UAL Torchbearers: Interviews

At the Samsung Torchbearer gala dinner

Last week we announced the six students from the University of the Arts London who have been selected to represent the university as 2012 Torchbearers. We’ve caught up with the students ahead of the Olympic Flame lighting in Ancient Olympia, Athens on May 10th. Hanna, Ellie, Sophie and Tottie tell us how they’re feeling in the run up to the big day and whether this historic event relates to their college work. Many thanks to them all for taking time out of their manic final year schedules!

Hanna Johansson, BA (Hons) Fashion Sportswear, London College of Fashion

How did you come to be appointed a Torchbearer?
I heard about it through my school so I applied and they chose me to be nominated!

What does it mean to you?
It is a great honour for me; I have never been involved in something as big as this before. The Olympic and Paralympic Games are something that I have been watching since I was a child, and now to be a part of it feels a bit unreal.

How does it relate to your studies?
I study Fashion Sportswear so I think it is highly relevant; fashion is becoming more and more important in the world of sports and my education is about combining the two.

What will the role actually entail?
By carrying the Olympic flame, I represent my school and my education and I will be able to inspire people across the world with my story. I think that education is very important and if I can inspire one person to not give up their dreams about what they want to study that is enough for me. As a Torchbearer I also represent what the Olympic and Paralympic Games stand for and I hope that the event in 2012 will bring people from different nations together.

Hanna Johannson at the gala dinner

Ellie Moss, BA (Hons) Theatre and Screen – Costume Design, Wimbledon

How did you end up being appointed a Torchbearer?
I was nominated by my tutors.  I have been a student rep for my course, Costume Design for the last two years and try to help as many people as I can, such as tutors and my peers, and developing my course into something everyone is happy with. Alongside, I am also student ambassador and just generally try to work hard with my work and job.

Which part of the route are you carrying it for?
On the 26th July I’m running in Camden.

Ellie Moss - the Virgin Sacrifce

What does it mean to you?
It actually means a lot. I am really thrilled that my tutors think so highly of me and that they would even think of nominating me – it came as quite a shock to be honest.

Does it relate to your studies?
Not really, but it is a confidence boost – making me feel more confident in the way I socialise with mentors in the industry and people I look up to for guidance in my studies. It makes me feel that if you do work hard that occasionally people will notice.

And could you tell me a little about what you are working on at college at the moment?
I am currently in my final year, with an upcoming degree show at Wimbledon 14th – 22nd June where I will present some of my constructed costume and a selection of costume designs that I have been working on for the past academic year. The next upcoming weekend (5th  May) 3rd year Costume Design and Interpretation are presenting our work at Hampton Court, which is running alongside the baroque exhibition: The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned. Our costumes are inspired by the themes of the exhibition.

My website is

Ellie Moss - the Virgin Sacrifice

Sophie Hirsch, BA (Hons) Jewellery Design, Central Saint Martins

How did you come to be appointed a Torchbearer?
I believe the head of my course, Caroline Broadhead, was asked to appoint someone from the programme she leads. The email she forwarded me summarised: “Sophie is an outstanding student and a great team player. She is extraordinarily hard working and has been producing excellent work which is already of a professional quality. We expect her to be making a strong contribution to the field of jewellery when she launches her career.”

What does it mean to you?
I’m quite a modest person, so I was quite shocked as to why I had been nominated. It’s obviously an honour and a once in a lifetime experience – my family were pretty excited about it all!

Sophie Hirsch

What will the role actually entail? 
As far as I’m aware each person will carry the 1.5 kg torch for 300m, each student carrying it a different leg of the route in the city of their university. I will be carrying the torch in South Kensington, quite near the end of the relay.

How does it relate to your studies?
I’m not sure it does directly, but it’s interesting to be part of it with so many varied and inspirational people.

And what are you working on at the moment at college?
Currently I’m working on my final collection, which is due in the end of the month to then be on show at CSM’s degree show, and trying to get my website up, so it’s all pretty hectic at the minute!

Tottie Petit

Tottie Petit, BA (hons) Theatre and Screen – Technical Arts and Special Effects, Wimbledon

What are you working on at college right now?
My course is Technical Arts with Special Effects – anything from puppetry to anatomica sculpture to sci-fi to prosthetics. I am currently doing a piece on angels, I have sculpted and cast a lady who is being visited by an angel. The lady is made out of plaster and the angel is fragmented and cast out of glass wax. He will he turning around her on a motor, if all goes well completely  encompassing her. I’ve been studying angels for a year from the bible and interviews with people who have had modern day encounters as well as many books. I am keen to knock down the modern day notion of how an angel should look and find the original blueprint. So no wings or halos!

How do you feel about being chosen as a Torchbearer?
I am thrilled and I feel very privileged although I am aware it could have been anyone in my class – we are all very hard working and my tutor said it could be any one of us. It means a lot I am really grateful. I am thankful to God for choosing me and will be running with Him in mind!

Which part of the route are you carrying it for?
My slot is in The London Borough of Waltham Forest on 21 July 2012. That’s all I know so far.

Have you got any specific or unusual plans of how you will carry the torch on the day?
Ha! It feels like a long way away right now. But everyone says I am hilarious at running, I look like a three year old so maybe I will skip instead? I thought about wearing something that represents me, and what I stand for, but we get to wear an official uniform instead. I guess I will just try and carry it as best as I can without falling over – my brother says he can’t come and watch me because he doesn’t own any flame retardant clothing!

What do you think the Olympic and Paralympic Games will do for London?
I really hope that it boosts everyone’s moral (instead of getting people down about more people and heavier traffic). I hope it excites people and encourages everyone to pull together as a country – that would be nice.

Tottie Petit

One Response to “UAL Torchbearers: Interviews”

  1. THES: Vice chancellors grabbing university Olympic torch places {updated} | Help Me Investigate the Olympics Says:

    July 10th, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    [...] In contrast, the University of the Arts London have given their six torchbearer places to students nominated by staff for dedication and participation. [...]

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