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Portfolio Preparation

We try to make the experience as pleasant as possible. We want you to be relaxed since this is when we are most likely to see the ‘real you’.

Fine Art Portfolio Preparation

We want to find out about your art practice, your artistic preferences and your opinions about art but we will not be trying to catch you out with obscure questions. Be prepared, but don’t panic! 

What should be in your entry portfolio at interview:

Most applicants are interviewed, and asked to show a portfolio with examples of recent art work. Whether you have done an Art Foundation, Access, National Diploma, AVCE or A Level, we need to see a portfolio which reflects your potential as a visual maker and thinker suitable for an Honours Degree.

Your ability to think visually is best articulated through drawing activities in sketchbooks, studies, visualizations and Marquettes. Don’t underestimate the importance on showing us how you develop your work both in terms of materials, ideas and context. While it is great to see some labour intensive final outcomes, we are much more interested to see how you got there. Drawings, doodles, notes, scraps, plans and samples which are regularly logged in a sketchbook demonstrate your distinctiveness and personality. Avoid putting in too many set class exercises or projects; if we see projects in portfolios from the same institution, it becomes hard to distinguish one student’s project from another’s.

You should organize your portfolio into some logical order by demonstrating progression through a process, material or theme. Present the work neatly, but do not go to any unnecessary expense. 2D work will look good placed on simple clean thin white card and avoid using colour mounts, which distract from the work.

If it is impractical to bring your actual 3D work, take some good quality photographs/slides/digital images that reveal the work to its advantage. They must be easily viewed at interview and indicate the size and materials used.

In preparing your portfolio for viewing, please:

  • Remember that this is a Fine Art oriented degree, so Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, Art Textiles, Digital media, Video art, and Photography are where our main interests lie.  We are interested to see other projects but don’t over burden the folder with these.
  • We want to see a good variety of work, including Life Drawing. Be selective, put in the work you feel is most successful.  The Folder should feel full but not overly so as we only have limited time to see it. Please do NOT include work from GCSE or GNVQ intermediate.
  • Put your ‘best’ work on top - the piece you would most like to be remembered by. Spread the quality work throughout the folder so you don’t end with all the weaker items at the end. You want to leave us with a good parting impression.
  • Sculpture - bring 3D work with you if it is manageable, but bear in mind that the car park is a good walk from the studios. All 3D work should be photographed using a good SLR or digital camera (not an instamatic) and key images should be enlarged. Close-ups always help too. Present these on mounting board with indications of size and materials.
  • Presentation - this should be neat and considered. It doesn't need to be expensive, but do mount up smaller images, samples, etc. Spending time on presentation is never a waste, a well-presented folder can speak volumes.
  • Include all sketch-books from the last year or so and examples of essays/written work.
  • Videos - we need advance warning if you intend us to view a video. Line it up to the ‘best bit’ - we are only likely to watch a couple of minutes or so.

The Interview is likely to go as follows:

  • If you come by car, drop off heavy portfolios at Reception OR artOne (whichever is indicated on the invitation letter). Please note, the University Car Park requires a permit to park. You may be able to find a space, but if you do your car will be clamped and you will be fined £50. You have 10 minutes grace to drop materials off, but then please park in the ‘Festival Theatre’ Car Park at the top of North Street, or further north up College Lane where there may be some free on-street parking. Either way, this is only a 10-15 minutes walk from the campus, so please leave time to make this short journey. We do apologise for this inconvenience.
  • If you have been asked to meet in the foyer of artOne, the entry code for the automatic doors should be printed on a notice on the door.
  • Staff will indicate where you should lay out your folder for viewing.
  • You will have a guided tour of facilities and studios, followed by the chance to explore the campus and chat to current students.
  • At an appointed time, you will be invited for a 25 minute 1-1 interview with one member of staff. He/she will talk about your folder: i.e. why you did certain things, how successful you think they are, what directions you expect to take, and ask you about ‘Contemporary Art’ and ‘Contemporary Artists’ that interest you. He/she may ask your opinion about ‘newsworthy’ exhibitions or artists. Be prepared to discuss these wider issues in an informal manner.
  • Once completed you are free to go. We generally cannot tell you if you’ve been successful; a letter will be with you within the week. We generally accept about 50-60% of those who apply.