Today, our class of 2022 gathered at the Royal Festival Hall to celebrate their graduation.
Chancellor of UAL, Grayson Perry oversaw proceedings with honoraries including Sex Pistol Glen Matllock and artistic director of Dior Menswear, Kim Jones. Over the day, students from across all disciplines walked the stage as their families and friend cheered them on. In more ways that one, it was a ceremony of joy and bittersweet goodbyes. In what will be his final graduation as Head of Central Saint Martins, Jeremy Till paid tribute to the graduating class:
It’s wonderful to see you all gathered here today on such a very special day. It's so wonderful because of what you've overcome to be here. At times over the past years, it seemed quite impossible. I often say the Central Saint Martins is only as good as its last show. And its last show is only as good as its graduating students. On this basis, Central Saint Martins is an extraordinary place because you have been extraordinary.
You faced these difficult times with a mixture of resilience, agility and hope. And the work you produced has inspired us all. In the face of the intersecting crises and the pandemic, of climate breakdown, of Black Lives Matter you’ve engaged with the world with empathy and care, for others and for the planet... You should feel so proud of yourself and I'm very proud to stand in front of you. Huge congratulations.
There were heartfelt speeches from students Leonidas Liolios and Marianne Thomas (both BA Graphic Communication Design), Ken Nakajima (BA Performance: Design and Practice and Jesse Adler (MA Material Futures).
Here we share an excerpt of Jesse Adler's:
“We are the class of COVID. We were asked to do the impossible, to find the energies, space and discipline to create, learn and push forward with our work from our bedrooms, our gardens, our home countries, in the midst of a global pandemic. As if our coursework wasn't hard enough to begin with.
We are the guinea pigs of Teams calls and Blackboard, suffering through Zoom fatigue and people who forget to mute themselves. But we did it; we kept going even when it was easier to give up than to get some toilet roll.
Many of us lost family members, friends and jobs. But all of us were restricted from accessing the most precious resource that Central Saint Martins has to offer: each other.
This room is filled with the most brilliant, passionate and innovative individuals who are driven by a desire to change the world and shape the future. Working with and alongside all of you has been the greatest honour of all, you pushed me and challenged me to become the person I am today. Being together as a community, as a class, inspire me to pursue my dreams and to dream new dreams…
From all the failed prototypes, crashed software, broken needles and contaminated cultures to graduating today. As we move forward from here and commence our independent journeys, may we all feel comfort in knowing that whatever challenges, changes, failures and mistakes we will encounter, we will never be alone.
The power and potential of the people in this room is palpable. We are the next leaders in the design world, mark my words, you will see these faces and these names again and again, as we reshape beliefs and systems to suit an ever-evolving society and planet. If we can make it through all of this, I know that we can do anything.”
Congratulations to the Class of 2022!