Former A level Fine Art, Geography, History and AS Graphics and Illustration student Jenna talks about her experience at Callywith and studying Fine Art at Bath Spa University.

Courses studied: A Level Fine Art, Geography, History and AS Graphics & Illustration

Extra activities: Duke of Edinburgh Award 

Progression: Fine Art - Bath Spa University

How are you finding your course/experience at university?

Starting university during a pandemic has been difficult, however I have felt so supported by the network at Bath Spa, since September, we have had a mix of online and in person teaching. These in person workshops and tutor sessions have been so helpful especially for such a practical course. When the third lockdown hit in January, I felt prepared for what was to come, as I had already experienced working from home during the first lockdown, finishing my foundation course. Although this was such a big change to the way I would normally work as an art student, the weekly online workshops and talks with the techs and tutors allowed me to continue to work effectively. Although this has been a very different year, I have met a fantastic group of people on my course, engaging with others in the studio has really helped me get through this first year, working together during workshops and group crits.

How did your time at Callywith influence and support your choice of/ transition to university?

I felt I had full support from lecturers to pursue the art foundation course, there were also lots of opportunities to find out about universities, from talks, tutor sessions dedicated to writing a personal statement and the UCAS fair helped me to gain a better understanding when choosing the right course and university. When applying during my foundation course, I found the whole process of writing a personal statement and applying a lot less daunting as I had already been supported with this.

What do you enjoy in particular about studying Art?

I really loved the Fine Art course at A level, I felt I gained a lot more confidence to try new processes and develop my own style. Exploring techniques in drawing and painting such as colour theory, tonal studies, mark-making to name a few, allowing the artwork you make to be more structured in technique. In my second year, I took AS graphics and illustration to gain a better understanding of the digital side of art, something which is really useful to know during your time at university. Printmaking was a great process which I have learnt so much from as this is an area of art that I am really excited to explore. In my second year, I went on the Berlin study visit which really helped to create the basis of my graphics project, where I took photos and visited various galleries. Working on my own practice now, I rely on these skills every day that I picked up during my time at Callywith, printmaking is a huge aspect of my work and exploring this during second year really enhanced this. My lecturers also gave me the confidence to try new things and further explore projects, this has really helped me, as a first year, you are encouraged to work independently.

How have your A Level studies helped you in your degree?

During my foundation, I found that we did similar work to A levels but in much more detail, the foundation course helps you to refine your skills through the pathway stage helping to see which areas of art and design you are most interested in. I found this helpful and exciting as I could focus all my time on art without dividing my time between other subjects. Whilst at Callywith, I explored new processes such as printmaking and working digitally, now at university, I have explored even more processes within printmaking, as well as attending workshops in wood, metal, sculpture and ceramics. As I already had this knowledge of working with new materials and processes, I was prepared when I started Uni. After studying A level History and Geography, this helped me to bring context to my practice. I enjoy using the theme of the environment in my work, studying Geography allowed me to link in specific and relevant facts, adding structure to the projects I work on.

What are you hoping to do in the future?

I am really excited by the idea of continuing to work on my own practice, after attending talks from artists and third year students, I look forward to working creatively. Whether this is for myself or as part of an organisation, I am also excited to further develop my practice through a masters, where I can specialise in a specific area of art.