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4AD partners with Northumbria University on Vaughan Oliver Scholarships programme

By | Published on Monday 7 June 2021

Vaughan Oliver

The 4AD label has partnered with Northumbria University to launch a new scholarship programme that pays tribute to Vaughan Oliver, the graphic designer who died in 2019 and who worked on artwork for many 4AD artists, including Cocteau Twins, Pixies and Scott Walker.

The label explains that, following Oliver’s death, it “wanted to recognise his contribution to the music industry, graphic design as a whole and to celebrate his legacy. 4AD therefore worked with Northumbria University and Vaughan’s wife, Lee Oliver Widdows, to establish The Vaughan Oliver Graphic Design Scholarships – aimed at helping the next generation of highly gifted graphic design students – which will be accompanied by a memorial lecture each year in Vaughan’s name”.

Oliver himself graduated from Northumbria University, then known as Newcastle Polytechnic, back in 1979, before embarking on his long career as a graphic designer in the music and wider creative industries, working through his own companies 23 Envelope and v23, as well as for 4AD.

Under the new programme, three scholarships will be offered each year, one to a student moving into their final year of study to help them kickstart their career, and the other two to students who live in the North East of England and who are newly applying for Northumbria’s Graphic Design undergraduate programme.

Launching the programme 4AD’s Rich Walker says: “It’s a great honour for us to be working with Vaughan’s wife Lee and his alma mater Northumbria University to help inspire a new generation of designers. We can’t understate just how important Vaughan was in helping 4AD to become what it is today and as someone who also dedicated a lot of his time teaching others, we know he would have been delighted that his legacy lives on back where he started and helping those starting out on a similar journey to his own”.

Meanwhile, Andrew Frith, Senior Lecturer at the Northumbria School Of Design, adds: “Staff have always been proud of the fact that Vaughan Oliver is an alumnus of the Northumbria graphic design programme and these scholarships will help manifest that relationship to a wider audience, whilst ensuring that for the next decade, talented graphic design students are provided with the opportunity to enrich their student experience and thrive at both Northumbria and moreover, into the creative industry”.