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Covid-19

We are committed to supporting students and ensuring minimal disruption to your studies at this challenging time whilst complying with the latest government guidance. As of Tuesday 5 January 2021, England left the national tier system to enter a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19. This means that Plymouth College of Art will be closed to staff, students and visitors with all learning being undertaken online and under current guidelines will continue to do so until national guidance changes.

Our priority is keeping your learning and creative portfolio on-track and ensuring that you can progress in your academic, personal development and attainment. Throughout the pandemic, we have based much of our decision making on what we believe to be an essential need to maintain the progression of students, in as timely and focussed way as possible, in order that your individual ambitions and future prospects are kept alive and more importantly are achievable. Where decisions over learning have had to be made in response to the pandemic, these are carefully considered to ensure that as much of the essential characteristics of Plymouth College of Art’s learning journey is retained.

We believe that maintaining some access to the right working space and industry-level facilities is important for many disciplines. We will offer this to our students again when it is legal and safe to do so, with the Government currently recommending full online teaching as the best option for students learning experience and health during the third national lockdown.

If you need any advice or additional support regarding your studies for this online period please initially contact your Subject Leader.

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Key Dates

Following the announcement of a third national lockdown, undergraduate and postgraduate teaching will move to online from Monday 11 January 2021.

Due to the lockdown rules announced in the new year, undergraduate and postgraduate teaching on-campus will be pushed back until mid February. It is recommended that students should remain wherever they are and study online until this point. This includes commuter students who travel to and from the college daily.


Deadline Extensions

Undergraduate and postgraduate deadlines for all hand-ins will be moved three weeks later than their original submission date. For undergraduate students due to submit modules on 18, 19 & 21 January, you will now be given a three week extension to 8, 9 & 11 February. For postgraduate students due to submit modules on 2 or 4 February, you will now be given a three week extension to 23 or 25 February. These extra three weeks are given to complete your work, in light of the restrictions of Covid-19 during trimester one.

Dissertation submissions (Module 304) is also getting an extension to 5 March, with supervisors available to give academic advice right up to the submission date.

We want to reassure students that we will take into account the impact that this national lockdown will have on your work and our staff are highly experienced in the assessment and marking of work-in-progress. Visit your student email inbox for more information.

We had previously announced that from Monday 11 January up until Saturday 6 February 2021, undergraduate and postgraduate students could book self-directed learning (subject to availability) in the college studios and workshops by using Connect 2. However, new lockdown guidance from the government means a delay to on-campus teaching of several additional weeks (planned return to on-campus learning will be pushed back to mid February), so students should not be coming to campus for self-directed learning.


Welcome Site

If you are a new starter or returning student please visit your dedicated 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 when the campus is open?

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 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 typically open six days a week, with late-night access Monday to Thursday.

The Ground Floor IT Suite at Tavistock Place has also introduced enhanced safety measures, which 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.

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Who can 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) Illustration students 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 Art students 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

How can I meet new people and connect with my peers?

Our Students’ Union Manager and President-Elect have been hard at work since the start of the academic year with socially distanced or online activities including online quiz nights, viewing parties, in-person workshops, cake and coffee mornings and social mixers.

More information on clubs and societies, upcoming online events and ways to connect can be found on our Students' Union page.


Contact us

We encourage you to continue checking your college email and the Student Portal regularly for the latest college guidance.

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