Art & Design Employability



Residential trips


Study visits that involve staying overnight or for a number of nights. These may be trips to another institution or location or focused on a specific learning task.


Networking, teamwork, independence, resourcefulness, ability to communicate with people of various ages, capacities and backgrounds.

Example 1

Project Title: London Trip­ 2013
Student Name: Rowan Flint
School/Department: Fine Art – Painting and Printmaking
Year of study: Two
Project Length:  Three days
Project Location: London



What happened:

Three days, 11 galleries, one determined group. The first day took the group to Tate Modern, to look at the permanent collection, and to White Cube in Bermondsey, where the work of Mark Bradford and Larry Bell was on display. The curator gave a talk and tour of White Cube and highlighted differences between the types of exhibition space and the complexities of the process between making work and showing it. Students were treated to an unexpected talk from Gilbert and George, who appeared as if from nowhere, with impeccable matching suits.

The next day involved Whitechapel Gallery – Sarah Lucas; Raven Row – Psychedelic Art; Calvert 22 Gallery – Dear Art; and Victoria Miro Gallery – Idris Khan. In writing up this project, Rowan Flint said, ‘I had a brilliant time with the works of Sarah Lucas, mostly enjoying the reactions of my peers to the outright sexual aggression and wondering if it was just me with the dirty mind, or was even the fire alarm on the wall somehow part of this body of work with its penile-like protrusion. The Idris Khan exhibition was a personal highlight; he was delivering a talk in the gallery and agreed to give the group a description of his process and answer students’ questions about his work’.

Day three began with the bleak statement ‘The Show is Over’ at the Gagosian gallery; the exhibition marking the demise of art was not greatly received by all. Ciara Phillips gave a wonderful talk at her studio/exhibition space, The Showroom, and introduced us to her process of working with collaborators and experimenting with printmaking. The Lisson Gallery housed, perhaps, some of the students’ least favourite works, while Daniel Silver’s situational exhibition, ‘Dig’, proved a real highlight; an abandoned building site housed a sort of production line from archaeological dig to mass-produced kitsch replicas, which resulted in lost-looking multiples lined up waiting for something to happen. Downstairs was an eerie post-apocalyptic setting, warped carvings left as monuments to a once-great culture, now abandoned in a festering swamp. Daniel Silver was at his exhibition and agreed to give the third spontaneous artist’s talk of the trip.

Skills students gained from undertaking the project:

This trip enhanced confidence – the confidence to speak openly about art, to talk to people with knowledge and to keep an open mind in terms of exhibition space, styles and opinions. The understanding dawned that art can exist beyond white-walled gallery spaces and rich benefactors. It also became clear that, even in the art world, nobody is too aloof to give out autographs.

Example 2

Project Title: Printmaking Residency in Frans Masereel Centrum, Belgium
Student Name: Theresa Malaney
School/Department: MLitt Printmaking
Year of study: One
Project Length:  Two weeks
Project Location: Frans Masereel Centrum, Kasterlee, Belgium


To work in a print studio outside GSA, gaining experience of taking part in a residency, working in a different location, implementing skills learned within Printmaking at GSA to another professional environment. Communicating with staff at the centre and the other visiting artists.

What happened:

Two postgraduate and five undergraduate students took part, each working independently, as in studio practice at GSA. The facilities for stone lithography in Frans Masereel were very good. Plate lithography is possible, though less usual. For photo lithography, plates and necessary chemicals must be purchased by the artist. Screenprinting facilities were also very good, with a wide range of good quality colours available. Copper plates were used for etching, with ferrous chloride, so, in order to print from steel plates, pre‐etched plates had to be brought.

From 9am to 5pm, a technician was on hand, providing some basic assistance about how to operate equipment. Visiting artists and students were expected to be competent in printmaking in order to use the facilities.
All of the Glasgow students worked on their own work. Other visiting students, from American schools, were fascinated by this self-motivated,
self-directed way of working. In turn, the GSA students were interested their ability to work  well as teams, dividing tasks,
communicating and getting a lot done in a short space of  time (each of the other schools had only a week to complete the specific projects set by their schools) whereas the GSA students had two weeks.

At the end of the two week period, students were invited by Frans Masereel staff to attend a brief crit – to bring pieces of work to present to the whole group which had been resident for that week. GSA students each spoke for a few minutes about the work they had made, in particular about the piece presented. As the American students had workedas a group, a representative of each group presented the project, from which a few images had been chosen as illustration.

External or internal partners involved:

Frans Masreeel Centrum staff, Printmaking tutor (Mick McGraw)

Project outcomes:

The workshop was open from 8am to 8pm, seven days per week (except for a brief closure on Fridays to allow preparation to receive the next group). Since more printmaking time was available than at GSA, a larger volume of work was produced than is usually possible during the brief, two hour slots of printmaking at GSA. Having 
re turn and use 
a now-familiar workshop.
the GSA 
individuals and 

Skills students gained from undertaking the project:

  • Use

  • Insight into other school groups, which worked in teams on collaborative projects, and into other models of art school education.

Example 3

Project Title: Joya: Arte + Ecología Group Residency
Student Name: Alan Franklin
School/Department: Fine Art
Institution: Bucks New University
Student Group: Level five and six (elective)
Host Centre: Joya: Arte + Ecología
Project Length:  Eight days
Project Location: Andalucía


A week-long student group residency, hosted by Joya: Arte + Ecología in a remote, off-grid location in the heart of the Parque Natural Sierra María Los Vélez in Andalucía. As well as hosting professional and established artists, each year student groups are also invited for seven-day residencies.


  • To offer students the opportunity of an ‘art residency’ experience, which will encompass group collaboration and co-operation in a new and very unfamiliar environment.
  • To provide first-hand insights into professional modes of working.
  • To expand the course delivery, in particular the Professional Practice module.
  • To enhance the student experience, and add to their competitiveness post graduation.
  • To provoke considerations of important issues regarding the environment and the management of our planet.
  • To evaluate experience in terms of personal development and attributes gained in respect of ‘employability’.

What happened:

In preparation for the residency, students write a proposal based on information taken from the Joya website. Accommodation is self-catering, which encourages group co-operation, as does evening entertainment. All equipment and art materials have to be either brought in from the UK or found on site. Besides the communal studio, students have 50 acres of semi agricultural land and forest in which to explore and work. Research is self-directed but can be supported with crits and group discussion.

Some student comments:

I have achieved a lot of things much quicker as a result of being in this group. The environment is very important, yes, but the group input and conversations have been really beneficial.

It feels like being an artist rather than a student on a course. It is not about anyone else; it is just about you.

This has been a good way to get to know people better. We learn from each other. Being all together, sharing a studio, we are less separate than in the studios at uni. I have been more aware of what others have been doing and how they are approaching things. It makes you think perhaps I could do that.

I’ve enjoyed being taken out of my comfort zone.

It has been a challenge, having to respond to the environment, having to improvise.

Residency really appealed, has made me want to get out there and do things. I have enjoyed the combination of art and travel.

Project outcomes:

Some Observations: At Joya, there are no beaches, bars, or clubs and limited internet; none of the common distractions. Group responsibilities are intensified, and the group has to make its own entertainment. This makes for a particularly strong bonding experience.

Students are given more opportunity to contribute than in the university studios. They set their own daily timetable, and they have to practice democracy when it comes to making group decisions; they have to operate as a team. It works because it is different and temporary.

Students are clearly learning or practising life skills.

Some further questions: When the unfamiliar becomes familiar does something change?

How can the experience be used beyond the residency? Can more of the learning or growing experiences be brought back to the studio?

Is this more about personality building than art outcomes?

Video Interviews

Graphics – 2nd Year – Matthew Potts

A degree in graphic arts can open the door to a number of different job roles. Matthew Potts talks about his experience hearing from a Bucks graduate whilst on a residential trip to New York.

Creative Ad – 2nd Year – Will Whitehead

The majority of creative advertising students are working toward an internship in the city. With London being the hub of the UK advertising movement Will talks about his trip to the big apple and his thought on the experience.

A week-long student group residency, hosted by Joya: Arte + Ecología in a remote, off-grid location in the heart of the Parque Natural Sierra María Los Vélez in Andalucía

Related Pages

The Studio

Visual Literacy