Level 4 Foundation Art and Design students Abigail McGinley, 18, Cailin Cummins, 19, Fabian Hird, 19 and Niamh Evans, 18 are in high spirits after being offered a place at the world-renowned Slade School of Fine Art at the University College in London (UCL) – and will begin their courses in September 2018.
The selected students will join around 140 full-time undergraduates who will study at the prestigious university on either the three-year BFA studio based or four-year BA programmes in Fine Art this year.
The process of gaining a place on the courses - which includes a range of established artists, painters, sculptors, illustrators, architects, cartoonists and designers as its alumni - is very rigorous and competitive. From the 1500 initial applicants who submitted their portfolios for review this February, 120 interviews are allocated for 40 spaces. Therefore, statistically, this works out that the four Nottingham College students make up approximately 10% of next year’s intake.
The successful students feel that the skills and experience that they have gained whilst studying at Nottingham College are standing them in good stead for exciting future endeavours, at the Slade and beyond.
Speaking of her journey to the Slade, Cailin, from Southwell, who chose to stand out from the crowd by dressing as a pickle during the interview process said:
“I think the best thing about doing my course at Nottingham College is that I’m with a group of like-minded people my age with the same interests and ambitions, who I can easily engage with. Also, having my own studio space to work in for the first time has been absolutely fantastic.
“I am so excited about going to the Slade and I really can’t wait to get there and live in London and create lots of work! The move should allow me to break into the London art network to some extent and to meet lots of very exciting people. I am so determined to use the opportunities that arise to my advantage and I’m absolutely motivated to do so.”
Fabian, who specialises in sound art and has lived in Bingham in Nottinghamshire since the beginning of his course said:
“The overall experience at college has been enjoyable. It has been useful to have the studio space and the encouragement to create what you want to create, and the teaching has been good. With the college being very central in Nottingham, it is easy to get to, to go out on locations and there’s also many nearby galleries.
“Getting into the Slade has been my biggest achievement since being on the course. I’m excited about having chance to work in a space with an extremely high level and variety of teaching, and about being around other students who specialise in a range of art areas. I will get opportunities to exhibit my work and the critiques will be incredibly helpful to develop my practice and gain public feedback. As my work is often audience based, it will be good to have that ability to show it often and I want to gain more knowledge in my own medium.”
Abigail from Car Colston, who is the only Nottingham College student choosing to do the four year option on the Slade Fine Art course said:
“I feel that the tutoring at college has been very helpful for me and the criticism received has enabled me to reflect on my own work. Being on the course has given me confidence, space and conviction in what I do, and having a physical studio space to paint and experiment in, has furthered my practice immeasurably.
“With its rich history centred in the arts, it feels like a privilege to have the chance to learn and progress at the Slade. The chance to study painting and art history in a studio environment which fosters self-sufficiently, alongside peers who encourage you to think and explore is brilliant. I'm also lucky to have the opportunity to be tutored by practising artists and lecturers who are respected within their field. My future aspirations after completing the course are to become a practising artist, whilst saving up to do an MA in painting.”
Niamh Evans from Kimberley in Nottingham, who brought a uniquely made dating 80s inspired video said:
“I've enjoyed my Foundation year a lot, and despite it being quite challenging, I have learnt a lot from it and am now creating better work. The course is positioned in a great location, as it’s close to lots of galleries and Hockley is a lovely place to be in. Other than getting into the Slade, my biggest highlight on the course is being able to meet lots of like-minded people, which encourages a really nice and creative environment.
“It is a great honour to have been selected to study at the Slade, as it is very prestigious and I have looked up to it for some years. The tutoring there is amazing and so many great artists have studied there! I think the course will help me to develop my style, and having a lot of mentors and peers around me to positively influence my work. In the future, I would like to be able to work as a practising artist in London, and have a studio.”
The students are currently preparing for their end of year shows which is a chance to showcase the work that they’ve created during their course, which they have been most impressed with. Much of the work that they have accumulated and developed over the year was used to form the portfolios that they needed to showcase at their Slade, as part of their interview process.
Speaking of the great achievements of the four fine art learners, Michelle Keating, a Lecturer in Art and Design at Nottingham College who is a tutor to the students said:
“It is a fantastic opportunity for the students who have worked hard to get where they are now. The odds of getting into the Slade are very low and people apply from all over the UK and from around the world.
“Their fellow students and staff wish them all the very best for their exciting future ventures!”
Nottingham College’s Level 3 and 4 Art and Design Foundation courses are designed for anyone who is serious about progressing to one of the country’s top art schools or for anyone who has the desire to pursue a creative career. To find out more about these courses, which include the option to focus on areas such as animation, sound pieces and video, please visit: http://nottm.co/art-and-design-foundation