Artistic courses

Are they for me?

The creative arts cover a vast range of subjects and courses, which can be loosely grouped into art, design and media and crafts, and include architecture, fine art, photography, creative writing, fashion, music etc.

 If you are thinking of becoming part of the computer games sector, then why not consider Anglia Ruskin‘s Cambridge School of Creative Industries, located at the heart of the UK’s computer games industry, and home to 18 per cent of its workforce? If you are team and community minded, then De Montfort University might be your spiritual home, since the art and design faculty has been teaching since 1897 and has forged strong links with the Leicester community. Students can therefore take part in a range of projects and gain practical experience and network with specialists in their field. Coventry University has been ranked fourth in the UK for its film and photography courses and offers a wide range of specialised subjects, such as popular music performance and songwriting, product design, games art  and illustration and graphics. Or what about Portsmouth‘s Creative and Cultural Industries faculty, which  integrates creativity with cutting-edge technology and focusses on collaborating with creative industries. It offers students the opportunity to explore digital, virtual and augmented reality, and has film, TV  and motion capture studios  where you can familiarise yourself with state of the art resources and hone technical skills. Given this enormous choice of subjects, courses and universities which teach the creative arts, why not  contact Elab for guidance on where to apply? We are here to help you find the ideal path towards your career in the creative arts.

Whatever subject you decide to study in the creative arts, there is one thing the courses  all have in common-you will need to prepare a portfolio to accompany your application!

What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is a collection of examples of your work. Usually, you are asked to submit between 15-20 pieces, all of which have to be dated and accompanied by a short description or explanation of what you were aiming to achieve. International students  can generally  send their portfolios by email- using a PDF format or PowerPoint – or by supplying a URL, as long as the portfolio can be accessed without a password, using Chrome, Safari or Firefox. Portfolios form the basis of university interviews, so they need to be submitted before interview arrangements are sent out, but this is not necessarily the same time as your general application. Each university has its own requirements, and Elab can give you information on their deadlines for portfolio submissions.

What should I put in my portfolio?

To answer this question, you have to understand the purpose of a portfolio. It is not just a collection of your favourite pieces, and the picture that you drew at the age of 14, which your mother loved, has NO PLACE in your portfolio. Your portfolio tells the admissions committee about  YOU-your passions and interests, how you plan and think, your ability, skills and creativity. Let your personality shine through your work. This is a wonderful  opportunity to share your ideas, and demonstrate your vision and enthusiasm. It’s your time to shine and take centre stage, so enjoy putting your portfolio together.

There are, however,  a few general guidelines you should follow when deciding what to include. Be organised. Date every piece, and decide if you are going to present your material chronologically, by theme or by medium. Label everything with your name. If you have something which is huge or very fragile, don’t risk sending it – just take a photograph of any large piece and  provide an idea of scale. Show the techniques you have mastered and provide information on how you work. You may want to include sketches, design plans or outlines of an unfinished project, to show how you overcome problems or build something from the ground up, changing and experimenting at every stage. Make sure that you describe any research you did, the context of your work -if this is important – and a brief summary of your aim.

Finally, before you finalise the portfolio, and decide how to present it, make sure that you ask a friend, an Elab consultant, or a family member  to look at it. Encourage them to ask questions and to provide you with a critical eye. If you are asked to interview for a place, the portfolio will be the topic of the discussion, so get as much practice as possible.

Be proud of your work!

Good luck!


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