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Covid-19

Your Studies

If you are a new or returning student joining us in Autumn 2020, please read our latest update on campus reopening and blended learning.

Following an intensive period of development, in consultation with students and practicing artists, Plymouth College of Art is proud to launch an extended creative studio pedagogy, a hybrid of live online and on-campus creative practice within the physical environment of the college’s rich diversity of industry-standard studios and workshops. Alongside this, the college has updated its support and training materials, moving academic, pastoral, careers, library and other professional support services online.

As one of the UK’s last truly independent art schools, our agile college community was strongly positioned to adapt to change when universities were asked to close their buildings in March to slow the spread of Covid-19. Teaching was moved online immediately with no disruption for undergraduate, MA and A-Level-equivalent post-16 students.

The college's Associate Professor and Academic Dean Paul Fieldsend-Danks comments “We’ve all learned a lot over the summer and I’m incredibly proud of the way our community has responded to the restrictions that lockdown necessitated, from video-streamed guest lecturers by internationally-acclaimed artists and digital roundtable discussions with industry pros to online peer-to-peer crits and technical workshops that have been adapted to use alternative materials and equipment that students could access easily at home. Academics have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our students on the level support and personal connection that they continue to receive. In fact, many students have reported that they feel like they’re receiving a more personalised learning experience than ever before.”

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What to expect

Over the Summer our students and staff missed being on campus and having the freedom to work across the whole array of facilities that the college offers, but what holds our creative community together is more than technology or physical spaces.

What unites us and is unique is our curriculum and the combined depth of experience of our expert academic and highly specialised technical staff. Where other institutions are using digital tools out of necessity, our core values as an ​agile, independent art school​ will give you a headstart when it comes to thriving creatively in our contemporary digital society. When you enrol or return to us this year, we’re committed to ensuring that our hybrid of physical and digital teaching will safeguard your creative practice against future interruptions and make sure you’re well placed and networked with industry to adapt to any global changes that may follow.

We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from students on the level of support and connection they continue to receive during the suspension of face-to-face teaching.


Reopening Dates

The college will welcome undergraduate students and teaching staff back on campus from 5 October and postgraduate students from 12 October 2020. The college’s Pre Degree campus Palace Court, for A-Level-equivalent and Foundation Diploma students, successfully reopened on 7 September 2020.


Welcome Site

If you are a new starter or returning student please visit your Welcome Site for essential information on enrollment, timetables and key dates. For more information please email hello@pca.ac.uk


What changes has the college made?

Throughout the year we will prioritise student access to our industry-standard facilities and equipment, in small groups if necessary, to ensure the learning outcomes of study programmes continue to be met. Here are just some of the measures we’ve put in place to support our current students:

  • Deadline extensions for all degree and masters level coursework submission and blanket Extenuating Circumstances applied for all HE students.
  • No detriment approach to degree calculations, ensuring no Level 6 (final-year) student is unfairly disadvantaged.
  • Online inductions including an interactive programme of interdisciplinary workshops, live stream presentations from the college Principal and Students’ Union, module briefings and virtual demos from our Learning Lab technicians.
  • Free and open access to our Virtual Library Counter and online database housing over 30,000 e-books and e-journals and 1000+ film and television items, plus bookable advice sessions and flexible loans.
  • Complimentary hardware and software, including Adobe Creative Cloud, Google Drive, and specialised materials and equipment.
  • Online Student Support and wellbeing appointments, including one-to-one counselling and mindfulness sessions.

What can I access?

Access to the right working spaces and facilities is vital for artists, designers and makers, which is why the College plans to allow students to pursue and complete their studies and develop their creative practise with as much space for making within campus-based specialist workshops and studios as possible, subject always to Government guidelines and pandemic controls.

New and returning students will have access to group teaching with academics and highly-skilled technical demonstrators within our industry-standard workshop and studio spaces, alongside live video-based lectures, tutorials, one-to-one activities and integrated offline learning.

The college’s main Tavistock Place campus is open six days a week, with late-night access Monday to Thursday.

The Ground Floor IT Suite at Tavistock Place will re-open from Monday 3rd August for current students undertaking coursework due to be submitted in August. Enhanced safety measures include:

  • Design and layout improvements to our IT suite, ensuring social distancing and compliance with expert advice on sanitisation;
  • Bookable computer workstations, arranged in advance using the Connect-2 online booking system, via the Student Portal (If you have not used Connect 2 in the past and require an induction please see the guidance on the Student Portal.
  • A campus one-way system, temperature checking and sign-in process upon arrival;
  • A Student Campus Induction Form to help you understand how to work and study onsite;
  • Track + Trace protocols, as advised by Government guidelines;

To book access to the IT Suite, please read our safety guidelines and complete the induction form via the Student Portal and check your college inbox.

Further access to workshops and studios will be regularly reviewed throughout the year according to Government guidance, prioritising as much access for students as possible as the year progresses.

Who will I work with?

Unlike many larger universities, where the arts faculty often competes with other unrelated courses, Plymouth College of Art offers a close-knit, specialised community where subject leaders and technicians know every student by name and can offer a personalised learning experience that works efficiently on campus and online.

Each subject at the college has responded to the challenge of lockdown in different ways, creating new ongoing projects through video teaching and briefings that have taken advantage of the opportunities of live online learning by connecting students with practising artists locally, nationally and from around the world.

  • BA (Hons) Fashion, Media & Marketing students have put their questions to graduates working with brands including Dior, Pro:Direct and END, within the growing online series of Pro:Talks.
  • As part of the new Digital Visiting Lecturer series, BA (Hons) Film & Screen Arts and BA (Hons) Digital Media Production students have been advised by industry experts including Maria Norman, Head of the BBC Natural History Unit whose CV boasts Blue Planet Live, Animals with Cameras, Dynasties, and Seven Worlds One Planet, and foam sculptor Richardo Paiz, who has worked on sets, environments and props for productions including Avengers and From Dusk Till Dawn.
  • BA (Hons) Illustrationstudents have developed their work at home alongside their peers during online life drawing classes as well as participating in portfolio surgeries hosted by industry specialists including Fig Taylor from the Association of Illustrators
  • BA (Hons) Fine Artstudents have been advised on setting up as artists-in-residence within their own home spaces by independent curator Ben Borthwick, formerly of Tate and Italy’s Miart.
"Many students have reported that they feel like they’re receiving a more personalised learning experience than ever before"
Paul Fieldsend-Danks, Academic Dean

Will I still meet new people and connect with my peers?

Plymouth College of Arts’ Students’ Union Manager and President-Elect are hard at work preparing an extended Freshers’ Week of safe social events to ensure that students begin to develop the new connections and friendships that can continue in person and online throughout their time at the college. We anticipate that this will include a mix of online events such as quiz nights and viewing parties alongside in-person workshops such as tie-dying, cake and coffee mornings and social mixers where appropriate safety measures and social distancing can be implemented. Visit our Students’ Union page to find out about our clubs & societies.


Contact us

We are looking forward to welcoming you on campus. In the meantime, please continue to monitor your inbox for email updates from our Learning & Teaching team and Admissions.

If you are a new student with questions about your application or course, please email admissions@pca.ac.uk

If you are a current student seeking information please speak to your Subject Leader in the first instance or email health@pca.ac.uk