The Paddon Award took place this week with students,staff and alumni at the university producing unique art that looked at the theme of sustainability and imagining the future.
The Paddon Award was established nearly thirty years ago in memory of two alumni who generously contributed towards fostering collaboration between alumni and current students at the University of Exeter. Betty and Percy Paddon began the annual arts prize that is now in its third decade.
The prize categories this year ranged from film, prose and musical composition to the visual arts. The addition of the visual arts this year proved to be a popular category amongst entrants.
The judging event was held on Monday 11 March, and judges Ginny Bailey (PhD English), Neil Canning (Hon DLitt) and George Stiles (BA Music) had the difficult task of choosing a winner.
This year Hanaby Cai earnt the first place with her innovative paper cutting Pull Me Out. Receiving £250 cash and more importantly having the opportunity to have a one-to-one session with one of the judges proved a great opportunity for the winning student.
Cai’s work is both playful and courageous – dealing with one of the big themes of sustainability – which is the hunting of endangered animals. Her work is interactive and engages the audience from it’s very title – Pull Me Out. The piece is able to be moved and the paper animals can be “set-free” from their trappings in the frame – all portrayed in a beautifully simple and super-effective style.
The judges commented that the quality of work was very high, and that the choice of a winner had been a difficult one.The Paddon Award normally elects second and third place prize winners; however the judges felt that the contest was so close that there should instead be two runners-up, without any distinction between them. These awards went to George-Christopher Fishwick and Nicole McMurphy.
Fishwick’s creative fiction The Butterfly Effect was enriched with knowledge of Chinese history and culture whilst McMurphy’s engaging imagining of a green future provided an optimistic angle for the future of sustainability.
Overall the award was a huge success and it was nice to see students, staff and alumni coming together to celebrate the creativity and culture that thrives at the university. Without events and awards such as these, artistic talent would be neglected, and therefore it is of vital importance to support and celebrate the culture that we have here in Exeter.