For anybody considering a degree in art, design, craft or digital media, it’s not too late to join Plymouth College of Art and kickstart a career in the creative industries, which contributed over £111bn to the UK economy in 2018, the equivalent of a massive £13 million an hour. The college is launching a wave of new January 2021 entry (Spring term) BA (Hons) degrees, which allow a global community of creative learners to study flexibly at home, in the studio or at a dedicated international host institution, whether they’re based in the UK or further afield in Asia, America, or Europe.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 30% of workers in the UK were already reported as being at risk of losing their jobs due to the automation of routine tasks. However, an independent review found that 87% of creative industry workers are highly resistant to the risk of losing their role to automation in future, because of the value of creative problem-solving techniques, which are also highly transferable to roles in other sectors. Following career disruptions across the UK due to restrictions caused by COVID-19, innovative online courses have become more necessary than ever, which is why Plymouth College of Art has chosen to launch six January start degrees to enable more people to retrain and re-skill for careers in the competitive creative industries.
Plymouth College of Art’s distinctive vision for excellence in art and design distance learning creates new opportunities for students to study online by distance while still becoming a valued part of the college community. Recognising the importance of conversation, co-creation and community, all programmes include weekly realtime teaching, from online life drawing sessions to interactive keynote lectures and global group work. Students will undertake their first year by distance learning from January 2021, progressing straight into their second year of studies at Plymouth College of Art in September of the same year.
Students can begin their studies in January 2021 on the following undergraduate courses; BA (Hons) Commercial Photography for Fashion, Advertising & Editorial, BA (Hons) Fashion, BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing, BA (Hons) Graphic Communication, BA (Hons) Illustration and BA (Hons) Interior Decoration, Design & Styling.
The first year of each BA (Hons) January start degree consists of six online modules, delivered to the same quality as the college’s on-campus degrees. Students can expect tailored support from a team of expert academics, who are also practicing artists and designers, and will become part of a thriving creative community.
Access is available to all of Plymouth College of Art’s UK campus-based professional services including the Learning Lab, Careers, Student Support, Students’ Union and associated events, alongside opportunities such as recorded Q&A’s with industry professionals and online access to visiting lecturers and group discussions. Students within travelling distance of Plymouth College of Art or who come to Plymouth before September 2021 will also be able to book access to the college's specialist resources and workshops, outside of teaching hours and subject to availability. Access to resources on campus is not required for completion of the initial Distance Learning year.
This route offers students with a number of different personal circumstances, locally, nationally and internationally, the flexibility to pursue a creative education. January start degrees might suit mature learners seeking to return to education from the workplace, applicants who have put their plans on hold, international students who may have chosen not to travel to study overseas yet, or students wanting to save costs on accommodation and other fees. It offers students the opportunity to join a diverse community of learners from around the world. For students moving to Plymouth either for the start of their second year of study in September or sooner, Plymouth College of Art can help them to find affordable accommodation.
January start degrees offer one of the last chances for European Union students to pay the same university fees as students from the UK. Regardless of when EU students arrive in the UK, as long as their course starts before 31 July 2021, there will be no changes to their home fee status, meaning that for the duration of their degree, they will continue to pay the same amount as students from the UK. Students will also continue to benefit from the EU Settlement Scheme, as long as they apply before 30 June 2021.
Arts and culture in the UK
With 3.2 million jobs in the UK creative economy in 2018, there’s no better time to retrain in the arts. Creative industries businesses now account for 11.9% of all businesses in the UK. Since 2010, the value of the creative industries to the UK economy has increased by 53.1%, estimated (before the pandemic) to increase to £130 billion by 2025. As one of the fastest growing industries in the UK before the pandemic, growing more than five times faster than the national economy, now is the chance to train to take advantage of the dynamic and exciting opportunities that are emerging within many different sectors and creative practices.
2020 has seen a number of unique challenges take place within the arts, with a shift in behaviour as the coronavirus pandemic developed, forcing public and private providers to move their offer online and engage at-home audiences in new and meaningful ways. During the lockdown period, streaming services saw a sharp increase in demand with almost 5-million new subscriptions in the UK, including new offering Disney+, which launched on the first day of lockdown, signed up for by 16% of adults in the UK. Recent reports show that the international rise of streaming continues to drive demand for multi-million studio space for filming in the UK.
Although venue-based creative areas such as museums, performing arts, live music, festivals, and cinema are among sectors hit hardest by social distancing measures, these new challenges also provide opportunities to innovate and reaffirm the vital role of art, design and media in a post-COVID society. Pushing the limits of creativity and critical thinking are essential skills for students at Plymouth College of Art and now more than ever there is a real-world imperative for creatives to focus on developing increased decision-making and problem-solving skills, collaboration, resilience and adaptability. With professional practice embedded within all of Plymouth College of Art’s programmes, students will learn these industry sought-after transferable skills within and beyond their own discipline, developing professional expertise for employability within the arts and culture industries and beyond.
In the OECD’s (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report on COVID-19 and the cultural and creative sectors, experts noted that the pandemic has highlighted that “education can benefit from advances in cultural and creative sectors, particularly in the use of new digital tools that build on gaming technologies and new forms of cultural content” and that “health care and social services can benefit from greater linkages with cultural and creative sectors to improve well-being, prevent illness or delay its onset, favour the adoption of healthy habits, and prevent social isolation, among others”. There are clear opportunities ahead for creative graduates to contribute to improvements across society as restrictions are lifted.
To make an application to study at Plymouth College of Art please visit the website, plymouthart.ac.uk. We also encourage applicants who may not have a traditional qualification profile to talk about their work and aspirations with a member of the college’s academic team, where they can help find the right creative course for any applicant.