Originally developed at the University in the 1950s, the Foundation Diploma is a well-respected and nationally recognised qualification. This intensive one-year course challenges your preconceptions and stretches your art and design practices through problem-solving, idea generation, and critical thinking.
This course will push you outside your usual comfort zone and ask you to take creative risks. You will learn through playful experimentation and develop lateral-thinking strategies to approach problems from new perspectives. The course gradually moves from wide-ranging staff-led projects to a position of independence, culminating in a significant individual project in the final stage.
The ability to draw is one of our most valuable creative tools— that is why drawing, in its many forms, underpins all course elements. Within this intensively creative environment, you’ll be helped to become more inventive and experimental. You will develop your understanding of the work of contemporary practitioners, and the work developed by your peers.
You will be based at the University’s Vernon Street site and taught by experienced staff, including practising creatives, who have experience across a breadth of disciplines. They will support you through the UCAS application process and help you find the most appropriate degree course. Our students’ diverse experience and innovative portfolios lead to a range of prestigious, highly competitive degree courses, including those at Leeds Arts University.
Based at the University’s Vernon Street site, the course begins with a range of short projects. These develop your understanding of visual ‘languages’ through a wide range of media. You will also develop your technical knowledge across a range of processes.
For us design is not just a way to make things; it is a way to understand and engage with the world. It’s about making sense of the world and ultimately creating a change. It is about playful experimentation, challenging the current. Within this pathway we explore our physical experience and emotional connection – with our objects and spaces.
Design could be about changing an experience, a form, a structure, a way of doing things. It could be about changing something personal to you, or a small number of people, or it might be for anyone.
With 3D Design being such a broad area, the pathway is kept quite open, focusing on design attitudes and thinking. The course aims to equip you with the skills and confidence to construct a career in a wide range of professions. Stage Two is dynamic, with various different briefs and projects to help keep you on your toes. Some will be quick, whilst some you will extend independently, to allow you to both generate ideas quickly, and take the opportunity to develop and refine them. You will be working in your notebooks, and beyond, developing a portfolio to address the subject 'what is my work and what is the point of it?' You will have access to workshops and facilities to enable you to work with a variety of materials, researching and testing ideas, and creating objects; gaining confidence in your own ability to change things. You might work with all the senses, encompassing practical skills in a critical and creative environment.
Further education students have access to resources based at our Vernon Street campus all run by experienced instructors. Students are introduced to a wide range of materials and processes that assist their studies depending on their course specialties. These include:
Computer suites housing networks of Apple Mac computers, with regularly updated, creative software.
A specialist art library with print and online resources to support studies in the creative arts, and a not-for-profit shop selling a wide range of materials.
Print workshop which includes extensive facilities for screen-printing, traditional printmaking and bookbinding.
Photography resource with a range of equipment for loan including digital and film cameras for still and moving image and a range of support equipment for use in the dedicated lighting studio or off-site.
Photography darkrooms with black-and-white film processing and printing facilities.
Wood, metal & casting workshop equipped with industrial-standard machinery, supplemented by hand- and power-tools.
Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
Our students go on to study creative courses at degree level and then on to careers across a wide range of disciplines. The nature of the course means that many make lifelong friends who become important members of their creative network. The course has a ‘family’ ethos and former students come back and visit to share their knowledge and experience with current students.