11 May 2011

Artist's picture of student life set to raise scholarship funds

Joe Scarborough speaking about 'Our Students' Journey'

A unique painting that captures student life at the University of Sheffield and is set to raise thousands of pounds in scholarships funds, was officially launched on Wednesday 11 May 2011 by Sheffield-born artist Joe Scarborough.

The artwork, entitled Our Students´ Journey, has taken pride of place in Coffee Revolution in the University´s Students´ Union, with 500 limited edition signed prints of the painting going on sale. All proceeds from the sale of the prints will go towards supporting the provision of scholarships for gifted students in need of financial support, as well as to help the University´s Alumni Foundation, which provides grants for student clubs and societies to enrich the life of the University.

At the launch ceremony, which was attended by Joe Scarborough, the Students' Union President Josh Forstenzer unveiled the painting in front of officers, staff and alumni. Joe then explained how he had composed all of the different elements in his latest colourful artwork.

The painting features significant events in the lives of students including the campaign for Union President and the RAG charity boat race. It also includes famous Sheffield alumni such as Sir Harry Kroto, who holds a Nobel Prize in Chemistry; gold medal winning heptathlete Jessica Ennis and comedian Eddie Izzard. Sheffield landmarks such as the Arts Tower, Scott's Pantry, the Sheffield Mosque and various pubs including Nottingham House and The Old Grindstone are also visible.

Joe explained that the painting is based on curves and he considered the greatest curve to be Northumberland Road, as this is where all the students seem to merge and gravitate towards the various University buildings. Joe said this reminded him of the workers heading to the steel works in the 1950s. Although Northumberland Road isn't visible on the painting, this curved theme was his inspiration.

Joe, who took up painting after working as a coalminer, has created a wealth of everyday images of the life and people of Yorkshire and beyond, and this is the second painting he has done for the University. In 2005, the Sheffield University Association commissioned Joe to paint Our University to celebrate the University's centenary, and the artwork is displayed in University House. Sales of limited edition prints of the 2005 painting raised over £18,000 for undergraduate scholarships.

The Arts Tower on the painting

Yesterday's event was also attended by the family of the late John Hawley. John was an alumnus of the University (BEng 1973) and Deputy Director of the University´s Department of Corporate Information and Computing Services (CiCS) for 12 years. Before he died, John made provision for a gift for student sport at the University through the Alumni Foundation. His legacy has recently paid for a new trophy cabinet, which was unveiled at the event. The cabinet contains the John Hawley Club of the Year trophy, which is awarded annually to one of the University's sports clubs.

Joe Scarborough, who was awarded an honorary degree from the University in 2008, said: "The first painting I did for the University was called Our University and it´s brilliant to be part of the 'our' part. I hope current and future students enjoy my work as they represent my audience, so I´m thrilled to bits if they take pleasure in the painting.

"The fact that the sale of prints will raise money to help others study at the University of Sheffield is fantastic."

Miles Stevenson, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at the University of Sheffield, said: Joe's wonderful painting really captures the experiences of generations of Sheffield students. It is full of the life and energy that students bring to the city and includes many landmarks which have held the affection of students since the University was founded. The sales of this limited edition print will be ploughed back in to providing scholarships for students who need an extra helping hand. Joe Scarborough is a hugely gifted artist – who paints the essence of Sheffield – and we are so pleased that Our Students' Journey will be on public display in the Students´ Union."

Limited edition signed prints can be purchased online from;