Frilly Lizards’ Thoughts


Inspiration & Feedback on Art & Design. Please participate, share your views on any works of art or design; the artists and designers work you admire that give you inspiration in which ever form or discipline. Thanks you for taking time to read this. I’m interested to hear everyone’s opinion please share yours.

Creative Futures Week 2010

Creative Futures is a 3 day event organized by Glyndwr University (North Wales School of Art and Design) to gain a valuable insight into varying aspects of the industry we maybe entering into upon departure of our courses. The week encompasses many avenues from setting up a business, portfolio help, funding, tax and accounting… but probably the most important the opportunity to network (I don’t like this phrase but I have to say that I met some amazing people who were extremely insightful and helpful and had this event not been organized these conversations would never have been possible).

Day 1: Monday 1st March was Entrepreneurship Day, the event was hosted by Matt Draycott from Glyndwr University.

The first speaker Kathryn Holloway from Promofix Ltd a promotional marketing company

Kathryn started her presentation with a brief overview of her personal history she started in the industry as a graphic design apprentice after sending out approximatly 70 C.V’s, she moved on to be the Marketing Executive and Account Manager, studied at Telford College, Stafford College and Wolverhampton University. Kathryn’s ambition was to ‘help businesses find an easy way to get their brands noticed and most of all be fun”.

Katheryn stressed the importance of networking and being involved in many sectors of the industry she is the Chairperson of the Telfords Young Professionals and the Nation Ambassador of Make your Mark. Kathryn highlighted different avenues setup to help young creatives one of which being the Steve Morgan Foundation.

So who do Promofix work for?

  • Businesses
  • Sports Clubs
  • Charities
  • Schools/Colleges
  • Preschools/Nursery’s…

Kathryn showed a case study of their work and used the example of a client Quest 88 who manufacture disabled products for children. When they first became acquainted with Quest 88 one of the objectives was to promote the product of a cycle for children with physical disability, the bike originally came in just two colors red or blue. Post design process the tricycles became customized the consumer could choose the frame colour, wheels… building the desired bike of your dreams yet still being practical and safe, pimp your bike so to speak. A selection of the results are shown below:

Kathryn discussed the importance for designing for any media this is something I personally have always embraced and continued to share some of her personal guidelines these included:

  • Be Creative – do not design for design sake.
  • Creativity is a talent.
  • Take the opportunities available.
  • Use ideas in a practical way.
  • Be passionate.
  • Understand how business works.
  • Understand the printing processes and how to export to print.
  • Understand pricing structures.
  • Be clear about expectations.
  • Always refer back to the brief.

Kathryn discussed costings for design hours and the difference between the north/south divide and studio/freelance differences. The advice given at this point was more bias towards setting up your own company areas discussed included:

  • Start small – THINK BIG.
  • Use your skills to make yourself stand out.
  • Understand social and new media.
  • Use Linkin.
  • Explore and always look for inspiration.
  • Use new media – and learn from it.
  • Look for new ways to do everything.
  • Ask as many questions as possible in both creative and business circles.
  • Organisations are there to help people start up – use them. Examples include Business Link.
  • Speak to an accountant.
  • Learn to sell yourself and what you do.
  • Get out there.
  • Don’t devalue yourself or what you do.
  • Decide if you want to be freelance, an employee or employer.
  • It’s hard work but worth it.

Kathryn’s leaving golden tip probably the most important of all GET A GOOD ACCOUNTANT.

Thanks Kathryn.

The next presentation was delivered by Garry Greenwood from Venture Wales and FS4B.

Garry gave an excellent presentation making an extremely complex and important sector of the business side of the industry not only understandable but his delivery was friendly, un-intimidating and he managed to clarify a few grey areas. Garry started with his contact details and made it quite clear he was attending to be helpful with our career paths and would be available to answer our queries whether they would be delivered that day or at a later date (I know that I really appreciated this, as did numerous fellow students during conversations which followed the presentation).

Garry explained that the Welsh government are passionate about helping in our quest to succeed in our careers. He explained the help on offer and the graduate schemes available whether that is support with a business start up or the self employment route.

Garry broke down the Business Planning Process into 6 key sections:

1. Introduction / Background

Business idea / background
Business details
Legal status
Owner / management details
Product / service details

  • Technical specifications
  • Feature and benefits
  • Unique selling points
  • Design
  • Packaging
  • Future development plans

2. Market & Competitors

  • Market overview
  • Customer / target markets
  • Market size / trends
  • PEST analysis
  • Market objectives
  • Marketing mix

3. Marketing Strategy

4. Operations

  • Premises
  • Equipment
  • Suppliers
  • People / staff
  • Production processes
  • Systems and procedures
  • Legal aspects
  • Health & safety
  • Quality control

5. Financial Data & Forecasts

  • Details of costs, prices and volumes
  • Funding requirements
  • Sources of finance
  • Cash flow forecast – be realistic
  • Profit & loss account
  • Balance sheet

6. Appendices

  • Portfolio of previous work / references
  • Photographs
  • Letters of potential customers / firms orders
  • Evidence of market research
  • Legal documents
  • Sample promotional materials e.g. flyer…
  • CV’s of key workers / staff


‘Executive Summary’

Should be placed right at the front it gives a snap shot of your whole business plan and should include:

  • Purpose of the plan
  • Financial summary
  • Obstacles you wish to overcome

Garry showed examples of how to compile different sections of a Business Plan  one example of this was the features and benefits of your product this can be seen in the following:


  1. Wooden floor
  2. Lasts longer
  3. Guarantee
  4. High in protein
  5. Economical


  1. Easy to keep clean
  2. Saves you money
  3. Peace of mind
  4. Good nutrition
  5. Saves you money

So why do we need a business plan?

Simple: funding and direction.

Garry continued to discuss the differences, advantages and disadvantages of being a Sole Trader V’s Ltd. which was extremely useful and protecting your designs, we looked into:

  • Trade marks
  • Patents
  • Copyright
  • Design registration
  • Intellectual property rights.

The whole presentation was insightful and useful, thank you Garry this was really useful and much appreciated.

The next session was delivered by Vicky Reynolds a ceramic artist.

Vicky started her presentation by explaining that starting in the industry can be extremely hard work but very rewarding, she discussed how she had explored many avenues in the industry and you have to be clear about what sector suits both you, your work and working practices. Vicky explored:

  • Galleries
  • Workshops
  • Exhibitions
  • Technician
  • Education officer
  • Self employed
  • Perment teaching posts

When Vicky first left education she explained how she utilized her previous contacts and enforced the importance of networking. Vicky didn’t sugar coat what we would be facing and the obstacles we would encounter she just told us how the industry is (which I truly appreciated) and gave some constructive advice of how to cope and tackle the situation. The first bit of advice was probably the most important:


Problems you will encounter:


  • How much to charge? Don’t undervalue your work but be realistic.
  • Your business needs money to survive, for you to continue.

Managing workloads

Learning to say NO (much harder than you think)

Finding the right balance

Time management.

Again the importance of a good accountant was highlighted.

Vicky took 4 years to get started on her career, she explained one of the most important decisions you will have to make is exactly what you want and discussed education and funding applications. Vicky moved the presentation onto some of her best tips and advice:

  • Be professional
  • Keep your portfolio up to date
  • Take good photographs / or get a photographer to take good photographs for you
  • Always turn up on time
  • Network, network, network
  • Get involved
  • Spread your name
  • Prove your artistic skills

Vicky explained that working alone can become very lonely and it is not suited to everyone. Vicky has several avenues that she is currently involved in; one of her roles and something which she thoroughly enjoys is teaching. I found this avenue fascinating as it is an area which I am keen to explore, just a few pictures of Vicky’s workshops and projects undertaken in schools:

Vicky also highlighted some places of research, documentation advice and portfolio advice which I have taken on board and am currently conducting in my practices. Thank you for your time Vicky your time and advice was appreciated.

Tracey Simpson SAFLE was my next choice, so who are SAFLE?

Safle is an independent public art consultancy formed in 2007 through the merger of CBAT – The Arts & Regeneration Agency and Cywaith Cymru . Artworks Wales.

Safle’s mission is to promote, advocate, develop and implement art in the urban and rural public realm, throughout Wales and internationally. Through our many programmes and methods of working we strive to enliven and regenerate public spaces, support and initiate sustainability and educate and inspire local communities. Safle works in collaboration with artists, architects, residents, communities, public authorities and the private sector responding to the increasing demand for better public spaces.

In addition to managing public art commissions and developing bespoke strategies, the Stiwdio Safle programme supports short-term, temporary and innovative projects. This enables artists to work with communities on mutually beneficial projects, encourage a deeper understanding and appreciation of art and stimulates the formation of innovative creative professional partnerships.

Tracey’s presentation was tailored towards applying for grants, this is an area which I have in the past considered to be overwhelming and intimidating (I think this is due to my lack of knowledge) so I was really looking forward to the opportunity to discover a little more about this subject.

Tracey started with the basic principles of applying for grants:

  • Grants are usually time-specific and/or aim specific
  • They come from 2 main sources:
  • 1. Government Bodies (ARTS Council, Lottery…)
  • 2. Private company & Charitable Trusts (interest rates dependent)

Check funding information carefully:

  • Change each year – Key priorities change – sometimes on a rolling programme
  • Sometimes annual deadline
  • Sometimes staged application process

Other points to consider:

  • Time consuming – whether £500 or £10,000
  • Similar deadlines – multiple application
  • Partnership (matching funding) rarely given the amount you ask for
  • Won’t fund – things already started – can’t get refunds
  • Individuals – some will or won’t fund individuals
  • Business plan and financial monitoring (set of accounts, constitution)
  • Not everything gets funded even if it’s a good application

One piece of advice Tracey gave which I felt was really important was:

Do not be tempted to fit your work project to the funding scheme, find funding that fits your project/practice.

So what avenues are available if you can’t get funding?

  • Interest free loans (beware ACW two year rule)
  • Form a group – more scope
  • Advice is free – USE IT
  • Local library, Business link (from accountants, to tax, to business planning)
  • Local authority
  • Arts development officers
  • Galleries…

So how does a standard application process work?

Step 1. You should check Funding Priorities and Eligibility Criteria as summarised in any guide notes to decide if it is the appropriate body to apply to for funding.

Check the deadlines for both release of application forms and receipt of completed applications to ensure there is sufficient time to discuss your project with a representative, submit a draft if requested, receive advice, submit a completed application, receive a decision and plan your project before your proposal start date.

Step 2. To enable you to get advice about whether it is appropriate for you to apply for a particular grant funding, you will need to gather some basic information about your project proposal before contacting the funding body.

As a minimum this information should include:

  • A brief description of your artistic project, its intended beneficiaries and outcomes
  • An indication of which funding priorities your project will address
  • An estimated total project cost and how much grant you are seeking, along with an indication of confirmed or potential funding partners, presenting or delivery partners, or other artists
  • An estimated start date and finish date; copy of your latest CV and images of your previous artistic work
  • References and indication of financial track record

Step 3. A project officer may contact you to advise about eligibility, fit with priorities, discuss potential levels of grant and indicate any additional or redrafted information that might be needed. If appropriate an application form and specific guidance notes may then be sent to you, providing this is in advance of the relevent deadline. Submit your application with all supporting documents by the deadline date. Late applications will not be accepted.

Step 4. You will be informed of the shortlisting decision or you will may be asked to give a brief presentation of your project to the decision making group.

If Successful:

Step 5. A formal offer of a grant letter will normally be sent to you with standard conditions of grant. (There will be penalties if these are not adhered to).Financial information (including a cashflow forecast) for the project is reviewed and a payment schedule produced. Any additional conditions of grant will need to be submitted as necessary to an agreed schedule.

Step 6. Project officers may attend your project and provide a feedback report as part of their quality monitoring process. On completing your project, financial and activity reports will need to be submitted and will often act as a trigger for release of the final payment.

Evaluation & Reporting

Often required to provide an illustrated report. How do you measure success?

Exit strategy – what will happen when you no longer receive the grant?

Sources of help and information

Associations of Arts Fundraisers:

Access Funds

Grants information for the British charitable and non-profit sector. This site is free to any user and aims to provide the latest funding information from Central Government, National Lottery, devolved governing bodies, EU and quangos.


FunderFinder distributes software to identify charitable trusts that give money to charities, voluntary and community groups. The software is available on licence for a fee and annual update fee, costs variable according to type of organisation.

Funding Information

Fundraising information for charities, voluntary organisations, community groups, local authorities, social enterprises and other not for profit organisations throughout the UK.

UK Fundraising

UK Fundraising News including a free fortnightly e-mailed newsletter.

Directory of Social Change

DSC provides information and training for the voluntary sector. Its funding database, available on annual subscription, provides details of 4000 trust funds.

Access Funds

Information on the latest funding information from Central Government, National Lottery, devolved governing bodies, EU and quangos.

Regional Coordination Unit

Home Office

This site is your online portal to grants for the voluntary and community sector from the following funders:

  • Department of Education and Skills
  • Department of Health
  • Home Office
  • Office of the Deputy Prime Minister
  • Government Offices for the Regions

Grants Online

Government Funding Guide

Funding Agents

Funding Agents Source-book is used by people and organisations looking for money by way of grants, awards, government and lottery funding in the UK. It is available exclusively from this site.

Other useful sites:

  1. Arts general
  2. Arts Council of Wales
  3. Arts Council: Grants for the Arts – Individuals & Organisations
  4. Creative Partnerships
  5. Project
  6. Esmee Fairburn Foundation
  7. NESTA
  8. The Welcome Trust
  9. Arts & Humanities Research Board
  10. Samling Foundation
  11. Big Lottery Fund
  12. British Council (Visiting Arts)
  13. Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
  14. The Jerwood Foundation
  15. The Foyle Foundation
  16. The Paul Hamlyn Foundation
  17. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  18. Wellcome Trust
  19. Carnegie Trust
  20. Lloyds TSB Foundation
  21. Arts & Humanities Research Board
  22. NESTA
  23. Arts and Business

Tracey covered an extensive range of funding opportunities and drew my attention to numerous organizations I was previously unaware of; which are there to support us in our future enterprises . I feel these avenues could be extremely useful in the future and I’m very grateful for the advice given, Thank you Tracey for all your help and contact details for any future advice we may require, I found the presentation very helpful.

The last presentation of the day was delivered by Shona Hambleton – TaxAssist Accountants. Shona started the presentation asking the questions ‘the numbers, what’s in it for you?’ By numbers Shona was referring to how your business is placed and the fine balancing act of money entering and exiting the business; and the forecasting for a business plan:

Money coming into the business, where does it come from:


  • Market Research
  • Sales/marketing activity
  • Seasonal variations
  • Market Share
  • Cash or on credit


  • What are the likely costs of premises?
  • What equipment will you need?
  • How many staff will you employ?
  • What salary will you need to pay?
  • What travel is involved?
  • What taxes will the business need to pay:
  1. VAT
  2. National Insurance
  3. Income Tax
  4. Corporation Tax

Shona explained the differences in types of expense and how they have an effect on your business.

Capital – Long term within the business.


  • Variable – changes month to month i.e. materials
  • Fixed – same every month i.e. rent, insurance…

Shona explained some of the reasons to undertake a business plan:

  • Put objectives in writing
  • Experience
  • How is the business going to be financed?
  • Expected sales, profit and investment in assets
  • Formal business plan

What does a business plan show?

  • Is the business viable
  • Indicates funding require
  • Assists in raising financ
  • Shows estimated bank balanc
  • When will the business break even
  • Provides a benchmark to compare actual performance with.

So making the most of your new business.

Before you start, several decisions have to be made:

  1. Business structure
  2. Business plan
  3. Raising finance
  4. VAT

1. Business structure

  • Sole trader
  • Partnership
  • Limited partnership
  • Limited company
    • Risk
    • Profit/Loss
    • Tax
    • Cost
    • Ability to raise finances
    • Credibility/status

    Shona discussed the financial sector of any business starting with obtaining setup costs continuing through to the day to day running of a business:

    Banks and finance:

    • You may only get one chance
    • Be prepared
    • Business plan
    • Put yourself in their shoes


    • Different VAT schemes
    • Register or not
    • Now, later or never
    • Essential or voluntary
    • Impacts on – cash flow / profitability

    Tax traps to avoid:

    • Tax penalties
    • VAT penalties
    • Pay as you earn PAYE
    • Missing invoices
    • Car

    Tax penalties:

    • Self employed – £100
    • Limited company – £300

    VAT penalties:

    • Do not represent yourself as VAT registered if you are not
    • Considered as fraud if you do so
    • Submit returns on time
    • Pay on time
    • Interest and surcharges otherwise


    • Employees
    • Employer responsibility to deduct income tax and national insurance
    • Pay money deducted PLUS employer’s national insurance to the Revenue
    • Penalties if not submitted on time
    • Penalties if returns not submitted on time

    Missing invoices:

    • Always get proper invoices for any business items you purchase
    • If VAT registered make sure you get a VAT invoice
    • Claim for tax relief may be denied
    • Reclaim of VAT may be denied


    • Options for all of the business structures
    • Car inside the business or outside
    • Keep a log of miles

    Benefits to me if I keep organised?

    • Potential to reduce tax bill from the outset
    • Avoid penalties
    • Plan for tax payments
    • Improve cash flow
    • Gain finance
    • Focus on growing the business.

    So the day to day administration of the business, this is broken down into 3 main sections:

    1. Book-keeping
    2. Tax
    3. Self assessment


    Why is it needed?

    • Essential control for the finances of the business
    • By law, HM Revenue and Customs require you to keep records
    • Raising finances – business or personal

    What do you need to keep?

    • Sales – invoices, till receipts/rolls…
    • Records of purchases/expenses – receipts/invoices
    • Bank transactions – bank statements, paying in slips, cheque book stubs, credit card statements
    • Records for petty cash
    • Filling system – orderly system, date order, monthly

    How should it be kept?

    1. Paper based – Simplex D book, small business book-keeping system
    2. Computer based – Quickbooks, Sage, MYOB

    Main accounting books to be kept:

    • Cash / money in book – cheques received, cash received, DD’s / SO’s received, bank transfers, credit card payments received
    • Cheque / money out book – cheques paid out, cash payments, DD’s / SO’s paid, bank charges
    • Sales book
    • Purchase book
    • Wages book (for employees)

    Shona explained Income tax (personal allowance, basic rate 20%, higher rate 40% and highlighted rate and band changes each year) and Corporation tax (small companies @ 21%, full rate @ 28%).

    And finally we were left with the important dates in the financial calander:

    • Self employed – 31 Oct, 31 Jan, 31 July
    • Limited company – 9 months after accounting year end.

    This presentation by Shona was unbelievably comprehensive and helpful but a lot of information to process in one small section. Thank you Shona it was a very realistic view of the business sector of the industry.

    Day 2: Tuesday 2nd March was Employability Day.

    The first speaker of the day was Chris Ramsden – Chartered Society of Designers.

    Chris’s presentation was absolutely fascinating, inspiring and held my complete attention from the outset. His vision and belief completely chimed with my own feelings towards design. Chris is a true believer in inter and multidisciplinary working and sees the role of design as key to it’s success. Chris’s career is extremely varied, he demonstrated through his CV the wide opportunities open to people with a design education/background and illustrated the key role designers can play in a wide range of sectors.

    Chris is now a Consulting Clinical Scientist and President of Chartered Society of Designers out of respect for Chris I will not be divulging the content of the presentation or discuss any specifics of case studies shown but will share some of the words of wisdom and general advice we were given:

    • Don’t forget your basis skills
    • Keep all your skills up to date
    • Be available
    • Be mobile
    • Be seen
    • Believe in yourself
    • Be tolerant
    • Always be punctual
    • Be passionate about what your doing
    • Be polite
    • Be respectful
    • A good communicator
    • Be understanding
    • Be helpful
    • Be supportive
    • Be creative – laterally
    • Diversify
    • Be flexible
    • Be resourceful
    • Be vigilant
    • Be relentless
    • Have a plan
    • Keep to your plan
    • HAVE A GO
    • Never design for the average

    As a Designer Chris believes in 4 key points:

    1. Creativity
    2. Professionalism
    3. Skills
    4. Knowledge

    1. Managing / Generating / Innovation / Values

    2. Values – ethics

    3. Generic / Specific / Personal

    4. Empirical / Experimental / Contextual / Management.

    I took so much away from this presentation, thank you Chris.

    The second presentation of the day was James Graham and Stuart Price from ‘Thoughtful’ I’d met Stuart and Chris previously at the 4 Designers Conference in London and not only did I admire their work but more importantly I really connected with their beliefs, goals and ethics. I was more than a little surprised when Stuart recognised me from London; and as we tend to do at the worst possible moments I said something quite stupid tried to dig myself out of it and inadvertently made things worse (nice one). Not alot I can do about it now; so James and Stuart if you ever happen to read this I apologise. Anyway, back to the presentation; Some excellent advice on portfolios and yet again this was backed by strong visual evidence and clear examples:

    • Your contents of your portfolio is not the only bit on show, what it is encased in is just as important .
    • Keep its fresh and new everytime.
    • Don’t over design it (another reinforcement that simple is best).
    • 5-7 projects in a PDF below 5MB (nothing worse than a large document that takes a long time to open).
    • No supporting copy means you have something to talk about in the interview if you get that far.
    • Use models, never use yourself in your work.
    • Show your work to the interviewer.
    • Know your work inside out.
    • It should always be able to explain it’s self visually.
    • There are other portfolio formats i.e. Newspaper.
    • Preferred book with bound pages.
    • Keep it simple.
    • Less is more.
    • Start with your best and end with your best.
    • 10 to 15 mins for an interview is not bad.
    • Should take 30mins to go through no more don’t over stay your welcome.
    • Keep personal logo simple if your using one.
    • Work is the most important element give it breathing room.
    • Pay attention to detail, and then a bit more.

    When sending emails (the preferred method):

    • Send attachment of work, then call after 3 days to ask if it has been received.
    • Never just turn up unannounced.
    • Be formal/professional.
    • Find a name/named email and make sure you spell the name correctly.
    • Have a proper introduction, make it personal to the company.
    • Understand the person you are emailing and how busy they are give them the information they really want; we use heirachy in design use, the same principles in your correspondence.
    • Understand the company structure let them know if you have a laptop small design studios won’t have spare computers.
    • Be honest, let them know you don’t know everything and never will, but your passionate enthusiastic and want to learn.

    I really didn’t need another reason to like this studio but right at the end it was delivered, ‘Thoughtful’ appear to also have a weakness for cakes.

    The next presentation was presented by Tessa Elliott in the outline given with regards to what to expect Tessa’s description was outlined as:

    …Tessa will expand on notions of presence in the digital age.

    Tessa Elliott is the artistic director of SURGERY-Digital Art Research and Co-ordinator of northern bloc 4: Creative Technology Wales. Her digital installations and performanceshave explored notions of interactivity for almost 30 years with innovative work installed internationally at events such as SIGGRAPH, USA and the Symposium of Electronic Arts, Austrailia and performing nationally at the Place and Sadlers Wells, London, Theatre Harlech, Gwynedd.

    I found Tessa’s work extremely interesting for several reasons I really liked the fine art context of her work, Tessa appeared to enjoy blurring the inter disciplinary lines and pushing boundaries. I personally feel that creativity should not be confined, should cross boundaries and communicate on which every level is required. Many of the examples of Tessa’s work shown on her website (link) are reactive responses not necessarily interactive and several contain strong performance pieces. I really enjoyed Tessa’s presentation and the interpretation of her work. My one regret is that I didn’t actually get the opportunity to speak to Tessa on the day, due to the amount of information I had received in the previous 48hrs I was starting to feel quite overloaded at this point; but Tessa has an exhibition/launch of her new project on Tuesday 30th March and I would love to attend. Tessa did give some very interesting words with regards to our online presence:

    • Collaborate
    • Find your unique interest to present yourself
    • Present yourself in a variety of media
    • Remember you have no control over your work once it’s in the digital realm
    • Things can be misinterpreted
    • They are there forever
    • They can be reinterpreted
    • Your digital representation should be different to your paper representation

    Thank you Tessa.

    The last session of the day was presented by Steve Keegan our very own Head of Post Graduate Studies. Steve was delivering a presentation on the options available for further study upon completion of our degrees. At this moment in time I am just exploring the options available and finalising the direction I wish to pursue. I wasn’t aware of the differences between the post grad options and what they entailed, Steve outlined all the options available and highlighted the differences, they are outlined below:

    We are dealing with 5 avenues:

    1. Taught Master’s Programmes
    2. M.Phil
    3. MRes
    4. PhD
    5. Post grad opportunities in general terms

    Why would we consider PG studies?

    • Increasing graduate numbers
    • Unfinished business
    • Career researchers
    • An intellectual challenge
    • More career opportunities

    Taught Master’s Programmes – 3 types:

    1. MA Straight Progression – To carry on in you discipline i.e. Graphic Design
    2. MA Conversion – Move from one discipline to another i.e. Graphic Design to Fine Art
    3. MA International – for any international students

    Modes of study:

    • Full time – 13 month full time (Sept – Oct one year on)
    • Part time – 24 month part time (Sept – Sept two years on)

    How does this time breakdown?

    Part 1 – Taught

    • Research Methodologies A – core 20 credits
    • Research Methodologies B – core 20 credits
    • Specialist Practices Route A – core 20 credits
    • Collaborative Practice – option 40 credits
    • Transitional Skills Route A – option 40 credits
    • Working with Clients Route A – option 40 credits
    • Engagement & Immersion Route A – option 20 credits
    • Skills within Context Route A – option 20 credits

    Part 2 – Self Directed

    • Dissertation and Master’s Presentation – core 60 credits

    Ending in a Public Exhibition.

    MA Research Degrees

    • A Master of Philosophy degree is usually taken over a period of two years through full-time study.
    • MPhil and PhD programmes are essentially similar, the main difference being the length of the programme and therefore the extent of the research work carried out and embodied in the thesis and practical outputs.

    MPhil 40 – 50,000 words OR Practice based can have the equivalent and 7 – 14,000 word thesis.

    MPhil or PhD?

    • It is a common practice for students to be registered initially for the MPhil and to be considered for transfer to the Phd after the first year of study, (7,000 word report) subject to satisfactory progress and to a review of the proposed research.


    • All research degree programmes involve an element of research training designed to ensure that students are equipped with the necessary skills and methodological knowledge to undertake original research in their chosen field of study.


    • The relationship between student and supervisor forms the care of the developmental process in research degree study, and it is in the context of this individual relationship that your research will proceed from it’s initial design to the writing of the thesis and any practical outputs.
    • The supervisor will guide you in writing up your thesis and the practical elements of the work, but you retain the prime responsibility for your own work.
    • All universities will have approved policies on supervisory practice which set out how the responsibilities are shared between student and supervisor.

    So how is the supervision broke down?

    • 2 Supervisors – 1 provided by the university, 1 for you to find.
    • 1 Mentor
    • All parties to meet 6 times a year preferably all at the same time.

    Application procedure:

    • Check out the University web pages
    • Most invite direct applications
    • Glyndywr University Graduate School
    • Research Committees usually meet 4 times a year for consideration of applicants.

    What then?

    • Interview looking to establish understanding of the level and the research subject
    • Enrolement as a university student
    • RDC approval and ethical evaluation
    • Hard work

    Reasons why?

    • UK postgraduates are well regarded
    • Gateway to lecturing and teaching careers
    • Careers as researchers
    • Continuous learning for the sake of knowledge

    I found the session really informative and it gave me some serious considerations, thank you Steve you answered many queries I had.

    Day 3: Wednesday 3rd March was Ask the Expert Day.

    The sessions today unfortunately were subject to change from the proposed itinerary, several of the items I was keen to see where either canceled or reassigned to other slots which clashed with sessions I had my eye on. Not a problem I just rejigged my plans but the uncertainty and waiting meant that I missed the alternatives on offer so I only managed two of the days segments as opposed to the 4 I had intended to see.

    The first presentation I caught was Joe Mathews – How to get a foothold in film and T.V. Joe started the presentation with his career history and moved on to his personal tips:

    • Over come any confidence issues and get in the industry
    • Make yourself useful – make tea
    • Be aware all the sides of the industry safe & secure / insecure but more creative freedom
    • Work experience
    • Make contacts
    • Impress them with what you can offer
    • When sending an email, if you don’t get a reply resend it (they are busy) putting a little note saying I don’t know if you got this email, it may have got caught in the spam… Follow it up in a month.
    • You have to have thick skin, don’t take it personally
    • Structure how you contact people – if they say we may have something in 3 months, follow it up in 3 months
    • Show them your serious
    • People want enthusiasm
    • Everyone is afraid of rejection
    • Be observant
    • The old school approach works

    Thank you Joe I enjoyed the presentation and I’ll look out for your new project Bedlam.

    The last presentation was delivered by Tim Makin – Getting into the Web Industry. Tim heads up the web development at Drumbeat.

    Tim started the presentation with his career journey from uni to his current position and explained that one of the first things you have to do is the decision about exactly where in the industry you want to be placed, questions you should be asking yourself are:

    • What role do you want?
    • What type of company do you want to work in?
    • People who you work alongside?
    • Client type? Blue chip?
    • What size company? Large (less contact with the client) or Small (more direct).
    • Work hours 9 – 5? flexi-time?
    • Do you want the money or time for other commitments.
    • Is the location important?
    • How far are you willing to travel?
    • Are you willing to relocate? How far?
    • Salary expectations?
    • What role do you want?
    • If it is in the digital realm do you want to be a front-end designer (HTML/CSS/Javascript/Flash/Actionscript) or on the server side/strategy (Info/Architecture/Marketing…)

    Tim explained the entry level skills required for a junior designer:

    • A keen eye for design
    • Photoshop and Illustrator
    • HTML & CSS skills
    • Javascript & Actionscript a bonus
    • Transferable skills – communication and organisation
    • Be able to engage with people.

    Improving your chances in the industry:

    • Get involved with the web community
    • Gain experience
    • Join in and take part
    • Attend meet ups & socials – Geek up, Northern Digital
    • Attend seminars, lectures and conferences
    • Engage online – emailing lists, forums, twitter…
    • Gain commercial experience
    • Gain work placements
    • Collaborate and experiments

    Tim’s advice for portfolios:

    • Only select your best work
    • Create your own website
    • Purchase your own domain name
    • Avoid using hotmail email…
    • Personalise – letterheads, stickers…
    • Check spelling, get others to check, check again

    First contact advice:

    • Do your research
    • Keep email attachments small (PDF’s & links to multimedia i.e. Vimeo)
    • Research PDF’s and learn to use
    • Check spellings

    The interview:

    • Present yourself correctly
    • Have questions for the company
    • Be positive
    • Be honest
    • Be yourself

    Thank you Tim, for the advice good luck with your new project wink nudge.


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