Palace Court Plymouth

Plymouth College of Art invests in city centre home for Foundation Diploma in Art & Design students

Palace Studios, Plymouth College of Art’s new dedicated building for Foundation Diploma in Art & Design students, is due to open August 2017 on Buckwell Street in the heart of Plymouth’s city centre, adjacent to the planned British Land-owned Bretonside multiplex and cinema redevelopment and on the same street as the college’s new Palace Court campus, which was shortlisted for Building of the Year Award last year by The Building Forum for Devon and Cornwall.

Students learning in Palace Studios, which are currently being refurbished to creative art and design-standards, will work across different disciplines to identify their chosen specialism within the arts, preparing them for creative degree-level study at selective, competitive universities for the creative arts, and to enter the UK’s booming creative industries.

The creative industries contribute over £80 billion per year to the UK economy and provide employment for over 1.8 million people.

Plymouth College of Art’s investment in Foundation Diploma in Art & Design comes at a time when Falmouth University has faced protest and a petition, supported by nearly 7,000 people, against its decision to suspend an equivalent course that had been running since the 1960s.

Foundation Diplomas in Art & Design are a qualification unique to the creative industries, designed to offer ambitious students the opportunity to spend a year immersing themselves in discovery, experimentation and exploration of different artistic disciplines that are unavailable in conventional education settings.

The £25m investment in the regeneration of Plymouth
Palace Studios will add to regeneration of the area between Drake Circus and the Barbican, which Plymouth College of Art contributed to last year with the opening of Palace Court, the college’s dedicated Pre-Degree campus for over 600 16 to 19-year-olds studying creative Extended Diplomas, also on Buckwell Street. Since 2010 Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth School of Creative Arts have invested more than £25m in the city of Plymouth, and created circa 200 new jobs.

Palace Studios will include two large specialist studios, comprising spaces over 160m2, designed to meet the needs of modern art, design and media students, high windows for natural light, plus an enclosed courtyard social area, all housed only 250 metres away from the sea and five minutes walk from the college’s main Tavistock Place campus.

Matias Shortcook, associate Dean, Pre-Degree at Plymouth College of Art, said: “We remain committed to the importance of our Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, despite closures of similar courses around the country.

“That year of vital experimentation gives our students the grounding to succeed at the most competitive arts institutions in the world and the creative industries beyond.

“Our past Foundation Diploma in Art & Design students have had work exhibited at Tate Modern and Saatchi Gallery, with graduates like Zowie Broach going on to found the international fashion label BOUDICCA. Plymouth College of Art is the most significant destination for Foundation Diploma in Art & Design study in South West England, a beautiful region that contains two entire national parks, four World Heritage Sites and the longest coastline in England.”

Zowie Broach, co-founder of the independent fashion label and design house BOUDICCA and Head of Fashion at the Royal College of Art, said of her Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at Plymouth College of Art: “Being at the college allowed me to be myself. It ran a series of ideas through my system and asked me to question them. I learned so much in my time there, but it’s only in retrospect that I realise how powerful that year really was for me. It gave me a freedom that no other course has given me. It was a truly experimental existence for one year.”

The announcement of Plymouth College of Art’s latest development follows the opening Autumn 2016 of Plymouth College of Art’s dedicated Pre-Degree campus for 16 to 19-year-olds by Katie Greenyer, Creative Director of Pentland Brands, the opening in 2015 of The Red House, home to Plymouth School of Creative Arts by Sir Nicholas Serota, incoming Chairman of Arts Council England and current Director of Tate, and the opening of the college’s Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops in 2014 by Sir John Sorrell CBE, UK Business Ambassador and Founder President of the Creative Industries Federation.

The Red House, home to Plymouth School of Creative Arts, is now an internationally renowned landmark building for the city, acting as a symbol of regeneration to visitors arriving in Plymouth by ferry from overseas.


(form a press release)