Manchester Metropolitan University

Wednesday, 24th September 2008

Animators highlight child poverty

BBC commissions student art

A MAJOR BBC campaign is being illustrated by art and design students from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Over four nights, BBC North West Tonight is highlighting child poverty with a series of hard-hitting true stories from struggling families across the region.

North West Tonight has asked a team of animators at MMU to help illustrate these real-life stories.

In one film, 13-year-old Steven shares a bed with his 11-year-old brother Ben. There’s damp and flaking plaster on the walls. "My friends always say I’m scruffy and I live in a dustbin," says their sister Katy, 12. "It’s not really our fault because we can’t afford much."

BBC commission

"They opted to protect the children’s identities, and commissioned us to instead illustrate their stories with drawing and animation," says MMU Illustration & Animation expert Vanessa Cuthbert.

"Students worked through the summer and have come up with work that is arresting but sensitive, showing our strength in experimental animation."

In all, four students and three graduates contributed ideas and images, including Eleanor Mulhearne, who created the title sequence to the film 24 Hour Party People, 2008 graduates Josh Armitage and Ben Thompson, second year undergraduate Claire Thomas, and third-years Pollyanna Coupland, Alex Humphries and Rob Dixon.

The films are being shown on North West Tonight tonight and tomorrow. To view the films, go to

- According to the government’s latest figures, one in four North West children live below this poverty line. Child poverty charities like Barnardo's believe the real figure is closer to one in three.

Manchester Metropolitan University is one of the most extensive higher education centres in Europe with 37,000 students and more than 1,000 undergraduate, postgraduate and professional courses. The University educates and trains large numbers of legal and business professionals, scientists, engineers, teachers, health workers and creative professionals.

The University is in the top three nationally for environmental sustainability and has an 85% research impact rated world-leading and internationally excellent.

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