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  • Principal Professor Andrew Brewerton with Katie Greenyer, Creative Director of Pentland Brands

Posted 09.11.16

The Plymouth continuum of creative education and practice just got bigger

By Phillip Buchan

Principal Professor Andrew Brewerton with Katie Greenyer, Creative Director of Pentland Brands at the Palace Court opening.

On Wednesday 2 November 2016, Katie Greenyer, Creative Director of Pentland Brands, the London-based fashion group whose labels range from Red or Dead to Speedo, Berghaus and Ellesse, formally opened Palace Court, our brand new Pre-Degree campus for 16 to 19-year-olds studying creative Extended Diplomas.

The opening of Palace Court, on Buckwell Street in the heart of Plymouth’s city centre, follows Sir Nicholas Serota’s opening last year of The Red House, home to Plymouth School of Creative Arts.

Sir John Sorrell CBE, UK Business Ambassador and Founder President of the Creative Industries Federation, opened our Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops in 2014, enhancing the rapidly-developing national and international profile of Plymouth College of Art.

Students, staff, industry and friends were invited to the opening.

Palace Court is the first dedicated Extended Diploma campus at an art school in the South West and is now home to 500 16 to 19-year-olds studying arts, crafts, design and media.

"Palace Court is already a very distinctive space for creative learning and practice and ambition in the very heart of our city." — Principal, Professor Andrew Brewerton

Its opening marks the next stage in our commitment to offering a progressive continuum of creative learning and practice in the region that extends from the age of three to Masters level study.

This growth comes at a time of contraction in art education in schools, in which the consequence, intended or otherwise, of the proposed EBacc control measure risks marginalising the importance of creativity in UK education.

Professor Andrew Brewerton, Principal of Plymouth College of Art and Chair of Governors for Plymouth School of Creative Arts, said: “It has been wonderful to observe the sheer energy at work in Palace Court from the get-go, and ‘the Palace’ is already a very distinctive space for creative learning and practice and ambition in the very heart of our city.

"...where better to find new talent than in a dedicated campus for young people who get to immerse themselves in their creative studies?" — Katie Greenyer, Creative Director of Pentland Brands

“This investment in our pre-degree community of young artists and designers is, I hope, the clearest possible signal of our implacable and long-term commitment to the full continuum of creative learning and practice at a time of disappointing decline in the numbers of students taking creative arts subjects at GCSE and A-level, as these are withdrawn from Key Stage 4 option blocks.

“Last week’s dismal news of the withdrawal by AQA of the only remaining A level Art History qualification is yet another backward step for student choice, but our students are very clear about the value of creative arts education: ‘At school’, they tell me, ‘they teach you how to pass exams. Here we think for ourselves’.”

Katie Greenyer, Creative Director of Pentland Brands, said: “The creative industries rely on new blood and the next generation of design talent, and where better to find new talent than in a dedicated campus for young people who get to immerse themselves in their creative studies? We all have a responsibility to nurture the talent of tomorrow and not to limit their opportunities by shunning creativity in education in favour of traditional subjects.”

At the formal opening of The Red House, Sir Nicholas Serota, the Director of Tate who is due to take up a post as Chairman of Arts Council England next year, said of the creative continuum project: “You're creating here something that doesn't exist anywhere else in the UK. This is an event in the history of education in this country.”

The formal opening of Palace Court coincided with our annual Design to Sell event, a collaborative project involving students from the college’s range of Extended Diplomas hosting a public exhibition and pop-up shop where students can sell their work and gain valuable market exposure, as entrepreneurs and professional practitioners.

As an enterprise, Design to Sell gives students the opportunity to develop as independent designer-makers, creating high-quality handmade products for paying customers, as well as gaining commercial experience and acquiring transferable skills with a live understanding of creative industry.

Now in its twentieth year, students from across all of our Extended Diploma courses got involved in exhibiting work, selling work and hosting pop-up studios with an eclectic range of work available, from illustration, painting and glasswork to ceramics, photography and fashion.

Photos by Dom Moore. Find the full album on Facebook.

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