Student Stories Jo Holt

“The Academy is to me a priceless rare gem of an art school.”

Student Story


For several years I searched and struggled to find a sculpture course that taught both traditional skills and contemporary practice. I couldn’t quite believe it when I found the Art Academy Sculpture Diploma online. I was incredibly excited and relieved. I read through the entire course and academy documentation in one sitting, barely taking a breath of air, overwhelmed with emotion. I signed up to go to the open day straight away and never looked back.  

The Academy is a unique environment. There is a vast amount of support and constructive criticism all around every day. I have had the pleasure of getting to know almost everyone, from the office staff, the students, to the tutors and have made lasting friendships. Studying at the Academy is like joining a family, a small but growing community of creative souls. I am greatly benefiting from being in an environment full of people equally as passionate and devoted as myself. The whole experience feels very special. The Academy is to me a priceless rare gem of an art school.

The Sculpture Diploma is structured in such a way that it enables you to choose your own skills classes. Due to this I allowed myself to be incredibly experimental in my first year, producing work that was figurative, abstract figurative, imaginative and abstract. I love that I am able to cater my course to meet my own needs. The site specific sculpture class has been invaluable as I know I will use the knowledge I gained in the class in the future to make models and maquettes when writing proposals for site specific projects.

Project work is taught alongside skills classes, working to a deadline on a concept. Our ideas/artworks are regularly discussed 1-2-1 with tutors and shown to peers in group critique. Project work has assisted me to think big and try out all sorts of ideas that I may not have had the courage to explore had I not been given so much scope and support. This aspect of the course is truly stretching me, teaching me to find my own visual language and the verbal language to accompany it.

The environment, skills classes and project work combined provide me with the essential ingredients that I need to flourish. I feel like I’m a sponge soaking up and absorbing the experience everyday both practically and emotionally, treasuring every moment, taking it all in and being very productive. I now feel a greater sense of confidence and self-belief. With every term I am growing creatively and honing in to truly establish my own personal creative practice. I feel that the course is helping me obtain the skills, vocabulary and belief to reach my goal of becoming a professional artist.