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York students get on their bikes in search of Tour de France inspiration

Posted on 14 June 2013

Students from the University of York are gearing up for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute creative ideas for art and floral displays which could feature on the Tour de France route through Yorkshire next year.

The five-strong student team are working with Harrogate Borough Council’s Parks and Open Spaces team to develop ideas for displays to be set within the parks and open spaces lining the first stage of the Grand Depart route through Harrogate District.

The students aim to incorporate the themes of the Tour while capturing the essence of Yorkshire. They will pitch their ideas to the council team later this month, before a final decision is taken on which proposals will be taken forward.

The 190km first stage of the Tour runs from Leeds to Harrogate on 5 July 2014.

First year student Verity Washington said:

“It’s such a privilege to have the opportunity to get involved with an event of this magnitude. We are currently working on a theme for our designs and we are keen to involve the community in decisions about what form our displays might take. Our ideas include recycled bikes, or perhaps a community knitting event to produce colourful jerseys to line the route.”

The University of York's students have a lot to offer the city and community in terms of their skills and enthusiasm

Andrew Ferguson

Patricia McLaughlin, Parks Development Manager, Harrogate Borough Council said:

“We are looking for creative ideas that will capture the imagination and provide a real wow factor. We’re hoping the students will be able to identify some key features of the Tour de France that might link with the landscape or culture of Harrogate district. It’s a great opportunity to get creative, but at the same time, the ideas have to be deliverable and appropriate for the setting.”

The project is part of the University of York’s @Work programme, a collaboration between Careers and the departments of English and Related Literature, Education and History of Art. First and second year students are applying their academic knowledge and research skills through 25 heritage, education and community projects running throughout the latter part of the summer term.

Andrew Ferguson, Assistant Director, Business, Enterprise and Community, in Careers at the University of York said:

“The University of York's students have a lot to offer the city and community in terms of their skills and enthusiasm. This ambitious programme is about helping those students to develop their experience, enhance their employability and solve real problems, while working in collaboration with the community, most notably in the arts, the heritage and cultural industries and the education sector.”

Other @Work projects currently underway include:

  • Researching the identities of past merchants of York whose portraits are displayed in the Great Hall of city’s Merchant Adventurers Hall. The students will also  be creating interpretation panels for the hall’s under croft
  • Working with North Yorkshire Police and Westfield Primary Community School to follow the case of a theft from a mock trial to sentencing
  • Creating trails and guides for the National Trust properties at Beningbrough Hall and Nunnington Hall
  • A  museum tour and storytelling event at York Museum for the York Festival of Ideas
  • A day-long ‘What is a Villain’ event at Fulford School designed to challenge identity and perceptions – also part of the Festival of Ideas
  • Producing a chocolate stories radio show linking to the city-wide Pilot Theatre production of Blood + Chocolate

All of the teams participating in @Work, along with students from all of the Careers programmes will have their efforts recognised at the University's first Careers Awards: Celebrating Success on 27 June.

Notes to editors:

Contact details

Sheila Perry
Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322029

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