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3 reasons why Swansea College of Art remains the Number 1 Art School in Wales

University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Image courtesy of the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas

At the heart of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) education lies the unique learner experience. Through its 17 campuses in rural and city locations, from Swansea City Centre to Carmarthen, Lampeter, and beyond, UWTSD guides, educates and inspires native and non-native students from around the world.

“We are committed to placing our students at the centre of our mission by providing a relevant and inspiring bilingual curriculum, providing a supportive learning environment, investing in our campuses and facilities and ensuring that students, from all backgrounds, are given the opportunity to achieve their potential,” says Professor Medwin Hughes, Vice-Chancellor at UWTSD.

“Universities, after all, are about students, their experiences, [and] the opportunities that they have…to challenge concepts, develop as individuals, and thrive,” he adds.

Consistently ranked one of the top universities in Wales, there’s undoubtedly good reason for UWTSD being the preferred university choice for at least 25,000 aspiring learners each year, and the Swansea College of Art, in particular, remains one of the most distinguished facets of the extensive UWTSD network. With its ground-breaking courses in Advertising, Graphic Design & Illustration; Automotive, Transport & Product Design; Film & Digital Media; Fine Art, Photography, and Art & Design; Surface Pattern Design & Glass; and beyond, Swansea College of Art provides a sterling Art School experience within a contemporary setting.

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Image courtesy of the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David

There’s a reason why Peter Lord CBE, a British animator, film producer, director, and co-founder of the Academy Award-winning Aardman Animations studio, described the Swansea College of Art as ‘the most successful and prestigious art school in Wales’…

But what exactly is it that makes Swansea College of Art the Number 1 Art School in the region?

1. It genuinely is the best specialised Art College in the country – even the rankings say so!

For the second consecutive year, the College topped the Welsh list in the world-renowned Complete University Guide rankings for 2017. The rankings, which compare UK universities in terms of research quality, student satisfaction, entry standards and graduate prospects, placed the College on top of all national competitors, giving graduates a competitive advantage as they enter the working world. The league table, published earlier this year, also saw UWTSD’s School of Art rise eight places in the UK overall, landing the notable 30th position, and highlighting a landmark year in the College’s growing success.

“…By any measure this is an excellent achievement and a glowing endorsement of the quality of our staff and students,” says Dr Ian Walsh, Dean of Art & Design. “[It] is the oldest art college in Wales…and now offers one of the most diverse portfolio of courses anywhere in the UK…The University has invested heavily in transforming…a modern and dynamic Art College right in the heart of Swansea.”

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Image courtesy of the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David

2. It gives students the chance to be recognised by industry people who matter

One thing that really sets the College apart from its competitors is its ability to provide students with meaningful experiences and contacts long before they graduate. This year, for example, the School sent a record number of students to the ‘New Designers’ Exhibition in the iconic UK capital. Recognised as one of the most important exhibitions for emerging design and its creators, it gives fresh-thinking, innovative students the chance to showcase their finest conceptions in front of the industry’s most powerful people.

UWTSD Surface Pattern Design graduate, Catrin Jones, won the New Designers’ Tigerprint Award –  an accolade that acknowledges the most creative submissions for Tigerprint’s greeting cards, gift presentation and partyware – at last year’s exhibition. With a £500 cash prize under her belt, Catrin also won a two-month, paid placement – including free accommodation – near Tigerprint’s Bradford studio – an unparalleled, and potentially career-defining, opportunity she’d have been hard-pushed to find anywhere else in the world.

3. It gives students real-world experience with powerhouses of global industry

Hoping to send students into the business world equipped with knowledge that will give them an edge in a sea of ambitious graduates, Swansea College of Art does its utmost to give students access some of the world’s most influential organisations, encouraging them to reach out and solve real-world problems from their very first day.

The School’s BA programme in Advertising and Brand Design, for example, perfectly blends Fine Art, Graphic Design and Business with the most cutting-edge technologies, attracting eager ‘ideas’ people from all four corners of the globe. The ‘hands-on’ projects embedded in the programme include design for branding, creative art direction, pitching concepts, and marketing strategies, as well as taking the lead in fresh, innovative campaigns. This catalogue of expertise is highly-valued and sought-after in the global business sphere – hence why UWTSD’s Art School graduates are desired on an international scale. One module requires participants to apply for work experience at an eminent company – something UWTSD students take in their stride as they uncover the most captivating opportunities.

Image courtesy of the University of Wales, Trinity St. David

Danielle Leigh Hall, for instance, a former BA Advertising and Brand Design student, obtained her degree already having gained a lifechanging internship experience. Sourcing her own brief and pursuing her own client, Danielle decided to take a chance and email some of the industry’s most significant players, including Karen Cole, the Creative Director of Glassick Brands – a compelling, worldwide branding company, known for producing leading strategies for companies like Tiger Beer, Sunkist, and Dataspark.

Little did she know, Danielle’s application and enthusiasm was considered more than impressive, and it landed her a four-week internship at Glassick’s Singapore office.

“I have reaped so many opportunities from this internship including designing the new office wall and preparing artwork for print,” Danielle explains. “…I’ve been briefed on Ben & Jerry’s packaging and scoop shops. I’ve worked with strategy to identify trends in the beer market, what competitors are doing and other research for Chang Beer.

“Singapore is a beautiful place…I’m super appreciative of the opportunity and enjoyed every minute of the internship,” she says, reflecting on the College’s role in connecting her with some of industry’s finest movers-and-shakers.

Above all, Swansea College of Art is pioneering and unique in its ability to provide students with a first-class, specialised education, on top of cutting-edge industry experience, and access to an extensive network of business experts and leaders alongside their degrees. This is why Swansea College of Art remains the Number 1 Art School in Wales, and will continue to produce the most up-and-coming, innovative forces of the Art & Design world for many years to come.

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