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Thread: Comtemporary Applied Art Degree or Not?

  1. #1
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    Default Comtemporary Applied Art Degree or Not?

    Hello,

    Just wanting your opinion on this. I have been attending various workshops, and getting tuition privately for the last 2 years. However, I wanted a qualification, and decided to apply to a university course in contemporary applied arts (being the only course with a qualifiaction where I live). The course tutor at interview said to me that what i had been doing so far was more skills based, and the degree focuses more on cutting edge pieces. Speaking with the students, none of them where actually working with precious metal, and most were working with materials such as string, wood, plastic, paper, and sometimes copper. The tutor wanted to make sure I was ok with doing more 'out there' pieces of work. I left feeling a bit looked down upon for doing what was mostly 'skills based'. Do you think it is good to have a qualification such as this, or is it just as beneficial to be self taught/trained one to one through workshop training etc.
    You can see my work at www.carolinestokesberrylee.com

    Thanks, Caroline

  2. #2
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    I've never done a degree, so I really don't know how much benefit you'll get from it. My assistant did a degree in silversmithing and was very disappointed that it mostly seemed to be design and theory. She says she's learned far more in my workshop than she did at college, where she really wasn't prepared for the real world. On the other hand, you may absolutely love the uni experience.

  3. #3
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    Hi Caroline
    I did a degree back when it was very much skills based and I know how to make things which I may never need to make again! I believe depending on which college that it is now more of a design and technical course with not so much hands on working with metal. To me that means that the hand made traditional skills that I learnt aren't being taught and I believe it's important to learn the basics first before you become 'cutting edge'. Maybe that's my age I made a piece this week that people are saying is steampunk ! I hadn't even heard of steampunk till I joined the forum let alone know what it looks like!!
    Looking at the course you are interested in it's pretty much what some colleges are churning out and I wouldn't have called it cutting edge. Do you feel you would get anything out of working in those materials just to get a qualification when you obviously have skills that are most probably more advanced than anything that course provides?
    I now think there are more benefits from one to one teaching at the bench as Carole says, if that's available to you.

  4. #4
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    I can't see the need for a piece of paper. Your work speaks for itself. Beautiful and competent.
    Do clients ever ask what qualifications you gained or do they look at your work and make up their minds there & then?
    My personal opinion is that you will learn far more that is relevant to the sort of work you want to do with private tuition and/or the odd workshop.
    The ideal set up would be an apprenticeship, but it would probably still take years to get where you are now.
    All the best
    Theresa

  5. #5
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    I have a degree in Biomedical Sciences, haven't used it in 12 years, my jewellery is mostly self taught with courses and workshops over the years, I now study an action learning MBA; very useful for the business, completely unimportant for my customers...
    Last edited by art925; 02-04-2014 at 02:03 PM.
    Poor old Les

  6. #6
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    If you want to teach in a college, or just feel that you need exposure to a design orientated course, then this is for you. As someone who was taught for years by a college tutor, I am quite used to being called a mere technician.

    The truth is that what I am now lacking is experience at the bench, where my boss is likely to know the best solution, for realising a design. Unfortunately, this kind of teacher is more likely to be critical of uncommercial and unusual ideas. So sadly I think you need experience of both, but with care you can find it in regular part time courses. Dennis.

  7. #7
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    It depends what you want to do. If you want to explore materials, design, stuff like that then the degree is a possibility. It you want to learn practical skills so you can make stuff and sell it, I'd say organise some sort of apprenticeship or evening class type learning.
    (Oh, and my degrees are in Law and I taught that at university, then escaped!)
    Author: Pearls A Practical Guide
    www.pearlsapractical.guide
    www.Pearlescence.co.uk

  8. #8
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    There will be many opinions about qualifications on this forum. I think you have answered your own question saying that you want some paper qualifications. One benefit of qualifications and degrees is that you will be accepted into the teaching brigade if you ever wanted to join. I remember in the past being told that I was not able to teach my skills in a college as I didn't have the paperwork required to be a teacher.
    I didn't see any mention on your website of where you have learned your skills so far. I am afraid I have no experience of college or university training as I left school at the age of 15 and started my 6 year apprenticeship. My master was against letting his apprentices attend college so all I learnt was from watching others in the workshops.

    James

  9. #9
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    I have a degree in Social Administration and Policy, but always have been more creative, and feel like I chose the wrong path back then! I have already attended a short night course in silversmithing, which got me started. I then set up my own studio, and since then I have attended a couple of one to one workshops, but mostly I have been teaching myself! I have arranged ongoing tuition on a one to one basis to start soon, but also have this degree as an option. To be honest, I was put off the degree more by the attitude of the tutor who seemed to look down on the more 'skills based' learning....which as one of you rightly stated, is a must to do anything cutting edge. I wasn't overly impressed with the work that was being produced by the students already there, though they said they really enjoyed the course. And none of them were working with silver, infact most seemed to be working with old spoons.....not really cutting edge in my opinion!

  10. #10
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    I think you've answers your question Caroline, you are better than that course at least

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