"You're an MMU student whilst you’re here and have access to all the facilities and have the same rights as other students on undergraduate programmes."
Meet Stuart Edmundson, the Programme Manager for the International Foundation in Art and Design at INTO Manchester in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University.
Can you tell us about the Art and Design Foundation teaching team?
There are four members of staff on the team. Each member of staff is also a practising artist in their own right; be that fine art, fashion, graphic design, textiles, photography or multimedia. The English teacher comes from an art background also and aids the studio English that happens as well as the formal English teaching that takes place. All the staff have worked on an international level; they’re very individual and very different so students get a completely different response and input from the tutors’ own personal experiences.
Tell us about this programme?
It’s a 30 week course and it’s split into three ten week blocks. The first ten weeks is called ‘Exploring Visual Language’ and it’s a very introductory module looking into what is art and design practise. They get to experiment different ways of making and using materials. We start thinking about what drawing can be, colours, textures and form.
The first part of the week is taught and there are workshops but as the week progresses the students become more independent and start finding ways to work within that. Very quickly that brief stops and another one starts. They take all this knowledge and their toolbox gets bigger and bigger with all these skills.
Once we move to the second module, the briefs start to become more student lead. They’ve experienced working on their own and start using all the skills that they have enjoyed and start exploring them deeper. Through that they talk to their tutors; we talk about ideas, theories, other artists, ways and possibilities that work can develop. We feed on the ambition of the student.
Then we move into the final module where we complete the final major project. This is a student directed brief within their own interest of art. Whichever direction they are hoping to take at undergraduate level informs their own brief. They set their task to make their work over ten weeks and make a final piece of work for a final exhibition.
How is English for Academic Purposes delivered?
Primarily the students are based in the Art School on the MMU campus. They have between four and six hours of English per week depending on their level of English and the number dwindles as the year goes on and we become more focussed on the practical side of art and design. There’s a compulsory three to four hours of formal English teaching which happens at the INTO Manchester Study Centre, and then there’s one and half hours of studio English which happens in the students’ own studio spaces.
They discuss work as critiques and seminars; they consider critical texts and the English teaching is specific to being able to use the English language within art and design; understanding the terminology, understanding the words that are used to describe a piece of work that is developing and participate in critical theory. There are also trips to museums, art galleries and events that are happening at the Art School.
What kind of career opportunities are there?
The skills that you develop within art and design courses are so vast that the options are quite exciting. People continue to practice as artists, film makers, fashion designers, interior designers. Others go to work in museums, theatres, education; some of them become teachers or university tutors. Some even start their own companies.