Hear from our students
The best way of finding out what it’s like to study here is from our students themselves. We caught up with BA (Hons) Fine Art student Jacob Carter and BA (Hons) Art and Design student Ollie Dupont to find out more about their experiences of studying here.
What types of projects can students get involved with on your course?
Jacob: You can be involved with a variety of projects from the start. The way the course is set up really encourages you to be inducted into workshops such as photography, film, sound and printmaking, allowing you to create your own projects that you are interested in. You can also work on collaborative projects with students from different courses, allowing you to make connections with different people.
Ollie: There are local companies, exhibitions and organisations that are always looking to work with students from BCU. Companies like Eastside Projects who work collaboratively with the University offer a great platform for student projects and the Art society, as well as work placements and more.
What has been the most fun or interesting project or activity you have been involved with?
Jacob: One of the most enjoyable projects I have participated in was a collaborative presentation alongside three other members of my course. For this we were able to work together closely to organise an exhibition in Digbeth at Quantum Events Centre. While this involved a lot of work it was very rewarding and allowed us to invite friends, family and colleagues to a fun event.
Ollie: I’m currently working with film maker and acclaimed artist Mikhail Karikis to create a documentary that will be shown at Tate Liverpool later on in the year. Not only has this allowed me to develop my skills in film making but made me more confident working in challenging situations.
Can you tell us about any trips you've been on so far?
Jacob: We have been on trips to a variety of galleries such as Tate Liverpool and Tate Modern, The Yorkshire Sculpture Park and recently the Arnolfini gallery in Bristol. This has given us exciting opportunities to explore the UK in a safe and organised way and has allowed us to be exposed to a wide range of art and culture.
Ollie: We’ve been on trips to local galleries such as Ikon Gallery, Eastside Projects, Walsall Gallery and many more. These are used for inspiration for our own practice and how we can display work, understand the complications around curation and gain experience on how these exhibitions are run. We’re not just limited to the Birmingham art scene however, Tate Liverpool and London allow us to explore larger and more world renowned projects. International trips are also available to students.
Have you had any opportunities to work with people from the art industry?
Jacob: This semester I had the opportunity to work with a small group of students alongside international artist Mikhail Karikis who is currently Tate Liverpool’s artist in residence. This involved having interactive workshops and discussions as well as travelling to Liverpool to act as performers in his film project, which will be shown at Tate Liverpool. It was a very insightful project that allowed us to understand how someone in the art industry works and how they can organise projects and get involved with major organisations.
Ollie: Working with Mikhail Karikis has allowed me to network and speak to a variety of different people. I’m also working with Gavin Wade, director at Eastside Projects, to create artwork relating to Birmingham Markets and the new development planned for the near future. This collaborative project gives me a great insight into large scale projects and Gavin offers incredible advice and knowledge about the art world and working with artists. My tutors are all specialist artists in their chosen fields as well, meaning you can work with and receive professional advice from people working in the industry today.
What do you enjoy most about your course?
Jacob: On the Fine Art course, I enjoy the ability to be self-directed, while still having the ability to work alongside other students. As students we are very much encouraged to make work that interests us and are really pushed to achieve our best work. The feedback and guidance from tutors are also extremely helpful and encouraging.
Ollie: The seemingly endless possibilities of where you can develop your skills and work. Art and Design covers all areas of a creative practice from Graphic Design to Performance Art. This opens up so many great opportunities and avenues you can go down whilst studying and even catapult after you finish your degree.
What is the community at the School of Art like?
Jacob: The School of Art community is one of the best aspects of the course. The ability to work in shared studios allows you to make connections with people easily. There are always events and clubs to participate in such as a film club on Monday, which is organised by staff members. Night school, is another exciting event that opens the University to the public once a month, allowing the building to be a very exciting and dynamic space.
Ollie: The community here at the School of Art is the most welcoming and inclusive collection of people I’ve ever met. Everybody supports and helps each other. The community is there to help and guide you. I’ve made so many great friends here and can’t wait to keep building my relationships.
What one piece of advice would you give to a student about to start your course?
Jacob: One of the main pieces of advice I would give to someone just starting the course is to just take advantage of any opportunities available. It is so easy to participate and make use of all the facilities and organised events and it is very rewarding to do so.
Ollie: Confidence is an integral part of being successful in Art & Design practice. As early as possible start talking to as many people you can. Build relationships and form strong connections. Networking allows you to get your name out there and make yourself known. You never know further down the line when something could recommend you or work with you. Get out there and have fun!