Head of Programme Welcome

Dr Birgitta Hosea, Head of Programme, Animation

The Animation programme is a world leader in practice and research, with a commitment to broadening the understanding of our complex discipline. Established over 30 years ago, the programme has an international reputation that places it at the forefront of the discipline. Within the programme there are three distinct pathways: Documentary AnimationExperimental Animation and Narrative Animation, one of which students select as part of their application.

The programme’s location within a visually sophisticated, multidisciplinary art and design school, rather than a film school, is crucial in the development of creative and critical thinking, research skills and expanded discipline expertise that’s applied to ideas, styles, genres and technological approaches. Both the MA and research degrees attract artists and makers from a broad background of disciplines: science, maths, architecture, literature, art history, computing and fine art, as well as communication.

We offer a unique learning and teaching environment, developing the creativity and skills required in an age of rapid cultural and technological change. Our students contribute to this expanding and maturing field of moving image, with core skills centred around directing, narrative and production. We offer an exceptionally stimulating multidisciplinary environment, complemented by the College’s award-winning programmes in art and design. The curriculum allows students to explore the creative slip between diverse forms of moving image: animation, documentary, fiction, process and interactivity. Through innovative, practical research and an understanding of different contexts, traditions and histories, students learn through a potent combination of workshops, lectures and tutorials, while developing their own practice, individually and collaboratively.

Leading practitioners on the programme bring a wide range of practice and research, their excellence of teaching supported by a wide variety of visiting established filmmakers/artists of international reputation. Recent visiting artists have included Stephen Quay, Suzan Pitt, David O’Reilly, John Smith, Nina Sabnani, Hiraki Sawa, Peter Blegvad, Asif Kapadia, Philip Hunt, Nick Park and Jonathan Hodgson.

The Animation programme has a world-leading research environment, attracting funding from, among others, the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, and the Medical Research Council. 

Students are encouraged to develop a critical discourse around their subject, as well as building on and challenging notions within their own personal areas of interest or specialism. The programme has an ongoing relationship with the most successful and innovative sectors of the UK animation industry – Blink, Nexus, Studio AKA, Passion Pictures and Hornet – which allows students’ work to be placed within a wider professional context.

The programme offers excellent facilities supported by knowledgeable technical staff, including shooting studios for stop-frame/green screen, sound recording/mixing, digital and film cameras/editing, Cintiqs and an individual desk space for each student in mixed studios within the School of Communication.

The MA programme and research degrees offer a holistic environment that prepares animation artists for a number of roles within gallery- and industry-based animated filmmaking, and provides innovators to the animation professions. 

Current students and graduates continue to have a ‘real-world’ impact on animation, pushing the forefront of the practice and producing innovative and highly accomplished work. Much of this has been demonstrated through the accolades bestowed on the programme, as well as by individual student achievement through winning awards such as 5 BAFTAs, the Royal Television Society, the Adobe Achievement Award, and Jerwood Moving Image Drawing Prizes. Exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide, together with film screenings at festivals and broadcast licenses with television and Internet channels, allow students to increases their professional profile.

Drawing is an important and valuable part of the animation filmmaking process and key to developing visual thinking. Skill in drawing enables students to visualise ideas and to create order and sequence to communicate their ideas via the screen and other media. The Animation programme runs a series of animation specific workshops, which focus on developing skills in drawing movement, sequential thinking, visualising thoughts, memories, and the potential development of new approaches to drawing.

"Our graduates shape the progress of animation in- and outside the expanded industry as innovative writers, designers and directors."