Afsa Batool

Art and Design - BA (Hons)

Afsa wasn’t too sure what she wanted to do after university. Thanks to the support from the School of Art and wider BCU community, she’s been given the freedom to experiment, discovering interests and talents she never knew she had.

"I always wanted to go to university. I knew it would be a good experience and a chance to explore career opportunities.

When looking at universities, being close to home was a priority for me. BCU was an obvious choice so I attended an open day, I felt an instant connection with BCU and the School of Art. Meeting the lecturers, current students and touring the School of Art building sold it to me straight away. The building is so beautiful and historic with great facilities, I saw myself studying there and being inspired by my surroundings.

The Art and Design course at BCU is broad and I knew it would allow me to experiment and explore a wide range of different techniques, to find out exactly what it is I want to do. The course gives you the freedom to pursue what you are interested in, which is perfect for me as I was still figuring out what my interests were.

Since I started studying Art and Design, I’ve been able to experiment with so many different techniques and materials. I’ve done everything from textiles, to illustration, to abstract sound. Right now, I’m finding myself much more drawn to wood and metal workshops. I’ve developed an interest in engineering through this and am thinking about exploring this as a career choice after my degree. Without the broad range of materials and experts available to me at the School of Art, I may have never discovered this interest!

The School put on regular events and opportunities for us to connect with each other, such as ArtistTalk, where an artist comes in to talk about their work and career. It’s great to be able to ask them questions, and always really inspiring. The connections BCU has to the art industry in Birmingham means we regularly have the opportunity to meet artists and find out more about what it’s like to run a gallery and get involved in different careers related to the art industry.

BCU also host Graduate+ week, which is a chance to boost your employability skills and explore career opportunities. This was a great chance to network with the wider BCU community outside of the School of Art as well as explore new career routes that might interest me.

Being based at the School of Art definitely has a community atmosphere. We are always sharing ideas with each other and asking for advice on our creative work. There’s so much support available from the staff across the university, I’ve developed great relationships with tutors and technicians around the School. I’ve gone to the library so many times with all sorts of questions and the librarians are always helpful too. The library is open quite long hours so I feel like I can always access support. The staff at BCU never make you feel like a burden or a chore, they’re always happy to help and there’s always someone to turn to.

This university feels like home. I feel like from day one, I’ve been treated and respected as an adult, not as just a student or a child who has just left college.

To me, ‘I AM BCU’ means partnership, community and solidarity."