Access to HE delivered in Further Education helps people become artists and designers


People who have dreams or aspirations about becoming artists, designers, film makers or craftspeople sometimes are dissuaded from this. The barriers to fulfilling these dreams may seem insurmountable; in some cases parents want their children to study for a trade in an industry that seems less precarious than the arts. The class, gender and race positions of students can also influence their decision not study within the creative arts. However, some people regret not following this particular career route; feeling they have somehow missed out on something fundamental to their sense of identity. Some people see themselves as creative individuals and want to live a creative life. The Access to HE Diploma in Art and Design helps students develop a portfolio for entry onto creative degree. As an Access teacher of thirteen years I have often heard that this opportunity has changed people’s lives for the better.
My research during the last six years has been about collecting the stories of Access art students and how they have gone on to study in higher education.
One example was a mature student called Vince who was in his early 50s and had always wanted to go to art school. He left school early to please his parents so he could get into a trade. However, he always regretted not going to art school so he attended evening classes in jewellery making. Then he studied an Access to HE Diploma in Art and design. Vince went onto to do a degree and now he is exhibiting as an emerging artist. He also takes on small photography commissions. His life is totally different and he has achieved one of his dreams.