About the faculty
An Art School Experience in a Contemporary University
Swansea College of Art at UWTSD was founded over 170 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.
Swansea College of Art is based at the multi-million pound Dynevor Campus, the Alex Design Exchange and BBC building in the center of Swansea.
As an Art College, we respect and celebrate our traditions, which is why we have retained traditional equipment and processes in the areas of ceramics, glass, printmaking and photography. But we are also forward-looking, and the College is bristling with new technology. We are proud to have specialist state-of-the-art equipment to meet the needs of individual programmes, from a water jet cutter, digital photographic and textile printers, laser cutters and digital ceramic print facilities to editing suites and TV & Film studios, including access to the latest Ultra HD RED camera.
So, whether you choose to work with traditional processes or new technologies, or across both, we have it here for you. The creative possibilities are as exciting as they are enormous.
We have built a good reputation over the past 170 years which is due largely to the success of our students and graduates. Many have gone on to distinguished careers in the arts, some have established multi-million pound design companies or are working as freelance artists and advertising agencies. Others are working for International companies such as Saatchi, Lego, McLaren and Jimmy Choo or for well-known filmmakers and media producers, including the BBC and ITV.
Our students are continually winning awards and are given the opportunity to exhibit throughout their courses. Graduate shows take place in Swansea and London with students showcasing their work at prestigious exhibitions including New Designers and D&AD New Blood. All our programmes benefit from a team of highly qualified staff who are research active, are exhibiting both nationally and abroad and are often involved in projects with industry.
The amount of contact time students get with our staff is also among the highest in the country. For those who wish to do so, there are opportunities to study certain aspects of Art & Design through the medium of Welsh.
We have designed modules that will help you gain employment skills and have excellent links with the creative industries and major manufacturing companies so that when you graduate you already have a ‘foot in the door’.
During your time with us, you will also have the opportunity to study abroad with the Erasmus exchange programme − currently running with universities in Norway, Barcelona and Finland. Students can also take up the opportunity to study a semester in the US.
Contact us at
Swansea College of Art UWTSD
De Le Beche street
All our courses 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.
Swansea is a great place to study A&D, a seaside city: big enough to offer you the space you need; small enough to make you feel that you belong. There are all the amenities and cultural activities that you would expect to find in a modern, vibrant, university city – theatres, cinemas, excellent galleries, museums, restaurants, bars and great student nightlife.
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 courses 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.
Sustainability is central to the University and Faculty and is embedded in all the courses.
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.
The Faculty has designed modules to help students gain relevant skills needed for employment and has excellent links with the creative industries and the gallery network so that students already have a ‘foot in the door’ before graduating.
Mark encapsulates all that we hope to instil in our students; an unquenchable thirst for creativity and design, an extraordinary energy for generating work and an openness for collaborating with like-minded creatives. He approached the Surface Pattern Design team last year having been inspired to do so after seeing our vibrant Instagram feed, commenting on the design ethos and energy shared by us and Eley Kishimoto. Since then we have been developing ways to work together and, as of this year, Mark has been appointed as Professor of Practice.
Eley Kishimoto has always strived to create work that is executed simply, clear in intention, exhibiting a unique creative air that rejects passing trends and fads, gracing the world’s catwalks via work with Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, Alber Elbaz and Jil Sander, to name but a few. Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto are currently artistic directors of a new line for the Japanese market Laura Ashley London and have collaborated on works with BMW motorbikes, Duvel beer, Incase (Macbook, iPhone, iPad accessories) and Vans Shoes among others.
We have worked with Mark Eley to design an innovative and beneficial way for his Professorship role to impact the Surface Pattern Design student experience.
Karen MacKinnon - Director and Curator of the Artes Mundi International Visual Arts Exhibition and Prize
Karen is a passionate advocate for the contemporary arts in Wales and has been an inspirational collaborator with Swansea College of Art for many years, commissioning staff and students for exhibitions, curating projects and by getting involved in our teaching programmes.
As Professor of Practice Karen continues to forge her close relationship with Swansea College of Art and we look forward to many more exciting collaborative projects with her.
Research and Innovation are well established within Swansea College of Art.
Academics in the Faculty are research active with many artists, designers and critical thinkers recognised as being at the cutting edge of their fields.
SCA has built up an international reputation for the quality of its research practice as evidenced in the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF). Many of the Faculty’s leading academics have been supported through research grants from AHRC, Leverhulme Trust, British Council, Wellcome Trust, the Arts Council Wales and Wales Arts International.
Our research can be broadly categorised as discipline specific, applied and practice-based, with a strong emphasis on interdisciplinarity. This is closely aligned with the Faculty’s Knowledge Transfer activities. The Faculty also places a major focus on its work with industry and the third sector.
SCA's applied research reflects an integrated approach to solving industry-led near-to-market problems. As well as being applied, solutions are also cross-disciplinary. The Faculty’s Schools, including CIRIC, have establised closer ties with external agencies and partners. The Faculty currently hosts regular interdisciplinary research meetings and facilitates knowledge exchange between researchers from across UWTSD and other universities.
In addition, SCA has established links with a number of commercial clients built up over the past 20 years. We have a strong reputation for business support and R&D funded through commercial contracts, ERDF and Interreg. Key to this is our Creative Industries Research and Innovation Centre (CIRIC) established in 2005.
Academics exhibit and publish both nationally and internationally and work with arts and cultural organisations throughout Europe, America and Asia to introduce innovation in art, design and media to new audiences.
Swansea College of Art’s research submission to the Research Excellence Framework was assessed under the auspices of the Wales Institute for Research in Art and Design (WIRAD); a partnership with art and design researchers at Cardiff Metropolitan University,the University of South Wales and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. The panel rated 97% of WIRAD’s research as international standard, with 75% rated as either Internationally Excellent or World Leading.
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
“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.
Students can also take up the opportunity to study a semester in the USA and Canada.
For more information please click here.