How studying at Bower Ashton Campus inspires my creativity.

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By Imogen, BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles

Bower Ashton is part of UWE Bristol’s City Campus and is only a 20-minute bus journey to the city centre. Right next to the campus is Ashton Court which is an 850-acre country estate and a great place to escape to when uni gets a bit stressful.

For any football fans, Ashton Gate stadium is an easy walk from the campus. Alongside hosting football games, they also have live music and recently a drive-through cinema. One of Bristol’s iconic landmarks is Clifton suspension bridge which is only a half an hour walk away which is a great place to admire the beautiful surrounding area.

What do I like most about the campus?

The Open Spaces

Before I moved to Bristol I lived in Devon and was constantly surrounded by greenery and large open spaces. I was worried that this is something that I would miss when living in the city. However, the Ashton Court Estate and the deer park next to the campus is an amazing place to escape to. During our lunch breaks me and my friends would take a walk through the surrounding grounds and take a picnic which is a great way to relax and enjoy the outdoors. The short walk up to Ashton Court carpark has amazing views of the city. From here you can also take a route through the woods close by and this will take you up to Clifton Suspension bridge.

Nearby Aston court estate.

One of the main features that attracted me to UWE Bristol is the location of the campus I would be studying on. As I study fashion textiles and take a lot of inspiration from nature and different textures and themes, Bower Ashton is an amazing location that is both close to the city centre but also surrounded by so much nature.

From the fourth floor (Fashion Textiles floor) you can get some amazing views from our studio spaces and I have found this can really help inspire my work.

Imogen

The location

Due to being so close to the city centre it is a great for those who have part time jobs in the city and finding placements or internships close by. Part of the course is usually based in the Arnolfini or the Watershed (right by Bristol harbour) for lectures as part of the Visual Culture module that most creative courses have. Its easily accessible from campus meaning you can go to the lectures and then go back to use the library or equipment. I enjoyed going to these venues as they are right in the city centre, meaning afterwards it’s a short walk to get to Bristol Shopping quarter or to go out for a meal in one of Bristol’s many restaurants and cafes!

From Bower Ashton Campus there are regular buses that take you all the way through the city centre to Frenchay Campus which is great for joining societies or going to SU events at the main campus.

When looking for a flat for second year we found that Bedminster, Southville and Hotwells are great places for Bower Ashton students to live, close by to both the campus and the city centre. Alongside this Bedminster is a great place to visit to see some amazing street art and enjoy some local independent businesses.

The Buildings and Facilities

On my UWE Bristol open day, I was really impressed by the facilities available compared to other Uni’s I had looked at. Since then part of the main building has also been refurbished and a new block has been built.

The facilities are vital for the course and every student has access to everything across the campuses.

Imogen

Inside the campus has its own art shop which has also recently been refurbished which is great for buying course supplies. The uni also provides a £70 fund for eligible students and this can be used in the art shop as well as paying for use of equipment (embroidery machines, screen printing, laser cutting.) This money has been extremely helpful when studying and any that you don’t use gets rolled over to the next year!

The new Physical Making building at Bower Ashton campus.

The Library

The library is definitely one of my favourite places to get work done in because of the lovely views of the surrounding grounds and of all the resources available. Students are able to hire out MacBook’s using their student cards and the laptops have access to software’s such as: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, etc. This is great for students who may not have access to this software on their own laptops or don’t have one. The library is a great place to research because of the large variety of books, magazines, DVDs, journals, etc available and most can be borrowed out for a whole year.

I found that their archive of fashion and textile magazine has been a great help for my course.

Imogen

Having access to the printers is another great thing about the library as you have £20 printing credit at the beginning of each year which has really helped complete my sketchbook work.

Find out more about our campuses.

How studying at the Arnolfini has opened doors for my creative career.

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By Chloe, UWE Bristol graduate.

The benefits of studying at the Arnolfini

For the last three years, I have studied BA Fashion Communication at UWE Bristol. My primary campus was at the Arnolfini (Part of UWE Bristol’s City Campus), and one of Europe’s leading centers for contemporary arts; hosting guest speakers, art exhibitions, music and film events.

Prior to moving to Bristol, I lived in a small village in the countryside, but studying at the Arnolfini allowed me to become immersed in city life. As a graduate from UWE Bristol, I really enjoyed studying at the Arnolfini due to the central location, the opportunity to collaborate, and the support provided by staff.

The city centre location

The Arnolfini is situated on the picturesque Bristol Harbourside, surrounded by thriving bars and restaurants, it is one of my favourite spots to go to in the city. The campus is accessible by bike, bus or train and within walking distance of the major shopping centre, Cabot Circus.

A real benefit of studying at Arnolfini is being located within walking distance to both arts, historical and cultural landmarks including the city Cathedral, Bristol Hippodrome, MShed Museum and Watershed Cinema. With so much going on around you, it enriches your experience and studies with the range of activities and events.

A beautiful Bristol Harbourside sunset.

Support and collaboration

Inside the UWE Bristol campus, students have access to a number of computer suites where IT Staff provide technical support, offer workshops and help to bring your ideas to life. Across the creative campuses, collaboration is encouraged especially when sharing the facilities with Fashion Communication, Graphic Design, Illustration and Fine Art.

I enjoyed being able to work with fellow creatives on internal projects, which has now given me the confidence to approach external individuals and network.

Chloe

As a graduate

Studying at the City Campus in Arnolfini, I became familiar with the city, surrounding businesses and prospect work opportunities. Since graduating in June 2020, I have worked as an in-house graphic designer and now secured an internship in a Bristol-based creative agency. My confidence to network and collaborate is down to studying at UWE Bristol, in the heart of the city.

Find out more about City Campus.

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.

Enhancing my employability from home

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by Chloe, BA(Hons) Fashion Communication

Now my three years of studying at UWE Bristol has come to an end, I’m in the same position as many other graduates, wondering what we can be doing during the pandemic to boost our employability, from home.

Leaving education was a scary feeling and to ease the transition into job hunting, I decided to continue to educate myself whilst seeking employment. For me, I wanted to use this time to build and grow myself as an individual by learning new skills.

How to learn new skills after you graduate

During lockdown, I wanted to build my CV and show potential employers what I have been up to whilst the world paused. So, I went online and found several great websites which provide a range of courses and some are even free:

  • LinkedIn Learning – online training
  • EdX – 2,500+ online courses from 140 institutions
  • Future Learn – a variety of online courses from Business & Management, Creative Arts & Media, to Psychology & Mental Health

There is such a variety of courses available and something for everyone, I recommend checking these sites out!

I’m currently working my way through a Consumer Behaviour and Psychology course which is topic that has always interested me, I just hadn’t had the chance to learn about it. The opportunity to continue learning and expand my knowledge is really exciting and it also helps to give structure to my days.

More importantly though, doing the course has given me a real sense of achievement and feeling of growth, which has been great during a time where life has a lot of uncertainties.

Why not do an online course?

Reach out and get networking

Something I would advise all students and graduates to do is network. The ability to meet valuable contacts, engage in dialogue and open conversations will really help your journey into a career. And as a graduate living in a digital age, it is easier now more than ever to reach out and contact people across the world.

As a creative, I have found contacting people through Instagram a very successful method. By having conversations with other creatives or companies about their work and their journey, it has really opened up new paths for me. For example, during the pandemic, I have offered my design skillset to a number of local and regional brands to help boost their interactions with customers and remain both relevant and visible in the eyes of their audience.

How to network from home

You may think, but where do I start?

Consider this – is there a company you aspire to work for? Is there an individual or collective that inspires your practice and profession? Well, reach out!

  • Email – for the best chance getting a response from a company, try and find a specific named email and avoid “info@” addresses.
  • LinkedIn – find the company, job role and individual you want to directly contact.
  • Phone – this may seem a bit daunting, but simply picking up the phone and having a conversation with someone will get this networking process out there faster
  • Instagram – contact the individual who inspires you and show your interest in their work.

Once you have connected with someone, ask them questions. How did they get into this career? What advice do they have for graduates wanting to pursue a career in X? What are the stepping stones, or journey you need to take to get to that point?

And finally…

Securing the perfect job isn’t easy, but keep searching, learning and networking, and you’ll get there.

And remember, as graduates we will continue to have access to the University career services, including coaching appointments for 3 years after graduating and use of the Career Toolkit and vacancy search for life!

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

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