Studying Art at SWC
Depending on who you ask, Art is whatever you want it to be, whatever the artists says it is, or according to Andy Warhol, ‘whatever you can get away with’. Either way, what all these ideas have in common is that the boundaries of Art are far from clear cut. In keeping with this idea, the Extended Diploma in Art and Design at South West College continues to introduce students to a variety of different opportunities, with current students preparing to move on to pursuits as varied as Art, Illustration and Architecture.
Grace Gillease, who came to the college directly after completing her A Levels, plans on going to Plymouth in September to study illustration. She describes how the Extended Diploma in Art and Design has helped her narrow down exactly what she wants to do, saying that ‘I knew I wanted to do something in Art, just didn’t know what subject.’ Since coming to the College in September, she has been able to address this situation by experiencing first hand a variety of different subject areas. ‘I’ve done a lot of things I’d never done before, and have been able to find out what I’m good at. You do a lot of things in a short period of time here, and because of the structure of the course, you get to experience the whole variation of the subject and become familiar with the different processes.’
Another student, Rachel McFarland, is using the Extended Diploma to go on to study architecture at the University of Ulster. Having spent two years at South West College, Rachel explains that the time has given her the opportunity to plan a pathway towards architecture, and she has been able to lean her modules and her portfolio in that direction, with sculpture projects and project design helping her pick up expertise in the right areas. Similarly, she has been able to gain experience using programmes such as CAD, which will be paramount in studying architecture. Rachel says the layout of the Art and Design course is crucial to the number of avenues it opens up for students. She says, ‘the course allows you to produce a portfolio suited towards what you hope to do in the future and showcase the skills and interests you will need for the path you’re pursuing.’ Although she is prepared for the different experiences that architecture will present her with, Rachel believes the course with South West College is a good platform for what lies ahead.
Someone who is continuing to study with South West College is Callum Quinn, who is pursuing the Foundation Degree in Art next year, which he hopes will provide him with the opportunity to continue with the work and the skills he has developed so far in his time at the college. Callum has enjoyed being able to focus on graphics in the Extended in Art & Design Diploma, with an emphasis on gaining the skills involved in designing posters, leaflets and packaging. Again, Callum came to the college with these areas of focus in mind, and has appreciated being able to put particular emphasis on them in his work.
Lecturer, Jane Evason, says that the variety of courses these students go on to study ‘highlights the exceptional standard of the work they have produced and the natural abilities each of them have. It shows the variety of pathways that the Diploma in Art and Design can produce, and the opportunities that this course has to offer.’ All of this means that if the debate on ‘what exactly Art is’ is likely to go unanswered forever, the answers to what art can do for you are never far away.
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