My experience of Bristol Pride

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by Dev, MSc(Hons) Marketing Communications

Bristol Pride 2019 was a glorious event. Thousands of us celebrating our queerness in the heart of Bristol was a sight to behold! Although the size of the event stopped me from finding the UWE Bristol float, they were there once again as one of the sponsors. Here’s my experience of Bristol Pride 2019, plus everything you need to know about Bristol Pride 2020.

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Advice I would give to my first-year self

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by Rapha, BSc(Hons) Urban Planning

There’s so much I would do differently if I could go back in time!

Not because of regret but because I know better now and the main advice I would give myself would be to live more and to bring fewer things from home.

By live more, I mean spend less time in my room, meet more people and spend more time outside exploring Bristol. I spent a lot of my first year trying to become a different person and constantly focusing in my insecurities. And to be honest this just made me think other people were focusing on my insecurities too. Like being self-conscious that everyone was going to talk about that one pimple I had on my forehead, which no one ever did? Unfortunately this meant I spent more time in my room and it stopped me getting to know Bristol as much as I wanted!

So if I could, I would tell my younger self to go out more, explore Bristol as much as possible with friends or even alone doesn’t really matter, but just go see the world outside!

Get out and explore Bristol! I love the harbourside and Clifton but even just an autumnal walk, on your own through the city centre is great!

It’s been nearly three years since I have been living in Bristol and I am yet to visit Bristol zoo, Stoke Park as well as other many amazing places in Bristol that are so close by. So go explore! Especially when you’re a fresher, as this is the time when you should learn and see the most. Like attending events or trying new restaurants or cafes.

Côte Brasserie (left) and The Athena (right)- two of my favourite restaurants in Bristol!

My second big bit of advice advice is when you move from home, be selective about what you bring. And I say this with experience! When I first moved in, I read many blog posts which advised to solely bring essential items. Items you will need for your daily basis, a limited but a calculated amount of clothes and some sentimental objects and so on.

Despite that, I made my self excuses like, what if I can’t go back home during a certain time? Or what if I want to make my room more homely? This led me to bring all of my six, year 10 scrapbooks and all of my snow globes (there were a lot of them). Spoiler alert I never touched them and by the second time I moved I had no clue where they even were!

My room one week after moving – you can see why I lost things!

At first, I was proud I managed to fit everything in the space given and my room looked nicely tidy and decorated. However, it only lasted a week until it was complete chaos because there were too many things and it was all being stuffed everywhere. At times, I felt like I was in a tug war with my drawers! That was not ideal, especially when you are running late, let me tell you that.

Therefore, I highly recommend being really honest with yourself when packing and be aware that you will most likely buy things and it will build up. So if you bring everything like me and end up moving places, you will be annoyed at yourself when packing and carrying endless piles of boxes around.

I can proudly and happily say that I have learned from those experiences. Since then I have donated, sold and taken many of my items home. Plus, I now attempt on visit somewhere new in Bristol or nearby at least once every two weeks to ensure that I keep exploring and live life to the fullest!

To find out more on how to prepare for university visit the preparing and arrival page.

How I adapted to online learning

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by Imogen, BA(Hons) Fashion Textiles

Like most courses, my final term of year two was adapted to online submission. As I study Fashion Textiles at UWE Bristol, which is a largely practical course, there was a massive learning opportunity.

Using online software to create a virtual sketchbook

The new module brief included using online software to create a virtual sketchbook rather than a physical one, and designing a new collection online rather than making a garment.

Being able to access the UWE Bristol library online was a massive help to my research. I was able to access a large variety of resources such as books, e-journals and magazines. Typically, the library is somewhere I would be spending the majority of my time when doing sketchbook work and so the online library and my home desk was the next best option!

With access to the online library I was able to read up on the brand Kenzo, which I had chosen to design a new collection for and understand learn about their history.

My final collection project inspired by traditional Japanese fashion and 80’s retro.

Previously, Illustrator and Photoshop were software that I had used before but wasn’t confident in. But by having to create an online sketchbook and submit my work online, my digital drawing skills have really improved.

I also found online tutorials extremely helpful when I got stuck, and have started a notebook to record new techniques I have learnt for future reference. Having improved so much with my online skills, I’ve decided to use more virtual methods of presenting my work in my summer project and third year modules. These digital skills are also extremely useful for the fashion industry and this project has taught me how to use them creatively to present my work.

I’ve also been able to further develop the skills I’ve learnt during my course and experiment with them. Making garments using my pattern cutting skills and up-cycling old garments using different textiles skills such as dyeing, embroidery, crocheting and fabric painting, has been how I have stayed creative through lockdown. As hand embroidery is typically a very time consuming technique, lockdown has been a great opportunity to embroider for fun and see what I can create.

One of my favourite things I have made so far was this Tinkerbell crop top – I found some Tinkerbell material on my weekly food shop and just had to make something with it!

Looking forward, I’ve also started researching for third year and have been using virtual art gallery tours to get inspired! Typically, a trip to London would be my normal start to researching a project, but with the online gallery tours I’m able to visit galleries all over the world without travelling and for free. Here is a list of some of the best virtual toursBristol Museum has its own one too!

For my current summer project, I have been exploring Surrealism and have found an online Surrealist photography exhibition curated by Cris Orfescu. The online gallery tour has been a great source of inspiration and information. I would encourage anyone with a laptop and a spare half an hour to check out some of the online galleries!

Research for my summer project

Learning online and adapting to life in lockdown, has definitely allowed me to explore different creative mediums and develop new skills which I know I’ll take forward into my final year.

To keep up to date on University coronavirus guidance and information, visit the student guidance and FAQ page.

The benefits of living at home during your degree

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by Emily, BA(Hons) History

Living at home while studying at university, sounds boring doesn’t it?! You might think it means not as many friends or not a big social life. As a stay at home student myself, I’ve lived to tell the tale, and boring isn’t the case. In fact, I would describe my first year at university as quite the opposite – fun.

Continue reading “The benefits of living at home during your degree”

Why choose Bristol?

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by Mercedes, BA(Hons) Drama and Creative Writing

To choose to live in Bristol as a student is to choose to enter into a completely different way of exploring, moving, creating and living. There isn’t a corner of the City that isn’t signed with some form of creativity and individuality, and they’ve left no room to question the authenticity of the people and appreciation of the history.

Bristol has mastered a way of being all-inclusive

Mercedes

Bristol has mastered a way of being all-inclusive — from the party-goers to the theatre-goers, to those who prefer artisan coffee shops and a good page-turner, to those who are desperate to keep the kids entertained for half-term, to the history fanatics, to those who love a good shaded spot on the grass with good company, to those who love a bit of ‘me time’ — there is something here for everybody.

To all of the foodies out there, you won’t be left disappointed. I’m yet to find a cuisine that doesn’t have its own place. They’re dotted all over the City too: Harbourside, Stokes Croft, Gloucester Road, Clifton, Cabot Circus, Cribbs Causeway — thank me later, and “Bon appetit!”

Creatives, whether on your own or with a group, a whole weekend can be planned to get the creative juices flowing. You can go to places such as the Arnolfini or Spike Island, or get lost in the fresh air up at the Clifton Suspension Bridge, or even in the array of quirky cafes to plan your next project.

Bristol has an amazing understanding of community

Mercedes

Bristol has an amazing understanding of community, and it’s almost as if everyone and everything is working in tandem to keep the buzz of the City alive. Every campus has a different atmosphere, but all comfortable in their own right, and you can feel the drive of each student independently yet collectively working together to create two of the best Universities in the UK.

No matter where you’re coming from, Bristol is definitely a home away from home — and the more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it.

Find out more about living and studying in Bristol

Top tips on how to engage with your course

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by Ethan, LLB(Hons) Law

Engaging with your course is about more than just making sure you attend lectures and complete course work (although it does play a part), its also about interaction with others and having the the right mindset to do it for yourself. In my first year I found that the more you put in, the more you get out, whether that is socially or on an educational basis.

Engaging with your environment is so important when wanting to benefit fully from university, however it isn’t easy for everyone to just throw themselves into, which was definitely something I struggled with at the beginning. Hopefully this will tell you how I did it and show you how you can too.

Engaging with your environment is so important when wanting to benefit fully from university

Firstly, the more groups you form and surround yourself with, the easier you’ll find it. A way that I went about approaching this and that went great for me was connecting to people through societies related to my course. These societies perfectly pair both social and educational engagement in a very fun way. This also goes for other groups you can take part in. For me it has been pro-bono groups in law, that allowed me to do actual legal work, connecting me with people from inside and outside the university whilst having a great focus on my legal degree. Groups will also get you involved in web pages and group chats that can also be a great help. I also applied to be a student ambassador which is a really great way to not only get work but also allowed me to form relationships with people who were like minded.

When I first moved to this university I knew very few students and all my flat mates were on a different course. This made lectures quite daunting as I would attend alone and knew no one and it made me less engaged with my course and the university as a whole. However purely just by attending frequently and sitting in the same place you meet others around you who are also doing the very same, making that daunting environment a comforting one. This also gets you into a mental routine which allows you to be more rigid with yourself, so you don’t begin to fall into the downward spiral of not attending lectures and workshops.

There are many ways that will allow you to engage at university, it’s just down to you to take those opportunities.

I discovered that the more you engage with others around you the more comfortable they will feel talking to you and this is something that you can benefit from. For example, when I was first set coursework I went away and worked without discussion and kept my thoughts to myself. My work came back okay but it turned out it had been similar to the others and did not stand out. However, when the next set of coursework came around, I made use of the social connections I had established with my peers and discussed the topic with them. This allowed us to cover areas through in-depth discussion that we might not have otherwise had and corrected one another when we were wrong. This significantly improved our coursework.

It’s my opinion that commitment is key to engaging as well. Commitment opened the door for me to be able to consistently be in the loop, preventing myself from isolation and becoming unfamiliar with my work and those around me. I find it difficult to be able to learn and work to my full potential when other things are on my mind and so feeling settled and comfortable in lectures has helped me focus more on my studies.

My main message is that there are many ways and opportunities that will allow you to engage with your course, it’s just down to you to take those opportunities. Hopefully this has shown you just how easy such opportunities can come about and how you can make the most from them and how you will benefit as a result.

Find out more about how to engage with your course and why it’s so important.

Why my course was the best thing for me

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by Mercedes, BA(Hons) Drama and Creative Writing

So, University? Well, I can do nothing but congratulate you on your decision, as you’ve decided to take this route and start a new journey filled with adventure, exploration and memories. However long your course is, it flies by so quickly that you sometimes forget to make good use of what’s being offered to you. But UWE Bristol has some of the best facilities I’ve seen, has impressive networking connections that can get you some more experience under your belt, and some of the most supportive and down-to-earth staff I’ve met — it’s very hard to miss out!

There’s a moment in every students life, where you absolutely regret every decision you’ve made to lead you up to this point. Maybe you aren’t adjusting to the pace and weight of everything just yet, or maybe you haven’t made as many friends as you’d anticipated, or you’re just plain old homesick. It happens. Are you even a student if at some point you don’t question everything though? University is an amazing time, but a challenging transition in your life. During my gap year, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to accept the offer they’d given me anymore due to fear of not giving it my all; Nevertheless, finding the courage to make that jump has changed my life for the better, and I know for a fact that UWE Bristol was the best for me.

The Campus was so full of energy and people just being themselves. What more could I ask for?

I remember coming to the Open Day on my own, really nervous and really vulnerable and it wasn’t like I had to speak to over 200 students to convince them that this course was the best one — my only job that day was to show up! I remember sitting in a room full of strangers who seemed to already know each other and waiting for the presentation to begin. I remember sitting there and thinking “You know what? Maybe this isn’t for me.” But, then I remember the course leader standing centre stage (Being a drama course, they do set the atmosphere for you. You’ll see what I mean), introducing himself and I kid you not, I knew there and then that this was where I was supposed to be. The course structure was genuinely what I needed (No written paper exams and a choice to perform my dissertation? Um, hello?!), all of the module leading staff were so welcoming and their presentations sounded so interesting, and the Campus was so full of energy and people just being themselves. What more could I ask for?

Drama and Acting is such a jam-packed course, and there are very little gaps for anyone to say that there isn’t anything for them! They make their modules so interesting that you don’t even realise that you’re learning half the time, and in such a subtle way they allow you to evaluate not just how the task worked practically, but personally how you connected to it. They’ve found a very intrinsic way of connecting the personal to the practical so you know what works best for you, which helps you in the future with catering study to your needs. Secondly, their connections with theatres all over Bristol give you some awesome venue choices to make and perform your work. It’s like this big, odd but fun family in the City Campus where everyone’s doing their own thing and it’s somehow working together to create this magnetic energy.

UWE Bristol makes you more confident, more determined and more open.

After many conversations with my bedroom wall and ceiling in the late nights, I remembered that my future was just that — mine. There’s something quite freeing with being a student, it’s as if you have this backstage pass to so many opportunities that can cater to your course, and things that have nothing to do with it. You meet so many people from completely different walks of life, and University is the perfect place to allow your mind to open; your way of living isn’t the only way! Honestly, second year in, it can still be quite daunting being around so many new people, in a completely different city, but believe me — it gets so much easier and so much better. Your independence increases each year and with that freedom comes more adventures to take in order to pursue your career. UWE Bristol has this great way of allowing the student to dictate their career choices and the level of excellence they want to get. This place makes you more confident, more determined and more open. If you need stretching without dictating force then this is the perfect place for you.

Explore. Save your money (please). Make friends. Live a little. Laugh. Cry, seriously. Join the societies. Study, most importantly and enjoy yourself. Your future is yours, it’s up to you to get it!

Find out more about our Creative Arts courses

How my degree prepared me for the world of work

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by Anastasia, BA (Hons) Architecture and Planning

In July 2019 I graduated from BA (Hons) Architecture and Planning with a First Class degree. Looking back now, I can’t believe that I ever doubted my decision to study in the UK and in particular to study Architecture and Planning at UWE Bristol. I feel super lucky and am glad I chose to follow my inner voice.

Why go to university?

I feel that my degree gave me a kick-off start to my career and also my personal development. It started with a great supportive and diverse bunch of people that I was studying with, and our brilliant lecturers. To be honest, coming from Russia, I did not expect to form such strong bonds with lecturers that made me feel worthy, valued and heard. These four years (it was a four-year programme for me as it is a sandwich course) changed my attitude towards myself. I can tell that I ended up feeling more confident and able to aim high. A lot of that was a result of lecturers being very attentive and open-minded, encouraging students to make their own decisions and take their own paths with a careful guidance from the university environment.

How to make the most of your university experience.

I have been heavily involved with out-of-curriculum activities that university has to offer. Some of the things I have enjoyed most were:

  • Taking part in a range of societies, mainly as a part of the committee (ESN Exchange society and Built Environment Society). I particularly enjoyed being on the other side of the events held, by getting involved and helping to organise them.
  • Being a PAL (peer assistant learning) leader, which means helping first year students with modules that I had already been through. (This is a paid role that really boosted my confidence and ability to speak in front of an audience)
  • Language exchange buddy – my Italian friend and I agreed to have weekly hourly sessions, during which she was teaching me Italian and I was teaching her Russian. (This was really useful when I was preparing for my Erasmus exchange experience that I talk about later on)
  • Green Team events and forestry volunteering – This environmentally-oriented team hosts a wide variety of events, including fortnightly meetings, that involve activities such as going to Stokes Park to clean up the forest. This is with a mix of other students from a range of different courses and years.
  • Being part of the UWE Bristol Jazz band as a singer allowed me to develop in that field as well. I was surrounded by talented musicians with whom I performed weekly in the Students’ Union bar and at a range of other events, such as at the Bristol Hotel and at the ‘We The Curious’ museum.

CV Boosting opportunities

In terms of more educational experiences, again, my course offered plenty.

  • Every Thursday during term-time, a guest speaker from industry came in to give a lecture. This was open to all and conveniently hosted in R block where all architecture and product design students are based.
  • My course had RIBA and RTPI accreditation which means that my peers and I have a free RIBA and RTPI membership. This allows us to go to a multitude of events in Bristol hosted by those bodies and take part in RIBA Mentoring scheme in the final year.

A quick showing off moment – my dissertation has been nominated for the RIBA Presidents’ Medal in 2018. This has been one of the highlights of my professional path and would not have been possible if my course had not been accredited.

Anastasia
  • Erasmus exchange – An  opportunity that I have been delighted to be part of that allowed me to study in the University of Bologna for one year as a part of my course. This made my university experience even more full and rounded, allowing me to learn Italian language, culture and be introduced to Italian way of thinking about architecture and urban planning.
  • Hong Kong study trip with the Built Environment Society – a university-funded summer school which has brought twenty UWE Bristol students to a partner university in Hong Kong, allowing us to explore engineering methods used on the other side of the planet.
Beautiful Bologna!

And imagine, these are only the highlights. In between these have been multiple competitions, site visits, ceremonies, nominations and, most importantly, full days of hard work. Yes, it was tough at times but totally worth it. All thanks to people and an environment that let me shine and feel happy throughout. Yes, it is all about feeling satisfied and accomplished with what you do, at least for me it is so. And UWE Bristol allowed me to have this worth-while experience that started me off well on my professional path as well as in other aspects of my life.

Find out how a degree from UWE Bristol can prepare you for the world of work.

UWE Bristol’s got your back

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by Rapha, BSc(Hons) Urban Planning

How UWE Bristol supports my studies

Support is something we all need from time to time. UWE Bristol has provided me with a range of support both when I was struggling academically and adapting to university life. I found support from all angles, from academic support to personal support, I have used PAL, tutors, student advisors, info and visa hub as well as the career advisors.

Moving away from home

Moving to a new place where everything is new, can be quite overwhelming. That’s why the more support you get the better your experience will be. In whatever area you might need help, there will be a support system available for you because UWE Bristol knows how stressful it can be at times with these big changes.

Here are a few aids I have used in the past, and will continue using when I need it:

Peer Assisted Learning (PAL)

This is a scheme where students from the year above help the newer students. For example, they will provide you with tips on how to cope with the work load but still have fun. They can try explaining some topics in a simpler way than lectures to give you a better understanding. PAL helped me from the beginning to the end of the year as it gave me a student perspective on the work load. I was then able to divide and conquer, and created myself a successful schedule. They also gave great tips based on the mistakes they had made. This really helps you settle in as you can ask them where things are or the questions you wouldn’t want to ask your lecturers. You can almost say they are like your academic lifeline.

“You could say that the PAL team are like your academic lifeline. “

Rapha

Tutors

I personally think that tutors were and are the best academic support for me. This is because they know your course, can give you advice on how to improve but also assist you on things like your coursework or exam preparation. Plus, they will know who to contact, if you need extra help and more.

IT services

My email account once got hacked right before my three main coursework assignment deadlines. Because of this I had to deactivate and block my account. However, this meant I still couldn’t login and that caused me to panic. I contacted the info hub who then contacted IT and within one visit they got the hacker completely out of my account, helped me resubmit my courseworks and taught me how to prevent this happening again. I couldn’t be more happy once I left the IT offices.

I have used many of the support services and resources throughout my time at UWE Bristol and I plan to continue using them because they are so good and are there for us!

“I am so glad to have chosen UWE Bristol. ”

Rapha

They have helped me so much, through various situations and I felt like my transition from sixth form to university went much smoother because of it. I am so glad to have chosen UWE Bristol.

Find out more about support at UWE Bristol