An annual showcase event at Teesside University, which links talented final year students with industry professionals, is celebrating its tenth anniversary.
ExpoTees is an interactive exhibition by final year students in the School of Computing which allows them to demonstrate their work to guests from industry, education and business.
Since ExpoTees was launched, hundreds of Teesside University graduates have gained employment as a direct result of the showcase event. They have gone on to work at some of the biggest names in film, computer games and computer science, including CBeebies, Ubisoft Reflections, Framestore and Accenture.
Dr Simon Stobart, Dean of the University’s School of Computing, said: “The quality of the work exhibited at ExpoTees is testament to the hard work of our staff and students working together in an environment which fosters world class education.”
This year’s ExpoTees takes place at the University’s Darlington Campus on May 13 and 14.
The event has grown from a two hour exhibition with a handful of students, to a two day event featuring up to 200 students exhibiting cutting edge digital work to hundreds of guests.
To mark ten years of ExpoTees, a number of previous exhibitors and prize winners have been invited back to celebrate the event’s success. They include Chris Walter, who graduated with a BA (Hons) Creative Digital Media and, as a result of ExpoTees, secured an internship at CBeebies Interactive, where he still works today.
“Without ExpoTees I would never have got a foot in the door at the BBC,” said Chris.
“One of the most valuable lessons that Teesside taught me was that I could use my skills in other fields. I originally went to University to work as a Games Designer but through Teesside and into the BBC I have used the design skills I picked up and applied them elsewhere.”
BSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming graduate Tom Craven is another who has benefited from the opportunities that ExpoTees brings.
He secured his first job after meeting two representatives from Push Button at the event. The company was bought by Amazon and he is now part of their core features team.
“The work is constantly changing and I’m frequently out of my comfort zone,” explained Tom.
“I believe it’s important to feel constantly challenged at work and that’s something I’ve found at Amazon.”
In the decade since ExpoTees was launched, there have been significant advancements and changes in the technology landscape and the way people interact with and use technology in their everyday lives.
Jo Noble, ExpoTees organizer and Senior Lecturer in Computing, said: “Exhibits from the first ExpoTees were, at the time, exciting and innovative ideas, which pre-dated Apple’s iPad, Android tablets, USB flash drives and wearable tech, as well as many social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook which was still in its infancy.
“The explosion in digital developments and the impact on individuals, society and business has provided our graduates with an increasingly broad field from which to choose to explore in their final-year projects.”
As a result of its growing international reputation, ExpoTees will be welcoming student exhibitors from Botho University in Botswana and Prague College in the Czech Republic, who are both partners of Teesside University.
In addition, there will be a special reunion event for the School of Computing’s alumni who graduated from the MSc Computer Aided and Graphical Technology Applications (CAGTA) programme.
ExpoTees will also be going on the road later in the year with a number of animation exhibitors being invited to the capital to pitch their work to a range of London-based studios.