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Posted 09.12.16

Top tips: Programme leaders give their advice on preparing for interview

By Sarah Packer

From our Undergraduate BA (Hons) Degree programmes and Extended Degrees to our Postgraduate Masters Degrees, we offer something for everyone looking to further their artistic practice and secure a career across the creative spectrum.

We know it can be a daunting task putting together a creative portfolio, so we caught up with some of our Programme Leaders – amidst the excitement of interview weeks and applications – to find out their top tips on the application process.

Tony Smith — BA Hons Animation

“Concepts count. Bring all your sketchbooks that show the ideas and concepts you have been working on even if you haven't fully completed what you intended.

“We really like to see how you record and collect visual things – whether it’s a quick sketch or a screenshot, we want to know how you’re inspired in your creative practice.       

“Ask good questions. The interview is an opportunity to not only show us your portfolio and any animation you might have created, but also the chance to ask questions about how you can take your work forward by studying with us.”

"In the  interview  we are looking for passion in students voices, those who will genuinely love what they are studying.”​

Kirsty Smith — BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing

“We are looking for candidates with a knowledge of not just our subject but on global issues and how they may impact on fashion practises.

“We encourage interview candidates to engage with more than just fashion magazines and online bloggers and vloggers. We are looking for candidates that have a sense of where things are moving.

“This might be evidenced in a written piece, or part of a project they have undertaken, a discussion during their interview about a visit to an exhibition or to another country.

“Specific to our course, we ask students to bring with them a visual portfolio that examines their critical thinking. The way they have approached projects visually and through annotation.

“We are keen to explore each student's investigative process outlining the resources they have used to draw their conclusions.

“We also ask them to bring a written example so that we can discuss their interests and see if they align with the course. In the interview we are looking for passion in students voices, those who will genuinely love what they are studying.”

Jenny Keane — BA (Hons) Fine Art

“We like to see in applicants evidence of creative thinking and problem-solving skills, on our programme reflective thinking is key to driving your ideas forward.

“We also look for research skills, so talk about the depth and range of your research and if you are passionate about a specific topic.”

“Each portfolio choice should be something that has a story about it, what was the journey of the design process?"

Mohini Chandra — BA (Hons) Photography

“In photography, we are looking for an inquisitive and creative approach to photographic practice. We want to know why you already do photography and how we could help you develop your practice both in terms of techniques and ideas.

“When you come for interview we would like to see examples of your photographic work and hope to find interesting and sustained projects that you have developed over time. We are really interested in what you can tell us about these projects like how and why you made them.

“While you might have some really great images that you are really proud of in your portfolio, we also want to talk to you about your willingness to experiment and try something new – we’re all about pushing boundaries and broadening your knowledge of photographic practice.”

Lucy Leake — BA (Hons) Film

“Show us your ideas and enthusiasm – this could be through photography, scripts, artwork, film reviews – you don't need to know how to make films yet!

“If you do have films then bring them on a memory stick as well as uploading to Vimeo/YouTube so we can watch them at interview.

“Know what you want to show us BEFORE you get here – sections of work are often more valuable than whole films, and be prepared to tell us the strengths and weaknesses of your work, it doesn't need to be perfect!

“And finally, we love to hear your ideas!”

Gayle Matthias — BA (Hons) 3D Design Crafts

“I would advise a student to show us work or a project that they think exemplifies their thought processes, skills and ambitions, and to be able to discuss the development of this project through their sketchbooks, portfolio, models and possibly a more resolved solution (or photograph of the finished work), and reflect on what they thought was and was not successful about this project.”

Kevin Jenkins — BA (Hons) Product Design & Innovation

“Each portfolio choice should be something that has a story about it, what was the journey of the design process? What worked? What topics are you passionate about?”

Cathy Freeman — BA (Hons) Textile Practices

"Come with a portfolio that gives examples of your drawing skills and shows an interest in collecting and using visual imagery. You also need to be able to talk about pattern and colour as well as have an interest in fashion, interiors and design in general. Be enthusiastic and be confident to talk about your own work and why you are interested in textiles in particular – we don't bite!

"It is also important to show that you like to experiment and manipulate materials, paper etc and be able to show off any of their design and making skills. An enthusiastic and curious nature and an ability to be able to talk about their work as well as an interest in design, fashion and craft would be good."

If you are struggling with your application, check out our How To Apply page or get in touch with our Admissions Team on (+44) 01752 203400 or for more.

Deciding where to study is a really big decision, our main interview weeks are from 6 – 17 February 2016, but if you haven't made your choice yet then don't worry we still accept and interview applicants throughout the year – providing we have places – if you don't make the 15 January deadline.  

An Open Day is a great opportunity to find out more about our range of study options, explore our studios and see what we can offer you. Come along to our Open Day on Saturday 7 January 2016. Registration to attend can be made online.