North East-born Hollywood director Sir Ridley Scott has recognised his former art college in Hartlepool during his BAFTA Fellowship Award speech.
The legendary director of films such as Gladiator and Alien honoured West Hartlepool College of Art – which is now Cleveland College of Art and Design – after receiving the Fellowship award for his outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, games or television. The university-level campus on Church Square is now one of the UK’s leading specialist art and design schools.
80-year-old Ridley, who was born in South Shields, began his foray into the arts when he chose to study at West Hartlepool College of Art, and acknowledged its influence and impact on his 40-year film-making career.
Sir Ridley said: “The College was a revelation, it’s weirdly dressed students expressing their individualism and passionate teachers who are genuinely interested in the students, not just tolerating, but actually engaging with them – a world apart from my schooling until then.
“It is extraordinary what an enthusiastic teacher can do; drawing the student out, igniting independence and encouraging the design of your own future rather than waiting for something to happen.”
The acclaimed director secured a place at the college despite having just one GCE and mentioned how supportive his father was in developing a career in the arts. He went on to make a very important point about the education system as a whole:
“Teaching is the most important of all professions: sort that out and social problems will get sorted out. Sounds simple, we’ve been talking about it for years, but it is absolutely vital. My teachers inspired me and thanks to my Dad’s intuition, here I am tonight!”
Sir Ridley has privately supported CCAD’s standing as an independent art school as recently as the summer of 2017; when he kindly loaned some of the original story boards from Boy and Bicycle to its bi-annual Festival of Illustration.
Pat Chapman, Vice Principal (Employability and External Relations) at CCAD, said: “We would like to congratulate Sir Ridley Scott on receiving the BAFTA Fellowship Award and CCAD is delighted that he spoke so glowingly of his time at the College. Our relationship with him is still strong – last summer he flew over some of his own original story board art to be shown in our second Festival of Illustration.
“As the only independent art college in the north, we are continuing to provide the inspiration and revelation that Ridley spoke of. CCAD was commended by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education for the way we enhance our students’ experience, we were awarded Gold in the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework and we have a 91 percent student satisfaction rating in the National Student Survey.
“Significantly, as a specialist in the creative industries, we work with partners from film and TV on a regular basis to give our students real world valuable experience. We have just invested £11million in new teaching facilities, a theatre and film and TV studios, and we now offer eight degrees in the field of stage and screen where students can collaborate as they learn – just as they will work collaboratively in industry.”
Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “I was delighted that Sir Ridley Scott chose to pay tribute to Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD) in his speech at the BAFTAs.
“CCAD is a fantastic place with inspirational and talented staff and students, and as a town we are proud to be home to such a high-quality educational institution. The council enjoys a very positive working relationship with CCAD – as shown by the recent opening of the college’s new multi-million pound campus in Hartlepool – and we aim to develop that relationship over coming years to help us realise our ambitious regeneration plans for the town.”
For more information on opportunities at CCAD contact (01642) 288888 or visit www.ccad.ac.uk.