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Leeds College of Art


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Leeds Arts University is the only specialist arts university in the North of England; our students enjoy a small, close-knit community in a creative atmosphere where anything feels possible. We believe this is the best environment to grow as an artist, designer, musician, or filmmaker. To a great extent, our reputation goes before us: Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth studied here, as did, more recently, Marcus Harvey, Damien Hirst, Danny Sangra and Omar Kashoura. However, we never allow complacency. We work extremely hard to remain a leading center for arts education, choosing among the brightest international potential to produce some of the most sought-after creative talents.
In the Guardian Education League Tables 2018, we were the highest ranked specialist arts university for Design & Crafts in the UK, ranking fifth in the UK. Excellent staff: student ratios mean you will benefit from as much personal attention and expert advice as you will need. We were also the highest-ranked specialist arts university for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2017, with 91% of final year students at the University reporting overall satisfaction with the quality of their course.
Over the last 170 years, Leeds Arts University has contributed significantly to the development of art education in Britain, having pioneered new ways to teach and structure qualifications. In 1846, the Leeds Mechanics' Institute (which offered drawing classes) merged with the Literary Institute, creating Leeds School of Art. In 1903, it moved to our present Vernon Street building, whose radical design reflected the clean lines of the Art & Craft movement.
In the late 1920s, the art school became known as Leeds College of Art, and by 1946, no less than fifteen past students had been appointed as principals of schools of art. As our reputation grew, new design departments were formed, including furniture, graphic design, and printmaking. New pottery and workshops were built, and in 1959 a new library was created.
From the 1950s to the 1970s, there was a reappraisal of art education in Britain, primarily based on ideas developed at Leeds, where a large team of practicing artists set up the Basic Design Course. Students were now encouraged to adopt a scientific approach, enabling them to develop constructive criticism and understanding.
Around that time, the University of Leeds' new Gregory Fellowship brought many practicing artists to Leeds, many of whom came to help out at the College. In 1960, we began to run courses that encouraged an open-ended, creative and flexible approach, leading to a new system of art education at Leeds and, subsequently, nationwide. In the mid-1980s, our Blenheim Walk building was erected. In 2017 we gained University status becoming Leeds Arts University, becoming the only specialist arts university in the North of England.
Leeds Arts University is strongly committed to its outreach and aspiration raising activities. Widening Participation is embedded within our mission statement and our values. We work hard to engage with young people, mature learners, and communities as part of the OFFA (Office for Fair Access) agreed Access Agreement. We work in partnership to provide current information, advice, and guidance towards Higher Education and support the transition of disadvantaged individuals towards the creative industries through their educational experience.
Widening Participation engagement is organized through the Progression Team. Current Leeds Arts University staff and students deliver a range of activities with our partner schools and Universities throughout the year, the range of activities vary between Easter & Summer Schools, the After School Taster Course, workshop taster sessions for all stages from primary, secondary, further education to mature learners, as well as providing mentoring, campus tours and presentations.
These activities provide the participants with a look into the study programs that we deliver and an insight into the student experience as a creative student. We also provide a focus on employment and developing a career in the creative industries through Higher Education.
Our fabulous, state-of-the-art resources and libraries offer you the best possible opportunities to prove your talent and potential. You will be able to produce work that meets or exceeds the demands of modern practice in art and design. Not all our studios and facilities are included above in the virtual tours; these are just a sample.
Our workshops and studios are equipped to industry standards and are run by highly skilled staff who contribute significantly to our teaching. Studios and computer rooms are open on a Saturday, and workshops have a drop-in facility to work in your own time. Resources at Blenheim Walk serve our undergraduate and postgraduate students while those at Vernon Street support our further education courses.

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