An Art School Experience in a Contemporary University

Swansea College of Art at UWTSD was founded over 160 years ago and has a distinguished tradition; described in Peter Lord's The Visual Culture of Wales as 'the most successful and prestigious art school in Wales'. Today we are at the forefront of creativity and employment.

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In 2005 the programmes moved into a purpose built multi-million pound 'Art School' in the heart of Swansea's Arts Quarter. In 2014 the Faculty expanded its world-class facilities with the opening of the £14m ALEX Design Exchange. These developments have ensured that Swansea College of Art provides thriving, creative environment for students, staff, alumni and visiting professionals.

The Faculty provision covers a wide range of programmes from Cert HE Art and Design Foundation, HND, Undergraduate, through to Taught and Research Post –Graduate Degrees. Subject areas cover the Fine and Applied Arts; Media, Digital Film and Television Production and Studies; Photography and Photojournalism; Surface Pattern Design, Textiles and Fashion Accessories; Graphic Design, Illustration and Advertising Design; 3D Computer Animation, Creative Computer Games Design, Creative Digital Media, Music Technology; Automotive & Transport Design, Product Design, Medical Product Design; Architectural Glass Arts, Glass and Glass with Product Design.

To arrange a visit us please book here.


All our programmes benefit from a team of highly qualified staff who are research active, are exhibiting both nationally and internationally, and many are also involved in projects with industry. Some of these staff have gained international reputations for their innovative research and creative practice. We have an excellent visiting guest lecturer programme with speakers of world class standing.

To see the faculty Staff Profiles please click here


Students are the heart of everything we do. It is due largely to our students and our graduates over 160 years that we have built the reputation that we have. Many have gone on to distinguished careers in the arts, some have established multi-million pound design companies and then employed former graduates.

Other graduates are working for well-known filmmakers and media producers, including the BBC and HTV. Our students are continually winning awards and are given the opportunity to exhibit throughout the duration of their courses.

Graduate shows take place in Swansea and London, with Design students showcasing their work at prestigious design exhibitions in London, Paris, India and China. In the most recent HEAD (Higher Education in Art and Design) survey of level 4 students, the Faculty received a score of 100% for student support.

We regularly update our facilities to ensure that students and staff have access to the most professional, cutting edge equipment and resources including the latest Apple Mac digital equipment for all our programmes, and specialist state-of-the-art facilities such as a water-jet cutter, digital photographic and textile printers, laser cutters and digital ceramic print facilities, editing suites and video resources, including access to the latest 3D film camera.

Our new ALEX Design Exchange will provide students with access to the latest WACOM Cintiq workstations for digital visualization and CAD. The new centre is also equipped with the latest Rapid Prototyping machines.

It is an important part of ‘who we are’ to encourage social and environmental responsibility in all its forms. The Faculty, staff and students run projects with charities, and work as volunteers on projects in the community. The regional and global community benefits from this collaboration as does the Faculty in providing a real world education.

During the final year all programmes include an ‘external project’. These projects have been operating successfully for many years and have often provided employment for our graduates. A wealth of professional and community projects provide many further opportunities for students and graduates. 

The Faculty also employs a Project Manager to help students with community engagement and charity work.

Sustainability is central to the University and Faculty and is embedded in all the courses. A new initiative INSPIRE, provides internships for students to work on a wide range of environmental and other sustainability projects. The University, through INSPIRE, won Best Sustainability Project at the first Guardian University Awards.

In 2014 new programmes are being validated that bring together the visual arts and environment. There are also a number of exciting research projects in this field, working for example with Botanical Gardens in China, and universities in Australia and the U.S.A. The Faculty is also home to the Institute for Sustainable Design a £4.7m project aimed at encouraging the design sector to become more sustainable.

Enterprise, one of the Faculty’s successes is leading the way in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship. As many of the graduates are working freelance, entrepreneurship has been a driver in the education of our students. Ideas, projects and pedagogy have been used as exemplars not only within the Art and Design but also in Business and Management Education. Sir George Cox, in his Review of Creativity in Business, commissioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, recognized that art, design and media students required the skills to market their work when they graduated and to communicate their ideas to a wide range of people. ‘

We need creative specialists who understand the environment in which their talents will be used and who can talk the same language as their clients and business colleagues.’ The Faculty has designed modules that help students gain these skills and has excellent links with the creative industries and the gallery network so that students already have a ‘foot in the door’ before graduating.

A considerable number of companies offer placements and employment for our students, for example Adjacent Productions have developed the old Ford Factory in Swansea into 14th Century Florence, complete with the Ponte Vecchio, streets and Da Vinci’s studio.

Students have worked in the costumes department, props, and in production and post-production of the TV series, Da Vinci’s Demons. With a successful second series and other film projects underway, the University has employed a PhD student to organize the many student opportunities available in these extensive studios. The Faculty publication Fast Forward has provided guidance to students from the Alumni, to help them with the university- work transition.

European Funded projects, from film through to textiles that work directly with companies throughout the region. Since 2005 the Faculty has successfully bid for over £8 million pounds of European funding for projects through the Creative Industries Research and Innovation Centre (CIRIC), an umbrella organization for several projects.

Current projects include ACT (Advanced Communication Technologies) an Interreg project working with SE Ireland and MIW2 (Moving Image Wales) which works with the TV, film and new media industries. The new ALEX Design Exchange will also house the Institute for Sustainable Design (ISD) and the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC).

Over the past ten years the Faculty’s research culture has been the focus of considerable investment and development. All staff are engaged in professional development and research. The RAE 2008 results showed that 85% of research submitted was of international quality.

Over the last few years the Faculty has been collaborating with WIRAD (Welsh Institute for Research in Art and Design) which provides greater opportunities for staff and students.


Much of UWTSD Art and Design research is conducted through the Wales Institute for Research in Art and Design (WIRAD). In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise the Art & Design panel rated 95% of the research submission as international standard, with 70% rated as either Internationally Excellent or World Leading.

WIRAD consists of centres, groups and networks under six over-arching themes; Applied Arts, Applied Design Research, Design Policy, Film, Photography and Digital Media, Fine Art and Performance and Pedagogical Research.

All our courses share a common philosophy to enable students to take full advantage of creative and vocational opportunities by focusing on the following:

Individuality, Creative freedom, Academic flexibility, Professionalism and Employability, Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, Community engagement…

We aim to develop every individual’s creative potential and then explore the career possibilities and help market those personal talents, passions and skills.

We have succeeded if students enter the courses with enthusiasm and leave us with a passion for their subject.

“The faculty is a fantastic place to study, offering a juxtaposition of both the traditional and the contemporary.”  Sarah Ellis, BA Fine Art

“My 3 years at Swansea were truly great. The course provided invaluable facilities and a great team of lecturers who really do know their stuff, which really helped my transition into industry as smoothly as possible. Always encouraging the students to creatively go above and beyond on each brief is something that has stuck with me throughout my career and continues to influence my design work”. Phil Rees, Graphic Design 

“I have no doubt in my mind, that Swansea helped me achieve my full potential as a Graphic Designer. The theory taught broadened my understanding of design. The work pushed my creativity in new, interesting ways, while the lecturers were both encouraging and insightful. If you’re considering a career in Graphic Design, I can recommend nowhere better”. Matthew Boyle graphic designer Lego Denmark

“The course has achieved something that other courses find difficult and that is that it has developed excellent professional practice links with industry. Successful collaborations with industry have enriched the course and maintain its strong commercial links.”Neil Breedon, BA Illustration

“The campus houses all the courses; with a cross course interaction that helps to create an art school feeling, integrating artists and designers to build a network of creatives, that lasts beyond graduation.” Tom Perou, BA Digital Film and TV Production

“The accessibility to state-of-the-art facilities, traditional workshops and studio spaces are invaluable and help to preserve the art school community.” Lloyd James, BA Surface Pattern Design

“You are taught with no hierarchy of medium, studying both traditional and digital practices; allowing students a freedom to learn and push the boundaries of their practice in a dynamic, creative environment.” Nicola Dowdle, MA Fine Art

“By doing the degree in the medium of Welsh, with tutors who understand the culture of the Welsh countryside and with experience of the Contemporary Art world, this gave me the personal resources to enable me to expand my ideas and themes visually.”Meinit Mathius, Celf a Dylunio

“I had a wonderful time at Carmarthen, helpful and supportive staff, excellent resources and if I were doing my masters I would definitely go back”. Natalie Dennis, BA Film

“Studying design at Swansea (UWTSD) was a great experience for me. The standard of one to one teaching was second to none and the state of the art facilities really allowed me to explore and develop my skills to the highest of industry standards. With sponsored industry involvement in projects it allowed me to gain a feel and understanding of the competitive industry I wanted to enter and helped to mould me into the designer I am today. Swansea (UWTSD) for me has really helped shape who I have become and I feel honoured to be able to say my success is down to the continued support and dedication of its tutors.” Peter Wilkins, McLaren Automotive Limited


During your time with us you will have the opportunity to study abroad with the Erasmus exchange programmes currently running with Universities in Norway, Barcelona and Sweden.

Study Abroad

Students can also take up the opportunity to study a semester in the USA and Canada.



For more information please click here.