Design is a very broad subject that can be very conceptual or practical. The range of work, projects and assignments we see across the curriculum area is constantly changing and the beauty of such a subjective subject allows us to guide and support our learners with a different ideas, working with a range of media & materials to create an outcome that they have chosen in response to a project or a brief. As a visual person, it is a pleasure to work with such a visually stimulating subject, which just gets more an more exciting with every new leaner we teach.
Our locations are great. At College Green we boast access to a great range of central attractions and locations that are ideal for visits, filming, photographing, observational drawing etc. At Ashley Down, the huge rooms and space available allow for work on a larger scale, and the location is prime to the nearby bustling shops or Gloucester Road and walking distance to the centre.
Within curriculum area, we always put the learners as the main focus when writing our assignments and allow more input and direction from the learners rather than restrict and conform to a singular assignment. Individualised learning is our main aspect and encouraging learners to work in an environment where they can gain practical vocational knowledge or their subject, whilst exploring and experimenting in an environment where it is ok to make mistakes. Not every artist or designer is the same, and we want to celebrate that diversity in giving every learner the opportunity to express their individuality.
My graphic design students have worked on a range of projects including branding, packaging, magazine design, web design and corporate identity. They have also worked on a series of live assignments, in which several students have earned money from their design ideas that have been bought by companies they have pitched to.
Across the curriculum, we have our students working on a broad range of Art & Media assignments:
- Interactive Design students have been working on game design projects as well as interactive prototypes.
- Art students have been producing some fantastic surface pattern designs, 3D ceramics and digital design.
- Photography students have undertaken work in the studio and on location.
- Fashion students have been exploring the limits of contemporary fashion design, and worked on a live competition for an up-cycling fashion show.
- Production arts students have worked with Aardman and gained live industry experience with TV and film make-up artists.
- The Media students have worked on a variety of film and radio projects, including shorts for the Bristol Green Capital, and voxpops for BCFM Radio.
- The Performing Arts students have worked on live plays that have been performed for audiences in venues around the city.
Before I worked here, I was working as a freelance graphic design. The work I was doing was very commercial, but did have some fun jobs such as creating my own fonts and typefaces, doing design work for local bands and artists and even did some designs for vehicle vinyl’s.
I studied graphic design at university and did get work straight away, but I always new that one day I wanted to get into education and teach the subject I am so passionate about. I’m did my teaching qualification alongside my freelance work, which was hard, but enjoyable. I still today will do the odd job for friends or local businesses just so I can stay up to date. When I can I also like to do creative workshops, which I have always done in the past. This has ranged from screen-printing to CAD to sculpture.
My role at the College
My job is the curriculum leader of Creative Arts & Media, which is essentially the head of department. I enjoy this job very much, as I get to not only experience what the students do with my own subject, but also how they respond across a broad spectrum of subjects. I have a great team, who are all very passionate about their subjects and look for interesting and innovative ways of delivering to their students. Art & Media students are also a great pleasure to work with; you get a great mix of individuals from different backgrounds who are all united by their common desire to design, create and produce imaginative and exciting work within their field.
The best bit
For my the most enjoyable part of the job is the learner journey. Seeing an individual start with us, develop, and blossom into a flourishing creative person and go onto to do things that at first they may have doubted they can do. It is an amazing feeling to know that the work we are doing is changing a young persons life, giving them opportunities that perhaps they did not know were out there. This year I have seen students who arrived with us as level 2 learners going on to study at university and higher education, while I have seen learners who were low in confidence and ability when they started make their way into apprenticeships or employment. When we can make a difference like this, it puts all the aspects of the job into perspective and makes you remember why we are in education.