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BFA Professional Practice Programme

The Ruskin has an optional programme in the BFA course for second year students: the Professional Practice Programme. This initiative provides each student with an opportunity to experience at first hand the professional practice of galleries, museums and arts organisations.

YSP Centre. courtesy: Yorkshire Sculpture Park. / © Marc Atkins

Understanding of best practice

The Professional Practice Programme enables Ruskin students to develop their understanding of best practice in the arts.  

Each organisation has been specifically selected in order to offer students as wide a variety of experiences as possible.  We only seek placements with organisations that we hold in professional high regard and where there is a specific connection to our students’ practice and research.

We work with the students to establish placements in the following areas: exhibition planning and design; teaching; museum education; arts publishing; gallery management; festival production; film making; archives and licensing; art as therapy; press and communications; marketing; graphics; public art; art workshops and design projects in schools and hospitals.  Each student undertakes their placement outside of term wherever possible.

In terms of outcome, it is expected that students will observe, and will have a greater chance to appreciate, the core professional practice of a high level organisation. Through the projects that they work on, they will witness and understand the need to plan ahead, liaise with multiple stakeholders, work to a budget, report back to a team/mentor and come to recognise and appreciate the expectations of visitors and the wider community.   In the presentation each student makes to the department on their return in Michaelmas term, the students offer an observational assessment of their placement experience, showing how much and what they have learnt about professional practice in the creative arts. 

"The experience of different workplaces and jobs was very helpful and relevant at this time."  Student feedback, 2016

For those students who wish to consider a placement overseas, the Ruskin will liaise with the Language Centre at the University of Oxford, to arrange for a language course: http://www.lang.ox.ac.uk . We are also in touch with alumni groups via the University’s Alumni office, in order that Ruskin students can attend local events whilst on their placements: http://www.alumni.ox.ac.uk

The Statement of Intent for the PPP clarifies the obligations of all parties involved and all who engage in this programme sign up to accept its terms. 


Host organisations in the PPP include:

Art Seen Gallery, Cyprus, http://www.artseeneditions.com
British School at Rome, Italy, http://www.bsr.ac.uk
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco, USA, http://www.wattis.org
Cubitt Gallery & Studios, London, http://cubittartists.org.uk
Fusion Arts, Oxford, http://www.fusion-arts.org
John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, http://www.hansardgallery.org.uk
M, Leuven, Belgium, http://www.mleuven.be
Musée d'Art Classique de Mougins, France, http://www.mouginsmusee.com/en 
Musée Matisse de Nice, France,  http://www.musee-matisse-nice.org 
ORH Charitable Funds at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, http://www.ouh.nhs.uk/artlink/
Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/
Saatchi Gallery, London, http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk 
Sarah Wiseman Gallery, Oxford, http://www.wisegal.com 
Tintype Contemporary Art, London, http://www.tintypegallery.com 
Tramway, Glasgow, http://www.tramway.org/
United Photo Industries, New York, USA, http://unitedphotoindustries.com/
V&A, Theatre & Performance Department, London, http://www.vam.ac.uk/collections/theatre_performance
Yorkshire Sculpture Park, National Arts Education Archive, Wakefield, http://www.ysp.co.uk 

"Doing my PPP at Photoville in New York has been one of the best experiences from my time at University so far. Not only did I get the opportunity to be a part of a small team that puts together one of the most prestigious photography festivals in the States, but I have made good friends with the directors of the festival and those that work there, and also have made strong friendships with (fellow students) Robyn and Julia through us supporting each other when we were on our own in a different continent! It was a lot of hard work and long hours, but it was 100% worth it, and we have definitely all grown as individuals because of it." Greta Sharp, 2018 participant on the PPP

For any further information on the current programme or to discuss any other opportunities contact Lucy Till-Awney on 01865 276946 or via email at: info@rsa.ox.ac.uk

last edited: January 12th 2020