Interview: Zo Gardner

Zo Gardner has just finished her Foundation Diploma in Art course at Petroc and has received a place to study Hair, Make-up, and Prosthetics degree at University College London. Jum Fernandez catches up with her to find out about the concepts behind her amazing final piece and why she has chosen to go into Hair, Make-up, and Prosthetics.

Jum Fernandez: What course have you just completed?
Zo Gardner: Foundation Diploma in Art & Design.

What course have you applied to study at University?
I’ve been accepted onto a Hair, Make-up, and Prosthetics degree run by UAL.

What influenced you to study Hair, Make-Up and Prosthetics?
13240766_10207097388165508_4724607738961448050_nVery honestly, it was mainly out of spite. For Halloween a friend of mine wore this beautiful pair of prosthetic horns, created by a student at the same UAL course that I will go onto study at. They looked great. I was jealous of how well they were made, and felt the need to prove that despite my lack of experience and materials, that I could do the same. So out of spite I crafted a similar pair of horns out of Fimo clay, & gone off liquid latex. They turned out really well, and I’ve not stopped making prosthetics since.

Aside from petty rivalry, the course combines my adoration for film, literature, and art. Which are all mediums that I’ve struggled to choose between when it comes to furthering my education. In doing this course, I no longer have to make that decision. It’s expressive, practical, and a subject that I’m genuinely excited to study.

Your final piece was entitled “Family Values”, could you tell us a little about the concept behind it?
Part of our brief is to create a project to do with our ‘vocational choice’. Since mine is media makeup, I decided to make concept art for a TV series or film. This is when you create the world in which the story is set without yet adding a narrative, as scripting, filming, and post production on top of world building would land me 2 years over my deadline.

The concept initially revolved around a critique of the nuclear family, for its installation of gender roles, an unquestioning respect for authority, and for it’s support of a patriarchal power structure. I linked the concept very heavily to a 50’s era aesthetic to question our lack of social change in the past 70 odd years. This was fuelled by recent events and movements, that still echo the message of social inequality today; such as a new wave of feminism, #blacklivesmatter, and the general everyday micro aggressions that help enforce hetronormity, cissexism, class divides, and everything else. I also made it futuristic, and so crafted alien-like prosthetics to signal this, futurism was important to this idea because doubled with a 50’s appearance, it highlights the fact that not enough social change has happened.


I had been sitting on this concept for a good few months before I could even start my project, and I was bored of it before I had even begun. After researching different family models, I read about the emergence of a ‘network’ type family. This is where members do not have to be of blood relation, they can be steps, half’s, ex’s, adopted, friends, or sperm donors. Inspired by this I changed my concept to critique our culture through example. The family is fronted by an elderly lesbian couple, and features an adopted child, a single mother, an gender queer character, a polygamous partnership, and mixed relationships. I photographed the ‘network’ family with full alien-like prosthetics, in an old council house, featuring a 70’s aesthetic. The 1970’s was chosen for it’s liberal associations, and the activism that took place within it, while I chose a working class setting to represent our leading role in social change. I kept it futuristic to say the opposite of my initial idea: that we have the opportunity to change the way that we treat one another, and that with time, education, and acceptance, we can deconstruct our patriarchal society into something better -even if we look like aliens by the time we get there. This most importantly starts with changing our family values.

Looking back at the final piece, I can imagine this concept art as being the basis for a hilariously mundane sit-com. Where the fact that they’re aliens is never fully addressed, but played upon as a running joke. Something similar to the Royle Family, but fronted by an elderly lesbian couple.



Petroc students attend Radio 1 Academy!


Ahead of Radio 1’s Big Weekend coming to Exeter this week (28 and 29 May), several Petroc students have been learning the tricks of the trade.

Students Will Squire, Grace Sanders and Jo Price were all lucky enough to join the fifth Radio 1 Academy at Exeter’s Phoenix theatre last week. The Academy, established in 2012 and running this year between 17-21 May, featured an abundance of workshops, speakers from Radio 1 DJ’s and some students were even lucky enough to get onto live radio!


Fresh FM station manager Will Squire with Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo

Will Squire, station manager of Petroc student radio Fresh FM, managed to bag an interview live on Radio 1 with DJ Clara Amfo, following a performance by Laura Mvula in the Radio 1 Live Lounge! Speaking to Petroc Student Union, he said: “It was great! I wasn’t even supposed to be at the live lounge session but there were some empty seats so we went in and then I got asked to go on air!”

The four day event had a live lounge every day from the likes of Jake Bugg and Tom Odell, who are both performing at Big Weekend. There was also numerous workshops; the one and only Craig David spoke about breaking in to the music industry and students were also able to experience the BBC’s new virtual reality and 360 video technology.

The 10 Favourite Moments from the Academy

You can hear Petroc’s Will squire live on Radio 1 by clicking here and skipping to 2:23:30

Radio 1 DJ’s themselves were hovering about at every corner, including the likes of Scott Mills, Greg James and Chris Stark. As Will told us, Nick Grimshaw was also due to speak however illness prevented him from attending.


Grace and Will with Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills


Petroc students Grace and Will met Radio 1 DJ Greg James at the Academy

Reflecting on what was sure to be a week to remember, Will said: “It was a fun and enjoyable experience, it gave me a good insight into pathways to careers in and around radio”.

Two interns from the Radio 1 ‘Where it Begins’ internship scheme were also present at the Academy, highlighting the fact that the big jobs in radio are certainly achievable, however it takes hard work, determination and persistence to reach them. As Will put it: “The main message was to work hard, be nice and do everything you can, as was the emphasis of one session I went to”.

Kath Yates, a member of staff at Petroc that oversees the running of Fresh FM, said: “It’s amazing that our students had the opportunity to take part in something this big and so close to home too. A real inspirational experience that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.”

The Radio 1 Academy is an annual event and Petroc’s Fresh FM DJ’s will be given many opportunities like this in the future. Fancy getting involved? Email and get heard on your college radio station!

Keep up to date with PSU Barnstaple on Twitter and Facebook!

If we are bowls of soup, then I’m a broken bowl | Abygail Goodwin

If we are bowls of soup, then I’m a broken bowl
In response to Soup Sister by Rebecca Perry

     The light here is not worth mentioning
Neither is my day
The rain it washed the leaves away
So in regards to that, my dear, there is nothing more to say.
But the tree that caught your attention that so reminded you of me
It was far more flattering than I deserve
I am not the beautiful tragedy that you perceive me to be.

On that day that you recall, where we were more whiskey than water
When our skin was no more than a testament to our bad judgement of the night before
When we lay in a dark room and you presumed that I was suffering heartbreak of my own.
It was your heart that was breaking but I had simply borrowed it while it did so
Only returning it to you when I felt it had healed.
While I tried to heal you made a meal.
You commented on the time it took me to shower, was it more than a hour?
I can’t quite remember
It was cold was it not?
Maybe it was December.
Or maybe it took all the warmth of my cold not completely caring heart to show kindness to yours.
If that’s the case then I would ask for a round of applause
But not for my pride or for recognition just a silent promise that you would`ve returned the favour had it been me in that position.

I remember hearing the rain and being not quite sure if it was that or
my tears that seemed to splatter with such ugliness on the window sill
So I sat still and spent most of my time observing the tree that you would later compare me to.
And when I think of that moment, because often I do. I remember the conversation that would later ensue.

Because if women are bowls waiting to be filled with soup then I am the broken bowl on the shelf still waiting for a spoon.
If I am the broken bowl then you are the favoured bowl with the theatrical smiley face.
The bowl that if broken nobody could quite replace.

Because if we as women are the bowls then who is the soup?
Silly me.
It’s no doubt needless to say that men need not be confined to a group.

And here you are telling me that the world is too big
The girl who believed that she could see the world in a day if only I had stayed

Yes the world it is sinking and rising as you say
But that is the seesaw of the world we live in, be it as it may.

The rivers have always been this wild my dear,
You would know such things if water was not one of your fears.

The old mountain between us as much as it pains me to admit is where it needs to be.
Because you must be you in spite of what you see in me.
Arrogance is just not knowing and you not knowing me is how it now has to be.

So you may ask how long I stare at the socks in my drawer.
I`d say no more time than you spend staring at that tree.
Because in a funny way they remind me just as much of you, as that tree reminds you of me.


Interview: Julian Langer

Jum Fernandez talks to Julian Langer who was a student at Petroc between the years 2007 to 2011. He did AS courses in philosophy, psychology, sociology and politics. In his second and third years he took the national diploma in performing arts with a national award in musical theatre.

Jum Fernandez: What are you doing now?
Julian Langer: Currently I am doing a degree in social psychology and philosophy through the Open University, am a progressive acoustic singer-songwriter and work as an activist primarily with 1 local affinity group (NDSN) and an international feminist and radical environmentalist group. I also admin on 3 radical environmentalist Facebook pages.

I understand you are writing a book, could you tell us a little about it?
Yes I’m writing a book, hopefully to be published before the end of the year, through the post-left anarchist book publishers Little Black Cart. It is a weird mix of things, but for the most part it is an analysis of the interaction between philosophical and psychological processes within this culture, their effects on people, communities and the planet, and a means of individually addressing them. The current title (which hopefully will be the final) is Wild Feral Consciousness: deconstruction of the modern myth and return to the woods and I think that sums it up nicely. It’s about a way of un-mediating our perceptions from all this “stuff” that distances us from the real world and the real situation the world and we (as part of the world) are in, that I think is needed in environmental politics. Like one of the areas is a deconstruction of the psychology of the self in relation to production; the production that is destroying the planet. It’s not majorly dry though, as I’ve tried to make it as enjoyable as possible. Also for a bit of fun I’ve included some of the worst hashtags ever as chapter endings.

Julian-Langer-Article1I know that you are a prominent activist in the area, could you tell us what motivates you?
Well while there are more personal reasons, I guess that the reason that’s most relevant is this. We are at a precipice on this planet. Man-made global warming, the 6th mass extinction event in earths history, global mass inequality, colonialism, war, political corruption, economic crises, refugee crises, increasing numbers of pandemics, energy crises, soil degradation from industrial agriculture’s hyper-exploitation, fascist groups and politicians like Trump on the rise and as well as many other problems are presenting a future that looks more and more like the dystopia of a cyber-punk sci-fi (particularly with a culture increasingly dominated by screens and digital technology). Back in 2012 NASA released a study that predicted that we’re 10 years away (well 6 now) from a systematic collapse (not crash, collapse)!

Now I absolutely hate (and am sceptical towards) moral arguments for this stuff, so this is my amoral motivation. For me to fulfil my own selfish desire of living the fullest most enjoyable life possible, I must be healthy and be in good relationship with those around me. I am materially an extension of the world, as are the other living beings (human and non-human) who I share this planet with. Because of this, it is rational for me to do all I can to create a world for myself and these other features of the world that I’m relational to, that healthy and liveable. I separate this from moral arguments, because this doesn’t make the work some kind of duty that is interfering with my desire, but makes it the basis of my rational desire.

So that’s basically what motivates me – pure selfishness (but in a different form to how most see selfishness).

Do you see your music as part of your activism or do you feel the motives behind the two are different?
They’re increasingly getting closer. They both stem from my desire to fully embrace life. I’m not a political musician, but have some political songs.


Interview: Carl Lucas

Carl Lucas (a current student at Petroc, Branhams Campus) was interviewed by the President of the Petroc Student Union Jum Fernandez about educational institutions and the arts, the artist’s journey and enrichment.

10438510_10153508983923348_3991416683881827442_n  Jum Fernandez: What course are you studying at Petroc?
Carl Lucas: Well, at this current moment in my life I’m studying in Fine Art year 2 or an FDA.

What do you think the role of educational institutions (like Petroc) are in the making of an artist?
I think places like Petroc are the eyes and leadership we need at that very beginning, it’s easy to say “I’m an artist” but it’s difficult if the knowledge isn’t there. Petroc allows me to be challenged physically and mentally. They push you to your best and support you on your decisions, yeah, they may refer you to other things and tweak a few ideas but that’s only an option to allow the opening of your mind. If I didn’t have Peter Newell as my tutor I think it would’ve been more stress filled, but Pete has that master of art feel and also shows you when you are actually ok. I.e you have an idea but don’t know where to go, but you already have all the answers, you just don’t know it yet. Art is a journey, it’s a difficult one, but if you don’t fight through everything then art is not going to be for you. Places like Petroc are a connection point to other industries like the plough for example, or the the white moose. Without places like Petroc art business would surely crumble.


 That is very true and very poetic! Could you tell us a little about your own work and artistic journey?
When I first began stepping onto the path of art I was frustrated with life in general. My relationship had fallen apart, I had lost myself and had no idea who “Carl Lucas” was anymore. My identity, in a way, was deleted or lost in the winds. So I continued the art and design course to create something for myself, though it was a distraction from life in a sense. After a few months I began attacking the sketchbook and with reds and yellows to represent a fire that laid within my heart at the time. It was when I spoke to the Colin Wright that I realised I could do something in the arts, there was a path I was accepted on. Over the cause of the course I began using music to inspire me and to translate how a story of mark making could express my emotions at that current time. But I was still frustrated and this time because of my own lack of skills in art. Then one morning, after a night of wanting to know how to paint, I woke with the urge to draw and paint as if it were the same need to eat, drink or love someone or something. Grabbing any pieces of paper and just thinking “screw it! If I mess up…. Who cares!” After painting for hours and hours from day time to night skies, I looked at the results and felt confused on how I was able to create these things. But I felt amazing and more importantly, felt like it was mine. In 2014, (when I finished my course) I experimented with tones of vibrant colours or Fauvism. My works consisted of musically driven portraits, eventually leading to the idea of light to dark and how certain details identified a certain individual. In 2015 I was trying to convey memories rather than a persons personality. This was because I felt art was more personal for me now, so I wanted to show that in such paintings as “Bridge” “The stairway to Dad” and “The drive”. These paintings depicted a moment in my childhood and how they still held a dearness to me. During the 1st year of the FDA 14-15, I felt curious in the limited amount of tools and ways of working as it seemed to force me into new ways of figuring out techniques. This was when the “Marker Pen” drawings came to light. Using the pen alone to create a silhouette or an inviting space of Freddie Mercury or Michael Jackson. Then came along Mr Wassily Kandinsky with his lines and abstracted shapes. Immediately I shouted “Yes! This is what I want to display!” So I got to work and searched and studied everything I could find on Kandinsky’s works. Since then I have translated my inner emotions and have used my memories as a way to craft something illustrative onto canvas. But it is music that surely holds the title here, as without it I couldn’t of orchestrated and understood the things I wanted to convey. E.M.M, Emotions, Memories and Music. That is my art work.

It’s incredible that art played such a large role in the rediscovering of your identity. How do you think having an extracurricular focus on the arts and creativity would benefit all the students of Petroc?
I think it would benefit the students massively. There’s so much of a build up of  the arts lately in Devon, I think having those new skills and knowledge and also a collection of contacts would help you artist get into the business better. And the benefit of having past artists study there improves the likely hood of other students to feel encouraged and optimistic about their future I think. I spoke to Peter Newell about how artists actually struggle with self doubt and how I would love to find a way to put that into the lessons in the future.

Carl’s work will be exhibited at the Goodwin Gallery, Branhams Campus in their Metamorphosis end of year exhibition from the 6th of June.

Carl’s Facebook:
Carl’s Youtube:

Let’s talk contraception


While choosing contraception isn’t exactly rocket science with 15 different types of contraception methods it can be a bit confusing making the right decision for your body. Some contain hormones, some don’t, others last for years while some only a few months. In reality it can be a bit of a contraceptive minefield.

Although 3.5 million women in the UK take the pill which incidentally is more than the number of votes the Lib Dems got in the general election, how many of us really know what we are putting in our body when we take it? The word “Pill” has almost become synonymous with the term contraception and is the go-to method of birth control for young girls. While there’s no denying that for some girls who have perfectly balanced hormones and an amazing memory, sure the pill is great but for many taking the pill can induce nausea or weight gain and doesn’t protect from STD’s. You have to ask, is it worth it? Many women who start taking the pill at a young age don’t change the method during their life. So maybe it’s time for a change.

You have to ask, is it worth it?

At Petroc we are lucky enough to have a sexual health service on site in F11, with amazing facilities and a range of choices of contraception. Instead of talking to a man in a white coat, our service is a bit more personal; just have a chat on a Tuesday afternoon drop in and find out what the best method of contraception is for you!

Students we need you!

Calling all students…

Submissions are needed for this blog. We’re looking for the students of Petroc to submit content on topics they feel passionate about from activism to album reviews, abstract art to baking! This is an open platform and we hope that students will use it to showcase their talents and their views. Get involved!


Submit via our Facebook page or by emailing


A few examples of content we will post:
• Articles
• Poetry
• Photography
• Recipes
• Reviews
• Short stories
• Essays
• Artwork
• Music

Get ready to vote over the EU folks!

You may or may not be aware that there’s been much political squabbling lately between the Stronger In and Brexit camps over the European Union referendum. Britain faces the big question on Thursday, 23 May and guess what? If you’re 18, YOU CAN VOTE!

But contain your excitement briefly because first you need to be REGISTERED to vote, and the deadline is 7 June. That’s where we come in…

What’s happening?

On Thursday, 12 May we will be joining local Stronger In and Brexit campaigners at the Egg between 12.30-14.30. We will have computers and plenty of information so we can get y’all registered to vote. Also, each campaign will be providing information about the fundamental arguments of either side. All we need from you is for you to have your National Insurance number handy so we can get you registered – it only takes 2 minutes!

It’s as easy as that, so why not stop by and see us at the egg? We’re looking forward to it and we hope you are too – see you there!

Need some advice on what to vote? Here goes:

Why vote?

Fancy an end of term gig?

…Well we’ve got it for you. We hope you’re ready because on Saturday, May 28 The Factory are hosting Barnstaple-based rock band The Fallen State, supported by Pretend HappyOne Man Boycott and Goose The Nun.

It’ll be big, bold and loud – the perfect way to release that exam stress and take you into a relaxing half term. And of course, this gig is open to everybody – do you love rock? Do you love a good gig? Do you love music in general? We do, and we promise you this gig will be brilliant.

See you there!


@thefallenstate @PSU_Barnstaple

Hosted by The Factory

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