The event was attended by:
. The creators & publishers of Dreams Of Diamonds - Alastair Laidlaw and Christine Marsden
. James A Whittaker - Writer
. Gill Rutherford - Head Librarian
. Jamie Holman - BA (Hons) Fine Art Programme leader
. Stephen Malone - Executive Dean of Higher Education
. John Harrison - Head of School - Art and Society, University Centre
. Steve Baldwin - BA Fine Art Tutor
. Bill Kelly - Fine Art Technician
. Safina Iqbal - Academic Library Liaison Officer, Art and Society
. Ivor Wood - Library Systems Advisor
And of course all the fabulous third year students from the BA (Hons) Fine Art Programme
As the creators of this wonderful magnum opus Dreams Of Diamonds we are delighted to get the opportunity - along with our writer James - to present a copy of this book to Blackburn College University Library.
The town of Blackburn, in the County of Lancashire, in the United Kingdom holds a very special place in all our hearts. James and I (Christine) both originate from Blackburn. As young ‘teenagers’ in the early 1970’s we attended the Art School at Blackburn College, as it was known then, long before it received University status.
In those days there were no BA Degree Courses in Art or Design, that was still a long way off in the future. We completed our foundation courses at Blackburn, then went our separate ways to different universities to finish our education and then out into the big, wide world to begin our careers. However, despite often being at opposite ends of the globe we always stayed in touch and have remained lifelong friends
We have very fond memories of our time at Blackburn College, it helped shape and give perspective to our lives. These were splendid times, producing lots of adventurous and creative work and having fun! James in particular has - with the help of the internet - remained in contact with many former students from those days.
As my partner and co-founder of The House Of Laidlaw Marsden, Alastair has been visiting Blackburn for 38 years and like James and myself he’s also collected many wonderful memories.
It was particularly poignant for James and I - after our presentation - to be invited to visit our old art rooms on the top floor of the original college, to see how much had changed whilst also acknowledging with a certain triumph those things that hadn’t changed. We then had a lot of fun getting lost in the new corridors!
It was fascinating to see the working environment of the third year BA (Hons) Fine Art students and be allowed to view their work and get an insight to how the course was run. There was a tremendous feeling of affability and camaraderie, which is a productive and positive way to view art and expression.
Taking everything into consideration it feels only right and fitting that the college which helped prepare us for our journeys into life should receive this beautiful gift which without doubt is one of the finest achievements of our lives. Our great satisfaction would be for Dreams Of Diamonds to help and inspire members from this generation of young students to go forward and achieve their hopes and dreams as we did ours.
We are all very proud of our heritage and send heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped play a part in it.
Christine and Alastair