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Lost luggage inspires collaborative art exhibition

Suitcases and bags abandoned by travellers are creatively repurposed by Middlesex University students as part of a thought-provoking exhibition combining fine art, interior architecture, animation, video and visual storytelling.

Lost Luggage exhibition art design Middlesex University

In a major project for Middlesex’s School of Art and Design, students from a range of creative disciplines came together to create artworks from objects found in abandoned and forgotten suitcases acquired from Heathrow Airport.

Students were placed in teams, and each team given a suitcase or bag to use as the basis of their work. They were given four days to reflect, interpret and transform the contents of their luggage – which included an army uniform, teddy bear book ends and even a baseball bat – for display in the University’s Grove atrium.

Lost Luggage exhibition Middlesex University art design

“Students were asked to think about who the people that the items belonged to were and what the objects they left behind meant to them. The contents of the lost luggage inspired the groups to work together and communities have evolved over the creative artwork,” said Osbert Parker, Lecturer in Stop-Motion Animation at Middlesex, who masterminded the project.

“This is the first time Middlesex University has created a collective project across all schools and departments in this way, and I’m very pleased with the results. It’s important for artists to talk and collaborate to find new ways of art and new ways of moving forwards to find something new.

“I’ve been thinking about creating Lost Luggage as a large-scale project for three years. The result is an exciting combination of artists from different disciplines and year groups exchanging ideas and making work outside their comfort zones.”

Lost Luggage exhibition Middlesex University art design

Students combined multiple approaches and different types of media to create a challenging, provocative series of interactive pieces.

The exhibition was made even more impressive by its setting; a replica airport baggage reclaim area, complete with departures board and genuine Heathrow Airport signage, was set up to complete the experience.

“It was an interesting project to work on and fascinating to see how each group reacted to create different outcomes,” said Daniel Quirke, second year BA Animation student.

“Everyone knuckled down and managed to make pieces we wouldn’t be able to make within our own department,” said Louise Fogerty, also a second year Animation student. 

“It was challenging at the start to come up with the right idea but everything came together and everyone contributed something valuable.”

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