George Hart is the Head of Visual Communication at Birmingham City University, and specialises in Illustration. We caught up with him to find out more about Visual Communication in the digital age and his most memorable moments of being part of the BCU community.
George balances his roles as both Head of Visual Communication and Deputy Head of Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts, alongside teaching on the BA Illustration course. He has nearly 25 years of teaching experience at BCU behind him, joining in 1996 as a visiting lecturer in Time Based Media. Back then digital arts were a relatively new offer and George highlights how 'digital' has now become common currency in all aspects of art and design, but particularly within the Visual Communication courses.
"We can see how well students are being prepared and having access to new technology allows them to engage in entrepreneurial aspects of work, as well as giving them the opportunities to collaborate. Interdisciplinarity is now offered on all of our Visual Communication courses and the movement between courses is a natural development."
It seems more important than ever that at the School of Visual Communication we have designed our curriculum to embrace all philosophies and the cross over between subjects is encouraged. This means BA Photography students work alongside BA Graphic Communication students, and BA Illustration and BA Design for Performance: Theatre, Film and Live Events students discuss joint projects. George notes, "some areas of industry are very focused, whilst other areas expect a more diverse skill-set." Equipping our students with a diverse range of skills is something we take pride in and certainly boosts student employability.
The School of Visual Communication now sits within the newly established Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts, alongside the School of Art and the School of Games, Film and Animation. As Deputy Head of the Institute, we asked George how students will benefits from the collaboration between schools.
"Visual Communication bridges the other two areas nicely as it sits well between the traditional beginnings of art education and the future of technologies. It's exciting to think that students across all three schools are now able to work together."
Recently there have been some new staff appointments to the teaching team within the School of Visual Communication, so we asked George what this means. "Our recruitment drive has focused on bringing in industry knowledge. It's great to see the new skills that are coming into the school, which combine well with those of the more established staff." As a Visual Communication student, you'll be taught be staff who have years of industry experience and knowledge to share with you and prepare you for industry.
George is one of the longest serving members of the teaching team in the School of Visual Communication, so we wanted to know some of the more memorable moments that George has experienced during his time here...
"There are so many fantastic memories. I think one of the great things has been seeing graduate successes - many are now teaching themselves and others running their own businesses. I've enjoyed being part of the many projects in the city, but also the opportunities to travel overseas on study trips with students in New York, as well as teaching in Hong Kong and Bangkok."
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