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  • Writer's pictureAnna Billany

Thoughts on 2020 - Foundation Art and Design


From 2019-2020 I completed the University of Sunderland art and design foundation diploma because I wasn't sure what field of art I wanted to go into; I had more experience with academic subjects than visual arts so I chose the course to help me make some decisions.

The foundation year let us explore different mediums from photography to 3D design, and I met some incredible people on the course. It was great being able to mix with people with different philosophies when it comes to art, I ended up taking the fashion/textiles route but I tended to switch between mediums a lot as I'm indecisive and can't settle on one thing.

Print club was a highlight of my year, and it was great as we held exhibitions and learnt new skills every week or so. We made work as a collective and marketed ourselves by handing out little flyers and social media. We also got to work with loads of local artists and other students/alumni within the university, such as Heather Chambers who's a really cool illustrator. We got to make a publication with her about working class art, and I still follow her today as a huge inspiration.

Study trips and opportunities on the foundation course are great, we had a locally-focused study trip around Newcastle to BALTIC and Side Gallery, and in March we got to travel to Paris for a 4 night trip. Paris was incredible, as it was during fashion week. I spent the whole time keeping an eye out for Kim and Kanye (unsuccessfully). Jeu de Paume was a favourite for me and my friends, it had this incredible mix of freaky contemporary art based on the internet and algorithms.

I don't think anyone expected what 2020 had in store from us, as after March, just after completing my UCAS application - we were told to pack up our stuff and work from home.

I definitely struggled working from my bedroom, I'm a very social creature, so being stuck away from my friends and teachers was a massive pain for me. I also completely had to change my plan for my final major project from a fashion design concept to digital illustration due to constraints with resources - thanks covid.

After crying to my teachers about wanting to drop out, I actually did some work and got a distinction grade :0

I looked at nature to be my inspiration for my FMP, as I spent most of lockdown in the forests near my house trying to not lose my mind indoors. I made some cutesy animations as well to try and branch out, it wasn't what I set out to do but I ended up happy with the result.

The saddest part of the whole coronavirus affair was probably not being able to exhibit any work, which I was really looking forward to. Luckily we got to make a super funky website with all of our best work from the final major project, and it was definitely interesting seeing what people made from the confines of four walls for several months.

Lockdown inspired me to make this website where I could always have a platform to show my work, as the future of galleries is pretty uncertain in the current climate. I'll link my classes' work, they're all very cool and ultra-talented people, and I can't wait to see what we all end up doing.

Foundation Diploma Class of 2020


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