Skip to main content
Media centre

Athena opening - Helen meets Secretary of State

13 June 2008 @TeessideUni


Fulwood’s Helen Hurry today met John Denham, Secretary of State for the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills. Mr Denham officially opened the £10m Athena Building.

The building is for the University’s Art, Media, Design and Computing students.

Helen, 21, from Fulwood, Preston, has just completed a BA (Hons) Graphic Design at the University. She met the Secretary of State as she designed an 8m by 6m mural on the side of the Athena Building, selected following a competition for Design students. Their brief was to produce artwork for the Athena building around the theme of celebration.

Helen said: ‘I was very honoured to be invited to the Athena’s official opening and meet the Secretary of State. When I first heard my work had been selected to go on the building it was very exciting. To have something I have produced and see it at such a large scale is very rewarding. The brief stated that the artwork should be inspiring, exciting and celebratory. I focused on the celebration side of things and fireworks were an immediate response. I layered photographs of fireworks to give it more depth, colour and make the image more abstract.

‘To have something I have created on a wall for everyone to see is very gratifying. Knowing it’s there is very exciting and I hope it will inspire others. I hope that this experience will get me a little more noticed in the world of graphic design. I’d like to work in a top graphic design agency, hopefully abroad. Canada, New Zealand and Australia seem interesting at the moment.’

Design at Teesside Barbara Usherwood, Head of Design said: ‘We selected Helen’s design due to its strong visual qualities. It fuses digital technology with traditional design skills, which is ideal for this new building.’

Helen is the daughter of Pam and Graeme Hurry and a former pupil of Tulketh High School and Preston College.

Mr Denham said: ‘I am delighted to open this new £10 million state-of-the-art building at the University of Teesside. It will enable the University to give students the skills that they need to get the high paid jobs of the future.’

Fantastic teaching space Inside the Athena are 4,000 square metres of studio space for teaching and learning across a range of areas of digital technology and media. This has enabled the University to build on its reputation for excellence in areas such as computer animation, games development, design and digital media.

Facilities inside the Athena building include state-of-the-art design studios, an experimental workshop, a newsroom, broadcast news studios and multimedia publishing studios and workshops. There are also suites for 2-D and 3-D computer animation, computer games art, design and programming, visualisation, graphics programming and digital music, and gallery space for exhibitions at the entrance.