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Lauren Hope

Foundation Year student

Lauren Pope profile- VisCom student stories

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

We did quite a few icebreaker activities in the first week and this allowed me to get to know people on my course; I'm really lucky that the people I sat next to on the first day have become some of my very best friends and I don't know what I would do without them. The School of Art quickly became my home and I settled in very well.

The Foundation class is made up of people from six different courses, so everyone has a different skill base and this works well as you can learn from each other. Next year we will all be split up as we go into our different pathways, but it's good to know other people from different courses and this will work well for collaborative modules in the future.

Art day in life blog 3What types of projects did you do during your Foundation Year?

There were a mixture of fast paced and more drawn out projects, which allowed me to try different ways of working and find out what worked best for me. Some projects were more guided and others were left open for us to decide on the direction, which enabled me to explore many different subjects, some that I may not have thought of otherwise, whilst always having the support of the tutors and technicians.

Art class- VisCom student storiesWhat have you enjoyed most about the course so far?

I really appreciated all the opportunities to work with artists and attend different workshops. We went on a trip to Oxford for no additional cost and were given the chance to go to Barcelona or New York, which were offered at great prices due to being a group of students. I went on the trip to New York and it was incredible as it helped me grow as a person as well as making life long friendships and memories.

The main thing I have loved about the Foundation year is how experimental it is, nothing is off limits and if you decide that you like one of the other six courses that you can progress onto, you're always welcome to swap over, this allowed me to try lots of different things and really make sure that Illustration was the right path for me.

What do you like about being a student in Birmingham?

I grew up in Birmingham and it's a great place with lots to see and do, it's nice to be in familiar surroundings as well as being able to stay close to my family. I've made friends with others who moved here for university and it's been fun to show them some hidden gems in the city - they're enjoying their time here too.

Art day in life blog 2Are you involved in any extra-curricular activities/societies?

The Foundation year is based at Margaret Street and it feels like its own little family. There aren't really formal societies like there are on the main campus (although you can still join these) and instead I did things like knitting club, protest choir, decorating a huge Christmas tree for the lobby and attending a market where students could sell their work. All of these activities were really fun and I'd definitely recommend them. You can find out what's going on through the Margaret Street News and anyone can attend, you don't need to sign up or pay a fee. For the rest of my Illustration degree I will be based at The Parkside Building, so it will be interesting to explore a different side of university life over there.

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

The course allows you to have a year of experimentation and the ability to learn more about how you work best and what pathway would be right for you before jumping into it, I didn't need to do the Foundation Year but it has been invaluable to me.

My advice would be to sign up for every workshop, even if you don't think you'll like it, as you may discover something you love. Lean into the experimental nature of the course and try to squeeze as much as you can out of tutors and technicians and you'll be one step ahead for the first year of your degree.