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Study art or something less 'useless'? watch

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    There are only a handful of UK Fine Art Universties whose name carries a 'measurable' value above and beyond the course fee. The Oxford and Cambridge of Fine Art are Slade and Goldsmiths regardless of what published tables might tell you. Studying Fine Art at these institutions adds a tremendous amount to your credibility as an artist and to your CV. If you get a place to study Fine Art at these Universities you are amongst the art elite of your generation. You will have the best ideas, portfolios and the best potential as the best apply here and only the very best get places. If you are spending £9,000 a year at Goldsmiths or Slade be certain that this is not equivalent to spending it elsewhere in terms of those names on your personal sales (CV) brand when you leave. Art buyers are immersed in the culture of provenance and these elite London Fine Art Universities are very important name tags in the uber competitive art space.

    These Universties will have application to offer ratios lower than medicine at Oxford and in fact some of the lowest application to offer ratios of any subjects studied anywhere. There are other London Universties (UCL) with a significant pedigree and Glasgow also increasingly is becoming more important. The centre of art world in the UK is London and that is where you have to be if you want to be competitively placed in the industry. There are exceptions of course and artists who do well regardless but its hard enough to get into these places in the first place and have a successful career in the arts let alone try and do it outside of London. Fine Art may be seen by some with a low cultural capital as unimportant but there are fewer more difficult subjects to obtain a place for at crucially career important elite Universities.
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    I'd like to start off by saying, that today, people do not realize how much you can do in art. Some assume being an artist is just about freelance, or working for top imaginary companies(what others have said to me from my experience)
    I am working at 3A's at Alevels and could have gone and studied something a bit more academic at University but I knew I'd never be as happy if i didnt go for art. For me my family are backing me all the way, but my advice is to go where you want. Someone said before, that a degree doesn't guarantee you job and its true, so have a degree in something you love rather than something thats approved!
    I applied for oxford but got a rejection but said if I do a foundation they'd take me on, however I hated oxford for art and in the end went with Westminster
    Apply for where you want is my point, apply for not necessarily fine art, and apply for somewhere with a placement year. Thats the best i can suggest
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    (Original post by rjm101)
    I suggest you think very carefully about what you want to do and weigh it up with real world factors.

    In my circumstance, ideally I wanted to be a video editor for the film industry but I weighed the practicality’s of it and looked into what are my chances of actually getting a job out of it. Obviously these are very slim and often poorly paid with super long hours so I shifted my focus on what subjects I was good at and looked at jobs that combined my interest and abilities into one so I chose to get into web design & development which are very much in demand and now that I have recently graduated I am very happy I made this choice as the job hunt didn’t last long.

    I didn’t want to come out with a degree and find myself in no good position to actually get a job. That would be terrible especially for new grads paying triple the amount of tuition fees. Many just pick a degree there interested in and worry about the job hunt when they graduate. This isn’t being smart. People who do this often end up doing a job completely irrelevant to their degree because they’ve essentially given up looking for ... job.

    The message here is the world is all about compromise. You have to weigh up and combine your abilities and interests with the professions in demand in the job market to survive in this beaten economy.

    On another note, my dad is a 3rd gen Art Restorer. This profession is a specialist job so the jobs are VERY phew and far between. Although he has managed to survive all these years, he says it’s a dying trade and doesn’t get the big heavily funded restoration projects like he used to. He isn’t rich and income I'm sure is below the average household. A degree for this will barely help at all because like most jobs you need to have real world commercial experience.

    My suggestion is that you look into becoming a digital creative and after a number of years will be able to become a user experience expert or an art director. Both are paid well and are creative roles. Although even these jobs are somewhat difficult to find as a graduate you can easily get your foot in the door if you do a placement or an internship. The digital industry is surpassing the print industry which is why most print designers become web designers now (even though they are not the same thing).
    If you got into web design what was the name of the course you were doing, graphics?
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    (Original post by Dilan97)
    If you got into web design what was the name of the course you were doing, graphics?
    Notice how I mentioned web design and development. Development means coding, design means visual design.

    A lot of graphic design graduates fill up web design roles when they know nothing about how to even construct a simple web page. This isn’t a good idea because developers have to keep coming back to designers because there are plenty of things that simply can't be done well yet. Also with responsive design almost becoming a standard within the industry now designing within the browser requires you to have at least knowledge how to use HTML and CSS.

    I studied multimedia technology & design. The course was quite broad however it primarily focused on development for the web so I came out of it knowing how to build fully object orientated web applications complete from back-end development to design which gave me a good range of skills to build a decent portfolio.

    If you're thinking about doing web design make sure its not just a graphics degree, web designers need to have an understanding in how you build for the web otherwise you will make a lot of mistakes.

    I did a placement which started off as web designer and then I got a bit annoyed just being considered a designer as I have always been able to do development as well, so 2 months after that I became a web designer and front-end developer. Now that I've graduated I'm primarily a front-end developer now because society simply doesn’t value designers as much as developers and this is reflected in your salary but front-end development ties very much into design so I still get to benefit from both sides. It's a kind of middle ground, which I like.
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    Are you willing to spend £27,000 in tuition fees and 3 years of living expense without a significant salary, without gaining realistic prospects?

    I'm not saying "do what your dad says". Of course you have to follow your interests, but university is a huge investment (and for most people financially a "one shot") and I think if you don't make sure your investment is good, you will regret it. You do have the rest of your life after uni (and what you want to be doing then) to think about and plan for as well. Fine art isn't "useless" but most people aren't the exception. Balance enthusiasm against realism, you need both.
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    As someone who's studying business because my parents thinks anything creative is a "waste of time" or "should be just a hobby", I do see your POV and am inclined to say that you should do what you want.

    But be aware of the implications. What do you want to do with your life? After studying art, your best bet is to be an art teacher, and even for those jobs there is a lot of competition. You cannot aim to be an artist, for a well paid position in a gallery you should have a degree in management or business in addition to art - they can pick who they want as there are too many art grads.
    Most of my friends studying either art, fashion or design are from very wealthy families - you'll see that is the trend in most art schools as well. They have inheritance and/or strong contributions from the family meaning that they can live well or at least acceptably while working for free, applying for jobs or practicing their craft. Choosing a field of study in an area which to most people remains just a hobby, is in many ways a luxury.
    What I'm getting is that your father doesn't want to provide for you and doesn't want you to remain penniless while trying to pay back your degree.
    If you don't have support from the family, are you okay working with something completely unrelated for years? Is your passion for art strong enough for you to practice it on your spare time while waiting table? You have to be realistic about this and think about what you really want.
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    (Original post by Pigling)
    Are you willing to spend £27,000 in tuition fees and 3 years of living expense without a significant salary, without gaining realistic prospects?

    I'm not saying "do what your dad says". Of course you have to follow your interests, but university is a huge investment (and for most people financially a "one shot") and I think if you don't make sure your investment is good, you will regret it. You do have the rest of your life after uni (and what you want to be doing then) to think about and plan for as well. Fine art isn't "useless" but most people aren't the exception. Balance enthusiasm against realism, you need both.
    Agreed, I think a good tip for OP is to look at fine art jobs on job sites right now. Don’t bother doing the degree if any of the below is correct:
    • There is absolutely nothing available
    • All require extensive expensive experience and no entry level jobs are available
    • Or phew entry level jobs exist but have insane number of applicants (some job sites list number of people applied)

    The picture will be the same when OP graduates.
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    In all honesty if one has to question if a degree is the right subject for them then it isn't really something one should be doing. Art is a vocation not a financial decision. One does it because they must and are driven to do it. The competition is so intense for the best Universities and the work required to get even an interview is so great that anyone who has doubts about whether the subject is even for them will frankly rarely succeed.

    The creative arts are full of driven passionate people with a determination, willingness and belief in themselves and their abilities who love their subject; theatre, music, drama, art and so on. If one is not 100% in love with their subject and are looking on job sites etc before they have even undertaken the applications process then there are far too many talented creative people fighting for places at the elite Universities that will make any chance of success upon such a basis extremely unlikely.
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    (Original post by AnabelleHamilton)
    In all honesty if one has to question if a degree is the right subject for them then it isn't really something one should be doing. Art is a vocation not a financial decision. One does it because they must and are driven to do it. The competition is so intense for the best Universities and the work required to get even an interview is so great that anyone who has doubts about whether the subject is even for them will frankly rarely succeed.

    The creative arts are full of driven passionate people with a determination, willingness and belief in themselves and their abilities who love their subject; theatre, music, drama, art and so on. If one is not 100% in love with their subject and are looking on job sites etc before they have even undertaken the applications process then there are far too many talented creative people fighting for places at the elite Universities that will make any chance of success upon such a basis extremely unlikely.
    Couldn't have said it better myself *Applause*
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    I think it's worth you (and your dad) bearing in mind that a large proportion of graduate jobs are available to graduates in any discipline, so although studying fine art would make some options more likely than others, it's not like you'd be completely unemployable for anything else - far from it. I think there's a tendency to think of these things in very linear terms - study Law and become a lawyer, study accounting and become an accountant, study art and omigod! what will you do? It's so unrealistic to think you could make a living as an artist! when really, life tends to be more complicated than that. Whatever degree you do, it should be something in which you feel you can sustain interest in order to do well; and you should start engaging with the careers service at your uni from the beginning of the degree, rather than rushing in in a panic in your third year, to maximise your employment opportunities.
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    I think the clear point is that questioning the actual validity of a subject in the posts title ( useless) says enough. There will be placings in clearing for Fine Art as with every other subject but that is £9,000 on a course that they can't fill because the better applicants are in the better Universities. Yes Fine art is a degree with other applications but most who undertake it at the top Universities have ambitions to work in the ultra competitive art world or creative industries at a high level in whatever capacity, so you need to be way beyond good to succeed.

    To put it into perspective there are 30 places each internationally at Slade and Goldsmiths Fine Art and History of Art. You don't get onto these courses without utter dedication, passion and absolute belief and years of hard work. Not only does one have to apply, they have to have outstanding references, outstanding predicted grades and unlike any other subject an extensive portfolio of detailed work to submit electronically first and then if good enough to bring even more work to the interview itself. Less people will get onto these courses per applicant to offer than Oxford at medicine.

    Your dad is correct but only in the sense of attending non elite art institutions. The elite is the elite and if you are good enough and passionate enough £9,000 is a snip. If you are just doing it because it sounds OK then being an average art graduate at an average University is a hard and very expensive option and one I personally wouldn't recommend.
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    (Original post by swrath)
    I want to start a fine art degree this year, however my parents are completely against it. My dad says it is a complete waste of time because I won't get a job out of it. Obviously I understand where he is coming from.

    He would only allow me to study art if it was at oxford. I did get an interview for oxford last year but got rejected after this. I was thinking of reapplying this year but I may just get rejected again.

    I do have one offer for Fine Art and Art History at Kingston, but my dad does not want me to accept because Kingston used to be a polytechnic. I got A*A*A at A Level, so he wants me to go somewhere with higher entrance requirements than Kingston. I am still waiting to hear from Brighton, I was rejected from my other three choices.

    Basically he wants me to study anything that isn't art. He's suggested things like Law, Theology, Psychology...i think many subjects could be interesting but really I can't see myself doing anything other than art.

    My dad is just really controlling and always has been, my parents patronise me alot, saying that I would not be able to cope with going away to university.

    95% of the time i want to do art but there is a bit of me that worries about what I will do at the end of it. I don't know whether to take my parents advice and do a more 'constructive' degree as this may be a better idea in the long run.
    PLEASE GO AND DO FINE ART.
    Hopefully this is still relevant to your situation and you have not given up your place already. My mother's father was exactly the same, very harsh & critical of what she studied at uni. But, I guess in the end did want the best for her, a definite job.
    My mum studied BA Hons Zoology and Psychology at Manchester Uni in 80s. Although she wanted to study fine art/ or interior design. She has regretted it ever since, although finding jobs and earning a very comfortable amount of money. She ended going back to uni and gaining a degree in garden design...which she is now earning substantially more from. But to do this she brought up her children whilst doing years of undergrad & further postgrad studies. The relationship between my grandfather and mother has unfortunately been spoilt because of my mothers upset at her father making decisions for her. (He said that he would not give her any financial support if she had done anything other than a science).

    I am studying BA Fine Art from next year, just finishing my foundation, I have got 4 places (including 2 in london), still waiting to hear back from one more (london). My mother has been completely supportive of me & is amazing due to her own experiences and her father being unsupportive.

    KINGSTON IS AWESOME, the course there is great. & tell your dad that it is a competitive course & london is a fab place to be for art - obviously I am in the same boat as you at the moment and awaiting for my degree to start so i dont know what my degree will come to but I like to be able to tell others about what happened to my mum. She has been incredibly unhappy with her career (even though very successful) until very recently. I would hate to spend all my money on a degree that I hated. YOU ARE PAYING FOR YOUR DEGREE, PLEASE DO WHAT YOU WANT. Realistically, Kingston is a good course - but fine art is what YOU make of it, how PASSIONATE YOU are and What are you going to make of it? Those points are really important to take into account. It is about YOU as a person and YOU as a practitioner.


    I think the one way you know if it is for you is whether you think of it each and every moment, fine art is INCREDIBLY INTENSE and you have to work very very hard.

    Go with what you enjoy, if you work hard enough & you are passionate you will find jobs / make jobs for yourself (you are creative)!!!! Good luck
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    (Original post by AnabelleHamilton)
    I think the clear point is that questioning the actual validity of a subject in the posts title ( useless) says enough.
    Can I just say it is not me calling an art degree "useless", that is just a quote from my father (and most other people I come across)

    (Original post by lgerman)
    PLEASE GO AND DO FINE ART.
    Hopefully this is still relevant to your situation and you have not given up your place already.
    My mum studied BA Hons Zoology and Psychology at Manchester Uni in 80s. Although she wanted to study fine art/ or interior design. She has regretted it ever since, although finding jobs and earning a very comfortable amount of money. She ended going back to uni and gaining a degree in garden design...which she is now earning substantially more from. But to do this she brought up her children whilst doing years of undergrad & further postgrad studies. The relationship between my grandfather and mother has unfortunately been spoilt because of my mothers upset at her father making decisions for her. (He said that he would not give her any financial support if she had done anything other than a science).

    I am studying BA Fine Art from next year, just finishing my foundation, I have got 4 places (including 2 in london), still waiting to hear back from one more (london). My mother has been completely supportive of me & is amazing due to her own experiences and her father being unsupportive.

    KINGSTON IS AWESOME, the course there is great. & tell your dad that it is a competitive course & london is a fab place to be for art - obviously I am in the same boat as you at the moment and awaiting for my degree to start so i dont know what my degree will come to but I like to be able to tell others about what happened to my mum. She has been incredibly unhappy with her career (even though very successful) until very recently. I would hate to spend all my money on a degree that I hated. YOU ARE PAYING FOR YOUR DEGREE, PLEASE DO WHAT YOU WANT. Realistically, Kingston is a good course - but fine art is what YOU make of it, how PASSIONATE YOU are and What are you going to make of it? Those points are really important to take into account. It is about YOU as a person and YOU as a practitioner.


    I think the one way you know if it is for you is whether you think of it each and every moment, fine art is INCREDIBLY INTENSE and you have to work very very hard.

    Go with what you enjoy, if you work hard enough & you are passionate you will find jobs / make jobs for yourself (you are creative)!!!! Good luck
    Thank you for your reply, it is very encouraging! And I'm glad you think Kingston is good- I don't really have anyone to give me feedback about it apart from my Foundation tutor. Where did you apply?

    Thankfully my dad changed his mind and now thinks it's a good idea, as long as I go to the right place (though I'm so angry at him for giving me so much grief about it for the past three years)

    But yeah, he changed his mind two days ago.
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    Sure just go and do fine art and worry about job prospects later. Seriously this isn’t being smart. You need to find a balance, find something you would enjoy and has decent employment prospects. Like I said, look at the jobs market. You're doing yourself a favour in the future. Your uni years will fly by and suddenly you will find yourself needing to look for a grad job. Yes some people do manage to get jobs with a totally irrelevant degrees but its harder to explain to employers how the degree relates at all to the job and it doesn’t exactly put you in a good footing in terms being prepared for the job so this is likely to be reflected in your salary.
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    (Original post by swrath)


    Thank you for your reply, it is very encouraging! And I'm glad you think Kingston is good- I don't really have anyone to give me feedback about it apart from my Foundation tutor. Where did you apply?

    Thankfully my dad changed his mind and now thinks it's a good idea, as long as I go to the right place (though I'm so angry at him for giving me so much grief about it for the past three years)

    But yeah, he changed his mind two days ago.
    Kingston is definitely a good course, a couple of my friends have places there, and I know of people who really like it who have been on my foundation course previously. Great facilities and apparently tutors are great also. I applied to Chelsea, Camberwell, UCA Farnham, Birmingham, Goldsmiths. Got places at all, except still waiting to hear back from Goldsmiths (had my interview 2 weeks ago) so nervous.

    I definitely think you have to be cautious as to where you go, where the good tutors are, facilities, location...reputation also. And it is a good thing that your dad is looking out for you. Even my mum was keen on her research on certain places, its just natural that they want the best for us and for us to succeed and be happy. I think unless you yourself are studying art/ or are a practicing artist it can be hard to see what else there is to do than being an artist or 'an art teacher', but what I remind myself always if I doubt what I am going to be doing in the future is that everything is designed, everyone is surrounded by art constantly so there MUST be jobs doing something. I guess I will probably end up making my own job, but that'll be fun, perhaps...

    Most degrees now are a risk unless you are in a degree that gives you a probable job at the end (like medicine). It is so competitive whatever you are going to do (i.e. my cousin got 2:1 at Cambridge Law couldn't get a contract when she was finished). Be realistic but also dont stop dreaming. I believe that if you work hard, you will get to where you want to be.

    I know doing fine art is going to be challenging and I accept that because I am absolutely in love with every single thing about it, sometimes it drives me absolutely crazy but at the end of the day I HAVE to/ NEED to do it.

    Have you visited Kingston?
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    (Original post by lgerman)
    Kingston is definitely a good course, a couple of my friends have places there, and I know of people who really like it who have been on my foundation course previously. Great facilities and apparently tutors are great also. I applied to Chelsea, Camberwell, UCA Farnham, Birmingham, Goldsmiths. Got places at all, except still waiting to hear back from Goldsmiths (had my interview 2 weeks ago) so nervous.

    I definitely think you have to be cautious as to where you go, where the good tutors are, facilities, location...reputation also. And it is a good thing that your dad is looking out for you. Even my mum was keen on her research on certain places, its just natural that they want the best for us and for us to succeed and be happy. I think unless you yourself are studying art/ or are a practicing artist it can be hard to see what else there is to do than being an artist or 'an art teacher', but what I remind myself always if I doubt what I am going to be doing in the future is that everything is designed, everyone is surrounded by art constantly so there MUST be jobs doing something. I guess I will probably end up making my own job, but that'll be fun, perhaps...

    Most degrees now are a risk unless you are in a degree that gives you a probable job at the end (like medicine). It is so competitive whatever you are going to do (i.e. my cousin got 2:1 at Cambridge Law couldn't get a contract when she was finished). Be realistic but also dont stop dreaming. I believe that if you work hard, you will get to where you want to be.

    I know doing fine art is going to be challenging and I accept that because I am absolutely in love with every single thing about it, sometimes it drives me absolutely crazy but at the end of the day I HAVE to/ NEED to do it.

    Have you visited Kingston?
    Well done on getting all your offers!

    I had a tour of Kingston when I went for my interview. The workshops seem really good and I like the studio spaces, they were better than I was expecting. I like the location because it's like London but not? It'd be so easy getting to central London but since it's a bit outside it's not so frenetic. And the accommodation is so near by, and it's cheaper than Brighton!

    Also my tutor did his MA there, obviously it will have changed a bit since he was there but he said they have really great art history tutors (I got a place on the Fine Art and Art History course)

    I'm just waiting on Brighton now, good luck with Goldsmiths!
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    (Original post by swrath)
    Well done on getting all your offers!

    I had a tour of Kingston when I went for my interview. The workshops seem really good and I like the studio spaces, they were better than I was expecting. I like the location because it's like London but not? It'd be so easy getting to central London but since it's a bit outside it's not so frenetic. And the accommodation is so near by, and it's cheaper than Brighton!

    Also my tutor did his MA there, obviously it will have changed a bit since he was there but he said they have really great art history tutors (I got a place on the Fine Art and Art History course)

    I'm just waiting on Brighton now, good luck with Goldsmiths!
    Hi there,

    My name is Dan, I currently attend UCA Farnham and study Advertising there. I thought I might share this video with you in case you haven't seen it before which covers what the course is like from a student and lecturer perspective:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUnMY...87D1AE&index=5

    There are also video's on the YouTube Channel about the accommodation, the campus and life in Farnham:

    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL535A3ACB74E564BF

    From a personal perspective I chose UCA over my offer from Kingston because of the student to lecturer ratio and the level of personal engagement and passion from the course leader. I also like/d Farnham as a town because of the friendly people and relative closeness to London (50 minute train ride).

    I have really enjoyed my experience here and would be happy to answer any questions you might have about the campus/town experience
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    Study what you want to study - if I'd had ended up doing a degree in business like everyone told me to I'd have dropped out before my second year.
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    I think the big issue for you is your parents, right? So I would only listen to people who actually have experience with this.
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    No one knows what is around the corner. Now businesses are clamouring for 'creative' employees and robots are supposed to be taking over a lot of jobs which don't require lateral thinking. Parents will want you to do what they think is best (or what they think sounds good when they bring you up in conversation). Parents are just people too and they have their own failings. I was told I was on a 'colouring in course' for most of my higher education. Now I work at an arts centre and am in the third year of a PhD. Everyone should follow their instinct and trust their abilities. The key to happiness is trusting yourself and not selling yourself short, even if it means you have a flat rather than a house or ride a bike rather than a petrol guzzling four-wheel drive. Do what you love, if you possibly can.
 
 
 
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