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Posted 06.11.17

Lady Frances Sorrell opens Palace Studios for Foundation Diploma students

By Phillip Buchan

Sir John Sorrell, Lady Frances Sorrell and Professor Andrew Brewerton at the opening of Palace Studios

Lady Frances Sorrell, Co-founder of the Sorrell Foundation and Saturday Club Trust, formally opened Palace Studios, our new dedicated building for UAL Foundation Diploma in Art & Design students.

Palace Studios is situated on Buckwell Street in the heart of Plymouth’s city centre, adjacent to the planned British Land-owned Bretonside multiplex and cinema redevelopment and on the same street as the college’s new Palace Court Pre Degree Campus, which was shortlisted for Building of the Year Award last year by The Building Forum for Devon and Cornwall.

In her opening speech, Lady Frances Sorrell said: “Palace Studios is unique – a place dedicated to Foundation, which is all about discovery and exploring the sheer variety of subjects on offer in this growing industry. Foundation-level creative study is the perfect way for young students to make informed choices about future study and careers, and whichever path they choose, this experience will make their work all the richer for it.”

Lady Frances Sorrell OBE was conferred with an Honorary Fellowship of the college in 2016 and is Chancellor of the University of Westminster, an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA, as well as holding Honorary Doctorates from the Open University, Coventry University and University for the Creative Arts. Plymouth College of Art was one of four specialist art colleges to pilot the Sorrell Foundation’s transformational National Art & Design Saturday Club, now the National Saturday Club Trust.

“Plymouth College of Art is like an embryo for something – a look into the future. I’m very excited about it."

– Lady Frances Sorrell

Lady Sorrell is a strong advocate for the multidisciplinary approach that this post-A Level Foundation Diploma provides, especially at a time of narrowing opportunities for study in the creative arts in schools nationally. Foundation Diploma in Art & Design is the threshold to a rich and diverse spectrum of art, craft, design and media degree-level progression pathways into the UK’s world-leading creative industries, where employment is projected to grow by a million new jobs by 2030. At £87.4bn GVA, the UK’s creative industries are now bigger than the automotive, life sciences, oil and gas, and aerospace industries combined, jobs seen as far more resilient to automation than those in other sectors.

Palace Studios includes two large specialist studios, comprising spaces over 160m2, designed to meet the needs of modern art, design and media students plus high windows for natural light, all housed only 250 metres away from the sea and five minutes walk from Plymouth College of Art’s HE campus at Tavistock Place.

The Foundation Diploma in Art & Design being taught in Palace Studios is a qualification unique to the creative industries, designed to offer ambitious students the opportunity to spend a year immersing themselves in discovery, experimentation and exploration of different artistic disciplines that are unavailable in conventional education settings.

Through practical workshops and seminars, students are introduced to a range of media, materials, processes, resources and equipment, nurturing creativity and confidence, within a creatively diverse environment that is a progressive gateway to the wider world of art and design, in Europe and beyond.

"It’s incredible what’s going on at Plymouth College of Art. It’s very future looking."

– Lady Frances Sorrell

Matias Shortcook, Associate Dean Pre-Degree at Plymouth College of Art, said: "We remain committed to the importance of our Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, despite closures of similar courses around the country. That year of vital experimentation gives our students the grounding to succeed at the most competitive arts institutions in the world and the creative industries beyond."