Imelda Kay

Former Head of Design at the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television in Bradford and
now running her own design business, Studio K, Imelda Kay completed the Foundation in Art &
Design at Bradford Art College in 1979.

Imelda Kay“I was always ‘good at art’ according to my primary school teachers, and I knew from a very early age that this was what I wanted to do in my life. At secondary school my love of drawing and painting developed and confirmed that I wanted to do something with art and design, but I knew I didn’t want to be an art teacher!

I became interested in the newly developing area of graphic design because it sounded ‘cool and trendy’ and few people had ever heard of it in the mid 1970s. My careers advisor at school tried everything to dissuade me from going to Art College and felt it was a waste of my academic ability having gained 10 O levels.

Undeterred, I applied to Bradford Art College for the Foundation course in the summer of 1978 and was delighted to be accepted. It was an eye-opening experience. My school art lessons were mostly spent sitting in front of weird-looking vegetables, so imagine my surprise at the first life drawing session!

The other students on the course were a real mixed bunch. There were many other young people on their path to a BA but also more mature students with amazing life stories. It was at Bradford that I first developed an interest in photography that I still have, although my digital camera is used more for ebay selling these days!

After gaining a Distinction on the Foundation course, I completed my BA (Hons) Graphic Design at Leeds Polytechnic, worked for one year cutting my teeth in the unsavoury environment of an advertising agency, and was thrilled to start work at the newly opened National Museum of Photography, Film & Television as the only graphic designer. Over the years at the museum I was fortunate enough to design exhibitions and books for some eminent photographers, including several Bradford Fellows in Photography.

After 18 happy years at the museum, now renamed the National Media Museum, I finally took the plunge and started my own design business, Studio K, producing graphic, exhibition and web design projects for a wide range of national and local clients. You can see my work on the shelves of Tate Modern bookstore, museums across the UK, and your local Wetherspoons!

Recently, my nephew completed the Foundation course and I hope that my youngest son will also be able enjoy studying here. I am really proud to say I went to Bradford Art College and wish the College all the best on its 175th Anniversary.”

Photograph supplied by Imelda Kay