Foundation Diploma in Art and Design

The Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Manchester School of Art is uniquely positioned to address the needs of those curious about a career in the Creative Industries. The benefits to students on the programme, as they work alongside like-minded people already engaged in the School’s breadth of specialised art and design BA programmes, needs little elaboration. In this environment, it becomes apparent that difference is valued and that its celebration is fundamental to the development of the individual’s practice. For many, Foundation provides the first real opportunity to explore and experiment full time in the presence of peers and supportive staff, proving to be a turning point in their personal journey.

Once on the programme, students collectively realise that staff are interested, intrigued and fascinated by their questioning and curiosity. This thought process becomes acknowledged as a shared experience with staff whose job it is to help discover the reasons behind the questioning and work towards developing aspirational destinations. Students are encouraged to explore, experiment and build on this approach and soon become mindful of that destinations are often fluid, ambiguous and by default difficult to define. They discover that the primary task in hand is to develop new ways of learning and to adopt a rigorous and inquisitive approach to their study. Throughout staff work with students to build self confidence and provide the support needed for them to become fearless pioneers – able to make informed and confident decisions .

Back in September 2019, the staff team began working with the class of 2019/2020, preparing them for the year ahead and the expected challenges they should expect to face. However, the impact of Coronavirus mitigation at a critical point for this year’s students, presented them and the staff team with additional unimaginable challenges. The unimaginable proved the point ‘that destinations are often fluid, ambiguous and by default difficult to define’. It demanded unprecedented levels of flexibility and adaptation from those who had only just taken the wheel. Remarkably, the work submitted for the Final Major Project (FMP), in unprecedented circumstances, evidenced the fact that our students had indeed become strong independent, responsible and tenacious pioneers. They have demonstrated their ability to see, hear, feel and translate findings which their unique creative approach has exposed. Importantly, as pioneers, many have realised the importance of asking ‘Why’ and the need to refine and possibly redefine what they perceived their Practice to be. Ultimately, they have gained the ability to reflect on contemporary society in an informed manner and generate outcomes which have the ability to encourage others to do the same. In brief they have become mindful of the Creative’s Remit and it’s been the absolute pleasure of staff – academic and technical – working with them to witness the class of 2019/2020 beginning to emerge as contemporary Creative Practitioners. They have proved themselves ready through their practice, to positively engage with a world which can only benefit from what they have to contribute. Exciting times are ahead for us all as they journey on.

Dave Brodie

Programme Leader, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design