written by Robbyn McGill
(For University of Arts, London – International Recruitment Department, 2013)
The poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “My chief want in life is for someone to make me do what I can.” As Europe’s largest art and design university, University of Arts, London (UAL) nurtures and challenges students to achieve their creative potential and launch their professional ambitions.
Through an unrivaled range of courses in art, design, fashion, communication and the performing arts offered across 6 distinctive and distinguished colleges, UAL brings together nearly 19,000 students from 110 countries to learn, grow and “do what they can” in a vast, dynamic, creative community.
SIX ART COLLEGES
UAL’s six colleges consist of Camberwell College of Art, Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Art, London College of Communication, London College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Art. The three smaller, colleges, Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon are linked together under UAL as a trio-collaboration to form CCW.
London College of Fashion:
- is a leading global provider of fashion education, research and consultancy.
- is centered on the development of ideas and relationships within the global fashion and lifestyle industries.
- enables students to explore fashion alongside historical and cultural practice to challenge social, political and ethical agendas.
London College of Communication:
- is pioneering world leader in design and media education.
- offers award-winning media and design degree courses.
- reflects the breadth of expertise you'd expect to find in a leading creative agency.
Central Saint Martins:
- is a leading center for art and design education in an extraordinary new building voted the world’s best higher education building in 2012.
- acts as a huge workshop of thinking and making, underpinned by a strong research base and technical resources.
- offers a scope of studies that range across nine program areas.
Camberwell College of Art:
- is one of London's smaller art colleges.
- averages 1,600 Foundation, Undergraduate and Postgraduate students.
- provides Fine Art, Design and Conservation courses.
- embraces traditional craftsmanship and the latest digital technology with facilities.
Chelsea College of Art:
- is one of London's most prestigious art and design colleges.
- averages just over 1,400 students.
- offers programmes in Fine Art, Graphic Design Communication, Interior and Spatial Design and Textile Design.
Wimbeldon College of Art:
- engages 800 students in a range of courses across two specialist areas that encourage practical experimentation: Fine Art and Theatre & Screen.
- offers specialist workshops, studios and on-site professional theatre.
- appoints expert tutors and technicians who either work in the industry or have their own practices.
The three smaller, colleges, Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon are linked together under UAL as a trio-collaboration to form CCW. Through this 3-college collaboration, CCW creates and an expanded community of practice in a broader social, cultural and economic context.
Each college maintains its own distinct programmes and identity and opens its doors for cross-course collaborations and interdisciplinary opportunities.
Students are exposed to an extended programme of activities that includes visiting lecturers, cross college salons, critiques and external events.
3 LEVELS OF CREATIVE STUDY
Within this entire UAL framework and context, there are three key levels of study available to students:
POSTGRADUATE (both TAUGHT & RESEARCH)
At the foundation level, students have the chance to experience different art and design disciplines, whilst building a portfolio for future studies in an undergraduate programme. They are focused on developing their research, ideas, art-making and reflective skills through lectures, seminars, studio projects, gallery and museum visits.
At the foundation level, Student Ability is evaluated through a portfolio of work that demonstrates:
· an interest in art, design or related subjects.
· creative thinking and problem solving abilities.
· research and investigative skills.
· a use of a broad range of materials and processes.
· a capacity for visualization through drawing, photography, and 3D work.
At this stage, experimentation is the key word. What is the student’s relationship to investigation, exploration of materials and working with the unknown? Does the student demonstrate a bold willingness to try and fail, simply for the sake of creative process and learning? This is a strong indicator for future success, far more so than expertise in a specific medium. An inquisitive way of thinking, perceiving and being is the strongest foundation for being an artist.
At the undergraduate level, courses engage students with the most current ideas and methods and support them in developing their own identity and interests in their particular field.
At this stage, students are able to demonstrate:
· an ability to develop concepts.
· focus on a chosen subject.
· an ability to work more skillfully with a range of materials, processes and techniques.
At this stage, portfolios should reflect an exploration of concepts and visual research. Students at this level are starting to make discoveries and they can now identify their most successful work, and articulate why it works. Confidence and practice are more firmly established, and students become more and more self-directed in their approach.
At the post-graduate level, students are steeped in a research environment, deeply engaged with forging ideas and methods in their particular disciplines.
UAL offers five types of post-graduate programmes:
Integrated Masters degrees
Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas
At the post-graduate stage, students are able to demonstrate:
· an ability to research through meaningful investigation.
· a clear vision of the direction of their work.
· substantial research and understanding of other artists in their field.
· a range of skill appropriate to the MA, demonstrating potential for mastery.
· an ability to work more independently without constant supervision.
· a starting point for their studies, having raised questions that are interesting.
· an articulated methodology and a strong bibliography.
So, what happens when a student applies to a level that is not appropriate for their current level of ability? Well, it doesn’t mean the work is not good enough or that the student doesn’t show potential. It may actually mean they need more experience of a different type of curriculum. They may have technical skills but lack originality or concepts. Or vice versa. These can be developed. UAL can provide advice and strategies for developing a stronger body of work.
We each have our own unique life journey and purpose, yet share this common impulse: to creatively express who we truly are by doing what we can. Art-making affords a profoundly empowering process of self-discovery and expression to this end. At UAL, students are offered a world of creative possibilities to nurture, challenge, achieve and express their fullest potential.
© Robbyn McGill (copy and design)
image source: (www.arts.ac.uk)
University of Arts London • Make Me Do What I Can
• powerpoint presentation/social media content • International Recruitment Department/prospective students