man giving speech

“The Academy is run with transparency, openness and an ambitious work ethic. It pretty much does what it says on the tin.”

Student Story


Prior to studying fine art, I trained and worked as an actor and have found many similarities in the creative process which has allowed me to be quite experimental with my work and ideas. My fine art practice does not seem belong to one particular category: I have completed final pieces in drawing, video and sculpture, and have configured a 200-mile walking project.

I’ve been at the Academy for just over two years now, beginning with the Certificate, then the Foundation, and am currently about to wrap up the first year of the three year full-time BA Hons in Fine Art.

I feel very fortunate that the first course I enrolled upon here was Materials & Mark Making taught by Alison Hand. The idea of making marks as art was new to me but resonated deeply, and the whole course redefined my concept of drawing. It set the standards of what is possible.

I spend time with my own dedicated year group once or twice a week. The Elective Skills Workshops classes are attended by students across the board, and whoever is in that day, no matter which course they are on, tends to come together around the tables at lunchtime in the common area where stories and experiences are exchanged. It becomes a naturally caring and supportive environment, perhaps a rarity at this level of education these days?

Thus far I’m achieving what I set out to do from studying art; developing skills in drawing, painting, sculpture (as well as printing and digital art if I wish), while being free to express myself in whatever direction I wish on the personal project days. That can be exciting as well as challenging. I’m also pleased to be finding enough space to work on my own, but then also be with others when I need to.

In this first year of the BA we have been introduced to the Theory of Art, a welcome aspect of my learning, as it helps me think about art at a deeper level now that I have been making the stuff for a couple of years.

I have met people who travel many miles to attend classes at the Academy. It seems that the quality of teaching and tutor contact time offered here is quite unique in this day and age, which is surprising to me, but also makes me think I have made a sound choice.

Facility-wise, the Academy is not blessed with vast amounts of warehouse-sized studio spaces or state-of-the-art machinery workshops, but it has everything I require, in what feels like realistic proportions, both for the size of college and also for what might be accessible out there in the ‘real world’.

Overall, it’s an unpretentious place, with its own contented community of staff and students, and is run with transparency, openness and an ambitious work ethic. It pretty much does what it says on the tin.