University of Bedfordshire students - Luton: Brimming with History

26 April - 12 May 2021
(Gallery windows and online only) 

Luton: Brimming with History’ is a collaborative student exhibition taking place in the Hat District in Luton during April and May 2021. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic the work has been installed in the windows of Departure Lounge Gallery and The Hat Factory, so the work can be viewed from Bute Street.

Working in teams, new artists and photographers from the University of Bedfordshire School of Art and Design, have been exploring the heritage of the city's hat industry. Many of the students were born or live in Luton, so it has been fascinating for them to explore this history. Through physical and digital manipulations of materials and imagery, the collaborative projects blend historical research within the mediums of printmaking, textiles, painting, photography and sculpture.

The history of hat-making and hat wearing revolves around beautiful objects, and skilful and passionate people. The students sought expertise from Veronica Main MBE, who’s lifelong dedication to understanding and sustaining straw working, helped the students to map the local history throughout their project. Main has tremendous significance to the industry and teaches straw work across the globe.

Despite the pandemic necessitating a distanced curatorial practice, the students have worked together to show a collective memory. The students don't remember their grandparents going anywhere without a hat, much like we can't truly picture Luton without the hat industry.

A display at the Hat Factory (opposite Departure Lounge) will also be on display 5 - 12 May 2021.

For for information on each of the exhibiting students:

Instagram: @luton_brims

Thursday, Friday, Saturday
13.00 - 18.00


64 Bute Street,
Luton, LU1 2EY

In partnership with The Culture Trust Luton

In order to ensure the safety of our staff and audience members, we kindly ask all visitors to:
  • Wear a face covering
  • Use the hand sanitiser provided before entering the gallery space

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Departure Lounge Contemporary Art
Community Interest Company
Registered company no. 12578844