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Portfolio Development

Develop a distinctive progression portfolio tailored to your continuing educational and professional journey in art and design.

Key details


  • Regular fee: £1935


  • Online

    August-September course


    Week 1
    19, 20, 21 August 2021

    Week 2
    26, 27, 28 August 2021

    Week 3
    2, 3, 4 September 2021

    4 hour sessions each day, 11am - 3pm BST

This course is ideal for any applicant intending to progress in higher education or in a career within an art or design discipline. Delivered by the multi-disciplinary staff team of the Graduate Diploma at the RCA, this practical and advanced short course offers expert advice in the application process, in studio practice, academic skills, and technical support.

Following an initial instructive tutorial identifying specific progression aims and requirements, you will be taken through an intensive process of positioning and presenting your practice, critically engaging with your work, and leaving the course with a distinctive portfolio.

Teaching and encouraging you to express yourself and your practice to a relevant audience, this interactive course also offers a valuable and productive opportunity for networking and collaboration.

About the course

Week 1

Initial Pecha Kucha, lecture and seminars

What is a portfolio and its application

Introductory tutorials

Week 2

Interdisciplinary three day group project

Lecture and workshop focusing on interdisciplinary ethos and approaches in collaborative working and personal portfolio

Group tutorials

Week 3

Team presentations and portfolio strategies

Student presentations

Group discursive portfolio reviews and progression advice

The benefits to you include:

  • identifying aims and requirements for progression at the RCA, or other institutions offering programmes in art and design, or in your professional practice
  • subject-specific guidance in one of our four pathways:
    • Communication Design
    • Fashion and Textiles
    • Fine Art
    • Product, Interior and Spatial Design
  • guidance on academic skills and English language support
  • opportunity for collaboration and networking
  • portfolio design, development and technical support.

You will learn to:

  • evaluate progression aims and requirements
  • discover your own personal creative practice, skills and ideas and how to situate them
  • position your practice in relation to progression objectives
  • develop strategies for presenting creative work in professional contexts
  • design a portfolio in preparation for application to a higher education programme in art and design at the RCA or elsewhere, and to use in professional practice for career progression.

Learning will take place online with a blend of guided contact time through lectures, seminars, workshops, as well as small-group and one-to-one tutorials. Over the duration of the three-week intensive programme, each week will have a focus. Activities will include:

  • positioning your portfolio for contemporary art or design practice
  • models for collaborative practice across disciplines
  • professional practice lectures.

The course is organised in synchronous sessions in a live virtual environment that combines various digital platforms and tools.

Using the videoconferencing service Zoom, the RCA's esteemed academics and facilitators deliver a mix of:

  • live lectures
  • case studies
  • guided assessments
  • presentations.

Participants interact with academics and peers in breakout rooms in real time.


Participants engage in cross-functional team work with the use of visual collaboration tools.

Through the online whiteboard platform Miro, participants get to:

  • interact with various formats and templates
  • plan and brainstorm ideas
  • create processes and workshop activities in the digital workspace.


The College's learning platform Moodle is personalised according to the course's requirements to provide participants with a secure integrated system where they can access the course content.

Moodle hosts a range of useful resources to enable the learning experience, including comprehensive timetables, pre-reading materials, course slides, curated videos, tutorials and session recordings.


Participants stay connected and communicate via the channel-based messaging platform Slack throughout the whole duration of the course.

In this space, the academics, facilitators and delegates get to network, plan the course activities, share documents and files during the live sessions or offline.

By the end of this course, you will have:

  • a clear understanding of your individual progression requirements
  • increased confidence in discussing and presenting your research and practice in a visual format
  • developed a tailored progression portfolio, ready for making a relevant application in higher education or for presenting in a professional context.

  • Those intending to progress in higher education within an art or design discipline, such as:
    • Level 5 programmes: e.g., HND, Foundation Degree (FdA), NVQ, professional certificates and diplomas or equivalent
    • Level 6 programmes: e.g., BA or equivalent
    • Education staff advising students on progression to RCA, including those from non-traditional art and design backgrounds
  • It is also appropriate for those who seek career progression and personal development in professional practice.
  • Anyone with no formal training or qualification in art and design who wishes to pursue a course or career in this area.

  • IELTS 5.5 minimum
  • An undergraduate degree in a related art or design field, or a demonstrably creative background
  • A body of current creative work in a digital format
  • Familiarity with industry standard software packages (e.g., Adobe InDesign, Photoshop)


Contact us

Get in touch with Jo Chounta if you'd like to find out more about this or any of our other short courses.

Email us at
[email protected]
Jo Chounta Executive Education Coordinator