Big Splash dolphin design celebrates neurodiversity

UCM held a competition where students each paid £1 to enter and choose a name for the UCM dolphin.

Student winner Sarah Kelly won coffee and cake for two at UCM’s Annie Gill Cafe for coming up with the name Diversity.

The students raised £62.30 for Hospice in the process.

Diversity Design was a collaborative effort of UCM Foundation Learning students, who have learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

It features waves of blue, green and purple stripes, a shaded body and overlaid images of stars and symbols to represent the diversity of the group. Their calf is based in the Villa Marina home.

Students searched for symbols for neurodiversity and found butterflies, hearts, and endless rainbows.

Some drew them by hand, while others used iPads.

Bridson and Horrox printed the cut-out stickers, including some of the hidden disabilities sunflowers that Diversity the Dolphin wears on a lanyard.

Heidi Danaher, lecturer at UCM, said: “It was a great opportunity for students to conduct research, learn new skills and communicate inside and outside of UCM.

“Jen Adams of Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch inspired the students with facts about dolphins and their habitat, which helped bring the whole project to life.

“We are thrilled to be part of The Big Splash community project for Hospice and have learned a lot along the way.”

Other dolphins were also designed by UCM students. Health and social care students have been inspired by bright colors and early childhood education with their ‘Dolly Diploms’ design which is located in the Strand Street Hospice shop.

And the Prison Education Pupils Dolphin, which is titled ‘Life is a Puzzle’, is placed in Salmon Lake, Laxey. It has been covered with puzzle pieces containing some of the students’ favorite artistic designs.

Jesamine Kelly, Director of UCM, said: “We are very proud to be part of this year’s ‘Big Splash’ Hospice, helping to raise funds for such an important local charity, while encouraging our students to be creative and work together.

‘Having studied art at UCM, I was very keen to get involved in this fun and creative fundraising event.

“Our students have spent many hours working collaboratively to produce brilliant designs.

“We are all very happy for the public to see their creations.”

The trail aims to bring together businesses, creative sectors and schools, to celebrate the community and creativity of the island and its beautiful marine environments.

You can get involved by downloading the free Hospice Isle of Man app or checking out the trail map on and exploring the island to tick off as many dolphin sightings as possible.

Once the art trail is completed in September, each of the dolphin sculptures will be auctioned off to raise funds for Hospice Isle of Man’s end-of-life and palliative care services.

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Rozella J. Cook