Picture perfect: Art in the Sixth Form

Thursday 10 January 2019

There’s a haven of tranquillity tucked away upstairs where many a masterpiece has been crafted. If you are a student of Art, you will know exactly where I mean – the Art Department, of course!

This is where Georgia Greenwell, who left Year 13 a year ago, chose to spend most of her free periods. “The facilities are brilliant – we have everything we need, so it’s great to be able to work in school, especially if you can’t afford the equipment at home,” she said. “There’s such a calm atmosphere which is conducive to creativity.”

With an A* in Art at GCSE, Georgia chose to continue the subject at A Level, alongside English Language and English Literature.  “I enjoy art, I’m gifted at it, and I do it in my free time as well, when I often share it via social media,” she explained.

She was inspired to choose English Language when looking through the Sixth-Form prospectus handed out at the end of GCSEs. “By the end of Week 1 on the course, I knew I’d made the right choice – it was very interesting, especially learning about psychological aspects and theorists”. Georgia found the English Literature course “the most difficult but the most enjoyable”. “It’s great that everyone shares a lot in lessons and expresses opinions freely,” she added.

Georgia was not sure about university, but she was certain about one thing: art was her passion, and she wanted to take her studies further. She went to a couple of university Open Days and was particularly inspired by Birmingham with its beautiful old buildings and superb facilities, but she felt a Foundation Course – probably at Newcastle College – would be the best option. “It’s a great way to learn about the different types of art, and it’s free!” said Georgia.

She will be building on the diverse skills and experiences acquired here at Emmanuel, where she has found the opportunities and support second-to-none. “Teachers are really helpful and give you one-to-one constructive criticism and advice every single lesson,” Georgia explained. “I’ll never forget when Mrs Cockell told me my picture of Dad using graphite pencil was the best piece in the department!”

The most challenging aspect of the course was the ink workshop – a brand-new experience for Georgia. “It didn’t turn out well but I learnt a lot. That’s what spurs you on to learn more.”

Encouragement and support has come not only from subject teachers but also from the Heads of Sixth-Form. “I’ve benefitted from personal help with friendships, and I often get notices in the register with items of potential interest,” she explained. “When we came back in Year 13, on Day 1 there was a message for me about an opportunity to go to St James’ Park to assist at an event for blind people. It was such a rewarding experience – I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity!”

Mrs Butterfield said: “It is an absolute pleasure to be Head of Art at Emmanuel College, where I am blessed with teaching some of the most talented young people that I have come across in my career.  Our students not only do well with us, but at least 50% go on to study Art at foundation and degree level after their A Levels. With creative industries generating £87.4bn a year in the UK, it is good to know that students pursuing Art are entering into a thriving industry.”