Tell us about your overall university experience so far.
My final year was very sadly cut off due to the COVID -19 Pandemic. So I finished my Illustration my degree at home, we missed out...
Tell us about your overall university experience so far.
My final year was very sadly cut off due to the COVID -19 Pandemic. So I finished my Illustration my degree at home, we missed out on all of the infamous final year celebrations that this course does and its been a strange ending to what I felt was a very pivotal three years for me personally and professionally. When they say illustrators are a lovely lot they really mean it, I have met some of the best people during my time here in this wonderful city, which only adds to the sadness of our situation. This course is a community and I will miss my fellow students greatly. Due to the current global situation and shifting the course online, some of the final stages of the course have been quite disorganised and there has been a lack of communication with final results, this is probably down to the current situation,
How good are your university's facilities?
On the outside, the city campus is well equipped with every kind of facility, from screen printing to bookbinding, we have it! but will you have access to it all? probably not. Anything that requires learning a new skill has to be unlocked by completing several workshops (such as bookbinding, screen printing and the letterpress.) This is another quickest finger first situation as most of these workshop places are gone in the blink of an eye. It took me until the latter half of first year to even put a foot into the bookbinding room. But its all worth it once you get there, Bookbinding is a truly lovely place run by the loveliest people, its a 10/10 from me. Screen printing on the other hand is difficult, There are far less opportunities to actually have workshops on screen printing, we only had two chances in first year and a couple more in second year. Whats the problem? There is a separate screen printing course who are given priority over the screen printing rooms, which makes sense! But I feel the uni should invest in some more screen printing space for the other courses.
City Campus has great eating facilities, we have a cafe which sells coffee, pastries and sandwiches that you can get toasted, (some of the best sandwiches I've ever had.) We also have a restaurant are that does a great mix of meat, veggie and vegan food. Not only that but the food is really great, which is probably why its not the cheapest. But you can easily get a bit of a mix and match lunch from there for a good price and to be fair they are definitely not stingy with portion sizes either.
How good is the support offered by the uni? Think both academic (tutors/feedback) and personal (counselling, etc).
In my first two years I had excellent feedback and I felt very encouraged, I received useful constructive criticism and I was urged to experiment with my work to take it further. However I felt a significant shift in my final year, feedback felt more vague and rushed, This wasn't helped by the fact that the tutors were stretched thin, final year is a stressful time as it is in every course, and this was well evidenced by the completely booked up tutorial sessions.
It also doesn't help that the tutors only have a few months to learn who seventy people are and how they work as illustrators.
I didn't really use any of the personal support systems in place, but I've heard that they were very good.
What do you think of your Students' Union in terms of student representation and facilities?
Our Student Union felt well represented and they have an office in city campus. A few of my friends worked there over lunch and they enjoyed it. Though I think the actual union might have a bigger presence in the bigger campuses at the top of Brighton? I enjoyed the Art Shop and it was great for paper (which isn't included in the course at all btw) still a bit pricey but cheaper than other places. Great for cheap sketchbooks too! But I would get your actual drawing materials elsewhere because they are not put at student prices. It's best not to say this out loud or compare them to Amazon prices either because you'll get stared down by the staff. This didn't stop me though.
Is your university in a good location in terms of distance to accommodation and local amenities?
This depends on the campus, I was situated in the city campus on Grand Parade, which is about a 5 minute walk to the seafront and about a 3 minute walk to the centre of town. I lived in Kemptown and my walk to uni was barely 10 minutes. However I had friends who lived further up in Brighton who had a 45 minute walk to the campus. If its bad weather, Brighton does have excellent bus services with stops all over the city, so thats always a good option, but not always the cheapest.
Societies and Sports
How would you rate the variety of societies/sports?
Lots of sports, not much of anything else. I joined the film soc in first year and went to a couple of showings which weren't organised amazingly. It either ended or I was kicked out because I stopped receiving emails in third year. Didn't have a lot of free time anyway doing a creative course as you're expected to be working a lot at home too.
Lecturers and teaching quality
What do you like most and least about the way your course(s) are taught?
Brighton has one hell of a reputation. Say that you're applying there at any other uni interview and you'll either see your interviewer physically shudder or go very tight lipped. Brighton is intimidating with its small course sizes and its modern way of teaching, it doesn't have a style and it encourages you to work to the current illustration trends. Just come from A levels? You're not in Kansas anymore Dorothy.
Come from a Foundation Year or an Extended Diploma ? You're probably more used to this style of teaching. Brighton has had a long line of successful and super creative alumni and prepare to be compared too and reminded of this often. A lot of people come to this course as traditional illustrators and many leave as something completely different. This course is excellent in encouraging people to break out of their comfort zones and really grasp their creative potential. The projects are incredibly varied and are of different levels of difficulty. Come to this course with an open mind and you'll greatly benefit from it. There will be projects you struggle with/ dislike, but that's part of the learning process.
When there is good, there is also the not so good. Brighton has a long history of the Illustration and Graphic Design courses working together in "harmony" in the same studio space, whilst we didn't feel the squeeze too much in the first two years, we were as good as orange juice in the third. Tensions rose and we had a very petty dislike for each other as courses, which isn't good when you're supposed to be planning a degree show together. Needless to say this shared space needs a rethink, it may have worked for students in the 90's but it is no longer working quite as harmoniously as it once did. Even for years where Graphics and Illustration do get along, there is simply not enough space in the final year studio for both courses to be in there at the same time. A well balanced timetable could help the situation but if we're honest another room is needed.
Tutors? There are some absolutely fantastic tutors, who are incredibly supportive and are great teachers. Most of the tutors are part time and are very knowledgeable on the current creative industry. Most of the tutors are encouraging of your work, whatever your specialism might be and will advise you on how to take your work even further. However there are a couple who haven't made the course as enjoyable as it should be and can't seem to separate their personal opinion from their constructive opinion as a tutor. But on the whole the teaching is great.
However it is unfortunate that no materials are included on this course, you might get a free bit of paper during a blue moon, but other than that prepare to shell a hefty sum of your student loan on art materials.
How many contact hours per week do you have?
How does your uni make efforts to increase your employability (careers department, work placements, transferable skills)?
We had a lecture every week which was from either a visiting professional or a returning student and I have to say these were fantastic, had some amazing people come and speak to us like Alexis Deacon and Morag Myerscough. These are well organised and give you a great idea of some of the different routes you can take after uni.
I can't say you get told much about the working world on the course though, we had a few workshops on working in the creative industry in our final year, which were informative but a little late? Would have loved them in second year.
There is a new addition to the timetable which is the "Future Selves" events, which is two weeks long and gives you the opportunity to visit artists studios and hear from visiting lecturers about their place in the creative industry. Some of these lecturers also do workshops. There are also student run workshops in this time. This all sounds great but there are limited spaces for everything and oh boy do they fill up fast. Considering that on average there is about 330 visual communication students spread throughout the three years, twenty spaces for a trip to a studio isn't going to cut it really. So when they email and tell you that its time to get booking your spots, you need to be on it otherwise you're going to have quite a boring two weeks.
There are activites with somewhat unlimted places but not many.
What do you think about the safety, condition, location and cost of your accommodation?
Brighton is expensive, be prepared to pay London prices to live in a small student house. A lot of students live in and around Upper Lewes Rd area, however this doesn't make the rent any cheaper and will cost you sometimes up to £800 a month for just a room in a dingy house. If you look early you can find student housing in Kemptown which is much closer to the city campus and the houses and rent prices are better too, but they go really quickly.