Develop a distinctive progression portfolio tailored to your continuing educational and professional journey in art and design.
- Early bird fee: £1,935
- ends 18 May 2023
- Regular fee: £2,150
- from 19 May 2023
9 x 4 hour sessions over 3 weeks
11am - 3pm BST per session
Week 1: 29 & 30 June, 1 July 2023
Week 2: 6, 7, 8 July 2023
Week 3: 13, 14, 15 July 2023
Complete the application form here
Delivered by the multi-disciplinary staff team of the Graduate Diploma at the RCA, this practical and advanced short course is ideal for:
- Those intending to progress in higher education within an art and design discipline.
- Artists and designers who seek career progression and personal development in professional practice.
Participants must bring an existing body of current creative work to work on during the course. This is what you will be using from the start of the course.
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 developed in Adobe InDesign, ready for making a relevant application in higher education or for presenting in a professional context.
This interactive course also offers a valuable and productive opportunity for networking and collaboration.
RCA academic staff teaching this course are all practising artists and designers.
Read the latest RCA News Story about the course here.
Applications are now open. Complete the application form here
About the course
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 more distinctive portfolio.
The three-week programme includes both taught sessions and independent exercises. The exercises and activities are designed to support you in developing your portfolio.
This will involve key aspects such as self-branding and editorial strategy, a practitioner statement and the critical commentary to support the body of work.
Week 1: Navigating your practice
- Pecha Kucha, lecture and seminars
- What is a portfolio and its application
- Introductory tutorials
- Begin developing your portfolio for screen or print publication
Week 2: Framing your practice
- Interdisciplinary collaborative project
- Developing a practitioner statement
- Interdisciplinary group project and team presentations
- Group tutorials on portfolio strategies and practitioner statement
Week 3: Presenting your practice
- Finalise your portfolio
- Individual tutorial to critique your approaches and guidance to support completion
- Group discursive portfolio reviews and progression advice
By the end of the programme, you will have a portfolio developed in Adobe InDesign. This will involve key aspects such as self-branding and editorial strategy, a practitioner statement and the critical commentary to support the body of work.
Personal and organisational benefits
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
- certificate of online attendance on successful completion
What will you learn?
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.
How will you learn?
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
Participants interact with academics and peers in breakout rooms in real time.
Participants will use Padlet, an interactive online platform for communicating and sharing ideas.
Through the online platform Padlet, participants get to:
- interact with peers and tutors
- 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 and tutorials.
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.
The course is convened by academic leader Richard Nash, Tutor (Research) in communication design on the Graduate Diploma Art & Design at the Royal College of Art and overseen by Gary Clough, Head of Programme, Graduate Diploma Art & Design.
The course contributors for the 2023 programme are:
- Dr Ekua Mcmorris, Tutor Graduate Diploma Art & Design and Artist, Academic Researcher and Photographer
- Dr Susannah Haslam, Tutor, Graduate Diploma Art & Design and Visiting Lecturer Critical & Historical Studies
- Cato Barend van Schalkwyk, Visiting Lecturer on the Graduate Diploma Art & Design and Creative Director
- Benji Jeffrey, Visiting Lecturer on the Graduate Diploma Art & Design and RCA Alumni MA Sculpture
- Alkesh Parmar, Tutor (Research) Graduate Diploma
- Whiskey Chow, Visiting Lecturer on the Graduate Diploma Art & Design and RCA Alumni MA Contemporary Art Practice (Performance)
Disclaimer: The list of contributors is subject to change depending on availability.
Who should attend?
Participants must bring an existing body of current creative work to work on during the course. This body of work is what you will be using from the start of the course.
Ideal for those intending to progress in higher education within an art and 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 seeking career progression and personal development in professional practice who wishes to pursue a course or career in this area.
- Freelancers or self-employed.
- Good command of English with 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)
APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN
Complete the application form here
Application deadlines 2023
- Participants are advised to apply early to avoid disappointment as places are strictly limited.
- We will start accepting applications from November 2022.
- Applications will be assessed by the RCA course team every 2 weeks until June 2023 or until the course is fully booked.
- We will inform all applicants by email within two weeks after they submit an application about whether or not they have been successful.
- Unfortunately we do not provide further feedback information.
- If the course is fully booked and your application is successful we will add your name to a waiting list.
How will I know that my place is confirmed?
The offer of a place will only be secured and confirmed when the RCA receives 100 per cent of the course fee payment. Places are secured on a first-come basis on receipt of appropriate payment.
How can I pay for the course?
The course needs to be paid in full by one instalment and via the online payment system using a debit or credit card. Once you are offered a place on the course you will receive a secure online booking link. Please complete the registration and booking process to make the booking. Please ensure that you are using the most up to date version of your internet browser. We regret that it is not possible to pay the course fee by instalments.
Watch the latest IN SESSION talk: Portfolio as Practice here
In this talk editor and curator Dr Gerrie van Noord, Gary Clough and Richard Nash discuss the importance of art direction, critical writing and content curation in the construction of a portfolio.
Using examples selected from their own practice and publishing projects, they explore how the portfolio, as a self-authored publication, can function in different contexts and for different purposes.
This is an opportunity to learn about some of the strategies that are important to positioning yourself through your portfolio to fully exploit your creative potential in art and design practice.
“The course was a great foundation for building a portfolio and understanding how to define and contextualize your practice for a variety of audiences. It was surprising to learn how portfolios are meant to not only present your final products, but also a chance to showcase your personality, interests, brand identity, processes, and experiments.”course participant August 2022
“By working with tutors teaching at the RCA, this course reaffirmed my intentions of applying for the Graduate Diploma programme in the near future!”course participant August 2022
“This course gave me invaluable experience that will inform my portfolios and rhetoric for many years to come. It opened my eyes to the depths of nuance and expertise that developing a portfolio can involve and I am very grateful for the experience”
“I received the guidance I have been craving for years with critical and optimistic feedback from enthusiastic tutors. Within a short time frame, the course helped me realise what it takes to transition into a creative practice and how to manoeuvre that shift realistically and effectively through portfolio work, from writing statements to the selection process.”
“Not only do you learn how to create the best portfolio, you also learn how to shape your future around art. This was a priceless experience with the top professionals industry.”
“The portfolio as a practice is inherently multidisciplinary. As a self-authored publication, a portfolio translates a body of work through thoughtful art direction, critical writing and content curation. A successful portfolio is the manifestation of a clarity in understanding where one’s practice is situated and how it is positioned.”Course Leader
“As a practitioner and educator, spanning craft and fine art practice, collaboration and interdisciplinary engagement is essential as a tool to both engage and contribute to the creative communities we belong to.”
Richard has 25 years’ experience as a practitioner, educator and researcher. Richard’s research and practice focuses on the designer as author, and self- and small-publishing.View full profile
Get in touch with Jo Chounta if you'd like to find out more about this or any of our other short courses.