Cherie Carman studied psychology, alongside photography and graphic communication for her A Level. Her passion lay in the latter. She only chose psychology as it was a safer, more academic subject.
Seeing how Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) champions graduate employability — prized placements and internships are integral to their programmes — put those fears to rest when it was time to choose what to study at uni. As thousands before her have discovered, an arts education at NUA is more than just a whimsical pursuit of passion — it is a concrete, viable and proven pathway to professional success.
Today, Carman is proof of this. The BA (Hons) Photography graduate has landed a full-time position at high-end department store Selfridges & Co. as its in-house photography department Shoot Lead – a role that has brought her to several showrooms across France, capturing the latest collections for luxury designers such as Balenciaga and Givenchy.
Stepping out of university and into the workplace can be intimidating. This wasn’t the case for Carman, who was armed with NUA-facilitated early work exposure. Her advice to students who wish to follow in her footsteps: “When possible, assisting is a great way to get a feel for the industry. It gives you a chance to learn lighting setups and work with new equipment, as well as the opportunity for social networking.’’
Her counsel is inspired by her experience at NUA. Located in the heart of the historic, scenic city of Norwich – one of the UK’s safest – NUA prepares students for the rigours of the professional world with a distinctive future-proof approach: learning by creating. NUA students are assessed by the quality of their work, and not by examination results. They are part of an immersive journey that combines the guidance of a renowned faculty, with industry experience to create outstanding graduate outcomes.
“Indian education is quite theoretical, but here, education is extremely practical,” says Srishiti Sheshadri, a BA (Hons) Graphic Communication student from India. “For example, we had to work with Norwich Airport to redesign the wayfinding. We were put in a situation that we would have only been put through as professionals – which was really helpful.”
Across programmes, NUA classes are practical, project-based and run through studios, media labs and workshops – where students grasp new techniques, test different formats, and identify which work best. An impressive lineup of experts double as faculty members, share their knowledge and help students build portfolios that will set them apart.
Professor Suri Krishnamma, who teaches NUA’s BA (Hons) Film and Moving Image Production, and his camera team took home the award for Multicamera Work at the Royal Television Society Craft and Design Awards 2020. BA (Hons) Photography Lecturer, Andi Sapey, was selected as one of 20 winning photographers in the British Journal of Photography International Photography Awards 2020. BA (Hons) Illustration lecturer, Adam Larkum, was commissioned by Puffin Books to illustrate “One Hundred Steps: The Story of Captain Sir Tom Moore” – a book on the national hero’s life.
More luminaries serve as visiting professionals. They can frequently be found on campus, conducting workshops or lectures. Each is acclaimed in their field – from A-list photographers and big names that can be found on the credits of Hollywood blockbusters or the most-played video games, to creative mavens in heritage fashion houses or the buzzy design agencies in London everyone is clamouring to get into. They include internationally-acclaimed sculptor (creator of the Angel of the North) Sir Antony Gormley and Sony Music’s senior designer (who has worked on campaigns for a diverse range of artists from Manic Street Preachers to Calvin Harris) Steve Stacey. Having been trained by these very people, the value of an NUA graduate is instantly obvious to recruiters.
NUA also boasts a running list of accolades. Last year, the university was rated as the second best design education institution by the World Brand Design Society awards. It ranked among the top 50 Creative Media and Entertainment Schools and Colleges in the world by The Rookies – a global recognition based on the quality of student portfolios. This year, the university ranked among the global top 10 in the The Pentawards University League Table based on the number of awards won by students since 2007. Another standout achievement was being rated Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework for providing outstanding teaching in arts, design, architecture, and media.
These accolades are telling of the excellence inspired and achieved at Norwich. Graduates have gone on to achieve above and beyond fuelled by this guidance.
Beth Poulter, BA (Hons) Fashion Communication and Promotion graduate, is now a senior visual merchandising associate at Astrid & Miyu – after having interned for an enviable list of brands: Vivienne Westwood, Lulu Guinness, Jimmy Choo and Adidas. Ollie Hirst, a BA (Hons) Illustration graduate, was appointed sole cover artist for world-leading medical journal, The Lancet. MA Communication Design student, Sophie Cane, was listed among Creative Boom’s 28 emerging illustrators to support and follow for inspiration in 2021.
To follow in their footsteps and learn from industry leaders to become one yourself, learn how you can begin your NUA journey here.