UCL, Slade Open Day

Yesterday I attended an open day at the Slade school of Fine Art in London.

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The location of Slade is a great selling point of it – being near Warren Street – and I really like the idea of going to a University in London as there is always so much going on and there are so many galleries. However, my main problem with the idea of going to a London Uni is that I would probably have to live at home, given that I live quite near, and this could take away from the whole ‘Uni’ feel and social interactions.

The notes I gathered during the talk are:

COURSES:

  • BA is a 4 year course, which includes practical art practice, art history and a dissertation to be written in the final year. You can write the dissertation about what you want.
  • BFA is a 3 year course, which involves no dissertation

GENERAL INFO:

  • Around 30 – 40 people are given places for the BA or BFA each year
  • You are treated as artist as soon as you arrive – there are no briefs or tasks set. You are given a space and told to create art.
    • They want you to be able to initiate your own work and not be fased by the blank space
  • There is an exchange programme for one term – locations have included China, Frankfurt, Finland, Helsinki
    • This isn’t compulsory. Approximately 8-10 students take part in this scheme. In order to be able to get involved you need to have a good mark from the end of the previous year.
  • An additional half course unit has to be done on BA before you enter the last year. You can choose what this is and will have lessons half a day every week.
  • There are contemporary art lectures and seminars
  • BA has art history on Thursday for a couple of hours
  • You are given a few tutorials by tutors every term, and there are sign up sheets to schedule more if you want.
  • You work alongside others and get inspiration from each other.
  • People give their feedback on your work a couple of times a year for each person.
    • 2 Seminars per term – discuss people’s work
  • Good tutor to studio ratio.
  • Tutors in most days
  • 1 visiting lecturer/week

FACILITIES:

  • The studio is open from 9am to 10pm every day
  • Workshops are open from 9am – 5pm
  • You can hire film equipment, etc – they have good quality equipment
  • Can book edit suite to use later on in the day – get a key to let yourself in
  • Flat copy room
  • Laser cutting
  • Good stop motion facilities
  • Printing
  • Drills and saws

APPLICATION:

  • As normal, you apply through UCAS
  • The portfolio is looked at by 2 panels
  • They read your personal statement aloud as they look at your portfolio
  • They don’t want to see art history stuff/artist research, only what you make.
  • They like a sense of direction in your work, or well explored experimentation – some students they admit are very confident in what they do, whilst others are more unsure.
  • They like you to bring in real pieces of your work, not just photographs of them.
  • ENTHUSIASM, AMBITION, EXPERIMENTATION, IMAGINATION, CREATIVITY
  • They see all portfolios early February,
    • usually you leave it in the morning and collect it in the afternoon.
    • narrowed down to 200 for interview
  • Don’t know your age/gender when looking at portfolio
  • Interviews are early March
    • The last 20-25 mins
    • Bring in your own work and fill the room with it
    • You are asked pre-planned questions
    • Each person on panel writes a mark – places awarded on numerical basis

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Overall I was pleased with the Slade and could imagine myself working there. Like many art courses, it is very competitive, having thousands of applicants for only 30-40 places.
The prime location is ideal, and it seems like it has a really friendly atomsphere.
Studios look like a decent size and facilities seem good. There are also many art shops nearby to buy resources.
Although you specialise into an area, e.g. media, painting, etc, you can make whatever you like and move between areas, which I think is really good.

I will definitely apply to Slade, although I still need to consider whether I would want to do a BA or BFA course.

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