The UAL Level 3/4 Foundation Diploma in Art and Design is a one-year programme for post 18 students. Primarily the students for this course join after completing their 'A' level or Level 3 vocational programme, but we have significant number of adult learners who have taken a break from education interested in a new career focus.  The focus for the year is about self-discovery and progression. Students discover through practical projects and hands on learning what type of artist or designer they want to be this is then underpinned by a programme that supports them in becoming a practitioner in that chosen specialism. Destinations for our students tend to be higher education courses at a range of universities, but some seek employment in relevant art sectors as well. 


Doing, making and reflecting are key to the success of students on the FAD course. Students ‘do’ all types things with a range of materials and resources in the creative department and ‘make’ work that supports and challenges their identity as an artist or designer on different scales. The process of reflecting happens all the way through the course either in sketchbooks, journals or in discussions with teachers and peers to establish motives, successes and future plans. 


This year has been very different due to the pandemic, but we still managed a successful residential trip to Liverpool, competition entries and visits from industry speakers. This resulted in all students who applied  to university , gaining places in fashion, graphic design, animation, fine art and interior design. The work shown in this exhibition is from different parts of the year, showing the diversity of application and aspiration.


Roger Healey-Dilkes

FAD Course Team Leader

Progressing to study Animation at Plymouth College of Art 

My projects theme focused around the phrase ‘man up’ and the stigma around male mental health. After looking into statistics, I was shocked to find that 76% of suicides in the UK are committed by men, which in turn made me think about how within society there is an expectation for men to not show weakness; meaning emotions get pushed to one side and not talked about. This was especially powerful to read as over a third (35%) never spoke to anyone about their struggles with mental health. From this, I wanted to bring to light these statistics and how we can challenge this notion – what can we do to change the stigma? After talking to male friends who have faced mental health issues, as well as completing a questionnaire to find out how those locally had been affected, I found that many responded that talking to someone, whether a friend or family member, helped them to cope better.  

The combination of these discussions helped me to come up with the work shown. I used the contrast of colours to show the difference between how men feel forced to portray themselves compared to how they are feeling inside. The title of my work comes heavily into the meaning behind the drawing; when did you last check in on someone? It can be difficult to ask or tell someone you need help, so send a message to that person you haven’t heard from in a while, you never fully know what is going in someone’s life, and it can make all the difference.  

Progressing to study Fashion Design at Nottingham Trent University 

The concept idea for my project was the idea surrounding plastic pollution in our oceans. This is a very current issue which is affecting natural habitats and causing hazards to animals in our oceans; plastic is killing more than 1.1 million seabirds and animals every year. “Worldwide, around 2 million plastic bags are used every minute and a million plastic bottles are brought worldwide every minute”. The rate of plastic production and consumerism is alarming considering the fact that some plastics can take thousands of years to degrade.  

This issue inspired me to create a piece that visually portrayed the damage and growing contents of our oceans in which we are creating. I wanted my final piece to create feelings of awe as well as disgust. I liked the idea of ‘wearable waste’ and wanted to create a garment that portrayed binary opposites such as ‘stunning’ and ‘sinister’.  

As part of my development I created many collages trying to incorporate this idea and effect through visual representations. I experimented with different types of plastics to create collages of outfits to inspire me for the final garment. My aim was to create a garment solely made from plastic waste materials, and for it to look as though someone had walked straight from the ocean, dragging the plastic debris behind them. I was also inspired by the work of ‘Wan Yunfeng’, whose pieces demonstrate a similar message. 

To produce the final garment, I bonded plastic bags together using heat and used a sewing machine, as though it were normal fabric. I collected plastic objects such as bottles and packaging and weaved them into netting which wrapped around the dress. I also used some fake seaweed to create an authentic appearance to the garment.  

For the final major project my concept is largely based around conflict. I researched into the Syrian crisis, along other humanitarian crises going on around the world. Although these wars are ongoing and many people are being affected, I feel as though not many outsiders know much about them. I wanted to show what can be affected in the result of a conflict, along with raising peoples awareness of it. I gathered many images from conflicted areas within Syria from the last 9 years since the civil war began. The images showing buildings, streets and people all being directly effected. Peoples lives and homes have been completely destroyed, but the ones who aren’t being effected turn a blind eye, wanting to ignore the situations going on because they feel as though they can’t help. Although many feel as though they can’t help, gaining knowledge and a better understanding of these world affairs is helping more than ignoring. I originally wanted to create an installation of a scene of the destruction this civil war has caused. I wanted to immerse people into how it would be for a split second to be living in such horrendous conditions. However due to the circumstances of this year I wasn’t able to do this. So instead I created some digital and mixed media. Using the destruction of the buildings to show not only the land that has been destroyed but a metaphor the what the innocent people have lost.

After researching into VE day and it recently being the 75th anniversary of the end of the second world war, it's a relevant and current topic. After reviewing my pat projects, I decided I wanted a contrasting theme, so I chose the concept of 'Peace and War'. I want to draw people's attention to the way we live and how fortunate we are to live in peace, whereas some have to face the reality of war. As we started to face the current epidemic, I decided to refine mt theme and look at the subthemes of Freedom and Lock-down and how Its related. Some of the work I've developed throughout this project include simple outline drawings of symbols and my lino prints of a bird and bomb. I scanned these in and developed them digitally using different effects and made a poster with the words people gave me in a questionnaire about my themes.

For my final outcome I decided to make something 3-D. I got inspiration from Bruce Naumans's neon works and made 2 signs out of wood and wire mesh panel. I used LED car cable lights to create the typography and for the freedom sign i used iron and sheets to transfer the image onto wood. I wanted to keep it simple because I think it looks more effective as the neon lights are bold on their own and draw your attention.

Progressing to study Interior architecture and design at Nottingham Trent university

For this project I have specialised in interior architecture and design as I am pursuing this at university. My theme for this project is space, which I have looked into efficient spaces and changing spaces. I have created a 2D and 3D outcome of the 3D building at college. To help me through the process I made a cardboard model of the original building to get an idea of the area I was changing and what to manipulate. The aim of the change was to create a nicer room to work in as an art studio. I did this by making one wall full of windows to make the building lighter and made the first floor bigger and open with a balcony. For my 2D outcome I have used Sketchup to create the improved design of the building and for my 3D outcome I have make a model of the building. I made the model by using the laser cutter and creating the outlines in Illustrator. I painted the model white to make it look crisp and smart. For my 2D outcome I decided to develop my idea by using photography I did for my FMP on the building to give it an abstract feel. I have looked at interior designers and architects which have helped me influence my work and helped me look at structures and shape. The interior designer Marcel Wanders made me look at interestingly shaped buildings with his quirkiness. 

This exhibition displays work from my project ‘The Perception of Decay and Change’; involving the observation of various forms of decay over time. The materials used were flowers, fruit and plastic, to explore a variety of rates of decay and thoroughly investigate different perceptions and changes to organisms. By comparing fast and slow rate decay forms, I presented the lasting effects plastic pollution has on our earth. I aimed to use the comparisons of the decay processes, as a metaphor for the vulnerability of all life. Whether it be a human brain or a flower, everything eventually decays. Using Fine Art (drawing and painting) I froze moments in time and captured temporary beauty, so a viewer finds beauty in decay- thus changing their perception of it. To document the perceptions of decay and change due to time, I did observational drawings and experiments using pencils, biros, ink, pens and Lino. For my final outcome I used watercolour pencils on an A1 piece of paper, which I burned and stuck dead flowers on to embody decay. For the subject matter I used the inside of a pomegranate as a symbol for a pair of lungs, due to the similarity of shapes. One half of the piece representing life and the other decay of all life forms, even the fragility of the human brain and fading of memories. My exhibition is predominantly inspired by Johannes Sveinsson Kjarval and Klaus Pichler, as in their works they successfully bring natural organisms to life.  

Progressing to study Design at Goldsmiths University London

My initial thoughts were how the world is so reliant on electricity. If the worlds power stations tomorrow closed, what would the world do? I read the book high-rise by JG Ballard and began wondering what a dystopian future would be like if we all had to create our own power. the amount of oil we are consuming on a daily basis is no other words, unsustainable. So, could I do something about this? Could I solve this global issue? I wanted to see if I could generate electricity at home, I started to make my own dynamo, but I needed to upscale this to meet the demand of how much power our homes need. I was watching a TV show called Black Mirror and the episode called fifteen million merits was about a strange future where the population had to cycle to earn credits for a better life. I wondered, could I generate power using bicycles? in fact, this is already done on a low scale. Such as bikes in gyms which generate enough power to light up the control panel. I wondered, if this there was potential in this idea? Could I generate enough power by bicycle to power my own home? This in turn became my project and exploring the avenues towards a final piece.​

Progressing to study Graphic Design at the Kingston School of Art

For this final project I wanted to choose an important topic to me so I chose feminism. After exploring the history and different movements, I decided to go with the idea of “my body, my choice”. Throughout the year I have tried to do projects that promote body positivity and explore the female body, this one would be no different. The thought that people feel they have any control over other peoples bodies outrages me. This spans from a group of men in government deciding what we can do with our embryos to those old fashioned people telling us to “cover up, you have no self respect” and to this we say...MY BODY, MY CHOICE. I wanted to keep this piece quite simple, to leave the message easy to read. I took the woman seen in Alexandre Cabanel’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ and wanted to modernise and diversify it. Although my project is based on feminism, the current movement of Black Lives Matter was too important to me not to include. I made sure the woman in my piece was recognisable as a proud black woman, adding in the narrative that people cannot be told who they are based on their skin colour. I hope to continue using my work to create conversations and giving people a voice.

This project is about how to use the texture of the architecture into fashion design, by building up the set and use the different filter of the camera to experimenting what effect could be happening for the simulation of the 1:1 scale size fashion show.​

The main purpose of this project for me is to be more familiar with combining multi specialism skills and knowledge together, which will eventually become inspiration for me in the future career.  Also as well, another purpose is to knowing better how could set building and the sot lights could be affecting on the model and the garment.​

The outcome is a stage like cardboard box with different layer of the street view of Paris. All the garments were made from the pictures I’ve took from London and transform to garment, which of course were custom with the size of the model.

In the result it did successfully shows what it suppose to, it gives good quality of the light and shadow effect in the whole picture, and strong visual impact. The problem is that since it is motionless, there are a bit different to judge how would it look like on the actual fashion show, but as I can see the photo form is work very well.​

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