Despite the closure of crafts courses across the country, Plymouth College of Art is bucking the trend with a host of new courses in contemporary crafts, which are already recruiting high student numbers, and have been welcomed by the industry.
The South West’s specialist Art College has launched the BA programmes in contemporary crafts, ceramics, glass, sculptural metals, textile design and jewellery and silversmithing.
Rosy Greenlees, executive director of the Crafts Council welcomed the news. He said: “It is good to see new craft courses opening up, especially in light of craft course closures elsewhere. At the Crafts Council, we believe it is vital that the craft HE sector retains a critical mass of specialist teaching capacity delivering the levels of knowledge and skill that lead to success as a maker.”
Glenn Adamson, head of Graduate Studies at the V&A Museum, agreed: “At a time when craft education is threatened in British Higher Education, it is very heartening to see Plymouth taking on the challenge of imparting skills to the next generation.
“Given the interest in craft that is on the rise across many creative fields, there is every reason to believe they will be successful. Hopefully other institutions will follow their lead.”
Sue MacGillivray, programme leader for Contemporary Crafts was instrumental in developing the new programmes. She said: “We felt it was important to give people the opportunity to specialise, in terms of making and exploration, and we already have the facilities, equipment and expertise here at Plymouth College of Art.
“The Creative Industries need making knowledge as well as creativity, so we have updated our current provision with what we felt students, and the industry needs in the future, including digital crafts, with sound research and investment.
“The programmes are designed to create skills for a portfolio career if students choose; design for industry; learn what it’s like to be a studio maker/designer; what it’s like to work in the public realm and we will continue to give students live projects with real outcomes. We are very excited about introducing Textile Design to enrich the range of specialist subjects on offer.”
This coincides with the introduction of the institution’s new Masters programmes: Entrepreneurship for Creative Practice, Critical Curatorial Practices, and Creative Practices for Sustainability.
Sustainability and introducing students to design for sustainability, and sustainable practice is very important at Plymouth College of Art. Staff are committed to research in this area and, in particular, into fuel efficient equipment in studios.
Research and academic development director at the college, Malcolm Ferris, said: “Our researchers lead discourse on the crafts agenda at the bi-annual Making Futures conference in the South West. This year’s event Making Futures: The Crafts as Change Maker in Sustainably Aware Cultures, will be held in Dartington, Devon, on Wednesday and Thursday, September 15 and 16.”
For more information about Foundation Degrees, BA Honours, and Masters programmes at Plymouth College of Art visit the Plymouth College of Art website.
For more information about the second Making Futures Conference in September, email firstname.lastname@example.org
(image: above Janey Pointing BA Applied Arts; front page, Sarah John BA Applied Arts 2010 at Plymouth College of Art)
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