Trip Start May 04, 2007
16Trip End May 21, 2007
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I stayed with Lee in his computer suite and spoke with him about what I knew about the program so he could fill me in with more details. His students from his Year 2 course started coming about 9am. I found out that Lee has been at B&P College for 17 years and has always worked in the Graphic Design program. The program has several different levels... Foundation Diploma, Foundation Degree, Year 1, Year 2, and Year 3. He mentioned he had about 25 students in his Year 2 course. Students are accessed by their test scores, portfolio, and interview to decide which course level they can enter. You do not have to go through the different programs as a progression... but you can if you need to start lower due to test scores or level of portfolio work. The interesting thing is that Year 1 and Year 2 courses are one year in duration (3 terms) but Year 3 course takes 2 years (6 terms) to complete. The "Year" students take 3 trips a year and every year around Thanksgiving they go to New York as a group. The trips are funded by the college with the New York trip student funded (to a level). I also find it extremely interesting that students in this and other programs stay together. They follow through the different levels as a cohort.
The students had a 25 minute break around 10:30am so Lee took me to the lecturer lounge for a cup of tea and some chocolate (England's Kit Kat bar). We talked further about the structure of their classes and brainstormed some idea of working out an exchange program and what the students could get out of it.
Lee took me to Lee Williamson's office, Deputy Director of Art & Design, for a tour of the entire Creative Industries area of North Rd. Lee took me around to several different studio areas. Some of the studio areas are dedicated to specific program level courses. For example I saw several "design studios" but one was for Foundation courses, one for Year 2, and another for Year 3. Since all of these courses run at the same time and the students take the courses as a group you need separate facilities and equipment for each.
The 3D arts is a large section of the program. There is cast making, jewelry, sculpture, ceramics, and glass which Louise is coordinator of all. Louise mentioned the 3D programs had just moved to a new facility. It use to be the bricklaying facility so they are not use to all the space they currently have. A pottery shop in Poole just went out of business so the college was able to get a lot of shelves, lockers, and fired stoneware at a really good price to help population and organize the ceramics and 3D areas. The stoneware was a bunch of dinner plates which they purchased for the SLD (Severe Learning Disabled) students to paint and glaze. The jewelry was quite impressive. They have a separate design room where students create designs on paper working out the measurements and the aesthetics. They then have a studio with about 15 stations for small metal working
The glass blowing, or Hot Glass as it's referred, is a fairly new program. The Principle (seems close to an equivalent with our Chancellor), Rowland Foote was very proactive is wanting the hot glass as a program. The program is currently running as some recreational (or CE) time with a small handful of students who are working with sand casting once or twice a week. Not all the equipment is ready for the actual glass blowing part. They are hoping to get the program up and running but seems to be a fairly expensive program and they are currently looking into the workforce to see what possibilities these students will have if and when the program turns into a course. At the moment it will be part of the Foundation Diploma which is more of a survey course into all aspects of Art & Design.
The Year 3 students are given their own studio space to keep their work out instead of always putting up their work after the end of the day. I found this interesting. Most of the students had their work in some type of organization. Of course they are getting ready to have their FMP (Final Major Project) where they are having their entire portfolio is a portfolio show in June.
Just to give you an idea of what a typical student's week is like in Art & Design... the students will meet 3 days a week from 9am-5pm and a 4th day from 9am-2pm. Some of the programs go 5 days a week with M-W from 9am-5pm and TH-F from 9am-2pm. The students are only taking the classes that are in their "course" so just Art & Design subjects.
Lee Williamson took me to Louise's office which is actually a staff room where several lecturers use it throughout the day (they don't have their own space or their own computer... not much of a desk but a long counter that runs around the perimeter of the small room). I spent some time with her discussing what I had discovered on the tour and the discussion with Lee Knight (Graphic Design). A couple of lecturers who attending the short presentation I gave yesterday sought me out to ask more questions. I spent and hour or sun answering their questions, showing my WebCT classes to give an example of possible structure, and getting an understanding of where they had concerns/apprehensions. It was a good conversation and I got a better understanding of what I need to talk about and present tomorrow at the Teaching & Learning Forum.
Louise and I left campus and walked around the corner to a local sandwich shop. We had a nice little lunch and on the way back to the campus informed me that she and her students (not sure what Year students) were going on a coach (hired bus) to London on Tuesday to see the Surrealist Exhibition. Woo hoo! Free ride to London. Louise brought me back to the hotel around 4pm or so in the attempt I could get some work done before Lawrence picked us up for dinner at 7pm.
The 3 of us met Lawrence in the lobby of the hotel at 7pm and we walked down to an Indian restaurant called The Eye of the Tiger. We had a really nice meal with lots of dishes to try out. Matt and Tory said it was the first time they enjoyed having Indian food. I'd list what we had but I'd murder the spelling so you'll just have to imagine.