Ruskin, Oxford Open Day

Yesterday I attended an open day at Ruskin School of Art, Oxford in order to learn more about their BFA course in Fine Art. Due to the small number of students accepted each year, it has a small staff to student ratio (1:4). This means that more focus is put on each individual student, which I think is very useful as it means that the tutors are more likely to be able to give you good advice and will be able to focus on your work more.


I have already looked around Ruskin School of Art before, considering applying to it last year but instead choosing to take a foundation course for a year prior to application next year. Although I had been worried that my shy nature would put me at a disadvantage, when speaking to the staff, I was encouraged to apply, being told to see shyness as a quality rather than a barrier.

The talk was held in a studio room where students would work, and this is also the room in which the practical application test takes place (where applicants are provided with a variety of media and given a question or statement which they then create art based on in a timed setting).


In the talk we were told that Ruskin School of Art has lots of visiting lecturers and that the course is 25% Art History-based. This to me had been a key attraction of the course, as I would love to know more about the history of art and different art periods.

There is a written paper at the end of the first and third year, and in the final year there is also an extended essay.


Students meet with their primary studio tutor once every 14 days, and there is a skills workshop every Friday (for techniques such as screen printing, casting, etc.). Studios are open 24hrs, except late on Sundays.

I looked around a few of the colleges which accepted students studying Fine Art.

The first of these was Exeter College – the exterior is absolutely beautiful. I also liked it because it was in a good location – near the Ruskin building but not too close that it was a massive tourist attraction. It has such beautiful architecture and great green space outside. It is also great that the library is open 24hrs – this is something which is always useful.

Next I looked at Brasenose College. I had looked here last year so it was interesting to refresh my memory. I was really impressed with the student bar and also the accommodation.

Finally I looked at New College – to me this college was a bit too big and perhaps too famous (although it is cool that it contains an area where Harry Potter was filmed). Also, I though that there was a weird smell everywhere (but maybe I was imagining it, as no one else seemed to notice).

I feel as though Exeter College is probably the one which I could most imagine myself in, as it seems quite understated and homely, and it isn’t too big.

I think that it would be worth applying to Ruskin. However, it will put a lot of pressure on me as their UCAS deadline is earlier than other Universities, and this will also mean that I will have less time to put together a portfolio to show them and also that I will have to do additional work.



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