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News article

Student design talent becomes part of city-wide sculpture trail

Published: 07 March 2024

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A woman alongside a large colourful painted statue

Emma and her Snook

A new character trail has hit the streets of York with 21 ‘Snooks’ taking up residency in the city. Developed by tourist organisation Make It York in collaboration with charity partner St Leonard's Hospice, the trail takes residents and visitors on a captivating journey through York's historic cobbled streets and hidden gardens on the hunt for the Snook characters. 

Second year Fine Art student, Emma Parker, was chosen to illustrate the University’s 6-foot Snook following a call-out to students to submit a design for York’s 2024 character trail campaign. Emma’s design is based on Bram Stoker’s gothic horror novel Dracula. Drawing inspiration from the eerie portrayal of Dracula’s journey from the landscapes of Transylvania into the faintly lit streets of London and then onto the Yorkshire coast, ‘Count Snook’ features striking red and black illustrated detail to capture Dracula’s gruesome theme. 

Emma’s Snook can be spotted at the visitor entrance to the University on Lord Mayor’s Walk. Delving into Yorkshire literature as the starting point for her Snook design, Emma said:  

“The Dracula story sparked so many design ideas for me. I wanted to create a stand-out Snook which could be easily spotted on the trail.” 

She added: “Being involved in such a unique project has given me the opportunity to showcase my work to a large audience and gain exposure to something different and new. The project has also given me a taste of life beyond university. It’s been incredible to undertake real life experience of working to a brief and completing a commission, whilst making valuable connections in the industry.” 

York St John University is amongst a group of local businesses who have sponsored the unique sculptures, brought to life by artists who have crafted bespoke designs. The Snooks were created by Sheffield-based illustrator and mural artist Sian Ellis. Each Snook is inspired by the world of illustration and under the theme of books. 

Dr Brendan Paddison, Associate Professor and Associate Dean of the Business School at York St John University is Chair of the York Tourism Advisory Board. He said: 

“We are thrilled to be showcasing Emma’s Snook design on the York St John University campus and supporting this great initiative. We’re proud to work closely with our partners in the city, recognising the importance of tourism to the local economy and are committed to providing students with opportunities to take part in public campaigns.” 

The Snook trail runs from 2 March to 25 April, after which the Snooks will be auctioned off to raise valuable funds for St Leonard’s Hospice. Find out more about the trail and download a trail map on the Visit York website. 

Learn more about studying Fine Art at York St John University. 

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