The Foundation Year 2016–17
BA Fine Art Photography, Glasgow School of Art
I applied to The Foundation Year because it offered a different experience to other foundation courses I had looked at. It offered designated studio space, lots of one-to-one tutor time and small student numbers. It was also far more intensive than other courses I had looked at, which were typically three days instead of the five at the Royal Drawing School. I also love the Trinity Buoy Wharf site, which is part of a larger artistic community. It feels like something is happening in the London Docklands and its great to see that redevelopment process and to be part of an artistic community.
I liked the way the course was structured and organised, offering more workshops at the start of the year and increasing the time you spend on your own projects as the year progressed. The focus on drawing taught me that drawing helps to organise your thoughts and develop ideas. I found keeping a set of journals up to date tricky, but can see that this process pays dividends in terms of helping you develop your ideas into a final piece. Of all the methods I was introduced to, it was the darkroom processes and book binding which most appealed to me. I have made several of my own sketchbooks and love the fact I have a unique piece, both in terms of format and content.
The input from such a wide variety of tutors was stimulating and thought provoking. They gave feedback in a positive manner and from a wide variety of approaches, helping me to develop my ideas, as opposed to working under their direction. I also found the technicians to be really knowledgeable and helpful, especially as I undertook trickier darkroom processes.
For me the biggest takeaway from the course was the support the tutors offered going through the UCAS process. There were a series of lectures and meetings with my tutor to help me decide what course to apply for. At each step of the process the Royal Drawing School broke down what needed to be done, with clear deadlines to enable an early UCAS entry. There was help and support in choosing the portfolio pieces and even one-to-one interview practice. I think this helped me approach each interview with confidence and I was offered a place at each course I applied for, two courses even offering me a place on the spot!
The most challenging part of the course was the intensity of the year, combined with a long commute but it just shows that if you want to do something enough you can do it! A turning point for me on the course was over the Christmas holidays when we had to start work on our second Personal Project without input from the tutor. It gave me the confidence to realise I had good ideas to work on.
The foundation course has helped me gain a place to study Fine Art Photography at Glasgow School of Art. The School helped me build my confidence and gain the skills and experience to do well on the course once I start. I am also impressed how open the School is to different disciplines in art and I think our final show illustrated this.