Art & Design Employability





Students deliver a talk to a group about a particular topic, such as their own artwork or design, most often with the aid of visuals.


Self reflection, organisation, ability to articulate work verbally and in visual terms, networking, increased confidence at public speaking.

Example 1

Project Title: Presentation on return from exchange period
Student Name: Hannah McDonald
School/Department: Painting and Printmaking
Year of study: Three
Project Length:  An afternoon of presentations from students on exchange. Each lasting approximately ten minutes with questions afterwards.
Project Location: Mackintosh Lecture Theatre


To share experience of a third-year student’s exchange at Valand School of Fine Arts, Gothenburg, with the second-year Painting and Printmaking students. The aim was to provide fellow students with the necessary information to help them decide whether to apply for an exchange term in the following year.

What happened:

A Powerpoint presentation of a selection of images was constructed to provide information about the exchange, accompanied by notes. The ten-minute presentation included not only personal reactions on the exchange but also details about money, accommodation, transport, courses and facilities available, a brief introduction to Swedish culture and tips about how to cope with the language barrier. As well as advice on the practicalities of living abroad for a term, this account included a consideration of the highpoints and challenges of the exchange.

External or internal partners involved:


Project outcomes:

After the presentation, several second-year students made contact with the third-year student to express an interest in applying to Valand School of Fine Arts. The more experienced student was able to provide further details and advise them on their application.

Skills students gained from undertaking the project:

This exercise provided experience of talking in front of a large group. This was a useful way of thinking about how to express information in the clearest form, speaking slowly and loudly. It was also important for improving confidence in this situation.

Further, this provided an opportunity to reflect on the exchange term in a more critical way, which helped with the subsequent development of artwork. Looking over this period from a distance informed which aspects of practice to take forward.

Example 2

Project Title: MFA presentations
Student Name: Sarah F. Maloney
School/Department: Master of Fine Arts
Year of study: MFA 1 and MFA 2
Project Length:  Two‐day event with each presentation lasting approximately five minutes
Project Location: Mackintosh Lecture Theatre


The aim of MFA presentations is to help students to find a recurring aspect of their practice and present a variety of artworks in which this aspect makes itself felt. The presentations help the student cohort get to know each other better and make connections between each other. They also provide an opportunity for students to make presentations to a group, familiarising them with public speaking; this may be seen as an exercise similar to that of an artist’s talk.

What happened:

MFA students make a five-minute presentation of their past and current works in front of their colleagues and the teaching staff. The students also speak of their professional and educational background. There is no specific format to follow, but the majority of the students tend to use a Powerpoint presentation, combining images and videos with verbal explanations. The teaching staff usually make a small presentation to introduce the project, followed by second-year students on the first day and first-year students on the second day. An invitation to informal drinks in a nearby pub usually forms the closing part of the project, which helps students and tutors to get to know each other better.

External partners involved:


Project outcomes:

Delivering a public presentation to a crowd of people, condensing the core of previous experiences into a short presentation and developing a better sense of authorship. For some students, this is a good exercise in constructing or testing their levels of confidence, not only in regard to public speaking but also in regard to their work and accomplishments. In addition, the project reveals connections between students in relation to educational or professional backgrounds. This awareness of shared experience facilitates bonding between the students.

Skills students gained from undertaking the project:

MFA presentations help students to become more confident at speaking to a group, demystifying the art of public presentation. The making of a document (Powerpoint or other) encourages students to develop their organisational skills. The presentation is a good way to develop coordination between showing images and the delivery of spoken text, familiarising the student with the programme used for the presentation. It also increases awareness of their accomplishments and practice. The invitation for a drink after the event helps the student to socialise, which reflects an important part of an artist’s practice – i.e. networking.

Video Interviews

Textiles – 3rd Year – Giverny Simm

The fashion industry is a tough place to break into. Final year Textiles student Giverny explain how presentations help develop the soft skill needed to cope in such a competitive industry.

Fine Art – 3rd Year – Dan Scarlett

“What do you do?” 3rd year fine art student Daniel talks about the importance of being able to vocalise exactly what it is he has made and why.

Related Pages



Student engagement