The Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) is celebrating following its ‘Olympic’ success in the 2012 Podium Awards, a prestigious one-off celebration recognising the vital role colleges and universities across the UK play in delivering the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Costume with Performance Design course was awarded the Silver Medal in the Creative Cultural Project Award for their work in the ‘Battle for the Winds’ Ceremony, which is a large-scale event marking the opening celebrations of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing events in Weymouth. The Ceremony, which is led by Cirque Bijou and Desperate Men, is an outdoor performance taking place from the 27th – 29th July. The costumes in the Ceremony have been designed and created by Costume students from the AUB under the watchful eye of lead Costume Designer, Sarah Dicks, an MA student at the AUB. Sarah has designed an array of colourful and fantastical costumes which will come to life at the end of July in the ‘Battle for the Winds’ which culminates in a dramatic celebration of the release of the winds, fire torches in the sea, performances on stage and in the air, video projections and pyrotechnics.

The Costume course had previously been awarded Bronze in the ‘Be a Champion Award for Successful Student Led Activity’ for their contribution to ‘Breathe’, another breathtaking outdoor performance of circus, dance and cabaret where people who cannot walk will fly, wheelchairs will float, those without voices will speak and all will soar high above Weymouth as part of the Battle for the Winds Spectacular.

2nd year Students from the Costume course designed costumes for the characters in the Breathe Performance – using unusual resources and recycled materials, student explored interesting shapes and unique textures to create a ensemble of diverse and eye-catching costumes for this dance performance at the end of July.

Other awards won include the RELAYS (Regional Education Legacy for Arts and Youth Sport) project, which is an Olympic inspired, four year programme of exciting and vibrant events and activities that has been engaging and inspiring young people, business and communities across the South West of England since 2008. RELAYS received a Silver Award for the most Invaluable Volunteering Project.

Led by Universities South West and 11 universities including the AUB, RELAYS recognised that London 2012 presented a unique opportunity for HEIs to work together and reach out to the community in a positive and pan-regional way. Since 2009 a RELAYS Cultural Coordinator has been based at the AUB, working to inspire young people in the arts through projects and events. This role also involves working with the students to develop volunteering roles which aims to upskill them, enabling them to gain further experience and develop generic leadership skills to take forward into their careers.

Through a creative blend of sport and culture, RELAYS has delivered a creative range of events from art workshops to school sports competitions, surf events to dance showcases, public festivals to running community classrooms aimed primarily at young people up to the age of 18, which are all run by RELAYS staff based at the universities and delivered through a team of trained student volunteers. To date, RELAYS has held 1,151 events; engaged 73,176 young people; entertained 332,245 audience members; and provided 5,837 volunteering opportunities and has supported 1,513 businesses.

In addition, RELAYS received the Bronze Award in the prestigious ‘Coubertin’s Olympic Vision’ Award. Antoine DeNavacelle, who’s great-grand-uncle Pierre de Coubertin founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894, joined Chair of Podium, Professor Geoff Petts and the IOC’s Nuria Puig to announce the winners of this award at the Ceremony in early May, following a public vote. The award recognises the projects which most successfully fulfil Coubertin’s vision of using the Olympic Games to unite sport, culture, and education in celebration. A video on the RELAYS project, produced by first year Digital Media Production students was one of the six outstanding projects that went through to a public vote and receiving the Bronze Award in this category.

Following the success in the Podium Awards, the AUB is looking forward to the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and spotting its students’ contribution to the grand opening of this world-class event.