The School is committed to providing an active and extensive discussion around professional practice, for the Ruskin recognises how important this conversation remains for artists who commit to a degree programme.
For all current students, the Ruskin hosts an annual career day to present and discuss the key issues affecting emerging artists. The Professional Practice Symposium includes a panel discussion with gallerists, curators, professional art critics and alumni who collectively address strategies for moving forward, and debate topics such as funding, copyright and representation. This career day provides an enormously beneficial platform for young artists to hear directly from those working in the creative arts as they plan and consider their next steps.
For undergraduate students, the School offers the Professional Practice Programme. This work experience initiative provides an opportunity to experience best practice within high level galleries, museums and arts organisations. The Ruskin sources placements from organisations nationally and internationally and seeks dynamic and ambitious host organisations. We develop these relationships in order to expand our young artists’ understanding of how diverse and inventive community involvement can be in the arts, as well as to broaden and deepen their knowledge of how organisations work with professional artists.
For the MFA students, in 2017 the Ruskin has begun a new collaboration with the British Council to offer three students the opportunity of a one month Research Fellowship at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Students will be able to undertake their own research whilst they engage with fellow artists, curators and writers (both emerging and established); witness and participate in the Biennale and its operations first-hand; and develop a connection with the respected organisation of the British Council, whilst working within the network surrounding the Biennale community. These are fully funded fellowships and provide a generous and exciting springboard into the next stage of their professional careers.
The Ruskin is also focused on providing opportunities to graduating students for the further development of their studio practice.
A collaboration with the Royal Drawing School has seen the introduction of an annual, fully funded artist residency at Dumfries House. One graduating student, from either the MFA or BFA programmes, is nominated to work for 2 weeks in the studios in Scotland, gaining the chance to experiment and explore with their studio practice beyond the intensity of working on the final degree related exhibitions. This provides valuable time back in the studio and the opportunity to join a new network of other emerging artists as they work together at Dumfries House.
For several years, the Red Mansion Foundation has generously offered graduating Fine Art students from seven of the UK’s key art schools, the opportunity to work in China on a fully funded artist residency through the Red Mansion Art Prize. The emphasis of this residency is the promotion and extension of cultural understanding between the two countries. UK artists live and work alongside local artists in Beijing and, on their return to the UK, collaborate on a group exhibition that celebrates the diversity and dialogue between East and West, and the mutual cultural understanding achieved through contemporary art.
In 2017, the Ruskin School of Art is the hosting art school for the Red Mansion Art Prize exhibition and details of this show can be found here
Throughout the academic year the School invites a range of visiting speakers and artists who also create professional connections with our students. During these visits, students can request 1:1 tutorials for guidance on their own work, from professional artists and practitioners. Students are also invited to suggest speakers and artists who they would like to see at the School and who are active in their field of research.
The University of Oxford offers current Fine Art students a selection of art related prizes and awards. Ruskin students are invited to consider these opportunities in a bid to encourage their artistic development in a new area and further understand the parameters of other professional environments and expertise.
The Ashmolean Museum Design Award presents students with an opportunity to explore design within the field of retail. Designs need to be considered within a commercial context based on the extensive collections held by the museum. Students are required to identify the commercial potential of their design, consider the suitability of its application to a product, and work with museum staff on costings, the product's development and point of sale.
The Sir William Dunn School of Pathology Art Award invites students to consider a design that is sympathetic to the subject area of pathology and/or a related research project that has been, or continues to be, undertaken at the School, or respond to the architecture of the School itself.
Ruskin Alumni also play an active and key role for current students. Many have returned to their art school to attend exhibition and events and to offer news of their own projects. Several alumni have provided mentoring to current Ruskin students, and have also offered artists residencies and placements in their studios or workplaces. Second year students at St Edmund Hall have also benefited from two awards that are generously donated by the Peel family. One award provides financial support to students who engage in the Professional Practice Programme, and the second award provides a fine art bursary in support of an independent, non-exam related project that takes the students beyond their course work. These gifts provide a significant platform from which the students can experiment and explore their studio practice, and make more ambitious and extended choices for their placements. We value the collective contribution of our alumni enormously.