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Exclusive Interview with Prof. Ed D'Souza, Winchester School of Art

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The Winchester School of Art was founded more than 150 years ago. Apart from being one of the longest established art schools in the UK, it is also one of the most popular places to study art and design (HESA data). With over 2,000 students, including 600 international students, the School is a major international centre of excellence in art & design and offers a unique range of disciplines.

Prof. Ed D'Souza, is the Head of Winchester School of Art at UK's University of Southampton. Ed is a designer, an artist and an academic whose practice brings together both the theoretical and contextual thinking about design and art. Much of his internationally published work and exhibitions have centered around economic, political and social change focusing on identity, location and context with a critical focus on India's relationship to the West.

Read through our exclusive interview with Prof. Ed D'Souza, Head of Winchester School of Art at UK's University of Southampton.

1. Has there been a development in quality and creativity in the field of art in the past decade?

There have been constant developments in the field of art as artists show their work in more diverse places and situations and the pushing of boundaries with the most experimental of artists in terms of conception, production, media and medium. Changes in technology and forms of global communication mean that the field that art might be understood and received has expanded, especially through the internet and social media, allowing new audiences globally and also for artists and audiences to connect and communicate with each other in new and unexpected ways.

Fine Art students at Winchester School of Art learn conventional approaches to the production of artwork but also engage, experiment with and learn about developing ideas through new medias such as programming, sound and video art, 3D scanning and printing; while engaging with other areas of the University through projects such as engineering, health sciences and aeronautics. This shows how fine art at its most creative can innovate and help us understand the rapid changes around us in society.

2. We can see fashion designers popping up everywhere. Does it show the increase in creativity? What do you think about this trend?

Fashion design by the nature of the global consumption of clothes means that it is a dynamic, fast changing, ever evolving industry constantly developing through the vision of fashion designers experimenting and innovating with new trends, styles, techniques and materials. Fashion is more than just the garments themselves, but is synonymous with global cultures and histories.

In its contemporary form it is seen as challenging convention, whilst also understood through the media in terms of lifestyle and personal expression and choice. Fashion designers not only create clothes, but strong visual identities that transcend into products, interiors, objects, cinema and beyond; making fashion an intrinsic part of contemporary life.

Fashion design students at Winchester School of Art have access to, and learn with, traditional techniques and the latest digital techniques and processes that allow for new ideas and approaches to form. As well as learning, creativity, business and marketing skills and the professional knowledge needed to work in this highly competitive industry form part of the curriculum; making students leaving the programme highly employable by the leading companies in this global industry.

3. Creativity is the mother of invention. How do you define creativity?

Last year, the UK Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy described the creative sector as "a powerhouse within the UK economy" but said employers often found it hard to recruit staff who were up-to-speed with the latest technologies.

Creativity within a contemporary and leading School of Art such as Winchester School of Art means a close understanding and strong relationship to the creative industries, not just in feeding it with top students with the skills and knowledge to compete to work within the industry; but also students who will change and develop the industry through innovative practices and new ideas.

4. Winchester School of Art are offering new programmes. What are they?

Winchester School of Art has a strong record and constantly looks to develop new and leading programmes of study that attract students from around the world, making it one of the leading places to study art, design and fashion related programmes nationally. New programmes such as the BA and MA in Games Design and Art, MA in Contemporary Curation and the MA in Cultural Politics continue the trend in developing distinctive educational offerings based around national and internationally renowned research and connections with connected industries. Students will have the opportunity to work with global experts, with our staff comprising some of the top names in their fields of expertise in the field of Games, Curation and Cultural Politics.

Exclusive Interview with Prof. Ed D'Souza

5. Give brief information on the career prospects of graduates of BA (Hons) Games Design & Art, MA Contemporary Curation and MA Cultural Politics.

Games designers can move into what is a multi-billion pound global industry with many areas that they can specialize in and many prospects and job opportunities. Game Designers can find themselves working creatively developing and devising new games, develop visuals and visualize characters and setting, designing the interface and modes of play working as part of the programming or development team.

Game Designers are employed by development studios, both independent and publisher-owned, and there are currently some 1,900 games businesses in the UK with a total economic value that could be as much as £1.72bn in what is a globally expanding area of business.

The MA in Cultural Politics will give you the opportunity to analyse the changing politics of contemporary culture and communication and to understand their effects on society. This programme of study brings together expertise from Winchester School of Art, including the editors of the Journal of Cultural Politics, and experts from the Politics Department within the University.

With global career prospects in political, media and communications organisations, journalism, cultural institutions, media research and analytics, the skills gained from a programme of study such as this will prepare you and equip you to enter a broad connected field and industry.

The MA Contemporary Curation is designed to provide education, research training, "behind the scenes" industry insight, and practical experience across disciplines within the expanded field of curation today. This new Masters programme supports the growing need for critical, theoretically informed, practical approaches to both the curation of contemporary art and to developing the knowledge and skills necessary to the art of curation today.

MA Contemporary Curation offers transferable training through a variety of learning outcomes and incorporates professional visits to various institutions where students gain insights from leading curators and artistic directors giving them the experience to prepare them to work in the both the commercial, independent and national galleries and art institution scene. It also prepares them to undertake appointments within media, journalism, museums in curatorial or public programmes and learning team positions and in the commercial galleries sector. Additionally, students will be equipped to pursue careers in a wide variety of other organisations focused on cultural and public policy making, cultural management and administration, including various arts commissioning and funding agencies, as well as cultural community groups.

6. Throw some light on the scholarships offered to Indian students for the new programmes.

If you are a high achiever, Winchester School of Art wants to help you accomplish everything you possibly can. One of the ways we do this is through offering a variety of scholarships each year to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. The majority of our scholarships are awarded automatically, based on academic achievement. Details of the scholarships being offered for 2016 entry will be listed on the Winchester School of Art website very soon!

7. Provide us with brief information on the BA (Hons) Games Design & Art programme offered in your School.

Throughout the programme, a key focus will be thinking through and applying what you are learning to ideas and practices in the games studio and you will be equipped with key software tools and skills for working in a games studio.
As you move through the programme you apply practice into production, which allows you to gain additional insight into processes within games development and encourages you to understand the various games disciplines and roles within games development studios of various sizes and complexity. You will develop your theoretical, conceptual and study skills from both intellectual and practitioner's perspectives and be provided with an introduction to the nature and context of contemporary games art and design.

Throughout the programme you will be engaging with the games industry applying knowledge and skills gained, while making invaluable industry links and contacts. This BA benefits from research activities, staff and seminars organized by the Games Design Hub and Winchester Centre in Global Futures in Art Design & Media. An interdisciplinary focus with staff knowledge in games studio practices, art and visual prototyping, with input from the world-renowned University of Southampton School of Computing in regard to gamification.

8. Who can take up a Masters degree in Games Design & Art at Winchester School of Art?

The admissions policy for MA Games Design and Art is based on students having a good Honours degree in a relevant subject of games, arts or design discipline (At least a 2:2 classification) or an equivalent qualification in an appropriate discipline.

9. Could you give a few tips to students to work on their creativity.

Develop a portfolio of 15-20 images where we can see evidence of ideas in any format (Sketchbooks, layout books etc), backed up by a broad range of skills showing how you generate and develop ideas and that you are passionate and inquisitive about the creative subject of study.

Drawing is essential in all its forms, but we also want to see evidence of your invention, imagination, expression, exploration across different media such as photography, digital/computer generated work, problem solving through art or design and the development of visual work around themes related to your area of study.

Be open to getting ideas from a wide variety and sources of media, subject and content. Creativity and inspiration should come from your wider cultural life, so what you watch, read, play becomes part of your wider creative self. We encourage you to feed this by expanding your creative experiences and link this to the work you produce.

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