University of Worcester - School of Art
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How the University of Worcester shapes creative careers

At the University of Worcester, artistic aspirations are nurtured and transformed into professional triumphs. Whether the interests of students lie in traditional fine arts like painting and sculpture or modern fields such as drama, film and television, journalism, photography, game art, animation, and illustration — they benefit from the School of Arts’s commitment to employability.

This is achieved through curricula that fuse practical experience with theory. The school’s alumni network is a testament to this philosophy, with success stories spanning industries and continents.

Excellence in animation

Alek Kolev believes pursuing an Animation BA was the best decision he’s ever made. Now an Animation Director at ICON, Canada’s largest creative studio, his journey began when he left Varna on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast to study in Worcester. “I liked the variety of course modules,” he says. “Plus, the university had some great work opportunities for students and I made firm friends while working as an ambassador.”

Post-graduation, his first job at a commercial studio led to his first credit for the film “Paddington 2” and fuelled his move to Sony in Vancouver. Since then, Kolev has contributed to animated blockbusters like “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “The Mitchells vs The Machines.”

None of it would have been possible without the unwavering support he received from his professors. “They were really helpful and knowledgeable and I’m eternally grateful for everything they taught me,” he says.

Animation course leader Omid Ghanat-Abady highlights the importance of such guidance. “We have the time and dedication to recognise the potential in our students like Alek and help them develop their ability and talents as animators, designers, modellers, visual effect artists, and storytellers,” he says.

The course structure emphasises teamwork and independent work, allowing students to operate like they’re in a professional animation studio from their first year. They are expected to complete two productions: one of their own choice and another based on a live brief. This year, a collaboration with the university’s Theatre, Acting, and Performance degree programmes will see students creating stories and films connected to the nearby Malvern Hills.

University of Worcester - School of Art

Source: University of Worcester – School of Art

How creative media solidifies creative callings

After graduating with a degree in Graphic Design, Cosmin Popescu from Romania chose to continue his studies with an MA Creative Media. “I was very keen to look at the business side of how art applies to industry because I would like to set up my own design agency one day,” he says.

Pursuing an MA here meant being treated as a freelance designer. Popescu gained industry experience by pitching to clients in a creative agency setting. “We have been taught to work with real clients, back up our design ideas, and not to settle for anything less than we deserve,” he says.

“Doing the MA has really helped me to find my way as a professional. It’s amazing to think that even the modules I was studying in the first semester have given me a renewed sense of direction and purpose.”

Indeed, the MA Creative Media is a versatile starting point for the School of Arts. “It’s aimed at students who feel they have some creativity they have yet to explore,” explains senior lecturer Pippa Galpin.

The programme balances personal expression with vocational direction, allowing students to shift within the creative world. It even includes modules on creative concepts, such as how light affects mood, a portfolio module for showcasing work in an exhibition and an independent project refined with a visual report.

University of Worcester - School of Art

Source: University of Worcester – School of Art

Journalism as a springboard to media success

Upon graduating with a Journalism BA, Helmi Sundstrom from Finland made her mark with her first live broadcast on Helsinki’s MTV news channel, covering King Charles’s coronation. The exposure resulted in offers from Finland’s Yle broadcast corporation and the country’s largest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat.

She ultimately went with Yle, the Finnish equivalent of the BBC, where she co-produces “Uutispodcast” — the country’s most popular podcast. “I have lost count of the times I’ve said, ‘Yes, I know how to do that because we did it at university.’ The support and teaching I received at Worcester has given me so much industry confidence,” she says.

This explains why the Journalism programme is a popular choice for international students aspiring to build a media career. According to course leader Rachel Ammonds, they can pursue a single honours degree or combine it with complementary subjects like English Literature, English Language, History, Media and Film Studies, or Screenwriting. This flexibility is rare among UK universities.

“From broadcast to print, podcasting to PR and comms, sports reporting and investigations, our modules are very practical and give students a diverse understanding of future options in a highly globalised media world,” says Ammonds.

It’s little wonder why Sundstrom and her peers are quick to credit their success to Worcester. “Everyone on my course agreed that being allowed to learn, fail, and finally succeed in such a professional and encouraging environment has been the making of us,” she says.

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