Visual Merchandising students bring Christmas cheer to Brunswick with sustainable decorations

Visual Merchandising students bring Christmas cheer to Brunswick with sustainable decorations

Students from RMIT’s College of Vocational Education have gone above and beyond their course requirements to collaborate on ‘Home for Christmas’, an installation of recycled Christmas decorations at Barkly Square.

Diploma of Visual Merchandising students re-purposed cardboard wine boxes to depict homes and notable buildings throughout Brunswick.

The students were briefed to create festive decorations in a sustainable way, using materials that could be reused or recycled in the new year.

Rebecca Kettle, one of the students who worked on the installation, said the project helped her gain a better understanding of her possible career outcomes.

“The Barkly Square ‘Home for Christmas’ project was a great opportunity for me to gain real life experience in a creative and fun way,” Kettle said.

A Christmas tree made from recycled cardboard  featuring the name of iconic Brunswick shops. One of the Christmas Trees featured at Barkly Square.

The project speaks to the importance of our homes through the holiday season, and how many of us have longed to be ‘Home for Christmas’ – or home at all – over the past eighteen months.

It also confronts the wastefulness traditionally associated with the holiday season.

Australians produce around 30% more waste at Christmas than any other time of year, owing largely to excess packaging.

The ‘Home for Christmas’ exhibit marks the second year of RMIT’s partnership with Barkly Square through the Diploma of Visual Merchandising program.

It’s one of many industry partnerships embedded in the College of Vocational Education’s Creative Industries curriculum, which creates job opportunities for students, introduce them to key leaders in their community and industry, and help to build strong career foundations.

RMIT students stand in front of their installation at Barkly Square (L:R, Back) RMIT students Jane Westwood, Barbara Statham, Rebecca Kettle Paris Pym, Lottie Roberts, and Emma Howell. (L:R Front) Isabel Hooper, Kayla Desjardins and Miko Mhae Yu.

Jane Westwood, another student whose work features at Barkly Square, said since participating in the project, she feels much more confident stepping out into the visual merchandising world.

“It was great to gain some experience doing a real install, and it was so fun working as a team on a large-scale project,” Westwood said.

“Since being involved in this project, I feel a lot more confident stepping out into the world of Visual Merchandising.”

Program Manager Nancy Everingham said she was thrilled with the partnership’s outcomes.

“The project has really required students to step up and present a professional self to a number of stakeholders over a three-month period, working to a timeline and set deliverables,” Everingham said.

“It is such invaluable experience for the students as they emerge into the industry.”

‘Home for Christmas’ will be displayed at Barkly Square until 3 January 2022. It will then move to Building 94, at RMIT’s City campus.

Story: Georgie Martin

01 December 2021


01 December 2021


  • Sustainability
  • Design
  • Business
  • Arts and culture

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