An Open Letter to the University Of South Wales

I was lucky enough to obtain a place on the Foundation Art, Media and Design course run at Caerleon Campus back in 2010 after being made redundant from my full-time job.  Getting onto this course changed my life and gave me hope that the career I wanted could be achieved.  What I hadn’t bargained for over the year that the course ran, was to make so many good friends, learn new skills that I never even thought about and have the help and support of the fantastic lecturers who really listened to me and made me feel that I mattered as an individual and part of a team.

The course offered me the chance to try out so many new techniques, from creating a stop motion video, 3d art, sculpture and using song lyrics to inspire fashion.  The course taught me that inspiration can be sought from so many different, unlikely sources, experimentation in your thought processes can take your project from one dimension to another.  It has affected how I approach life in general, from how I work on a day-to-day basis, to how I plan my own projects.  I am a lot more creative than I used to be, and that is not because I wasn’t a creative person before the course, it’s because it gave me the confidence to take my ideas from my head and to actually create from the ideas.  The course has taught me that mistakes are often the beginning of new creations and should be embraced, I’m not so scared of making mistakes now, and often learn from them and create from them.

The reason I chose to study Foundation Art in Caerleon Campus was because I like the setting, the university has a lot of history, pretty architectural detailing, the facilities that were offered (hello Darkroom and film processing and printing!),and the studios were bright and sunny, well-lit and the perfect place to experiment with art.  The lecturers were not worried about us making a mess, and actively encouraged us to make the space our own, pinning things to the walls, hanging things from the tables and ceilings, anything that could help our creative flow.

The other reason that I chose Caerleon as my place of study was down to its location from my home.  I live in Pontypool and at the time I couldn’t drive, I was having driving lessons, and had to catch the bus everywhere.  To get to Caerleon on the bus took about an hour, getting 2 busses and cost me around £30 a week to get back and for.  The only other place I could have studied the course would have been Treforrest, and according to Google maps, would take me nearly 2 hours in travel, on public transport to get to.  That kind of travel time would have impacted on my study time and would have had an effect on my attendance too, as missing one transport link would have made me miss lectures.  it would have also caused me to be hugely stressed out, limit me to what I could physically create and cause problems with transporting any materials that I might have needed.

Shutting the course will impact on people like myself, who want to learn and be able to stay in our own homes.  I wouldn’t consider going for a job that meant I needed to be uprooted from my home unless I wanted to, so why should going to university be any different.  It will put off a lot of people who don’t have easy access to transport, might have families and jobs that need their time.  I was lucky that I had a job to support myself through the course and had the time to travel between my home, uni and work easily.  if the course was based anywhere else then I would have had to consider moving, giving up work or not even attending the course.

The Foundation course feeds into other courses held in the University, I got accepted onto the Photographic Art degree this way.  If I had not have had the opportunity to be part of the Foundation course then I would not have filled a place on my degree, there would be one less person on that course and one less student’s funding coming through the doors.  I can’t remember the numbers of students on my degree course exactly, but I believe there were around 45 of us, out of that number, around 12 of us had come from the Foundation Art course, that is a huge percentage of students that the degree course would lose and have to find from other sources.

There are far-reaching consequences too, where shutting the course is concerned.  The local area, which is not particularly affluent, nor is it at the bottom of poverty, would suffer.  Students will not be coming to the area, going out in the area, shopping in the area or renting homes in the area.  The pubs, local shops, community will suffer.  Even the university itself will suffer from not having a wide-ranging mix of students coming through the doors and interacting , helping and inspiring  each other.

Going back to personal experiences, I would not be where I am today if I had not studied Foundation Art, Media and Design through Caerleon Campus.  I have been able to complete a degree and am now looking at furthering my career in art, combining it with helping people and applying my knowledge to day to day tasks.

Art is such an important subjects, it’s not just about creating “pretty pictures”, there is a depth to any art, whether its conscious, subconscious, easy to understand or has complex meaning behind it.  There is an emotion attached to all art, from the emotion of the creator to how looking at a work of art can make a person feel.  I do not believe, for one second, that shutting this course will have any benefits to anyone, whether it is a lecturer, a student, the local area, the finance side of things, or other courses.

IT MAKES NO SENSE TO SHUT THIS COURSE.

Please, if you value art and creativity as much as I do, click the link below, and sign the petition…your signature counts.

https://www.change.org/p/the-university-of-south-wales-restore-the-foundation-art-and-design-course-in-newport?recruiter=38412930&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_facebook_responsive&utm_term=des-lg-no_src-no_msg&fb_ref=Default

 

Read more about the course from the news links below…

 

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/11867629.Hundreds_join_campaign_to_save_art_course/

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/11862801.Protest_to_be_held_over_art_course_closure/

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/11843775.Lecturers_campaign_to_keep_University_of_South_Wales_art_course_open/

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/11870687.Students_protest_in_Newport_against_closure_of_art_course/

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