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Course Leader Q&A

Our staff are all practising artists. The staff teaching and the expertise is something that makes our course different and, I feel, unique.

Carl Rowe
Course Leader
Read Carl Rowe’s staff profile.

What makes Fine Art at NUA distinctive?

The staff teaching on any Fine Art course will always bring a character to that course which will make a difference. Something I always point out to people at Open Days is that our staff are all practising artists; they all publish and review and have a very particular focus. The staff teaching and the expertise is something that makes our course different and, I feel, makes it unique.

We also have excellent facilities in terms of the studios we are able to offer students and the workshop spaces we have. I know from student feedback that they feel the technical support in the workshops is something that makes our course different from any other courses in country. We also have some of the best Degree Show space in the university sector.

How important are the links with industry?

The course is very close to the contemporary art scene. There are close links with regional organisations which have international status, such as Wysing Arts Centre, firstsite and the Outpost Gallery. We make sure that wherever possible students can engage with live projects either at these institutions or with staff from these institutions. We encourage students to regularly visit galleries and new exhibitions and organise regular course trips to exhibitions in London. Through our virtual learning environment we have an ‘Exhibition of the Month’ which we encourage students to see and then participate in online discussion.

We organise work related learning, so ‘Strategies’ is an annual event in which we invite guests from galleries and other organisations to talk about careers in contemporary art. For instance it may focus on strategies into employment. We also have an event called Dialogues which is more academic, it introduces students to a range of academic professionals to stimulate an interest in research and postgraduate study.

How is the course taught?

Through a variety of methods. Through lectures we share historical and contextual content. We visit galleries and exhibitions to see new work being produced. We meet with students through one-to-one and group tutorials and we provide practical experience through projects asking students to respond to a space or an exhibition. We encourage students to learn from each other in a formal and informal way, to discuss what they are doing and where they are exhibiting either within university gallery space or externally.

What do you look for in applicants?

We do need to see some skill obviously, but we wouldn’t necessarily be looking to see advanced technical processes at the portfolio stage. The most important thing we are looking for is inventiveness, creativity, ingenuity and a real desire to come up with something that is unique. Yes, we want to see good drawing sills and we do expect applicants to have some understanding of contemporary art practice. It’s always beneficial if they have some understanding of art history and know the origins of contemporary practice. A true ambition to study Fine Art is essential.