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University of Suffolk launches competition for ceremonial mace design

24 Apr 2019 9:00AM

The University of Suffolk is asking the community to develop the design concept for the University’s first ceremonial mace.

Traditionally a ceremonial mace, is a highly ornamented staff of metal or wood, carried before a sovereign or other high officials in civic ceremonies by a mace-bearer, intended to represent the official's authority.

Processions often feature ceremonial maces, for example at parliamentary or formal academic occasions. As Professor Helen Langton, Vice-Chancellor, explains, “Within higher education, a ceremonial mace has been a symbol of university scholarship and integrity since the 11th century. It is used at events such as Graduation and signifies the importance of the event and the conferment of the academic process. The majority of universities have a mace, or even maces in some cases, usually made from made from silver or wood some very ornate others of a much simpler design. Being a young university, we are looking for something traditional but with a modern twist. We plan to choose two design concepts, one to be carved predominantly from wood by a local wood turner, the other will be produced on our new state-of-the-art 3D printer, which we have recently installed with the support of Ipswich Borough Council, by our 3D Printing Specialist Tom Ranson. Both maces will be used in years to come at important events.”

“We are encouraging design concepts to come from every corner of the Suffolk community, whether you are in school, at university, working or retired. We want the design to be based on the University of Suffolk’s spirit and values and something that resonates with our location.”

Local craftsman Darren Breeze has been selected to work on the wooden mace. Darren runs Breeze Woodturning and is based in Lowestoft. He has been wood turning since 2007 and has won numerous awards and competitions for his outstanding work. In 2016, he won a first prize at Wizardry at Wood, and in 2017 applied to join the Register of Professional Turners. 

Darren said, “I am thrilled and honoured to be working with the University of Suffolk on the manufacture of their ceremonial mace. I’m really looking forward to seeing the designs that people come up with and how their designs reflect both the University and its location.”  

As well as the honour of designing the mace, the winner will work with professionals on the end product, attend a graduation ceremony to see the mace in action and will have the opportunity to have one day’s free wood turning tuition in Darren’s workshop in Lowestoft.

The judging panel will include Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Helen Langton, Darren Breeze and Arts Editor at the East Anglian Daily Times, Andrew Clarke.

The Mace design competition will run from today (24 April 2019) until 9 June 2019. Entries must be submitted digitally. To enter and for more information, please visit

To find out more about wood turner Darren Breeze and to view some of his work, visit


University of Suffolk Press Office
T: 01473 338476