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Fine Art BA(Hons): What our students say

Student profiles

Don't just take our word for it – here's what students say about what it's like to study at Kingston University.

Laura Morz

Name: Laura Morz
Course: Fine Art BA(Hons) and then Museum and Gallery Studies MA
Route to university: Polish Matura (equivalent to A-levels)
Year of graduation: 2015

Why did you choose Kingston University?

"The reason I chose Kingston is because the course contained knowledge I needed to gain. I was very impressed by the area and facilities that Kingston University provides, and I have also heard a lot of good opinions from my friends as well. At the start, I was assigned to a personal tutor and they always responded to my emails and were eager to help me with anything course related. I also got in contact with someone who was able to help me with some of my learning difficulties."

Did you do a foundation degree first and was it of benefit?

"No, I didn't. As an international student, I hold a Polish Matura which I gained after three years of college [this is similar to English A-levels]. I was also expected to pass an English test confirming my knowledge of the English language.

To then follow onto the MA in Museum and Gallery Studies I needed a bachelors degree in (preferably) an art-related subject, which is why I first attained a Fine Art BA(Hons)."

What skills did your degree course give you?

"I have managed to learn new skills like critical thinking. That is one of the many transferable skills."

How has your degree opened doors or enhanced your job prospects?

"I am currently finishing my MA in Museum and Gallery Studies MA, also at Kingston University and I am looking for employment. To follow with my MA I first needed a degree in (preferably) an art related subject [which is why she chose to study the Fine Art BA(Hons) at Kingston University]."

Were there any obstacles to overcome in starting and then completing your course in university?

"My main problem was the language barrier and different styles of writing assignments. To overcome that, I met a few times with the academic support adviser and even asked my friends to read my work before submitting to make sure it made sense."

What advice would you give to someone considering applying for fine art?

"Be consistent with your learning schedule."

 

Sarah Maple

Name: Sarah Maple
Course: Fine Art BA(Hons)
Route to University: Fine Art A-level and Foundation Diploma in Art & Design
Year of graduation: 2007

Why did you choose Kingston University?

"I felt it was the best course to give me the freedom to experiment and try new things with my work. In my interview, the tutors were very friendly and I sort of felt at home right away! I also really love the Stanley Picker Gallery and it was great to have it right there."

Did you do a foundation degree first and was it of benefit?

"First I did my A-level in Fine Art, then a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at the University of Creative Arts in Epsom. I think this was really important as it prepared me for what I could expect at Kingston. I would definitely recommend that for anyone about to embark on a fine art course."

What skills did your degree course give you?

"I think being forced out of my comfort zone was really great. We got to pick different electives so we could try different things and we were put into groups to make collaborative work. We also had to do a terrifying thing in the first year where we gave a presentation on our work in front of the whole year. It was scary but such a brilliant experience and something I have had to do many times since! I think being tested like this is really great for personal and professional development.

The lecturers were very approachable and helped me to think outside the box and broaden my ideas. They were supportive and encouraging and I know I would not be where I am now without their guidance on my BA."

How has your degree opened doors or enhanced your job prospects?

"I completed Fine Art BA(Hons) at Kingston University in 2007. Also in that year I won a new art prize for graduates from the Saatchi Gallery called '4 New Sensations'. I won this prize based on work I had produced with the guidance of my tutors. I am very grateful for that and owe a lot of my success to my time at Kingston.

I have worked collaboratively on film projects with Nick Knight and the Southbank Centre and have been included in publications by the Whitechapel Gallery, Phaidon and Gestalten. In 2015 I released my first book 'You Could Have Done This'. Later in 2015, I was also awarded a Sky Academy Arts scholarship from Sky Arts which I am now using to create a new body of work about freedom of speech for a solo exhibition (in 2017) at the New Art Exchange in Nottingham.

I work professionally as a full-time artist, and I exhibiting internationally at galleries and institutions including Tate Britain, A.I.R Gallery (NY), AGO (Canada), the Southbank Centre (London), The New Art Exchange (Nottingham), Golden Thread Gallery (Belfast) and Kunisthoone (Estonia)."

Were there any obstacles to overcome in starting and then completing your course in university?

"Personally for me, being somewhere new is extremely daunting. I think just staying strong and forcing yourself into the situations works out great in the long run.

Navigating an art career and managing finances has been a struggle. In the third year of my BA, Kingston University ran a module on how to handle the practicalities of working as an artist. I found this extremely helpful and I later realised that not many art degrees offer this."

What advice would you give to someone wanting to apply for fine art?

"I would say when it comes to creating or showing your portfolio, don't try to be something you think you should be! And when it comes to being on the course itself, allow yourself to experiment and make mistakes."

 

James Yeo

Name: James Yeo
Course: Fine Art BA(Hons)

Why Kingston?

"I chose Kingston for its wide range of facilities and the larger studio space that was available compared to other London-based universities. The other main factor was that here in Kingston we have a close community of halls and campuses in the local area which for me made me feel more connected with the university and the course."

What are the best bits about your course?

"The best bit about my course is that I can cross over into any medium I want to whilst knowing that there is support and guidance in any areas that I may not have used before. This means I have learnt many new skills helping me to develop my practice in areas and mediums I had never tried before."

My experience at Kingston

"Being in Kingston is a great for me. Living in Kent before coming to uni I wasn't used to the intensity of living in London but Kingston is a perfect balance, in that I can go into central London and visit galleries and be a part of the art culture that thrives there but also escape from the hectic side. Knights Park is a brilliant campus to be at and I love the buzz that is always here."

What next?

After finishing my degree this summer I would love to still be heavily involved in art. To go down the curatorial route so I can be involved in other people's work as well as my own would be my main goal but there are endless possibilities. The facilities such as the CV drop in services also mean that I can polish my CV to land me in the best place, which is something I wish to take full advantage of after Christmas after finishing writing my dissertation."

 

Hannah Terry

Name: Hannah Terry
Course: Fine Art and Art History BA(Hons)
Route to university: Art Foundation course

"I started doing a degree in Art History and French at a university outside London, but decided to change courses because I wanted to do something that encompassed the practical side of art. 

"I also wanted to be London-based because that's where all the main galleries and events are.  After looking at several London universities, I chose Kingston.

"It has amazing facilities with its own photographic workshop. I also found Kingston to be very forward thinking. It's not just riding on its reputation. And I really liked the town, which feels like a nicer, safer version of London.

"I've loved the freedom of the art course. It's student led. You manage your own timetable.  You produce work for the tutorials and seminars, but you can come and go from the studio as you please.   

"The teaching is brilliant. The lecturers know you by name and, compared to my first university, you get a lot more one-to-one teacher contact at Kingston. The teachers are all practising artists and they are really keen to help as much as they can. You could have a tutorial every day if you wanted. This was not the case at some of the universities I visited.

"During the course you are encouraged to put on your own exhibitions. I found these very rewarding and they give you real experience to put on your CV.  In addition to the Degree Show, the Faculty organised several other exhibitions. I took part in one at Canary Wharf and one at Bethnal Green. 

"The course also provided the opportunity to go on some great trips. I went to New York, Italy and San Francisco. Going as a big group made it really cheap and so much fun.  The tutors who took us had a lot of knowledge and knew all the places to visit. It was like a holiday, but also a real education. You see what is possible for an artist internationally and the art we saw has inspired my work. 

"The course has really helped to clarify my ambitions. Before coming to Kingston, I had no idea what being a practising artist involved. I had not anticipated graduating as enthusiastic as I now am. It has completely fuelled my desire and I definitely want to carry on with what I've been taught. I feel totally inspired."

 

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