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Saturday, 6 December 2008

Art vs. Grades

I went to an open day at London College of Communication to find out about their Graphic Design courses last Wednesday. At these things I usually hide behind my hair and try to not make eye contact with anyone (a habit I really ought to break, as I’m going to have to learn to network if I want to get into the design industry) but this time someone came and introduced me who seemed determined not to be put off by my introverted nature.

This woman I got talking to turned out to have no art qualifications past GCSEs. She wasn’t in college, she was working for a web design company, doing the technical side of the job. A spirited young woman, she wanted to be doing something more creative. She wanted to be doing something weird and wonderful with her life. After asking a few people for some advice she had decided to look at doing a Foundation Degree in Graphic Design to nurture her creative potential and to provide her with the qualifications to prove that she has such talents.
The university doesn’t ask for grades, for UCAS points, for experience. The course she was looking at just wants a portfolio to show a prospective student’s thought processes and potential, as well as an interview to determine if they’re the kind of person they want on their course. You don’t need to have sat through college to go to an art university. You don’t even need to have done a Foundation diploma, like I’m struggling through right now. So long as you’re self motivated enough to practice your talents so you can show them off in an interview, you can get into university.
After all, art isn’t about knowledge, it’s about creativity, and you don’t need to sit through college to gain that.
On the other hand, however, it does give artists and designers some bad press, perhaps some people do not consider a degree to have as much ‘worth’ as others if it does not ask for you to have been a particularly good student at school? If it’s what you want to do, though, who cares what anyone else thinks…


JiaXuan said...

Sometimes having grades can give arts students a certain amount of discipline which actually does good. It does very much depend on the context though, and it is a fine line.

Anonymous said...

As you mentioned in your post networking is key to success in any career esp the arts and these networks start to form at college and universities.
I think that actually what I missed out on before entering university was a bit of understanding about the art world and on reflection think that doing a degree a few years later would have given me that time to experience this.