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Arts degrees: Creative ways of understanding the world around us

arts degrees
Source: London College of Music, University of West London

To make a difference, make art. From paintings and drama, to music and sculptures, each has the power to touch us emotionally, intellectually and physically. Look at the graffitis of Jean-Michel Basquiat and how they challenged socio-political issues as they stretched the boundaries of traditional artistic forms. Or Ai Weiwei’s “Sunflower Seeds,” which showed how complex the Chinese individual’s relationship with society, the authorities and traditions are.

In 2022, an artist’s work is as impactful as it’s in demand. More jobs now require soft transferable skills like creativity and diversity — in fact, the number of jobs with such skills will increase to 63% by 2030.

If you’re passionate about the arts and seek an impactful, creative and lucrative career, consider these four art schools in the UK:

London College of Music, University of West London

arts degrees

Source: London College of Music, University of West London

The London College of Music – University of West London has over 130 years of experience providing outstanding classical music performance education in one of the major cultural capitals of the world. Focusing on creativity and career prospects and ranked as one of the Top 20 Music Departments in the UK in the 2021 Guardian University league tables, LCM is where students can integrate their learning experience and music making within a rich diversity of subjects such as film, media, and musical theatre.

LCM’s exceptional composing, performing, producing and recording facilities allow their students to produce work of the highest professional standards. LCM houses one of Europe’s largest recording studio complexes with over 25 industry-standard studios.  An all-Steinway college with model D and C grand pianos, LCM also boasts three large performance halls, MacLabs with professional music software, and dedicated composition suites for teaching and independent work. LCM even houses its own record label and longstanding creative arts international examination centre.

BMus (Hons) Performance students will also gain  the internationally-recognised London College of Music Examination centre-accredited professional performance diploma certificates. The course encourages students to become creative entrepreneurs with new business ideas to shape the future  industry. Classes comprise one-on-one instrumental and vocal lessons with award-winning experts, plus opportunities to perform with many ensembles.

The BMus (Hons) Composition (Film/Theatre) students can specialise in either music for film, theatre, video gaming, or concert composition, enabling each to focus on music in its narrative, dramatic, and abstract forms. The programme features excellent career/industry-focused modules taught by internationally-renowned composition scholars, interspersed with masterclasses and workshops by the likes of musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as soloists and chamber musicians, such as the Ligeti quartet, harpist Gabriella Dall’Olio, and violinist Jan Regulski.

Newcastle University

arts degrees

Newcastle University is best known for top-notch teaching and high student satisfaction. Source: Newcastle University, Facebook

Located in one of the UK’s best student cities, Newcastle University is a top 140 global university and a founding member of the Russell Group. Thanks to Newcastle’s excellent teaching, 93% of their graduates are satisfied with their overall learning experience.

Newcastle University has many award-winning facilities such as creative spaces for undergraduates, as well as libraries and study spaces for postgraduates. Besides these facilities, students are close to numerous museums, galleries and theatres as well.

The BA Combined Honours course is unique in the sense that students can choose and combine two to three subjects. With this flexibility, students are free to decide which subjects to major or minor in, and change their subject combination within the first two weeks.

For example, the interdisciplinary History of Art subject – with modules ranging from the Renaissance to the contemporary – trains students to consider critical aspects of artworks such as artistic production, exhibition and reception. From there, they can analyse various historical or contemporary contexts of these objects.

Other subject areas offered by The School of Arts and Cultures are Fine Art, Music, and Media, Culture, Heritage. Whichever subject you choose, you will work and be classmates with both academics and practitioners (e.g. musicians, artists, journalists, PR professionals and film-makers), many of whom continue to perform and show their work on a world stage.

University of Edinburgh: College of Art

arts degrees

Edinburgh College of Art is housed within research powerhouse University of Edinburgh. Source: Edinburgh College of Art, Facebook

The University of Edinburgh holds many enviable rankings: Fourth for research power, #16 in the QS World University Ranking 2022, one of the top 20 most international universities, and a member of Universitas 21 research network.

Located in one of the world’s top 20 student cities – with easy access to numerous arts festivals and seasonal festivities – it’s a university that provides an unrivalled study experience for 13,000 international students. Its campus is home to exceptional facilities for learning, including well-stocked libraries and 30 computer labs as well.

With a long history dating back to the 1760s, Edinburgh College of Art is well-known for allowing students to experiment and collaborate across different disciplines. As such, this college offers 80 innovative programmes – undergraduate, postgraduate and short courses – within five schools including the School of Art and Reid School of Music.

Students can take advantage of the college’s top-notch facilities including studios and workshops (for music, painting and fashion among others), libraries and collections, and performance and exhibitions. Besides online learning resources, students can use services like Careers Services, Student Support Office and Student Counselling as well.

Institute of Art, Design + Technology, Dún Laoghaire

arts degrees

Institute of Art, Design + Technology, Dún Laoghaire is Ireland’s only institute of art, design and technology to have a specific focus on creativity, culture and technology. Source: Institute of Art, Design + Technology, Dún Laoghaire, Facebook

Institute of Art, Design + Technology, Dún Laoghaire (IADT) is the only institute in Ireland to focus specifically on creative cultural and technological sectors. Programmes by the Faculty of Film, Art and Creative Technologies, and the Faculty of Enterprise and Humanities ensure students gain practical skills alongside active academic learning.

IADT greatly values their students, which is why they have developed the Teaching and Learning initiative to help them reach their fullest possible potential in a creatively vibrant learning environment. Students can work together with IADT’s staff who happen to be internationally recognised in their particular fields.

The Dún Laoghaire campus in Dublin City is both modern and dynamic, attracting over 2,500 students and staff from 55 countries. Coupled with top-range facilities, convenient transport access, and a friendly ambience, students and staff feel at home there.

IADT offers many unique undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes to cater to various learning interests. For example, students can take up courses in animation, applied psychology, art and research collaboration, creative computing and even digital entrepreneurship, to name a few.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International