Buckinghamshire New University
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Buckinghamshire New University: Where aspiring artists evolve into visionaries

Creatives breathe life and colour into the simplest of things and take them to greater heights.

When such talent is realised or spotted, it must be harnessed so that it can achieve its full potential.

Buckinghamshire New University (BNU) is the ideal place for budding creatives to achieve this.

Balancing a combination of discipline and imagination, the School of Art, Design and Performance is where students prepare, learn and gain knowledge towards their future. It is ranked #3 for Fashion, Textiles, and Costume and #4 for Graphic Design in the UK, according to The Guardian University Guide 2023.

Work-based learning opportunities ensure they step straight into the world of work — with enough experience and lots of confidence.

From live briefs and internships to guest lectures, each and every brings classroom theories to life. It’s all part of the School’s goal to instil self-authorship and a multi-disciplinary confidence in its students. The first refers to empowering students to use their point of view and vision to identify and communicate ideas and information that are central to their own personal interests, opinions, and core values. The latter focuses of developing the ability to accomplish creative tasks across a range of media and client bases.

Here, students have many opportunities to realise these goals. In their second and third year of study, students learn how to apply their creativity and talent to a future career through the Professional Studies and Professional Practice modules. In project work, they get to embrace both traditional and craft-based skills, fusing these with contemporary technologies and digital skills. When the project is complete, students take a critical approach to the analysis and evaluation of their own work and that of their peers.

“We want our students to have every opportunity to develop and explore their own innovative thinking and creativity,” says Head of School Professor Sri-Kartini Leet.

Ask graduates and many consider their alma mater the best launchpad to a creative career one could ever have.

Trixie Swiderek, an Interior and Spatial Design student, agrees. Since joining, she has worked on several projects that fed her fascination with translating body motions into spatial representations.

Buckinghamshire New University

Trixie Swiderek shows her innovation. Source: Buckinghamshire New University

In one collaboration with her sister, a professional dancer, she conceptualised a staircase design. “I have explored how dancers move their bodies according to a particular set of rules and their movements are their way of expression; much like architecture expects an observer to move,” she says.

She’s now working on another project inspired by Trisha Brown’s body work. The creation includes both interior and exterior architectural features based on an improvisational visual quality that recalls abstract dance choreography.

Swiderek credits the innovative technology and prototyping machines for elevating the quality of her projects. “On top of that, guest lecturers with a lot of experience in our field of work, stimulating research trips, and of course many creative projects have all helped me strengthen my skills, enabling me to conceptualise confidently,” Swiderek says.

Inspired? BNU offers many programmes to start your creative career with as much zest and impact as Swiderek has.

BA (Hons) Graphic Design

This BA explores traditional skills (such as typography and data analysis) and craft-based skills (such as letterpress and screen-printing), applied through the use of digital software.

Buckinghamshire New University

An exhibition by Lorenzo di Zennobia, a BA (Hons) Graphic Design student. Source: Buckinghamshire New University

BA (Hons) Illustration

From film to games and virtual reality, this programme trains students on how to identify and solve problems by working with ideas, information and visual story-telling.

BA (Hons) Photography

Focusing on commercial applications and arts-based practice, this BA equips students with core technical skills, from analogue to digital, academic knowledge, and professional know-how.

BA (Hons) Fine Art

Interdisciplinary, socially engaged, collaborative and entrepreneurial — these features ensure students master the conceptual, theoretical, cultural and ethical frameworks that underpin the contemporary arts.

BA (Hons) Hair and Make-Up for Film and Performance

Taking place between the High Wycombe campus and BNU teaching base at Pinewood Studios, this programme lets you build a portfolio showing off your talent as an expert storyteller.

BA (Hons) Fashion Design

Students master the design process, from concept, through design to production and product placement. In their final year, they complete a capsule collection, an industry-ready portfolio and promotion package.

BA (Hons) Textile Design

The ideal programme for aspiring designers and practitioners, this BA is fast-paced and engaging, with modules cutting across fashion, interiors, sportswear, automotive, and more. Exposure to huge varieties of materials, techniques, structures, compositions and other elements is included.

BA (Hons) Costume Design and Making

From film to fashion shows, TV to theatre, costumes bring to life practically every creative production worldwide and this programme will let students discover just how important it is.

BA (Hons) Fashion and Textiles

Explore creativity, innovative thinking and contemporary approaches while developing your own unique styling and identity with this fast-paced programme.

BA (Hons) Fashion Promotion and Communication

The fashion industry relies on content in the form of images, events and words — and this BNU programme provides the theory and practice for students to build a portfolio to wow future employers.

BA (Hons) Interior and Spatial Design

The programme accredited by the Society of British and International Design lets students convert and renovate existing buildings as well as design new structures and spaces.

BA (Hons) Set Design for Stage and Screen

This exciting programme prepares students for a career in television, film and theatre. Students will learn how to utilise designs, aesthetics, form and function for stage and screen settings.

BSc (Hons) Sustainable Product Design

Want to create sleek products from scratch, taking them from scale drawings to the final prototype? This programme will show you how to complete design projects from the stages of client consultation through to final product presentation.

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