New College students set to design four Swindogs for the Big Dog Art Trail

By Jessica Durston - 20 March 2023

EducationArts and CultureAttractions

Students from New College Swindon are hoping their designs will be best in class, as they’ve been given the opportunity to design four Swindogs for the world’s first balloon dog art trail.

The Big Dog Art Trail, which is coming to town this summer, will feature 30 supersized Swindog sculptures and more than 40 smaller Swinpup sculptures.

Three Swindon-based trail sponsors, The Wyvern Theatre, Arval UK and The National Self Build & Renovation Centre (NSBRC), have all entrusted the design of their Swindogs to the art students, giving them the opportunity for a special kind of work experience in the process.

The students will also be responsible for designing a Swinpup sculpture as part of the art trail’s Learning Programme, which will see schools, colleges and children’s nurseries adopt and design their own 80 centimetre-high balloon dog sculpture.

Following a briefing event at New College in February, the students have been tasked with creating designs that reflect each business, from sustainable transport and living to panto-inspired creations.

A link to a YouTube video of the briefing can be found at:

The students will then be short-listed by their lecturers and will have the chance to present their designs to the companies who will decide which design will go on their sculpture.

Russell Maggs, Art Lecturer at New College Swindon, said: “It’s really good that the students are getting the opportunity to work with real life employers.

“For their artwork to eventually be on public display for the people of Swindon to see and them to have pride in their work and their local area is fantastic.

“I’ve been teaching a long time and I’ve never seen an opportunity like this for the students and they are fully embracing it and enjoying some incredible experiences which will do them a world of good going forward.

“I think their designs are great, there is a lot of originality in there and we can’t wait to see which ones the sponsors choose for the final trail.”

The student’s chosen designs will be showcased on the trail, which will run from 15 July - 3 September, 2023.

Both the NSBRC and Arval UK sculptures will feature at Lydiard Park, with three other sculptures.

While the panto-inspired sculpture will feature at the Wyvern Theatre in the town centre.

Chris Hyde, Project Manager for The Big Dog Art Trail, said: “We have been blown away by the enthusiasm shown by the students at Swindon New College and their lecturers.

“The three sponsors briefed the students on what they do as businesses and what they would like to see inspire the designs.

“We are not only excited to see the designs they come up with but also the different materials they will be using as they span a range of arts and textile students.

“The sponsors have been fantastic in giving this opportunity to the students and this just showcases the community element of the trail that we are so proud of.”

At the end of the trail, the student-designed sculptures will join all the others at a grand farewell weekend. The giant one-of-a-kind creations will then head off to their forever homes after being adopted at an auction event to raise money for Julia’s House children’s hospice.

The Big Dog Art Trail is being brought to Swindon by Julia’s House and global public art producer Wild in Art, who has previously hosted trails in cities across the UK and worldwide.

There is still a chance for individuals and local businesses to sponsor a Swindog and be seen by thousands of visitors this summer.

More information on how to become a sponsor, can be found by visiting

Your Comments

Be the first to comment on this article

Login or Register to post a comment on this article

Subscribe to The Link

Registered in England & Wales. No: 4513027, Positive Media Group, Old Bank House, 5 Devizes Road, Old Town, Swindon, SN1 4BJ