Wimbledon School of Art
2 reviews from the community
Review of "Wimbledon School of Art"
I am a 3rd Year BA(Hons) student at Wimbledon School of Art studying Fine Art;Painting so i appologise if this review is slightly biased but i love the place! However, i will try to be objective as possible!I also studied for my foundation diploma at Wimbledon so i guess that is a good place to start. The Foundation course offers you the chance to choose from a range of artistic practises - Painting, Sculpture, Fashion, 3D design, Graphic design, Photography and Theatre/Costume design. In the First term you do orientations in each one before deciding which one suits you best. Once you have chosen your speciality you work for the following two terms in that area with a series of professional artists/designers. The tuition is first rate with one to one tutorials and group learning built into the daily schedules. The course gives you a good grounding in the basics of the different disciplines whilst allowing you to free up the technical infomation that was implanted on you during your A levels. There is a high tutor to student ratio and everyone of them are practising artists.The course is well structured with a mandatory trip to Paris in November which helps with the social side no end.
The foundation department is located away from the main School building. It is in Palmerston Rd which is well within walking distance from the town centre and train station. The only problem with this site is that there is no canteen so students have to make there way up to the main building or to the local cafes.Wimbledon foundation students find it very easy to get onto BA courses at the major London Art Schools. In my year in Painting there were people going to Goldsmiths, Chelsea, St Martins - Two even got into The Slade.
A few of us loved Wimbledon so much that we applied to stay on and do our BA's there aswell. 6 of us got accepted onto the Painting BA course.The main school it'self is in Merton Hall Rd and has recently been named as the top Art and Design institution by the Guardian's Independant review and it is an accolade well deserved.
There is 3 main areas to the school, Painting, Sculpture and Theatre. All 3 offer fantastic tutoring and atmosphere. This is mainly due to the fact that the school has managed to remain Independant despite many challenges by other institutions who want a piece of the pie! (Chelsea tried in 2001 and this summer Kingston Uni had a go!)The painting department is the one i know best for obvious reasons and it is first rate. It has the highest sq footage to student ratio in the school with students studio space increasing as they move through the years. There are 5 studio heads who are full time staff and a number of part time tutors who come in one or two days a week. There are also floating tutors who come in 10 days a year. So as you can see there is always someone around if you need a tutorial. (This is quite a luxury complared to most London Art Schools where students see their tutors twice a term!!!)
The work is all self motivated, projects are not set the student is expected to create work independently with support from the tutors. There is an emphasis on group learning which results in a lot of cross studio crits where the focus is one the students teaching the students with the tutors acting as a referee!There is a fully equipped work shop for stretcher making purposes, a priming room and installation space.
There are slide talks by leading artists once a week with the opportunity for one to one tutorials afterwards, and additional talks from studio tutors. Professional practise talks are held for the third years.Assesments are held twice a year with the students presenting their work to a small informal panel. However, the grades are not a % of the degree until you hit the 3rd year.
The sculpture department works on a similar basis with students working on individual self motivated projects. There are again a high number of tutors work both part time and full time. There is a yard for large sculptural work to inhabit and everykind of sculptural tool known to man! Studio space it more flexible depending on the medium being worked in.
There is a yearly exhibiton in Cannizaro Park where the work is displayed to full advantage to a large audience.
Group learning runs on the same system as the painting studios with group crits and cross studio talks.
The theatre department i confess to not knowing as much about but the shows they put on are fantastic! There level of professionalism is extremely high with may of the students already working on tv, film, theatre sets in their spare tim. The Four main areas are set design, technical arts, costeme design and costume Interpretation. The first two are self explanitory. The difference between the costume design and Interpretation is in the 1st you design the outfits without too much hands on making and in the 2nd you learn how to create someone elses design in great detail. There is a large in house Theatre which forms the focus for the department and is an excellent vantage point for the shows.One area where all 3 departments collide is the Historical and Contextual studies (HACS)side of the course. This is held one day a week with a series of small informal seminars where reading is set the week before and everyone turns up ready to chip in their opinions on what they have read (That's the idea anyway!) This is an excellent alternative to long lectures where people just fall asleep! It incourages student participation which is necessary to build confidence towards the disserataion presentations which are made early in the 3rd year. There are 2 HACS lecturers at every seminar which makes it diverese and full of fresh ideas. You write 2 essays in the 1st year, 3 in the 2nd and your Dissertation in the 3rd
MA courses are run in all disciplines and a Part Time BA is available in Painting.The libary is also very well stocked with a large IT centre which is open daily 9am - 8.30pm
So that's the courses in a whistle stop summery!! but i guess what is also important to talk about is the atmosphere of the place.Being small (about 500 students) and independant everyone knows everyone. The tutors all know your name and you can't really skip many days because they notice you are missing! I love this kind of homely atmosphere but i realise that for many it would be suffocating. It does not have the same dynamic as a large Uni. There is no football team etc etc. There is a small student union which arranges outing to town on poingant dates such as halloween etc but that is about the linit of the social activities. For this reason i notice that friendship groups tend to form within disciplines because there is not an awful lot of cross over socially unless you really throw yourself into the student Union events and make a huge effort.
Over the 2003 a large new building has been erected at the back of school which is housing the MA students plus a new canteen and ... drum roll... a student bar! This will be a welcome addition to the social activities but i suspect it will be small!The location of the school also may not suit everyone. It is not Central like Goldsmiths and St Martins but that is another reason why i love it. It is peaceful, calm and succulent... and Waterloo is only 7 minutes away by train so you can get into london at the drop of a hat.
I could say a lot more but i am aware that this is becoming a rather long review! To sum up if you are looking for the personal touch with a large amount of tutoring this the place for you. If you are looking for a university type environment with sports facilities and a hectic social schedule a large uni would be a far better option but for me this is the optimum place to be.Thanks for sticking with me!
Product Information : Wimbledon School of Art
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Listed on Ciao since: 21/03/2001