Christmas card competition

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Almost 100 universities and colleges responded to our Christmas card competition and entries were generally of so high a standard that it was difficult to produce a shortlist and even tougher to select winners. It took the judges - Wendy Berliner, Editor of Education+, and John (Word of Mouth) Izbicki - considerable time to reach their conclusion. They eventually came up with a shortlist of 13. Most of these had a well-defined connection to the institution they represented.

There were some exceptions. Such as Warwick University's card which pictured a striking piece of modern art: Mary Fedden's Jug and Eggs, part of the university's permanent collection; another piece of modern art - A nocturn with snow, rust stars and rivets by Glasgow artist Tom McKendrick who was commissioned to paint it for the University of Strathclyde; and Plymouth College of Art and Design's multi-sectioned card comprising Christmas tree baubles, with painted eyes and mouth to give them a lifelike appearance. The eyes on the face on the front of the card are of glass. Congratulations to Karen Albrow who was responsible for this piece of original design.

From the University of East London came another unusual entry - a card in the shape of a Christmas tree covered in drawn snowflakes, stars and the UEL logo. When it stands up, it reveals its "best wishes" message.

Three pieces of sculpture were also shortlisted: Epstein's infant's head from the University of East Anglia where this striking bust forms part of the collection at UEA's Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts; Henry Moore's Reclining Figure (1945), photographed by Kate Mount at Dartington Hall Gardens when it wore a scarf of snow, was the entry from the Dartington College of Arts; and the statue of Sophocles which stands in the entrance of King's College, London University. On his shoulder, a prettily painted robin. We highly commended this one.

Four others: a snowy scene at Royal Holloway College; a splendid watercolour of Radcliffe Square, Oxford, by Philip Bannister for Oxford University's card; another attractive watercolour by Catherine Power of The Queen's University, Belfast; and Tom MacDonald's superb quayside painting to grace the card from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

In the end there could be no doubt in the judges' combined minds: first prize - and the magnificent Christmas hamper from Conran's Pont de la Tour foodstore - goes to Julie Herring of the design unit of Bournemouth University for a painting of the rolling Dorset countryside - Badbury Rings. The viewer experiences a feeling of deep peace but is left with the promise of a warm spring. The card's message forms an apt caption to the picture: "Bournemouth University - creating a brighter future".

Runner-up, to receive the smaller but equally splendid Conran hamper, is the University of Westminster. Its card shows a "pigeon's view" of the university's main building in Regent Street, in the heart of London's West End, complete with traffic jam and milling crowds of tiny people. It is a striking, colourful cartoon from the pen of Jim Kay who was a BA Honours student at Westminster from 1994-97.

To all who entered, thanks, and to the winners, hearty congratulations.

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