Royal College of Art
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Royal College of Art: An unrivalled start to dynamic careers

The people, the place and a phenomenal pursuit — these make the Royal College of Art (RCA) the best place for anyone to build their career. The creative industries are broad and exciting sectors, and getting the right foundation matters. Your talent needs nurturing, you need to understand the latest developments and your potential needs cultivation.

The RCA has done just that for generations of graduates. The world’s largest community of postgraduate art and design students has been ranked the number one university for Art and Design in the world for nine years by the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015 to 2023, and number one in the world for History of Art in 2023. Research here is just as recognised, with all academics being research active. The latest Research Excellence Framework — the UK’s system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education — found the RCA continues to be a world-leading research-intensive institution.

These are accolades that speak to the quality of education here — with results that can last for a lifetime. But what’s more immediately impactful to students is the unrivalled experience of studying in London.

The RCA buzzes with the energetic and inspiring creativity, culture and diversity that the youthful capital has to offer. A world-leading hub for the arts and creative industries, it opens up collaboration opportunities and inspiration from working with local communities to being part of some of London’s major events or exhibition spaces.

For example, RCA students have a long history of presenting their art at the London Design Festival. In 2023 alone, RCA students have worked with Tate Modern on its Tate Late events; displayed work at the Outernet in central London, the most advanced immersive space in the world; and are part of the Coronation Concert for King Charles III. Students also work on studio projects set by leading companies, charities and NGOs from across a range of industries including the automotive, advertising, service and banking sectors. InnovationRCA not only offers highly successful start-up support for RCA graduates, but also has a global audience with consulting and training delivered all over the world.

Royal College of Art

RCA students benefit from a large network of artists and creators. Source: Royal College of Art

These are only part of this school’s accomplishments. Boasting more than 20,000 alumni from all over the world, it is responsible for an international network of artists, designers, architects, creators and innovators. Some noteworthy celebrities who have built their foundations here include Henry Moore OM, Dame Barbara Hepworth, Bridget Riley, David Hockney OM, Sir Ridley Scott, Sir James Dyson OM and Dame Zandra Rhodes.

Industry giants often visit to deliver guest lectures, masterclasses and informal critiquing of student work. They include the likes of Claire Waight Keller (former Head of Design at Givenchy) and artist Olufar Eliasson (2003 Tate Modern Turbine Hall artist). Global organisations, such as Telefonica, McKinsey and JP Morgan, have partnered with Service Design students; Burberry, with Fashion, Interior Design, Photography and Architecture students; and Airbus on “Lightweighting Aircraft,” with Innovation Design Engineering students.

Students are also encouraged to broaden their network and knowledge by working on large scale interdisciplinary activities, such as AcrossRCA, giving them the chance to work together to address complex global problems. Initiated by His Majesty King Charles III, the Sustainable Markets Initiative, and RCA Chancellor Sir Jony Ive, the Terra Carta Design Lab competition brings multi-disciplinary students and alumni together to develop products or services that address the climate crisis, tackle the collapse in biodiversity, or offer solutions to e-waste or plastics pollution, with a prize of seed funding and mentoring.

Such opportunities spur RCA students’ growth. “Studying at the RCA helped me to build my research and practice model without a predetermined methodology,” says Can Yang, MA Visual Communication graduate. “The Visual Communication programme was a place of liberating mutuality where everyone works in partnership.”

For others, the MA programmes unveiled hidden talents. “I knew I wasn’t going to actively work on the film, but instead I wanted to use the RCA as a space to experiment with form and bring those experiments into the film in different ways,” says Chloe Adams, a Sri Lankan British artist and filmmaker and MA Contemporary Art Practice alumna. “The biggest influence of the RCA on my film has been the writing. Before I came to the RCA I really didn’t think I could write. But doing the dissertation was the highlight of my time at the college.”

Since graduating, she was selected for The London Open at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2022 and her first feature documentary “The Taste of Mango” is being premiered at film festivals in the USA.

Her trajectory is typical of RCA graduates — many of whom credit the college’s wide range of programmes for helping them discover and hone their niche. The RCA’s selection of master’s programmes stretch across art, design, communications, architecture and the humanities and include Ceramics & Glass, Curating Contemporary Art, Jewellery & Metal, V&A/RCA History of Design, Environmental Architecture, Digital Direction, Information Experience Design, City Design, Service Design, Writing, and Fashion.

Students are encouraged to attend one of RCA’s upcoming on campus or virtual events or to sign up for further information.

To fulfil your creative potential at the Royal College of Art, click here to apply now.

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