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Info for new & returning students in Oct 2020

Following an intensive period of development, in consultation with students and practicing artists, Plymouth College of Art is preparing to launch its 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. If you are a new or returning student please read our latest update on plans for the Autumn term, re-opening and final-year assessments below. 

In line with Government guidelines, we are pleased to announce plans to applicants and returning students, to welcome undergraduate students and staff back on campus from 5 October 2020 and postgraduate students from 12 October. The college’s Pre Degree campus Palace Court, for A-Level-equivalent and Foundation Diploma students, is planning to reopen from 7 September 2020.

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.

Over the summer, our teaching is being redesigned to take advantage of the new hybrid delivery model, supported by one-to-one and group workshops that will happen on and off campus in specialist workshops and live digital platforms. Alongside this, the college has updated its support and training materials, moving academic, pastoral, careers, library and other professional support services online.

What can I access when the campus reopens?

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.

When the campus reopens, 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. 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.

What safety measures will be in place?

Extensive measures are being introduced across each Plymouth College of Art building to prepare for reopening, from protective plastic barriers for student and visitor facing services, 2-metre distances between workstations, one way systems and optimised timetables with staggered breaks and start times, to enhanced cleaning regimes, staff retraining and access to sanitising stations that will allow students back into workshops and studios, using the equipment and facilities that will prepare them for careers in the UK’s world-leading creative industries.

With new rules in place across every building, Plymouth College of Art will work with the Local Authority and Public Health England to support and promote the Track and Trace initiative. Over the summer, all new and returning students will receive simple guidance on how to return safely.

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) 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.

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. Click here to find out about our clubs & societies or head to Youtube to watch the diary of a first-year student.

How are current students responding to blended learning?

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.”

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 joining us in October 2020 and you have any questions about your application or course, please email 

If you are a current student seeking information on assessment dates please click the dropdowns below or speak to your Subject Leader.