Students are exploring the hidden story of the Minet children, descendants of Huguenot refugees who fled to Dover to escape religious persecution in France

Graphic design students from the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Kent are to create exhibition designs inspired by the hidden stories of the 800-year-old Maison Dieu, including those of under-represented audiences including women, children, and people from diverse backgrounds.

Over 20 students donned hard hats to explore the Maison Dieu (Dover Town Hall) on 23 February to research and celebrate the Grade I Listed building which is currently being restored in a £10.5m project with the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Wolfson Foundation.

Struggle for women’s suffrage in Dover

Among the stories the students are exploring is the struggle for women’s suffrage in Dover; an 18th century portrait of the children of Hughes Minet, descendants of Huguenot refugees; the story of the Dover Victualling Yard, that supplied ships’ biscuits, salt beef and beer for the Royal Navy; the teenage prisoners of Dover’s Victorian Gaol; and the decorative scheme of neo-Gothic architect and designer, William Burges.

The brief is for the students to create a series of multi-sensory narrative-led exhibits to appeal to a target audience of 16- to 25-year-olds.

It is planned to host a physical or online exhibition of the finished designs later this year, and to include some of the ideas in future interpretation for the building, as part of future events, and on the Maison Dieu website.

Becky Upson, Lecturer in Graphic Design at the Kent School of Architecture and Planning said: “Live client briefs are an essential element in graphic design education at the University of Kent in which future employability is a key focus. We value projects like these that enable our students to have hands-on experience, communicate with clients and see their design outcomes used in real life.”

By Ed

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