Anyone who has looked at ancient Greek amphoras or the blue-and-white David Vases long enough will see the intricacy, skill and grace it took to produce these enduring masterpieces. Scan the most prestigious museums or even your milk carton, and you’ll see the impact design has on history and in everyday life.
Today’s employers are aware of the knowledge, skills and experience arts graduates possess. Research from Nesta, in partnership with the Creative Industries Council, found that they’re creating more jobs than other sectors. Local economies have grown their creative industries employment by an average of 11%, twice as fast as other sectors. Between 2013 and 2030, up to 900,000 new jobs are estimated to be created in the UK’s creative industries.
Although digital transformation and automation could affect this projection, arts graduates will remain vital to shape the future. “The arts and humanities provide critical thinking skills and this matters to employers,” says Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), to The Guardian. “The creative, empathetic side of human nature is harder to replicate with machines.”
Here are four UK universities nurturing today’s artists to become tomorrow’s employable arts graduates:
University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton School of Art
Self-contained over nine floors in an iconic, architectural landmark — right in the heart of Wolverhampton — is the Wolverhampton School of Art. Here, within the purpose-built George Wallis building, you’ll find more than just students in Art, Design and Media courses. You’ll find a community.
Specifically, a welcoming, engaged and diverse student body, supported by faculty members and a university with a long tradition of working with industry, civic and community partners.
In this creative, practice-led community, you’ll have the time, space and resources to gain high-level skills as makers and learn to understand the historical and contemporary scope of your subject. Combine the school’s supportive culture with state-of-the-art facilities — such as purpose-built workshops, specialist equipment and dedicated studio spaces — you’ll have every resource imaginable to explore, experiment and create.
The experiential elements in the intensive studio-based BA (Hons) Glass and Ceramics are present in various forms: world-class technical workshops, theoretical engagement and a wide range of study visits and opportunities to promote and exhibit your work.
As for the MA Design and Applied Arts, you will plan, develop and realise your ideas for specialist investigation in ceramics, glass, interior design, fashion or textiles to complete your Masters Project. To see how your potential could be unlocked at this distinctive art school, check out Wolverhampton School of Art’s graduate stories, Artsfest 2021 and Graduate Showcase 2021.
University for the Creative Arts
If you’re looking for a university with an inclusive, dynamic environment, look no further — the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) fits the bill. The university has one goal: to inspire people to use their creativity to drive change, overcome challenges and improve the lives of others.
UCA has campuses across Surrey and Kent, and an Institute for Creative Innovation in Xiamen, China. Its partner organisations include the Royal School of Needlework and Maidstone Television Studios.
UK’s highest-ranked creative specialist university provides the following courses: Architecture, Crafts, Fashion, Graphic Design, Illustration, Fine Art, Photography, Film, Media, the Performing Arts and Creative Business. Its list of notable alumni include world-renowned fashion designers, Oscar-winning filmmakers, television presenters, celebrity jewellers and Turner Prize nominees.
As you pursue your passion here, you’ll have a close-knit community of staff and students to learn, share ideas and push boundaries with. “My lecturers supported me over three years of balancing music industry work with university commitments,” enthuses graduate Phoebe Fox.
“On my last day, I handed in my final project and got straight on a tour bus with Anne Marie!”
Goldsmiths University of London
There are many reasons why students love Goldsmiths. Part of the prestigious University of London, it fuses academic excellence with creative and innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Academics are inspiring, staff are supportive and students are engaged.
Goldsmiths is also ranked in the top 120 for arts and humanities (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020) and rated a Five Stars institution by QS Intelligence Unit, with a Five Star rating for areas including teaching, employability, and internationalisation (QS Stars/QS Intelligence Unit 2020).
Then, there’s its location in London, QS’s 2019 Best Student City. Here, it’s easy to connect with some of the capital’s leading creative and cultural organisations — as you study, you’ll have exciting opportunities to practise what you learn.
In New Cross — Goldsmiths’ South East London home — you’ll find fantastic restaurants, buzzing cafes, a thriving music and arts scene, plus a genuinely diverse and eclectic population.
“London is a great place to study for many reasons, but it is especially good if you’re interested in the creative side of things,” shares Tanishtha, a Fine Art and History of Art student. “Ranging from performances and gigs, to artist collectives, and pop-up exhibitions, London has so much to offer.”
Glasgow School of Art
Founded in 1845, the Glasgow School of Arts is today recognised as one of Europe’s leading higher education institutions for education and research in the visual creative disciplines. The school has one aim: to contribute to a better world through creative education and research.
A GSA experience truly is accessible to all. Start with the fact that the school accolades include being ranked third in the UK, fifth in Europe and eighth in the world for art and design in the QS World University Rankings 2021. The school offers an extensive range of courses in art, design, fashion and communication.
Here, students benefit from a studio-based approach that creates the environment for interdisciplinarity, peer learning, critical enquiry, experimentation and prototyping — helping to address many of the grand challenges confronting society and contemporary business.
The school offers undergraduate programmes in: 3D Modelling; Architecture; Communication Design; Engineering with Architecture; Fashion Design; Fine Art Photography; Games and Virtual Reality; Interaction Design; Interior Design; Painting & Printmaking; Product Design; Product Design Engineering; and the list goes on.
Young professionals looking to upskill or reskill can opt for postgraduate courses in
Architecture; Art Writing; Communication Design, Fashion and Textiles; Fine Art Practice; Heritage Visualisation and many more. Prepare to be surrounded by innovation and inspiration as you work in its modern workshops, studios and other facilities.
GSA is a school that cares. From Student Welfare and Learning Support and Development to Supporting Students with Disability and Support for International Students, the school has proven through its record of providing specialist support services that complement and underpin the core provision available through the academic departments.
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International