Foundation Creative Art students host virtual exhibition

A book encouraging younger children to recycle, short films, fashion designs and a photography project exploring phobias, are just some of the examples of work produced by a group of talented young creatives at The Henley College.

Two teachers and creative Arts Foundation Diploma students standing in The Henley College's Mac Suite

The Level 4 Foundation Diploma in Creative Arts is a new course which allows students to try a range of creative options before specialising at university or moving into professional practice. The work will be on shown during our forthcoming College tours, and there will also be a virtual exhibition which can be viewed by clicking here

Teacher George Bull, said: “We decided to start the Level 4 Foundation in Art and Design to give our A-level and vocational students an opportunity to further explore art, photography and media skills at a higher standard. It’s suitable for creatively-minded students. The teaching is workshop based so students learn a range of different skills and discover what they really enjoy before studying at degree-level. Some learners aren’t ready to make that commitment after sixth-form and this course gives them an opportunity to try a range of disciplines before specialising at university or going into independent practice.”

Head of Creative Arts Sarah Wilson, said: “It is always a challenge starting an entirely new course, especially so this year, but I’m really proud of the work our students have produced and the way they have worked during lockdown.”

Student Charlotte Mansfield, took A-levels in English, Media Studies and Photography at the College before starting the Level 4 course in September: “I was going to take a gap year and travel but because of the pandemic I wasn’t going to get anything out of it. I didn’t want to go to university straight away and I thought the Level 4 course would be a nice introduction and would allow me to explore a range of options including apprenticeships.

It was a much more independent learning style than A-levels. In the first weeks we had lessons on individual skills and then we started working on our own projects. We had guidance and feedback from teachers, but it was much more challenging being creative and working things out for yourself. I’ve learned lots of new things and expanded the skills I already had. My project was on phobias, how people interpret their own phobias and see them in their minds and how their thoughts get distorted or exaggerated. I wanted to explore that through art and photography. I used digital manipulations and layering to make four final images to show the nightmarish nature of those thoughts. I would like to work in the creative industries as a designer or in marketing, but I want to keep my options open.

The year went really fast, and it was a nice step between College and university.”

Fellow student Elizabeth Organ, said: “I thought the Level 4 course would be a good stepping-stone into higher education and allow me to explore a range of artistic processes. You can do traditional darkroom-based photography, Photoshop, art, film or in my case illustration. All of the teachers come from different professional backgrounds so you can get help from specialists in the areas that you want to explore in more depth. I really enjoyed the course and I’ve learned a lot. It’s been one of the best years I’ve ever had in education. All of the teachers are really encouraging which helped my self-confidence and I’ve enjoyed having the freedom to make my own creative choices.

I illustrated my own children’s book for three-to-eight year-olds as I wanted to raise awareness about recycling in a younger audience. I made a story about two children who go on a walk through a forest. They find a creature who can’t walk because he’s covered in litter so they take off all the litter and clean-up the forest so the animals can return. There’s a happy ending because the litter is all gone. I had to research structures for the story that would be appropriate for the age group. I showed it to my younger cousins, and they really enjoyed it. The pages have lots of different textures and drawings which the children really enjoyed. I’m going to Falmouth University to do illustration and want to work as a freelance illustrator.

The College was really supportive during lockdown and I didn’t struggle. We had calls with teachers to keep us up-to-date and there was really good communication. It’s been a great experience and I would really recommend it to anyone."

Mr Bull added: “The course is experimental by nature and we encourage students to move out of their comfort-zones and be open-minded. They work in the darkroom which some photography students may not have had an opportunity to do and we teach them to film and edit so that they are familiar with media techniques. The course is free if you are under 18 at the start although students will need to buy materials.

We’ve been really pleased with the course. It’s been really good fun. Covid threw up some problems, so we moved teaching onto Teams and we adapted. One of the criteria for the course is problem-solving so we turned that to our advantage and asked the students to come up with creative solutions to keep their projects on track. Contingency plans were made and discussions were had with students on Teams and they rose to that challenge. The students have been very committed and have produced some outstanding work. The relationship between students becomes more equal and they have really stepped up and taken responsibility for their progress.”

If you would like to study Creative Arts (Foundation Diploma) this September then apply now here >> CLICK HERE 


Main Photo: George Bull and Sarah Wilson with Creative Arts Foundation Diploma students, from left to right: Jessica Rankin, Izzy Larter, Daisy Cheshire, Sarah Wilson, Liam Redpath, George Bull, Dylan Coates, Lucy Martyn, Jude Elliott, Elizabeth Organ, Charlotte Mansfield and Emily Button.

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