A GROUP of photographic art students have spent the past three months in Pontypool working on a project as part of the town’s regeneration.

The group of 43 second-year Newport University students were commissioned by Torfaen County Borough Council to create art work to decorate 5ft hoardings across scaffoldings, as work continues on the buildings behind as part of the £2.6 million Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI).

Torfaen Deputy Leader, Councillor Lewis Jones, said: “Pontypool is a town of historic importance, with many buildings of considerable quality, but unfortunately many of the most prominent buildings are in poor condition.”

Students had 12 weeks to create works based on the town’s history.

After much research, the students pitched their ideas to a panel of judges, who decided which projects to take forward to the council.

Project leader, and photographic lecturer, Peter Bobby, was instrumental in pulling the project together.

He said: “This is an amazing opportunity that the students have gratefully received.

“Opportunities like this aren’t always available to young artists and practitioners.

“Its great that the council put faith in the students and provided them with a way of gaining real life experience while putting their work out there.”

Matt White, senior lecturer in photographic art, added: “The project will help expand the students’ ideas about other photographic practices and give them an idea of what it would be like to pitch to companies for commissioning.”

Bright Ideas at the University of Wales, Newport, links students with projects that will develop their enterprise skills and provide opportunities for them to work with real organisations.

Cath Tarling, enterprise engagement manager at the University of Wales, Newport, said: “Projects such as this are vital in encouraging our students to think and work in an enterprising way, while gaining valuable entrepreneurial skills which will give them a head start in the business world once they leave university.”

A week-long exhibition of the students’ work opens on March 14, at 5pm at eight venues across the town.

The exhibition launch venue is 27 Commercial Street with an after party at The White Hart, George St, both of which have benefited from the project.

The THI project encourages employability as well as development, it is funded by a range of organisations, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, Pontypool Regeneration Partnership and Torfaen council.