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Live Briefs - Case Studies

Live Briefs can help:

  • Inject innovative ideas, creativity and fresh thinking from our student community into your organisation
  • Raise awareness of your brand or company profile
  • Develop a closer partnership between you, our community and our network of stakeholders
  • Connect you to future graduate talent

If you have any questions, or an idea for a Live Brief that you would like to discuss further, please contact us at [email protected].

ARU Peterborough (ARUP)

Student activity type: Digital and physical media or communication

Test Labs UK - Biomedical Sciences

Partner sector: Professional Scientific and Technical Activities

Live Brief case study: Test Labs UK and ARU Biomedical Sciences students

ARU students on our BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences course in Peterborough participated in a Live Brief with specialist medical device company Test Labs UK.

Test Labs logo


The brief: Academic posters to explain detailed disinfection protocols for medical devices  

Test Labs UK asked ARU students to carry out research to identify gaps between disinfection protocols provided by medical device manufacturers and recognised NHS standards for infection prevention and control.

The aim was to identify recommendations for improving the instructions for disinfection protocols, thereby supporting manufacturers, NHS staff, and other stakeholders in updating and improving how they work and reducing infection, device damage and waste.

Students worked in small culturally diverse groups to identify discrepancies and then each group presented their results in the format of an academic poster.

How the brief benefited Test Labs

The ARU students identified specific gaps between disinfection protocols provided by medical device manufacturers and the recognised NHS IPC standards.

This work helped Test Labs UK to understand better where discrepancies could increase the risk of infection, device damage, and regulatory compliance issues.

For example, one group identified an opportunity to reduce wastage of single use umbilical cord scissors. They identified an innovative laser-based solution that could meet the evolving needs of their clients.

Tautvydas Karitonas, Managing Director of Test Labs UK, explained:

Profile photo of Tautvydas Karitonas


“We had a cohort of about 30 students in five groups, who all presented their work. It was absolutely amazing, and we shared that in a blog post – which in turn attracted interest from another company who told us they absolutely loved what we had done together with ARU Peterborough. 

“The students were equal partners in this endeavour. They had fresh perspectives, different research techniques, they think differently, they aren’t constrained by previous experiences. It’s very beneficial for us as a business - it raises different questions and then we think better and we learn from them.”  

"We’re delighted to witness the immediate impact of our collaboration with ARU Peterborough University. The student-led initiative not only showcased their competence but has significantly drawn industry attention to pivotal healthcare concerns.  

“It has resulted in new conversations with a medical device manufacturer that underscores the value of bridging academia and industry together. Together, we are shaping a safer, sustainable future for healthcare."  

See the posters producd by the students and read the Test Labs UK blog about this Live Brief

Read Tautvydas Karitonas’ LinkedIn post about this Live Brief

How the brief benefited ARU students 

Through this Live Brief, the students gained valuable experience in conducting research, collaborating with industry partners, explaining their work verbally to senior academics and industry experts, and presenting their findings in an academic poster format, enhancing their employability and future success. 

Students also gained the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions about important topics in their field of study and to develop communication skills in research methods and medical science.

ARU Biomedical Sciences student Lamin Dibba said:  

Profile photo of Lamin Dibba


“I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Test Labs UK and ARU Peterborough for the fantastic cooperation in our recent Live Brief. We had an exhilarating time delving into the discrepancies between the manuals for Infusion pumps from the NHS and the manufacturers.  

“The experience proved to be an invaluable opportunity for me to hone my research, communication, and creativity skills, which will undoubtedly benefit me in my future work in the science field. 

“Moreover, I wanted to extend a special thank you to our module leader Ian Tennant and Test Labs UK Managing Director Tautvydas Karitonas for organising this Live Brief and giving me the chance to participate in this meaningful project.  

“Thank you so much for the memorable experience and the opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills on research methods and medical science.”   

Read ARU student Lamin Dibba’s LinkedIn post about this Live Brief 

Student activity type: Data analysis; Strategy, planning, pitching

Hear more about our students' work with Natural England

Natural England – Environmental Management

Partner sector: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Ecology and Conservation

ARU students on our BSc (Hons) Environmental Management course based at our Peterborough campus participated in a Live Brief with Natural England.

The brief

Natural England asked students to investigate possible causes and remedies for some environmental issues affecting Castor Hanglands National Nature Reserve near Peterborough.  The ground at Castor Hanglands is drying out faster than expected, with potentially negative consequences for the reserve’s rich biodiversity.

Natural England logo

How the Live Brief benefited Natural England

ARU students worked together to devise and carry out various forms of in-depth observation, testing and analysis of the soil, ponds, watercourses, plant and animal life at Castor Hanglands over a period of a few months.

They did this using site visits, previous data about the site held by Natural England, and publicly available resources such as satellite imagery of the site over several years.

The students then analysed the results of their research in the lab and wrote up detailed reports and recommendations for options that Natural England could consider to help tackle the problems affecting the site.

Ruth Angrave, Senior Reserve Manager at Castor Hanglands for Natural England (at the time of the Live Brief), said:

Profile photo of Ruth Angrave

“Tasking the students with this challenge has allowed us to investigate some things that normally we wouldn’t be able to get done, because we just don’t have the time. 

“For us, it means that we can get more research done, and we can get studies done that we don’t have the facilities for – ARU has access to labs, and we haven’t.  It also means I’ve got more brains available to solve problems for me.

“The students have raised some really interesting ideas, for example about how the tree growth on the site might be affecting the water, and even the impact that moles may be having.  It’s been great, really inspiring.”

How the Live Brief benefited ARU students

Tom Everrett, BSc Environmental Management student, said:

“The Live Brief has been great, getting hands on with the field-work, doing a range of tests in the environment, and then bringing our results back to the lab and learning skills that are really useful professionally.

Profile photo of Tom Everrett


“It's been excellent for me and my fellow students to work with the client as we would in the working world - a really positive experience."

Student activity type: Strategy, planning, pitching

Hear more about our students' work with Peterborough FC

Peterborough United FC - Digital Business & Principles of Marketing

Partner sector: Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

ARU students on our BSc (Hons) Accounting and FinanceBSc (Hons) Business and Management, and BSc (Hons) Marketing courses based at our Peterborough campus participated in a Live Brief with Peterborough United FC (also known by their nickname “The Posh”).

The brief

Peterborough United football club logo

Peterborough United FC asked ARU students to help them capitalise on the success of England’s women’s team in the UEFA European Championships to promote their own women’s team, POSH Women, with a specific focus on growing the fan base and increasing the number of supporters buying tickets for fixtures, both home and away.

How the Live Brief benefited Peterborough United FC

ARU students carried out in-depth marketing environment analyses of POSH Women’s current situation in its sector using the SWOT and PESTLE models, and considering relevant ethical and sustainability issues.  They then devised and presented a range of recommended marketing actions to support POSH Women to achieve their growth aims.

The students’ plans included tactics such as increased use of social media and appealing content targeted at attracting a younger fan base; introduction of a merchandise range and fan loyalty scheme, and consideration of a scholarship programme.  The students also set out the business case to justify the actions they were recommending. 

How the Live Brief benefited ARU students

Profile photo of Ludmila Vreme

BSc Marketing student Ludmila Vreme said:

“The Live Brief was a good experience for me because it brings to life everything that you learn in the class, so you can use it and speak about it.  It’s not easy, but you need these challenges so you can move upwards with your professional way of speaking, and presenting yourself in an interview. I really enjoyed it.”

Faculty of Business and Law (FBL)

Student activity type: Strategy, planning, pitching

Hear more about our students' work with Neurogether

Neurogether - Business

Partner sector: Professional Scientific and Technical Activities

Live Brief case study: Neurogether and ARU Business students

ARU Business undergraduate students taking the second-year module The Entrepreneurial Journey participated in a Live Brief with early-stage start-up company Neurogether, a new global social networking platform that aims to bring together people interested in neuroscience and related fields.

The brief: A strategy for sustainable growth

Neurogether asked the students to develop a strategy supporting Neurogether's planned transition from the pre-revenue to the revenue stage of business, rethinking and reinforcing the business model and marketing strategies to support quick, sustainable, and scalable growth of the company.

In response to the Live Brief, students devised and pitched a range of strategies for achieving various lead generation and brand awareness targets set by Neurogether.

The targets included specific increases in the numbers of users of Neurogether’s digital channels (website, app and social media) and in-person attendees at Neurogether’s annual conference, and acquisition of specific new user profile types.

Neurogether founder and CEO, Utkarsh Gupta, describes his Live Brief experience: 

“The Live Brief was an amazing experience from my perspective as an entrepreneur leading an early-stage start-up, because I got to brainstorm ideas with students who were so capable that for me, the experience was more like working with fellow entrepreneurs."

“It was a very valuable session, from which I’ve learned and gained so much that I can implement."

“I think Live Briefs are an absolutely amazing opportunity for other organisations to come on board and have this experience of brainstorming brilliant ideas with the students here at ARU.”  

Student activity type: Strategy, planning, pitching

Hear more about our students' work with Tees Law

Tees Law - Law

Partner sector: Professional Scientific and Technical Activities

Live Brief case study: Tees Law and ARU Law students

Legal services company Tees Law worked with ARU Law students on a real practice-based scenario that enabled the students to develop their skills in analysing and presenting legal arguments around a contract law case.

The Live Brief concluded with a “mooting”, a realistic simulation of a legal trial to consider the case, conducted with full court protocol and etiquette. Students playing the roles of opposing pairs of legal counsels present legal arguments in front of an acting judge - who decides, based on the presentations, which of the sides wins.

Emily Jones, Solicitor with Tees Law, took the role of acting judge for the mooting.

Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care (HeMS)

Student activity type: Strategy, planning, pitching

Hear more about our students' work with Active Essex

Active Essex - Public Health

Partner sector: Human Health and Social Work Activities

Live Brief case study: Active Essex and ARU Public Health students

ARU students on our BSc Public Health course participated in a Live Brief with Chelmsford-based activity and sport partnership organisation Active Essex.

Active Essex logo

The brief: Innovative ways to increase activity levels across Essex

Courtenay Mosley (Active Essex Relationship Manager, Health and Social Care) asked students to help analyse issues underlying five of Active Essex’s key strategic priorities, and recommend innovative ways to achieve better health outcomes in each priority area:

  1. Health inequalities and physical activity 
  2. Social prescription of physical activity 
  3. Falls prevention agenda 
  4. Essex Local delivery pilot 
  5. Mental health and physical activity 

Students worked in groups to develop a detailed response to each of the priorities, which they then presented back to Courtenay.  The students recommended considering a range of approaches, such as:  

  • Better provision of ergonomic equipment to increase well-being in workplaces 
  • Community opportunities for people to run or walk together while talking, combining physical and mental health benefits  

How the brief benefited Active Essex and ARU students 

Courtenay said:

Profile photo of Courtenay Mosley

“Live Briefs give Active Essex and other similar organisations a really good opportunity to share with students the things that we’re focused on as important priorities right now.

”Live Briefs also give students a valuable chance to do some research into the evidence and current topics in public health that are out there at the moment and bring some conclusions from their own perspective.

“Having the opportunity to present their recommendations really builds students’ employment skills, and helps them prepare for working life.”

BSc Public Health student Tina Cooper said:

Profile photo of Tina Cooper

“Having Courtenay explain Active Essex’s priorities and her role to us has given us a great insight into our potential future roles as Public Health practitioners, and what we could become involved in after we finish our degree.”

Student activity type: Data analysis

Hear more about our students' work with Norfolk County Council

Norfolk County Council - Medical Science

Partner sector: Public Administration and Defence; Compulsory Social Security

Live Brief case study: Norfolk County Council and ARU Medical Science students

Fifty BSc (Hons) Medical Science students taking the second-year module Fundamentals of Epidemiology participated in a Live Brief with Norfolk County Council (NCC).   

Tim Winters, NCC Head of Public Health Information (PHI), asked the students to use publicly available data to understand the local health system and investigate differences between areas, disease trends and populations, and to suggest improvements to help NCC target resources and reduce inequalities.   

Tim said: “The students’ fresh eyes on the problem provided a valuable different perspective, and will help our PHI team as they contribute to determining priorities in our regional cancer workstream.” 

Students analysed complex data in detail

The students needed to examine and understand the Norfolk and Waveney area – the population structure and forecasts, inequality measures, summary lifestyle indicators – and look at the available statistics relating specifically to cancer in the area, including rates by age and risk factors, deaths and contribution to the life expectancy gap between most and least deprived.  

The Live Brief revealed an important insight

But this wasn’t just research in the name of academic learning – the students were able to reveal trends in the data that had gone unnoticed within the wealth of information.

“What Tim and his team didn't know is that smoking among 15 years old is rising in the area,” explains Dr Rudolph Schutte, Associate Professor and Course Leader for Medical Science at ARU who led the brief.

“That is a valuable insight that his team hadn’t picked up yet and they can now think about addressing it.”

Read Mathuza’s blog about her Live Brief experience.

Student activity type: Digital media or communication

Diabetes UK – Public Health

Partner sector: Human Health and Social Work Activities

Live Brief case study: Diabetes UK and ARU Public Health students

ARU BSc Public Health students participated in a Live Brief with UK national charity Diabetes UK.

Suzanne Smith from Diabetes UK working on the Live Brief alongside BSc Public Health students (L-R: Ivy-Ananda Etuk, Witness Mhango, Suzanne Smith)

The brief:

Suzanne Smith, Diabetes UK Engaging Communities and Volunteer Manager for Midlands and Eastern region, challenged ARU BSc Public Health students to design a communications programme to attract a diverse range of young people to consider volunteering for Diabetes UK.

Suzanne explained:

“In the Midlands and East region we are excited to work with young people to co-produce and deliver opportunities for young people.

“We feel that ARU Public Health students are well-placed to help us to develop a plan to reach out to younger people living with type 1 diabetes and show them the support Diabetes UK can provide and how it can learn from their experiences.

“It was a really positive experience working with the students to launch this Live Brief, and I’m looking forward to seeing the results of their work in a few weeks’ time.”

BSc Public Health students planning their response to the Live Brief (L-R: Munia Islam, Eleanor Joyce, Sue Bold, Esther Appiah-Otoo)

As part of a five-year wellbeing programme funded by the Steve Morgan Foundation, Diabetes UK aims to connect and support young people aged 11-25 who are living with type 1 diabetes.

The programme Our Lives, Our Choices, Our Voices aims to recruit and retain a diverse team of volunteer Young Leaders aged 16-25yrs who are living with type 1 diabetes. This team will develop and deliver innovative and exciting opportunities for others who by coming together (both on-line and in person) will share their lived experience and provide peer support for each other.

Our Lives, Our Choices, Our Voices is the first programme of its kind that Diabetes UK has implemented across all regions and nations. It has the potential to transform forever how the charity works with young people, and make a difference to the wider community of people living with and affected by type 1 diabetes.

Faculty of Arts, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (AHESS)

Student activity type: Digital and physical media or communication

Jesus Green Lido - Illustration

Partner sector: Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

Live Brief case study: Friends of Jesus Green Lido and ARU Illustration students

Cambridge City Council logo

ARU students on our BA Illustration course participated in a Live Brief with the Friends of Jesus Green Lido in Cambridge, Cambridge City Council and Better, who jointly manage the Jesus Green Lido.

The brief: A series of outdoor banners to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Lido  

The idea for the project came from The Friends of Jesus Green Lido and it was project-managed by their committee member Caroline Lewis.

Better company logo

The students’ brief was to come up with eye-catching designs that celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Cambridge’s Jesus Green Lido (the longest outdoor pool in Britain) with 30 unique lamp post banners which pay tribute to the iconic pool’s history, as well as reflecting the Lido’s values – community, voice and legacy.

How the brief benefited the Jesus Green Lido  

Caroline Lewis, Friends of Jesus Green Lido, explained:

“We had a series of meetings with the students, telling them about the Lido’s history and sharing old photos of the pool. They then visited the Lido to experience its amazing atmosphere and wonderful community for themselves.  

“We are delighted with the quality and diversity of the designs from the students - the flags are a brilliant addition to Jesus Green and the Lido.

“The students’ response to the brief has been fresh and exciting. We are lucky to have such talented students to work on the project.” 

Cllr Mairéad Healy, Cambridge City Council’s Executive Councillor for Communities, said:  

Illustration of Swimming Pool for Jesus Green Lido, Cambridge

“These banners are fantastic – I’m so impressed with the quality of each piece of artwork and grateful to all the students for their creativity. Each banner tells a visual story of the Lido’s vibrant history, its role as a community hub, and the joy it has brought to generations of Cambridge’s residents and visitors alike.

“They are a fitting tribute to the Lido in its hundredth year. If you’ve not visited the Lido before, perhaps this centenary year is the perfect time to do so!”

Daryl Emes, Partnership Manager for Better, a social enterprise which runs the Lido in partnership with Cambridge City Council, said:

"From the first time we met with staff and students, to the installation of the artwork in the Lido and across Jesus Green, we have been blown away by their creativity, skill level and professionalism.

“We are thrilled to have these artworks in place, and we encourage everyone to come down and see them when they visit. The positive feedback we have had has been overwhelming and we especially love how each student has captured a unique aspect of the Lido, including its history as well as its place now in the community."

Illustration of Swimming Pool for Jesus Green Lido, Cambridge

How the brief benefited ARU students 

Allan Drummond, Senior Lecturer: BA (Hons) Illustration, Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said:  

“Opportunities to work with Live Briefs are essential to students. It is the illustrator’s job to collaborate with clients, and the Lido centenary project was fantastic because it enabled our students to meet real clients, to develop and discuss visual ideas with them and to deliver final artwork that solved a real life problem - how to promote the existence of the Lido, its history and the joy of swimming outside. The brief encompassed more than 30 flags and so enabled every student’s design to be considered.” 

Frances Ives, Associate Lecturer: BA (Hons) Illustration, Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, said:  

“I am so proud to see the flags flying in such a wonderful position across Jesus Green. To be able to see all the students’ hard work come together to celebrate the centenary is in itself a celebration of the communities across Cambridge as well as the facility. The range of illustration styles, people and seasons make for a vibrant, joyful cycle through the park - now I just need to brave the pool..." 

Read Cambridge City Council’s news feature about the Live Brief 

Read the Friends of Jesus Green Lido’s news feature about the Live Brief


Student activity type: Digital media or communication

Provide - Animation and Illustration

Partner sector: Human Health and Social Work Activities

Live Brief case study: Provide CIC and ARU Animation and Illustration students

ARU students on our BA Animation and Illustration course participated in a Live Brief with Essex-based community health and social care services organisation Provide CIC.

Provide CIC logo


The brief: Animations to promote awareness of Provide’s health and social care services and career opportunities 

Provide CIC is a Community Interest Company (CIC) that delivers a broad range of more than 40 health and social care services to children, families, and adults across Essex, East Anglia, and Dorset.

Services are delivered through a variety of community settings, such as community hospitals, community clinics, nursing homes, and primary care settings, as well as within people's homes and via online services.

Provide asked our students to create a series of four short animations to promote awareness of three of these services, and a fourth animation to promote the benefits of working for Provide.

How the brief benefited Provide

Students worked in groups to create the four animations, which aimed to convey key messages, reinforce Provide’s brand identity, and reflect the organisation’s core values.

For each animation, they produced a set of deliverables for Provide comprising:

  • An animated film with an original sound between 30-40 seconds
  • Pre-production development - research, concept/character designs, storyboards, and animatic
  • A blog reflecting the production development


Watch the animations created by ARU students

Provide’s Essex Sexual Health Service eC-card app:

Provide Essex sexual health service for video card illustration

Watch the students' Essex Sexual Health animation

Provide Wellbeing autism and ADHD referral process:

Provide ASD referral service for video card illustration

Watch the students' Provide ASD referral animation

Provide’s northern England React Homecare services (Brigg, Buxton, Congleton, Doncaster, Richmond, Scarborough and Worksop):

Provide React Homecare for video card illustration

Watch the students' React Homecare animation

Provide Community career benefits:

Provide Community career benefits for video card

Watch the students' Provide Perks animation


How the brief benefited ARU students

ARU students told us what they gained from the experience of working on this Live Brief:

Paige Palframan, BA Animation and Illustration, who worked on the Provide Essex Sexual Health App animation:

“The most beneficial thing about this project is the fact me and my team had the chance to work alongside a real-life client and help towards something super important in many people’s lives!”

Enma Carro Cancelas, BA Animation and Illustration, who worked on the animation for Provide’s Wellbeing autism and ADHD referral process:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my experience working as the leader of the project. It was a great opportunity to showcase my organizational and leadership skills and collaborate with an exceptional team. The project achieved our expectations, and I am grateful for the chance to have led such a talented group.”

Mafalda Camacho Fernandes, BA Animation and Illustration, who worked on the northern England React Homecare services animation:

“Working with the team for this project was rewarding. We all felt that working with Provide was an amazing opportunity in our journey in the art world and we gain skills that we will always cherish. Thank you Provide.”

Sam Richards, BA Animation and Illustration, who worked on the Provide Community career benefits animation:

“One of the most interesting aspects of the project for me was sharing my initial idea with the wider project group and seeing how it developed and formed into the final product, thanks to the input of each member's own creative practice.

“We focused on balancing Provide Community's existing comprehensive brand guidelines with our own visual influence and production methods, to make something both professional and characterful that would not just inform viewers, but also resonate with their individual experiences and be engaging to watch.”

Student activity type: Strategy, planning, pitching

Hear more about our students' work with museums

Museums: Chelmsford, Fitzwilliam, Scott Polar - Primary Education Studies

Partner sector: Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

Live Brief case study: Chelmsford Museum, Fitzwilliam Museum, Scott Polar Museum and ARU Primary Education Studies students

ARU students from the BA Primary Education Studies course participated in a Live Brief with Chelmsford Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum, and the Scott Polar Museum (both in Cambridge).

The brief:

The museum staff challenged students to choose an item from one of the museum collections, and use it as a basis to design a humanities lesson for a class of primary school children from Years 1-6, promoting creative learning.

Have a look at some of the students’ work here:

“The sequence for the lesson plan was really clear – introducing creative and imaginary aspects to the topic while clarifying the difference between history and myth.” Professional partner

ARU students with Dr Kate Noble at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Dr Kate Noble, Senior Research Associate: Museum Learning at the Fitzwilliam Museum, introduced the museum’s collection to ARU Primary Education students

Students worked in small groups to design an accompanying lesson plan and create a supporting presentation to the museum staff.

The museums aim to use the lesson plans and activities devised by ARU students as part of their work with local schools in their regions.

Student activity type: Digital media or communication

Hear more about our students' work with Social Change

Social Change - Illustration

Partner sector: Information and Communication

Live Brief case study: Social Change and ARU Illustration students


Social Change creative agency logo


ARU students on our BA Illustration course participated in a Live Brief with Cambridge-based social and behaviour change agency Social Change.

The brief: A campaign to end violence against women and girls

Social Change challenged ARU students to develop a creative concept, designs and artwork for a county-wide campaign led by Cambridgeshire Constabulary, Know Violence Against Women, to help end violence against women and girls in the region.

How the brief benefited Social Change

Students produced a range of impactful images and designs for use at the campaign’s launch event and exhibition in the Grand Arcade centre in Cambridge, attended by the regional media and Det Supt Tim Nasta, head of protecting vulnerable people at Cambridge Constabulary.

Read the BBC news item about the students’ work.

Have a look at some of the students’ work:

Illustration of a child's face with the words "I was joking" written above it

Illustration of a girl walking and the words "The dreaded journey home" written above it


Student activity type: Digital media or communication

Sookio - Illustration and Animation

Partner sector: Information and Communication

Live Brief case study: Sookio and ARU Illustration and Animation students

ARU students on our BA Animation and Illustration course participated in a Live Brief with Cambridge-based digital marketing agency Sookio.

ARU students at the Cambridge School of Art Cambridge-based with digital marketing agency Sookio.


The brief: innovative approaches to social media campaigns

Sookio set ARU students a real-world challenge to develop a social media campaign around a creative concept and generate as much engagement as possible.

How the brief benefited Sookio

A core team from Sookio kickstarted the Live Brief by presenting the challenge to the students, who worked in twelve groups to develop a range of creative concepts and artwork for the campaign.

Sookio Chief Copywriter Rory Stobo, CEO Sue Keogh, and Animator Alex Mallinson


L-R: Sookio Chief Copywriter Rory Stobo, CEO Sue Keogh, and Animator Alex Mallinson

The Sookio team offered constructive feedback during the campaigns to help the students refine their ideas still further and then judged the work at the end of the process.

Have a look at some of the students’ work here:

Bin Buddies, a campaign by ARU students to encourage recycling

The winning student concept – Bin Buddies, a campaign to encourage recycling

Sookio CEO Sue Keogh said:

 “The Live Brief with ARU was a really positive experience for us at Sookio. We wanted to showcase students’ creativity using social media.

 “We decided to introduce a competitive element by awarding winners for Best Creative Concept, Initial Engagement, and Long-Term Potential. We felt the last one was particularly important because social media can sometimes be a slow burn. 

 “The students’ work really impressed us – it was full of character, creativity, and some clever twists, and we could clearly see the commercial potential of some of their concepts.  

 “Many thanks to course leader Nanette Hoogslag from ARU’s  Cambridge School of Art for inviting us to be part of the project, which we hope will become an annual event. And of course to the BA (Hons) Animation and Illustration students for all the hard work you put in during such a short campaign.

“As an ARU alumni myself, it’s good to see the future of the industry is in good hands!”

Read more in Sookio CEO Sue Keogh’s blog about the Live Brief.

Student activity type: Digital media or communication

Slow Theatre (Women on Wiki) – Media Studies

Partner sector: Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

Live Brief case study: Slow Theatre and ARU Media and Communication students

ARU students from the BA Media and Communication course participated in a Live Brief with Slow Theatre Company and the Wikipedia WikiProject Women in Red.

The brief:

Students contributed to the Women in Red Wiki project in partnership with Slow Theatre Company by producing a series of Wiki articles increasing awareness of the under-representation of women on Wikipedia.

ARU Course Leader Dr Sarah Gibson Yates described the Live Brief:

“Students had to choose a woman who was not already on Wikipedia, research her biography and write and publish a biographical entry live on Wikipedia. In this way, students changed this woman’s status in Wikipedia from red (no page entry) to blue.

“We all felt proud of the work that was produced and some of the student’s entries were particularly well received online, giving the students a boost of confidence and uptick in their skills and real-world media writing/journalism experience.”

How the Live Brief benefited Slow Theatre:

Students researched, wrote and published new biographical entries for a number of women who weren’t previously represented on Wikipedia, but who have achieved significant success and made valuable contributions to society across a wide range of fields.

Here are some examples of the new Wikipedia entries created by ARU students about these notable women:

Student activity type: Strategy, planning, pitching

Creative Warehouse - Film & TV Production

Partner sector: Information and Communication

Live Brief case study: Creative Warehouse and ARU Film and Television Production students

Students from the BA Film Production course participated in a Live Brief with communications and PR agency Creative Warehouse.

The brief:

Cambridge struggles to attract younger tourists. Despite a healthy live music scene, nightlife, green spaces, incredible architecture and a genuine city buzz, Cambridge lags behind London and other destinations when it comes to attracting a younger crowd.  

Creative Warehouse invited students to pitch to secure a (fictional) £10K commission for a 90-second film and an accompanying social media campaign intended to appeal to the 18-24 age group, to show an edgier, diverse Cambridge with attitude and real appeal, and draw younger tourists to Cambridge for a “Cam-cation”.

Each student team was also asked to submit a realistic budget detailing how they would spend the £10K budget for the film, and a one-page treatment summarizing their pitch (examples follow).

How the Live Brief benefited Creative Warehouse:

Students responded with a range of creative approaches, choosing various themes including online dating, self-care, nostalgia, perceptions of place through social media, and the styles of distinctive individual cinematographers.

Simon Hall, Director at Creative Warehouse, said:

“I was immensely impressed with the students. They did a terrific job on the Live Brief, immediately seeing what was required, and producing some creative, thoughtful, and highly effective solutions to the problem they have been set.

“Some of their thoughts were absolutely outstanding, and certainly not ideas which I, or the rest of the team could’ve come up with. So they added a great deal of value.

“I would strongly recommend ARU Live Briefs to any employer.”

Student activity type: Digital media or communication

Churchill Archives Centre – History

Partner sector: Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

Live Brief case study: Churchill Archives Centre and ARU History students

ARU students from the BA History course participated in a Live Brief with partner organisation Churchill Archives Centre.

The brief:

Students were asked to contribute to a two-day international conference on diary-keeping and making organised by Churchill Archives Centre, held at Churchill College, Cambridge and online.

ARU students in the Churchill Archives reading room


The students placed chosen diary materials in historical context and considered issues around digitisation and presentation (including copyright clearance), and the problems of interpretation and presentation of this material.

How the Live Brief benefited Churchill Archives Centre:

Students curated an online exhibition titled Keeping and Making Diaries: historical sources and perspectives, produced to coincide with the two-day conference.

Allen Packwood, Director of the Churchill Archives Centre, said:

“It was a real pleasure to work with the students on the selection and interpretation of our archival material.

“They brought a lively enthusiasm to the project, and it was fascinating to see their personal reactions to the original diaries.

“We learned a lot about our holdings and benefitted enormously from seeing them through new eyes.”

How the Live Brief benefited ARU students:

ARU BA History students Hattie Seager-Pope and Hanah Ansari described their Live Brief experiences and the positive impact they felt it brought for them:

Hattie Seager-Pope, BA History student

I really enjoyed doing the Live Brief. We worked in small groups with a mentor from the Churchill Archives Centre to pick out diaries from their collection.

“Our diaries then went into their online exhibition that also went alongside a conference. It was very interesting as we got to learn how an archive works and we got to learn about handling documents.

“Picking a diary, we had to look through the online archive and choose a few diaries. We then looked through them and wrote about the diary and who wrote it.

“It really helped me when thinking about my future career and I will be doing some volunteering with them in the future in conservation.”

Watch ARU History student Hattie Seagar-Pope describe her Live Brief.

Hanah Ansari, BA History student

“Taking part in the Live Brief with Churchill Archives Centre was a fantastic and eye-opening opportunity for me!

“It not only provided me with the key skills of working with archive material – in preparation for researching my dissertation in my third year – but it also gave me an insight as to what it is like working with an archive, advancing my knowledge of the job market and employability with a history degree after ARU.

“Part of the project involved launching an online exhibition with the archive centre and via this I gained work experience, as well as a greater understanding of how to interpret and use primary sources, as a history student at ARU.

“I feel very fortunate to have been able to take part in this opportunity and really enjoyed learning about archived diaries.”

Student activity type: Strategy, planning, pitching and Digital media or communication

Lifecraft - Philosophy

Partner sector: Human Health and Social Work Activities

Live Brief case study: Lifecraft and ARU Philosophy students

ARU students from the BA Philosophy course participated in a Live Brief with user-led mental health charity Lifecraft, based in Cambridge.

The brief: Strategies to address stigmas about mental health and increase awareness of Lifecraft’s distinctive work:

Partner organisation Lifecraft invited students to create resources that Lifecraft could use practically to identify what is distinctive about their specific offer to user groups.

These resources needed to help increase public awareness of mental health issues, address stigma and misunderstandings about mental health generally, add to existing information on Lifecraft’s website and fundraising materials, and support Lifecraft’s campaigns to win sponsorship and investment.

How the Live Brief benefited Lifecraft:

In response to the Live Brief, students devised and presented materials, using a reflective approach, and offered possible strategies for the charity to use in a planned reshaping of their website, as well as suggestions for increasing awareness of their important work.

CEO of Lifecraft Gemma Barron worked with the students to devise the brief and attended the students’ final presentations. She described her experience of the Live Brief:

“I was really impressed with the sensitivity of the students’ approach to the issues. I found their presentation very thought-provoking, but also full of ideas Lifecraft could use in a practical way.”

The student group looked at some of the common misconceptions and misunderstandings about mental health issues, and why they arise.

What are the myths and facts? What is the best way to explain what can be quite complicated issues, in ways that mixed audiences (which may include not only those individuals who need support, but also friends, family and the general public), can really understand?

The students also looked at ways to raise awareness of the help and support available for mental health issues, specifically looking at the website design and various channels of communication Lifecraft was using, as well as ways to identify and contact groups that could benefit from the information.

They considered what sorts of communication work best, and how Lifecraft might reach out to people who otherwise might not be aware of the work they do. This included not only potential users of the services, but also stakeholders and organisations who want to learn more about Lifecraft’s work and how they might be able to help with fundraising, sponsorship and access to grants.

Finally, they considered ways to highlight Lifecraft’s approach as a user-led mental health support charity, to see what makes it distinctive, and to see how it complements the work of other mental health charities.

They sought to identify the reasons for taking this specific approach to supporting mental health issues and consider what might be the strengths of this approach, so that this could form part of the charity’s self-presentation.

How the Live Brief benefited students:

The Live Brief offered the students ways to link their theoretical work on the module concerning the nature of the mind and consciousness to the practical questions of mind and mental health, and to consider working for a charity as a possible area of work to explore after graduation.

Student activity type: Digital media or communication

Cambridge University Botanic Gardens - Illustration

Partner sector: Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

Live Brief case study: Cambridge University Botanic Garden and ARU Illustration students

ARU Illustration students worked closely with Cambridge University Botanic Garden to produce designs for the Botanic Garden’s educational resources.

How the Live Brief benefited the Botanic Garden

Dr Chantal Helm, who coordinates the Botanic Garden’s learning activities, said:

"We were very impressed with the work the students produced, some of which was so good we asked the student to help us deliver another project as a paid freelance illustrator."

"It was fascinating to see the various interpretations of the live briefs by the different students and their individual styles bringing the work to life."

"The experience of working with so many students was exciting, as the outputs were so varied and ‘out of the box’ that we were able to explore many different ways of engaging with the same topic."

"We will continue to work with a new group of ARU students next year - look out for some of their work appearing in the Garden then."

Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE)

Student activity type: Digital media or communication

BCN Wildlife Trust - Ecology and Conservation

Partner sector: Arts, Entertainment and Recreation

ARU students on our BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour, BSc (Hons) Ecology & Conservation, and BSc (Hons) Zoology courses participated in a Live Brief with Wildlife Trust Beds, Cambs and Northants (BCN).

Wildlife Trust logo

The brief

Wildlife Trust BCN asked students to research and produce posters to highlight the conservation issues around certain UK animal species, for use on the Wildlife Trust BCN website to help publicize their work and attract potential members and volunteers.

How the Live Brief benefited Wildlife Trust BCN

ARU students worked together to produce a range of infographics focusing on various species of interest for Wildlife Trust BCN, including the harvest mouse, nightingale, slow worm and common lizard. 

The infographics highlight key facts about the risks facing each species, and ways that the public can support their conservation – for example by changing a small area of their garden to create a more favourable habitat.

Josh Hellon, Monitoring & Research Manager at BCN Wildlife Trust, said:“Our recent work with Anglia Ruskin University has been a new area for us. The Live Brief programme is an opportunity to present students with a real-world problem and challenge them to come up with a fresh and creative solution.

“In this case we asked students to research and produce posters to highlight the conservation issues around certain UK animal species.

Profile photo of Josh Hellon

“The work that has come from this has been genuinely impressive. It has been refreshing to see a different perspective on conservation and see such a variety of approaches. It is also great to see the younger generation so engaged with conservation issues. 

“For the students, we hope that this project gives them a chance to work with a real conservation organisation and think how they might approach things in their future careers. It is incredibly important for us to help encourage the next generation of conservation practitioners.” 

Read Josh’s blog about the Live Brief

How the Live Brief benefited ARU students

ARU Module Leader Peter Brown said:

“It is excellent for the students and me to work with a renowned employer and NGO in the wildlife conservation sector. The BCN Wildlife Trust team have provided some great feedback for the students.”

Student activity type: Data analysis; Strategy, planning, pitching

Hear more about our students' work with Forensic Analytics

Forensic Analytics - Crime and Investigative Studies

Partner sector: Professional Scientific and Technical Activities

ARU students on our BSc (Hons) Crime and Investigative Studies course participated in a Live Brief with Forensic Analytics, a company providing innovative software solutions to improve the efficiency of forensic analysis in combatting crime.

The brief – preventing and detecting crime against women and girls

Forensic Analytics logo


The issue of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is becoming increasingly important for UK police forces.   Forensic Analytics asked ARU students to analyse a large data set about crimes of stalking and harassment of women, and to suggest ways in which police forces could prevent, detect and tackle these crimes more effectively.

How the brief benefited Forensic Analytics

Students worked in groups to:

  • Analyse victim and suspect profiles of individuals committing stalking and harassment offences
  • Profile individuals committing offences via digital channels
  • Analyse data to identify whether swift positive action helps to reduce offending and repeat victimisation
  • Identify opportunities to analyse relevant digital data such as Call Data Records
  • Identify opportunities to improve victim confidence, whilst utilising digital data to corroborate victims’ accounts

The students then presented their findings and recommendations to Scott Fitzmaurice, Strategic Development Director at Forensic Analytics.

Examples of the students’ proposals included:

  • Introducing education programmes about VAWG into schools
  • Raising awareness of available helplines for both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence
  • Developing new training to equip police officers to recognise signs of domestic abuse
  • Using hot-spot policing approaches in areas with particularly high incidence of crimes against women and girls, coupled with regular review of data to monitor effectiveness

Scott said:

“I think it’s really refreshing how the students have undertaken the challenge, and some hard-hitting figures have come out of their work.

“For example, their analysis identified that 70% of those who initially commit harassment online go on to commit physical violence.

Profile photo of Scott Fitzmaurice

“The students also did a very good job of taking a victim-oriented approach. They really grasped the importance of identifying ways to proactively prevent crime, rather than only dealing with it after it has happened.”

Student activity type: Software and system design

Hear more about our students' work with Intergence

Intergence - Computer Science

Partner sector: Information And Communication

Live Brief case study: Intergence and ARU Computer Science students

ARU Computer Science students participated in a Live Brief with digital technology consultancy company Intergence.

The brief: Internet of Things and digital systems to support recruitment

Intergence provided two project descriptions, from which the students worked as a team to design a software-based solution for their chosen project:

  1. Internet of Things (IOT): Intergence asked students to design IOT location reference data collection elements, and consider options for how these should be captured.
  2. Recruitment system: Students were asked to design a recruitment support system in which potential candidates could be pre-screened on a series of questions.

How the Live Brief benefited Intergence

Anthony Osborn, Intergence Product Manager, explained: “It was really great working with the students and to see their enthusiasm. They questioned things in ways that we hadn’t thought about – probably something to do with having 50 bright minds around a new problem!”

“You never get that in your work environment normally.  It was fantastic to see the range of different solutions they had to the problems we wanted to solve, and it was a really good two-way benefit.” 

Peter Job, Intergence CEO and founder, added: “We got a lot out of it and the students were really engaged with the process.  We’d certainly be interested in doing another Live Brief.” 

Student activity type: Digital media or communication

Essex County Council – Psychology

Partner sector: Public Administration and Defence; Compulsory Social Security

Live Brief case study: Essex County Council and ARU Psychology students

ARU Psychology students participated in a Live Brief with Essex County Council.

The brief:

Students worked with Essex County Council's Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Strategy and Innovation team to research current scientific evidence on the following topics and produce infographics to present their findings simply to non-psychologists:

  • Understanding Your Teenage Brain
  • Puberty Blues
  • Pushing Back on Peer Pressure
  • Caring for Your Future Self
  • Understanding Yourself and Your Identity
  • Critical Evaluation and Conspiracy Theories
  • How to Think Positive
  • The Psychology of Prejudice
  • Overcoming Stereotypes
  • The Psychology of Groups
  • Changing Attitudes / Changing lives
  • Understanding Interpersonal Attraction
  • The Pursuit of Happiness

How the Live Brief benefited Essex County Council

Lianne Canning, Emotional Wellbeing & Mental Health Coordinator for Essex County Council’s Social, Emotional & Mental Health (SEMH) Strategy Team, selected seven of the infographics produced by ARU students for use in educational settings within Essex.

The infographics focused on Getting Enough Sleep, Parent-Teen Conflict, Decision-Making, Peer Pressure, Feeling Blue, and Mobile Phones.

Have a look at some of the students’ work here:

Lianne explained:

“Taking part in the Live Brief was a rewarding experience. It provided us with the opportunity to support and encourage those who will potentially make up our future workforce and gave valuable insight to the creative ways that students can gain practical, real-world experience in the field.

“The work the students produced was of a high standard and gave a fresh perspective on our projects. It is also worth mentioning that the support and communication from ARU was fantastic, making the process smooth and enjoyable.”

How the Live Brief benefited ARU students:

BSc Psychology student Lovell Jones described the positive difference she feels the Live Brief brought to her studies:

“Having a Live Brief for an assignment was a breath of fresh air. It felt immediately more purposeful and important than other academic assignments.

“I felt more motivated to complete the assignment knowing that I was fulfilling a live need and that it could go on to help someone. The Live Brief made me reconnect with the idea of post-university life and career prospects.

“It’s easy to get lost in a sea of assignments at university, and I feel the Live Brief reminded me of the reason I was doing my degree and its future applications.”

Student activity type: Product and construction design

Hear more about our students' work with Willmott Dixon

Willmott Dixon - Civil Engineering

Partner sector: Construction

Live Brief case study: Willmott Dixon and ARU Civil Engineering students

ARU Civil Engineering students and construction company Willmott Dixon worked together on a Live Brief to generate new design proposals for a footbridge crossing over the river Chelmer near to ARU’s Chelmsford campus.

The brief:

Students carried out in-depth analysis of factors influencing design options, including cost, aesthetics, material choice, construction type, local soil and geology, environmental impact, and resistance to flood risk.

They presented their design proposal options to Richard Davidson, Director of New Business at Willmott Dixon, who provided detailed professional feedback to the students.

How the Live Brief benefited Willmott Dixon

Richard described how the Live Brief has benefited Willmott Dixon. He told us:

“The Live Brief working with ARU has been really exciting for me as an employer, getting to meet some of the students and really understanding their dynamism and how they approach the brief." 

"What's fascinating for me is seeing the solutions that they've proposed are actually as good as, if not better than some of my colleagues."

"That means we can put back into the industry, we can see those students develop, and it's really great to see a pipeline of talent being nurtured."

"So for me, that’s why I want to be here - I want to give back, but I also want to help improve the sector and improve my business.”  

Student activity type: Product and construction design

Hear more about our students' work with BAE Systems

BAE Systems - Mechanical Engineering

Partner sector: Professional Scientific and Technical Activities

Live Brief case study: BAE Systems and ARU Mechanical Engineering students

Multinational defence, security and aerospace company BAE Systems worked with ARU Mechanical Engineering students on a brief to re-engineer a small drone to new specifications. 

The brief

Students worked in groups to develop detailed designs, taking into consideration factors including cost, weight limits, strength, rigidity, modularity and ease of maintenance, appropriate materials and manufacturing processes, and ability of the drone to function in a range of operating environments.

Each student group presented their analysis and design process and results, and also produced a 3D prototype version of their design. 

Moh Akhmad, Principal Scientist with BAE Systems, attended the presentation session to evaluate the design proposals and provide full feedback to the student groups on their work.

How the Live Brief benefited BAE Systems

Moh described how the Live Brief has benefited BAE Systems. He told us:

“It's very interesting to see the kind of refreshing innovation that the students have provided, and the different directions that they've taken the technology.”

Student activity type: Product and construction design

Hear more about our students' work with H&O Consulting

H&O Consulting - Building Surveying

Partner sector: Professional Scientific and Technical Activities

Live Brief case study: H&O Consulting and ARU Building Surveying students

Building Control inspection company H&O Consulting worked with ARU Building Surveying students on a Live Brief to produce designs for a client’s residential improvement project in readiness for a building control application.

The brief

The project included technical details of alterations and extensions to the property, and compliance with all relevant building standards and regulations.

Students presented their designs and specifications to Rob Handley, Director at H&O Consulting, who in turn gave the students valuable detailed feedback. 

The students addressed the deficiencies with the existing accommodation to plan alterations and extensions to provide a modern family home, considering shortcomings in terms of facilities and producing an outline specification that set out how they intended to create the new space.

Student activity type: Digital media or communication

LGC Group – Forensic Science

Partner sector: Professional Scientific and Technical Activities

Live Brief case study: LGC Group and ARU Forensic Science students

ARU BSc Forensic Science students participated in a Live Brief with leading global life sciences company LGC Group.

The brief:

LGC asked students to help produce and present an information poster, summarising detailed knowledge of chemical reagents and analytical methods in the field of criminalistics; the selection of methodologies appropriate to a variety of casework; and derivation of conclusions from real life problems in line with established professional practice.

The background

ARU Associate Professor in Forensic Science Dr Lata Gautam has been collaborating with Dr Blagovesta Tomova from LGC’s Fordham site near Cambridge to deliver employer-led solutions to real-world problems linked to the group of antioxidants known as Irganox. These are polymer additives used as stabilizers in food packaging or medical devices.

The general public is regularly exposed to these compounds and some of them have migrated into food and been detected in biological fluids.

The characterisation of these compounds provides invaluable information required by LGC Fordham when embarking on extractables and leachables studies during the drug development process.

How the Live Brief benefited LGC Group

ARU students worked together to respond to the Live Brief by producing a group poster presentation on 7 different Irganox compounds, their chemistry, safety, and method of analysis.

LGC Group Senior Scientist Dr Blagovesta Tomova is ARU alumni and has been working in collaboration with Lata for more than a decade.  She described how the Live Brief delivered a “win-win” result for both LGC and ARU students.

Dr Tomova says:

“It was fantastic to see all students embracing the challenges of researching and presenting on this topic.

“In addition to enabling students to perform independent research and better understanding of the challenges of the industry, this module has been a great opportunity for students to develop a range of transferable skills such as team and individual work, poster design and delivery of presentation to an audience.

“We were treated with some very interesting presentations - well done everyone! This is a great initiative and showcases how academia and industry can work together to inspire future scientists.”

Lata also agrees, as she elaborates, “It was a lot to learn to deliver a Live Brief, but we all were excited to hear and learn from students during their presentation as the topic was new to us all.

It was great fun and the Live Brief turned out to be an innovative way of teaching and learning."