Emma Smetham

A fast and varied career in the world of interior design has taken Emma Smetham all over the UK and parts of Europe.

 “My practice has become increasingly interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary with an emphasis on visual communication,” says Emma.

Emma teaches Interior Design at our Harrogate site. Her professional expertise spans the Faculty of Art and Design to include Hull and Harrogate. She is also our Quality Improvement Student Support Manager at both sites has recently been involved in Open University validation events; and offers academic advice and support where she is able to within the faculty.

Emma began to diversify into teaching in the early 1990s and has taught higher education at Harrogate since 2007.

Reflecting on her own academic background, Emma says:

“It was An Art and Design Foundation course at Nottingham Polytechnic in 1988 that sparked my interest in interior design, engaging in the design process including 3D design. “I was very lucky to have tutors that guided me in the right direction.”

After graduating in Interior Design from Leeds Polytechnic, Emma went straight into industry, working with an architecture practice in London. The next rung on the career ladder took her to another architecture practice in Nottingham this time as project designer on large-scale commercial interior and architectural projects.

By 1990, she was working on large office environmental design projects throughout the UK planning and specifying high spec. system furniture for large office environments.

Here, Emma developed a niche area of expertise in commercial lighting, specifying for a variety of internal and external environments. Again she diversified into another area of Interior Design working initially for a German lighting company and then an Italian lighting company and subsequently designing a range of bespoke fittings for a variety of clients and concepts.

For Emma, teaching combined with research and consultancy is the natural career progression.

Her research interests include issues surrounding regeneration and renewal of industrial architecture in Yorkshire and beyond.

In 2012, Emma completed an MA in Image and Time-Based Media based around her research interests, which allowed her to maximise existing skills and learn new ones, such as photo-etching.

“I based my MA on the theme of regeneration and renewal of existing industrial architecture located in textile towns in and around Yorkshire,” she says. “One of the focuses of my investigation was a building called Pioneer House in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire which was once a co operative and now a Grade 2 listed building. Working with Kirklees Council, I looked at ways in which its legacy could be continued by regenerating it for a variety of uses and opportunities with in a once thriving and now struggling community. I feel we have a responsibility as designers to look at ways of regenerating communities and areas that are sadly in deprivation”.

The social responsibility of designers is a recurring theme in Emma’s teaching, practice and research. Organisations such as English Heritage, Urban Splash, Urban Renaissance,  The Prince’s Regeneration Trust are all influences.

My work is a fusion of my industrial experience, research and teaching,” she says. “This involves raising awareness of personal and professional responsibilities as a designer, being aware of environmental issues, utilising sustainable design and developing a strong identity and philosophy.”

Consultancy work in the interior design industry has been a constant throughout Emma’s career. She aims to achieve a balance between having an awareness of contemporary current industrial knowledge and experience which ultimately feeds into her teaching.

Andy Brady

Andy Brady, Hull School Of Performance Arts’ programme leader in Technical And Theatre Production, is a big believer in telling it like it is.

“People often think stage management is a glamorous career,” says Andy. “The reality is, you have To enjoy this job. You’re realising other people’s dreams. I’ve worked with shows and done 72 hours straight. The reality is, you’d better enjoy it, because you’ll be hanging off a scaffolding tower 20ft in the air, living off Red Bull and McDonalds at 4am.”

Stage managers and theatre technicians may be the unsung heroes of the stage but Hull-born Andy is equally down-to-earth when describing the benefits of his calling.

“I get to play with toys,” he says. “I could be out on a building site or working in a factory but I get to play creatively for a living.  What you’re doing in stage management is creating worlds and making imaginations come to life.”

He spent 3 years working in and around the West End as a freelance stage manager and technician after completing a BA (Hons) in Stage Management at London performing arts school, Rose Bruford College.

Andy’s clients included Jermyn Street Theatre – a “testing house” for the West End – the Tate Modern and his alma mater, Rose Bruford College.  He has worked on a variety of productions, including The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, The Bacchus, Bouncers and Madness of George III.  He also production managed a full season of shows at London College Of Theatre Studies.

Before the bug for the technical elements of the theatre bit him, Andy was an actor and dancer, studying performing arts. This phase of study saw him working and building contacts with Hull theatre companies such as Magic Carpet, Hull New Theatre, Hull Truck and Hull Youth Theatre, all of which stood him in good stead for a move back home to Hull.

He began teaching adult education at Preston Road New Deal For Communities, then joined Hull School Of Performance Arts in 2001.

Andy continues to build upon his contacts within the community, in his own practice and with the opportunities he provides for his students. He works with Hull Truck, offers design and technical support to City Arts, stage management for Hull’s thriving dance scene and lighting design for a local street dance company and New Voices, a York screenwriters’ festival.

Andy’s major research interest is in digital performance, which he hopes to develop on a Masters degree.

I’m investigating the links between digital arts and graphics,” he says. “I’m looking at the development and use of media servers and midi operating systems. It’s very big in technical theatre – you can’t see a show without huge projection walls and automatic lighting. Touchpad and iPad technology for lighting systems and sound networks is another area in which I’m doing a lot of research.”

View Andy’s LinkedIn profile HERE:

A presentation by Andy on Stage Management History can be seen HERE: