The High Street Experiment

Protégé was currently funded to deliver a 3-year initiative to develop the employability and workplace skills of divergent young people. Our boutique gallery in Richmond became a dynamic space for students to work with our artists and creatives. They learned new skills, curated shows, began to develop their understanding of local business and worked with our artists to offer bespoke art and design services to the community. 

Introducing the Protégé Boutique

The Protégé collection features degree show work created by graduates fresh from the UK’s prestigious art colleges, including Chelsea College of Art, the Royal College of Art, Central Saint Martins, New Bucks University, Northbrook College and others…..

We thank them for sharing their ideas and passions to help us tell the Protégé story.  A remarkable story that revisits childhood and embraces fantasy, fable, fairytale and fact…. 

The Artists

Gin Durham

Gin Durham’s work is based on contemporary social observation in order to address a myriad of human emotions emanating from childhood; a stage in personal and cultural development that we can all relate to. This ceramic-based body of work with mixed media incorporates toy-like sculptural forms and imagery that explore inner mental-states that form part of the human condition.

These symbols of childhood evoke a personal meaning from distant memories that shape adult behaviour. Although Durham’s work is born of a personal narrative, she hopes that they will be a source of contemplation for the viewer.

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Makiko Nakamura

Nakamura’s ornate ceramics collection ‘100 years after the party’ is a perfect representation of her style, a hardy mix of fantasy and reality which follows a fairy tale narrative with a beauty-and-the beast feel.

The collection is inspired by a story Nakamura tells about a tea service left behind at the end of civilization. In the story, seeds land on the disintegrating porcelain by chance 100 years later, covering the pieces in flowers.

By referencing a Victorian style tea set form and putting excessive decoration on it, Nakamura created the collection that evokes the ‘primordial desire for the decoration’ of the audience.

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Samantha Y Huang

It was the discovery of two books lying unwanted in the reception area of her building that inspired Huang to embark upon this series of work. The discarded books spoke to her not just in terms of waste, but also how we see paper and the life it originally stems from. Huang’s sculptural transformation of this disappearing medium and fragile source of life, express what words alone cannot do.

Huang makes use of unwanted English and Japanese texts to create her poetic sculptures. She strives to create new narratives from this overlooked, ignored and often forgotten medium of communication, in turn exposing how the origins of a material spill into how we perceive and interpret it subconsciously.

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Jennifer Yang

Yang’s unique window blinds seek to inspire the viewers childhood imagination as sunlight bursts through their surface to illuminate an enchanted fairytale scene. Depending on the level of light that strikes the surface of the fabric, different colours and patterns are revealed giving this collection a sense of surprise and curiosity.

Yang believes that happiness is the most important and basic quality of human wellbeing. She embarked on her ‘Secret Rainbow’ series with one question in mind: “How can I promote everyday happiness through textile design?” Drawing from her positive memories of being immersed in fantastic fairytale narratives as a child, 

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Rie Tsuruta

The tactile and functional everyday object that provoke people’s sense of intimacy and the awareness of touch; Tsuruta’s work is held, felt and used in the centre of people’s lives.

Forms derive naturally from the making process and impressions of landscape in Tsuruta’s mind; her childhood fields in Japan and the South Downs in Sussex, looking across from high vantage points. Glaze colours are developed and derived from nature’s seasons, countryside and memory, such as: autumn leaves, snow in winter, the early spring morning mist, moist green grasses and the dusk of the summer solstice.

Her aim is to create a group of tabletop objects like a still life or landscape in the domestic environment: in other words, landscape made tangible.

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Maurice van de Stouwe

Combining elegant dynamism with a sublime sense of contemporary shoe design, the sky’s the limit for Maurice van de Stouwe. With his brand gaining momentum in the world of women’s footwear he has been exhibiting at many international fashions shows including London and Paris.

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Fernando Laposse

Laposse’s work explores the possible marriage between kitchen crafts and a basic industrial process of manufacture. These drinking glasses are made entirely of melted sugar, which is roto-moulded into a hollow drinking vessel. His inspiration grew out of his love for Murano glass art and cinema break away glass props.

The sugar glasses can be batch produced by using a custom made silicon mould and their use is intended for one night events such as private cocktail parties and gallery openings.

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Tina Tsang

Taking influence from her diverse background in film, painting, animation, photography, costume design, fashion design and trend forecasting has enabled Tsang to have a broad understanding of aesthetics and trends within the design world. She uses an interdisciplinary approach to designing and feels that her experience across many design disciplines helps enrich the quality and depth of her work.

She enjoys making products that interact with the user on an emotional level, making objects of desire with an heirloom quality that we can keep and treasure. She works with both catering and retail clients in UK and beyond.

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Student Work Plans: Amyn


Amyn came to Protégé after being involved in a number of theatre and community projects in Brighton. Originally from Glasgow where he struggled with homelessness and the difficulties of hostel life, he took the decision to head south at 18 with just £5 in his pocket. Since then he has been working hard to give his life some stability. Now 20, he has already achieved a great amount, having performed in a number of theatrical events and become member of the National Youth Theatre.


Amyn is working with Protégé to identify opportunities for him to build a career as an actor. The first step in this process is for him to identify work opportunities such as paid internship programmes and work experience placements. His route into acting is not the conventional one and he is not approaching work with a theatre school background. Instead he has led a challenging and difficult life and at only 20 has already come further than many will travel in a lifetime; with Protégé’s guidance and support we aim to help him channel those experiences into the first stages of a successful career.

Career Path

There are a number of directions which Amyn could pursue to further his career goals. He already has some experience in providing mentoring and peer development as well as having a range of acting skills. He is not just interested in performing, but is keen to learn about all aspects of theatre including lighting, sound, costume and make-up. We will work with him to identify where his skill base is best applied and what opportunities are available to him, both for work and the development of professional skills.

“I now want to further myself in a productive environment to gain more experience in all dynamics of theatre. I also would like to gain more understanding in the off stage aspects such as sound production, lighting and effects and dress and make up. I believe it would excel my strengths to work closely in a theatre-based environment, which would also give me an opportunity to further myself and my understanding of the industry.”


To secure a work placement with a theatre or theatre company.

To develop skills in self presentation and application writing.

To broaden knowledge of the theatrical and acting industries and the career options available.

Student Work Plans: Amy


Amy has been involved in a number of Protégé’s projects in the past and has demonstrated great skill in fashion, styling and design. From an early age she has had a keen eye for dress sense and fashion, giving out styling tips to her Mum’s friends.


Amy is keen to develop a career as a fashion stylist and is in the process of developing a business plan that sets out her long-term ambition. Amy has a clear idea for how her business will look and what the ethos of her company will be. She wants to develop a business which will address the style needs of the individual by offering a personalised styling service, she intends to offer this to a variety of clients and with a range of services to suit many budgets and schedules. She has secured support from professionals working in the fashion and beauty industries.

Extracts from Amy’s Business Plan:

“A. Rae is a make over boutique, a place where all aspects of fashion are covered under one roof.

I am Amy Rae, the fashion stylist. I offer fashion styling to men and women with the desire to feel perfectly presented in everything they do”

“It is important to me that the customer actually feels comfortable with the style I choose for them. I will talk with them about what shops to buy from, what colours to wear and what style and shapes will enhance their best bits and how to flatter their not so nice bits.

After an image consultation, the customer will be measured then styles into a variety of different outfits for everyday wear, business events and evening dress. They will have the choice of buying the outfits as well as any other clothing we have in store, or simply use the outfits as a demonstration of what style of clothes suit them best according to the individuals shape, age, size and personality.”

Career Path

The next step for Amy is to work out how the concept outlined in her business plan translates into achievable goals. Protégé will work with her to develop her business plan and skills in business strategy and planning. Through this experience we hope to increase her range of professional skills and entrepreneurial ability, giving her the tools to make her long-term dream of running a stylist boutique a reality.


To develop the business plan past the concept stage.

To broaden and develop business management and planning skills.

To develop skills in writing for professional contexts by creating a business plan.

Student Work Plans: Marktum


Marktum began working with Protégé five years ago, having arrived in the country as a refugee from Burundi some years earlier. He came to the UK after the horrific separation of his family during civil war, an experience which naturally had a strong impact on him. Marktum has worked with Protégé to develop his confidence and creative talents. His achievements with Protégé include obtaining his level 2 Arts Award as well as developing his confidence and exploring his abilities as a dancer.


Marktum’s long term ambition is to become a highly skilled performer. He is a skilled dancer and familiar with a variety of different styles of dance. In the short term he is keen to find opportunities to improve his acting skills in order to diversify his range of performance skills.

Career Path

With his BTEC qualifications in Acting and Dance, Marktum has already demonstrated that he has a level of skill in these fields. The next step is for him to apply those skills to a professional context. Protégé will be working with Marktum to help him identify organisations that he would like to work with and to understand what professional development opportunities are available for him.

“Having done more dance than acting in the past I am now interested to learn more about acting, this will help me to create the combination of both dance and acting which will increase more opportunities and better my CV for future reference plus something to fall back on.”


To gain theatre based work experience with opportunities to develop acting skills

To increase confidence and self-presentation skills in a professional context.

To broaden knowledge of the performing arts industries and to develop an understanding of the opportunities for employment and skills development in those industries. 

Student Work Plans: Sam


Sam is a young carer with a keen interest in writing. She will often spend time thinking up new ideas for poems and stories and is always adding to her large collection of work.


Sam is a poet and writer. She has a large catalogue of work across a variety of genres. Her long term ambition is to be an established creative writer and she is currently working with Protégé to develop a collection of poems for a small batch publication.

An extract from Sam’s latest work in progress:

“On a cold night in mid-November I head a knock on the door and just like I had been taught I went to my room – I wasn’t allowed to meet the company, they might get scared of how I looked – and I started to play with my trains. Mummy had brought me the trains after Father had knocked me backwards down the stairs. I loved my trains, they were blue and yellow with little red wheels that turned when I moved backwards and forwards, sometimes Mummy would play with me… but that was getting rarer and rarer now.”

Career Path

The next step for Sam will be to identify opportunities to apply her writing to professional contexts and explore avenues for her work to be published for wider audiences. This could include looking at competition brief opportunities, blogging, writing for web or even opportunities to write for television and film.


To compile a selection of work for publication.

To find opportunities for skills development, such as writing courses.

To explore options for the publication of her work.