Graphic design student retraces memories for personal Degree Show project

Date posted

4 June 2018


Last updated

19 March 2020

An Edinburgh Napier student has retraced her memories of her late father in a personal Degree Show project that looks to reassure people that it is OK to talk about grief.

Emma Meligne lost her father Edouard in 2003 after he died in a motorcycle accident in Spain when she was just 12-years-old.

The 51-year-old had been in the country for a motorcycle trip with a group of friends when the tragic incident occurred.

As time has passed, Emma - who lived with her family in Avignon, France before moving to Glasgow in 2011 to study graphic design – has started to talk about her father’s passing with friends and family in an effort to recognise and cope with her loss. 

Now – as part of Edinburgh Napier’s recent Showtime Degree Show – the graphic design student has created a visual representation of her memories of her late father as she now looks to reassure others that there is comfort to be found in talking about grief.

She said: “I’ve always been interested in meaningful design and for my final year project, I was really keen to visually represent my grief for my father in order to help me, and others, have peace with it.

“When he passed, my family and I were in complete shock. I was very young at the time – just 12. I’ve never really opened up and spoke to anyone about what happened – until now.

“As part of the project, I went and visited family members back in France to ask them about my dad and their own memories of him. I travelled to Paris to meet my cousin and her parents – it was comforting to hear others speak so warmly about him. There was one story they told about him trying to reach England on a bashed up moped, needless to say - he failed! But it was so nice to hear stories that I had never heard before. It really helped me and I wanted to help others by encouraging them to go down a similar route to what I eventually did.”

Retracing memories...
Emma’s project has seen her create a memorial garden for her dad, and she has applied her graphic design expertise to a number of its features.

A poignant photo album, a broken motorcycle helmet that is filled with questions which Emma’s dad would ask her if he was still here today and an open letter which visually crumbles into the space help bring her story of grief and loss to life. A selection of jars that represent the ingredients of Emma’s grief also feature, each adorned with a number that is personal to Edouard’s life.

A powerful sound recording which saw Emma enlist the help of Edinburgh Napier drama students to re-enact the phone call her mother received to tell her the news of her dad’s passing is also featured.

For the 27-year-old – who wants to move into the film industry on completion of her degree at Edinburgh Napier – her entire final year project has been a learning curve in many ways.

Emma added: “Undertaking this project has been a massive learning process in so many ways. I’ve obviously been learning how to apply graphic design skills to different situations and projects and I’ve also been learning more about my family and about moments we have spent together in the past.

“I’ve been speaking to both my mum and brother about the project and they love it. It is comforting to know that they themselves have found acceptance for what has happened.

“We’ll never forget dad and we will always have these memories to cherish - I’m glad he’s been a part of my Degree Show project.”
Study Design at Edinburgh Napier