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A day in the life of a first-year student

We caught up with BA (Hons) Design for Performance: Theatre, Film and Live Events student Reiltin Hart to find out more about her experience of studying at our School of Visual Communication.

Reiltin Hart
BA (Hons) Design for Performance: Theatre, Film and Live Events student

First year DFP VisCom blog primary

Did you find it easy to settle in when you first started? 

I was really nervous about starting a new course in a new city, but Fresher's Week involved course based, as well as university wide, activities. The Design for Performance class is relatively small but that's great as it means you get to know all your course mates and tutors really easily. I remember we had lots of planned activities during the first week that helped us to get to know each other and also introduced the relaxed atmosphere of the classroom, as its nothing like it was in secondary school.

What types of projects did you do during your first year?

We have already covered such a range of projects in just one year. The first module really lets you explore what Design for Performance means for you and my favourite thing about this course is how free you are. The projects in first year are designed to help you quickly develop a range of skills across the field, as well as the chance to explore areas of design you may have not considered before. This acts as a foundation for the second and third year as you have all the knowledge you need to pick the area of Design for Performance that you find most compelling. My advice would be, if you don't enjoy one module in first year then don't worry, the next one will be something completely different.

First year DFP VisCom blog 1What have you enjoyed most about the course so far?

I have enjoyed the freedom the most by far. For me, in sixth form art & design there were so many rules and constraints on what was "right" and "wrong". Here, you are helped to develop your own style and best practice and everyone's approach is completely unique. There are also people on the course that want to do something completely different from you, but that makes bouncing ideas off of each other and collaboration projects even better, as everyone brings a different perspective and skill set.

Have you been on any interesting trips?

We have had a few trips with the class as part of the course, some local and some a bit further away, but all really interesting and relevant to developing our artistic outlook and gathering inspiration for our work. I was also lucky enough to get a place on the New York trip that was with students from all parts of the School of Visual Communication - it was amazing. We stayed in the heart of NY and were encouraged to go off in our own groups to get the most out of our six days there and take in as much culture and inspiration as we could.

New York- VisCom student storiesHave you had any opportunities to work with people from the design for performance industry?

In first year the course itself hasn't involved any work with the industry, however we are often given extracurricular opportunities for various fields of the industry to help us choose what we would like to get more experience in. So far we have been given the chance to do set design for an opera, take part in a placement creating costumes for a theatre company, and design work with multiple festivals, as well as many others. You can really find and choose what is most relevant to your future career.

What advice would you give to someone about to start the course?

I think this is the most amazing course and it's completely what you make of it. I would encourage anyone going into the world of contemporary design to choose this course and go into it with an open mind. Unlike so many other courses I looked at, it doesn't try to fit you into a box right from the beginning - it helps you develop as a designer, while giving you the opportunity to explore what area captures your interest most. The main piece of advice I would give is to be fearless and try everything, it's as much about finding what doesn't work for you as what does.