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A large 3D number 20 standing on a pedestal outside Castlepoint Shopping Centre. AUB staff stand to the left, two AUB BA (Hons) Illustration students stand to the right, and pose for a photo.

Castlepoint turns 20: Selfie-lovers flock to AUB students’ vibrant art installation


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This month, Castlepoint celebrated a massive milestone – its 20th anniversary. Behind the big birthday plans was Sophie McPherson, an Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) BA (Hons) Fashion Branding and Communication graduate. When she got in touch to ask for help, AUB’s BA (Hons) Illustration students jumped on the opportunity. The result was a crowd-pleasing installation that infused their distinctive styles into the shopping centre’s fresh branding.

Once you’re part of the AUB community, you’re a member for life. This story is just one example of how graduates stay connected and give back.

Sophie McPherson, Account Manager at Velocity Worldwide, manages marketing events for two shopping centres. One of them is Castlepoint in Bournemouth. While helping plan the 20th-anniversary celebrations, she got in touch to see if AUB students would help her bring her ideas to life and create something special.

Alumni Officer Zoe Larrad at AUB explains, “Our wonderful Fashion Branding and Communication graduate, Sophie, got in touch to discuss a potential partnership opportunity for the Castlepoint 20th Birthday celebrations and re-branding. It’s a real credit to our teaching staff and quality of creative education that our alumni are always happy to re-connect with us here at AUB."

Bringing the brief to life

Inspired by Castlepoint’s architecture and all-new branding, which launched this month, AUB students took the opportunity to create an installation in their own distinctive style. The result was a big number 20, designed to encapsulate the spirit of the community and the exciting future that lies ahead at Castlepoint.

AUB student Martin Samways designed the "2". Explaining his design, he said, “I wanted to play with 2D images in a 3D space – the artwork celebrates improvisation and challenges how audiences engage with abstract illustrations. There are also hidden details designed to reward inquisitive minds!”

Another AUB student, Ciara Hay, who designed the "0", said, “I enjoyed the opportunity to work within the brief’s parameters, infusing my distinctive style into Castlepoint's fresh branding design. Embracing this challenge, I explored innovative uses of desktop and iPad-based graphic software, adding exciting new dimensions to my own creative journey."

"Our students did so well to incorporate all elements of the professional brief whilst showcasing their own individual illustration style. The finished product looks great and attracted a lot of attention during the birthday celebrations," says Zoe Larrad, Alumni Officer.

Collaborating with the community

More than 2,000 visitors received branded tote bags, enjoyed live music and crafts, and indulged in locally baked cupcakes.

Castlepoint Centre Manager David Pickett commented, “At Castlepoint, we take pride in supporting the arts. Working with these talented students exemplifies our commitment to that ideal. Their amazing artwork not only showcases their creativity but captures the essence of Castlepoint. We're excited to continue collaborating with the community to create memorable moments.”

Vincent Larkin, AUB Senior Lecturer, added, “Our BA (Hons) Illustration programme offers an exciting learning journey, where lively discussions thrive within a dynamic, creative studio setting. We champion the growth of each individual through encouraging experimentation, exploration, innovation, and embracing risks, fostering a truly vibrant and dynamic educational experience.

“This project stands as a testament to our commitment to nurturing artistic talent by combining traditional and contemporary illustration techniques. Our students have been able to unlock a world of artistic possibilities, embracing the rich heritage of traditional illustration while harnessing modern approaches.”

If you're an organisation interested in collaborating with us, visit our Industry page to find out more.

Photo by Remy Lovesy

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