Meet Andrew Kulman, Deputy Head of the Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts

Andrew Kulman is Deputy Head of Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts, and Professor of Graphic Art. Find out more about his background, interests, and his advice from working at BCU for 25 years.

What you do at BCU and how long have you been part of the University?

I am Andrew Kulman, Professor of Graphic Art and currently Deputy Head of Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts, one of three institutes in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media… that’s a long description!

I joined the University in the last century when it was still the University of Central England in Birmingham. I started as pathway leader in Illustration, which reflected my background as a trained illustrator. I had previously been running a freelance business and teaching two and a half days a week at The University of Brighton. The lure of a full-time job brought me to Birmingham. 2022 will see me having worked 25 years at BCU, a milestone.

Being in full time education hasn’t prevented me from being creative and I still produce illustrations as well as exhibit.

What are some of the greatest achievements you have accomplished at BCU?

Without wanting to sound clichéd I have to say it is largely about enabling students to reach their potential, and by that I don’t mean getting the highest grades but recognising their inherent strengths and finding their direction.

I have taught undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral students, worked across several schools and the students I have taught have all been fascinating individuals. Last year I won the Extra Mile: Inspiring Tutor of the Year Award, something I see as a great achievement.

A more general accomplishment would be helping to see the School of Visual Communication grow with new courses and partnerships in other countries.

What can students expect from Visual Communication courses?

Broadly speaking, students studying in the School will gain a greater understanding of the world of commerce, of the creative industries, as well as the service industries. They collaborate with other students from different disciplines as well as communities outside of the university.

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When they write their dissertations, they are applying transferable skills they’ve learnt, researching, interviewing, analysing, formatting, expressing complex ideas and presenting. These are skills that can be incorporated in many different professional roles well as in day to day living.

Being based in Birmingham allows us all to make the most of an ever-changing environment with all that’s on offer.

Do you have any advice for new students?

The advice I can offer is the advice I offered my youngest son when he went off to university.

You have three years of something special, that you will always look back on. Don’t look back and say I wish I’d done this or that… do it! Use the facilities, explore the different sites, meet as many people as you can, take up every opportunity offered. Many staff are experts in their field, well connected and very generous with their time and knowledge, make the most of this.

Ambitious at heart

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