We spoke to BA (Hons) Visual Communication student, James Connolly, on studying at Leeds Arts University, why he loves Leeds and his plans for after graduating...

Why did you choose Leeds Arts University?

When I visited the University, I was attracted to the intimate, friendly atmosphere throughout the corridors and studios. I instantly felt the benefits of a smaller campus in comparison to the other universities I had visited. The facilities across all workshops were outstanding and I knew that I would be well equiped for any practice as I hadn’t specialised yet.

What made you select BA (Hons) Visual Communication?

Before university I completed a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design with the intention of figuring out what area I wanted to specialise in. Evidentially, I did not want to specialise and couldn’t seem to focus all of my interest and skills into one area of Art and Design. Visual Communication was a multi-disciplinary course that enabled me to remain unsure whilst discovering and experimenting with new creative fields.

I have since decided, that people are my specialism and I have always created work for an audience. Comedy and storytelling have been of interest to me since my early teens, and university has opened my eyes up to the possibility of writing and producing television content myself. Visual Communication allows me to pursue a specialism so unique to my peers’, however it has taught me skills that I would never have learnt on a creative writing course for example. I love it.

What do you really enjoy about your course and the University?

Visual Communication really tailors to individual’s practises and provides a platform for students to apply their specialisms to the real world. From to offset the course has encouraged me to collaborate and network not only with peers, but with creative professionals and institutions outside of the University, all of which seems scary at first, but nevertheless is an inevitability of the creative industry – this I have really enjoyed.

The smaller number of students allows constructive changes to be made across all departments of the University quickly and efficiently, meaning student voices are heard and considered. Working amongst other creatives from all specialisms is something I love, as you can draw inspiration from everywhere and we as creatives are not restricted by the structure of conventional academic Undergraduate degrees, meaning we can really focus on developing our own skills.

Staff here are great and endlessly supportive. I have developed great relationships with staff across all departments, including; Course tutors, Life After University, the Café, and the Marketing team for example. I collaborate with lots of students and have a great network of friends here that make university so enjoyable.

What do you plan to do after university?

When I graduate I want to write and produce comedy (and possibly other genres of moving image) successfully. Hopefully before graduating I will have an extended portfolio of comedy sketches and shorts, along with great connections to institutions and professionals already in the industry to help me collaborate and produce my ideas.

What makes Leeds a good place to study?

Leeds is a very student orientated city. Academically and socially it is a great place to live as there is always something going on. For me it’s not too far from home, and the opportunities for creatives that were previously thought to be restricted to London are endless.