With almost 150,000 people employed in the UK’s craft industry, skilled crafts-people are putting the country on the map for original, forward-thinking contemporary design. The relationship between thinking and making is ever-evolving, with experimentation and innovation seeing a new wave of makers take their craft profession in fresh and original directions, often looking to develop methods in which we can live harmoniously within natural and fabricated environments that support a healthy ecosystem.
Our spacious Materials Lab includes specialist facilities for ceramics, glass, metal and wood, encouraging you to explore traditional making alongside the rapid digital prototyping facilities in our Fab Lab, giving you the opportunity to reinvent craft for the 21st century. However learning isn’t limited to our design studios and workshops – you will meet some of the UK’s most inventive and entrepreneurial contemporary makers and thinkers through studio visits, demonstrations, and presentations.
You’ll study specialist ceramics techniques such as throwing, slip casting, slab-building, coiling, glazing, and raku firing. Working with glass will include hot glass making, kiln-formed glass, coldworking and lampworking. Working with metals will see you casting, welding, and grinding. If you’re looking to specialise in wood-working, you’ll have the opportunity to learn woodturning, joinery, and CNC routing. In the Fab Lab you will experience laser cutting, CNC milling and 3D printing.
Through the use of these traditional materials, as well as explorations in smart and adaptive materials, you’ll develop new modes of creative authorship through experimentation, research and invention.
Our ambition is that your material practice develops in an international context, and you’ll be given the opportunity to visit a number of current events such as Sieraad in Amsterdam, Collect at the Saatchi Gallery, British Ceramics Biennial, the Contemporary Craft Festival and New Designers.
Recent contributors to the course include Steve Dixon, Pr Neil Brownsword, Caroline Broadhead, Dr Erin Dickson, Dr Wendy Gers, Sam Photic, Nuala Clooney, Mount Edgecumbe and Eden Project.
You’ll learn about enterprise and entrepreneurship, and how to price, display and promote work for a range of different markets including: large scale site specific work, individual exhibition pieces and domestic products, all based on knowledge of your customers and the experience gained by working on live briefs, pitching to clients and entering competitions.
Study with us and you’ll expand your critical approach alongside developing skills in research and analysis. Our creative programmes encourage diversity in thinking and making - from practical applications through to reflective, analytical writing. You will also have access to our Making Futures biennial conference, offering you the chance to listen to critical discourses by international makers, curators and critics.
We provide a dynamic, stimulating learning environment from which to test new models of practice while investing in the rich relationship between practice and theory - based on the potential in material and visual exploration, collaborative working, cross-fertilisation of ideas, and the exploration of histories and contemporary contexts.
Although many of our students do come in with top grades and high UCAS points, these aren’t necessarily essential for entry. We typically ask for a minimum of 112 UCAS points, but we understand that talented artists, designers and makers can have a wide range of relevant strengths and skills beyond formal qualifications. We’re just as interested in exploring your portfolio and discussing your creative experiences as we are in seeing your grades.
We recognise the value of a variety of qualifications and relevant experience and welcome applications from students who have followed less traditional routes. We also accept a range of international qualifications and will look at each application individually.