Oxford Brookes University Mace

A ceremonial mace is an ornamental object that symbolises the authority of an organisation or a person, and maces can be found in parliaments and royal palaces across the world. Many universities, in the UK and around the world, also have a mace - it is an essential part of official ceremonies, serving as a physical representation of the authority of the institution.

Following the success of our 150th anniversary celebrations in 2015, it was decided that a mace should be designed for Oxford Brookes, as a lasting legacy of this significant milestone in the University’s history.

The University wished to encourage real student engagement with the concept, design, and production of the mace; and a student competition to design the Oxford Brookes mace was therefore launched, in October 2016. Students and recent alumni were invited to submit a concept and an initial design, to an outline specification.

In January 2017, Fattorini Ltd - silversmiths and mace manufacturers by royal appointment – worked up the shortlisted designs to show how the final artefacts would appear; and we invited the University community - students and staff - to vote for their favourite design.

Rhys Herbst, who graduated in June 2016 from the Foundation Art and Design course, designed the mace as part of a student design competition and carried the artefact at the first of the September graduation ceremonies.

Professor Julie McLeod, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience) said: “At Oxford Brookes University, we encourage our students to develop skills around enterprise and creativity and one example of this is through student design competitions.

“The new mace will grace ceremonial occasions for many years to come. We were delighted to welcome Rhys to the graduation platform and I thank him for his outstanding design.”

A student carrying the mace

“I am both honoured and excited to have been given the chance to take part in such a humbling occasion. The mace was my first meaningful design project – the experience and success that followed ultimately gave me the confidence to continue with graphic design, which over the summer has turned into a successful small-time business of mine. I have also received a place at Oxford Brookes on its renowned Architecture course, which is where I hope my career in design will lead in the future.”

Rhys Herbst, Mace competition winner

The process of the mace being built
A picture of the pole of the mace
Picture of mace leaves
Close up of mace design
Close up of mace leaves