events or printed materials in North Manchester.

Winning Communications – Plant Hill Arts College


The winner of the communication category was the entry that Sue Woodward felt strongly conveyed the community aspect of Sharp Futures.  The entire judging panel was extremely impressed by the way that the pupils communicated with each other and the strong working relationship which had developed in the team. The school will be given the opportunity to work with the Sharp Project to develop a mission statement for the project which will be used on the Sharp Futures website.

The Sharp Project
Thorp Road
M40 5BJ
United Kingdom