Foundation Diploma in Art and Design | Q&A with Esmé

Published: 14 December 2023
Esme Fenwick

City Lit Student Esmé Fenwick

Esmé wanted to test the water before making the leap to Fine Art from another degree; the City Lit Pre-Foundation course and Foundation Art and Design Diploma helped her do just that. Treated as an artist from the get-go, her passions were nurtured by tutors, helping her to create her portfolio and giving her much-needed confidence in her ability.

Video: Esmé talks about her experiences studying at City Lit

What did you study at City Lit?

I was having a bit of change of path. I dropped out of another degree and wanted to switch to doing art, but I wanted to see if I liked it first. So, I did the Pre-Foundation Art and Design course to get my portfolio together and then I loved it so much that I wanted to stay on to do the full Foundation at City Lit.

Did you consider other learning providers?

No, I didn't consider anywhere else because I really got on with the teaching style and the general classroom atmosphere at City Lit. It's just really supportive, you're sort of treated as an artist from the start and they get you used to considering yourself as an artist, regardless of where you are in your creative practice. I think it's a really professional approach to doing art and design.

What skills did you learn on the Pre-Foundation and Foundation courses?

They really taught and reinforced a good research process, developing a piece from start to finish and how to thoroughly get into what you're looking at. There's a level of professionalism about it too; even though it's a foundation course there's always the element of preparing you for life and making money off of art. Things like presenting your work, sharing it, etiquette, networking and speaking to people.

While you're handing in your work across the course, they're always driving home about the fact that this is the same process here as what you do if you were meeting a project in the real world. It's not just arbitrary, it's really useful.

What did you enjoy the most about the course?

To be fair, the reason why I chose it from the Pre-Foundation was the range of people on the course. There's a big age range which meant that everyone's perspectives, art and life experiences were so different. Everyone came from such different backgrounds so you just had a really interesting dynamic. It just really added to the creative atmosphere.

I made some really lovely friends on the courses, friends that I will have for the rest of my life. Everyone meets still every month for a drink, it's really nice.

And what about the tutors?

The tutors are amazing. They're all so different, but they all offer so much and they are really dedicated towards helping students and giving their time and energy to genuinely helping you.

Did you enjoy the end-of-year exhibition?

Yes, the experience of the exhibition in general and also career-wise. If you ever do any other kind of exhibiton, it's the process, the preparation, the planning. Just being able to show your work in a gallery was amazing. I will always remember that, it was really fun.

It was really strange seeing my work in a gallery, but it was also so rewarding. It really felt like everything you worked towards on the course really came together in the end and to then have it in a really professional space as well. When you're treated like artist the whole way through the course and then you get that experience at the end it just makes it feel very complete.

Work by Esme
Esme in the Cafe at City Lit

How did you find the support offered to you at City Lit?

I had one-to-one support for the whole year which was amazing! I got a women who would just speak to me about keeping me on track for deadlines and getting myself organised. It's so good.

I'm really ADHD and I couldn't do school or university. I can physically do it, but it doesn't suit me at all. But the style of teaching and learning here is perfect for neurodivergence. City Lit is really accepting and aware of its diversity and the neurodiversity of it's students. There's a big emphasis on it from the start, the tutors are all knowledgable and everyone is talking about it. The covnersation throughout the year about neurodivergence led a lot of people to know so much more about themselves.

Tell us a bit about life after the acting diploma course?

Off the back of the Foundation course at City Lit, I applied to uni and now I'm doing Fine Art at Central St. Martins, which is amazing. So the progession is there! They really help you get your application and your portfolio together.

Would you reccomend the courses to others?

If you're at any kind of crossroads in life and not sure what to do but you have that creative passion, I'd defintely go for the course. You learn so much about yourself and can generate a creative practice even if it doesn't exist already. If you're already interested, then it's perfect for generating your skills.

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Foundation Diploma in Art and Design | Q&A with Esmé