The Graduation Shoes Project: A Celebration of Style and Identity

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Graduation is a significant rite of passage and a celebration of achievement as the individual progresses from student to graduate.

The Graduation Shoes Project takes shoes as the focal point of research and examines their role in this important ceremonial celebration. Walking across the stage to receive one’s degree is a seminal moment, one in which shoes have a major role to play, carrying the wearer from student to graduate, and on to life’s next exciting adventure.

The Graduation Shoes Project launched in July 2019 at NTU. Using photographs and short interviews the project documents the shoes that our graduates are wearing, the stories behind their choices and explores their role in this transitional moment in the wearer’s life.


“Well basically I wanted to make the shoes my outfit. I don’t really believe in being dressed really smart, I don’t feel like it’s me. So I was like I need to wear something that looks really nice but that is still sassy and that bit really, really extra. They are so fluffy and cute.” Psychology and Criminology Graduate, 2019.
“These are traditional South African shoes, very cultural. I am in the UK and I’ve come all the way from South Africa and I just wanted to have a bit of my culture here today. They say I’m spontaneous. There are a lot of emotions running through me today….I’m going to miss being a student so much.” Business Graduate,, 2019.
“So I have my Dr Martens on today. I thought with the navy suit and the Dr Martens it looked a bit different. So I thought what better way to graduate. I’m sad, it has probably been the best three years of my life.” Fashion Marketing and Branding Graduate, 2019.
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