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Cambridge School of Visual & Performing Arts (UK)

For students interested in studying fashion, graphics or performance overseas, there are many benefits to choosing a small institution like the Cambridge School of Visual & Performing Arts (CSVPA).


With around 300 students in total (half of whom are international), there are no more than 15 students per lecturer, and every student is assigned a Personal Tutor for academic advice.


And unlike at larger universities, its studios are open every day, printing is free and all pattern paper and materials are provided.


In this way, students can be free to experiment and make mistakes without the financial pressures of having to constantly purchase more supplies.


Here are some of the highlights from my visit!


Bridge House main entry
Bridge House main entry

Cambridge city


Perhaps one of the best aspects of studying at CSVPA is its location in one of the UK's most charming cities.


With a population of around 150,000, Cambridge is an absolute gem.


Road in Cambridge

It's a convenient 1-hour train from London and is exactly what you might imagine a historical, picturesque English city to be like.


Wedding photos on a regular Thursday evening
Wedding photos on a regular Thursday evening
Street in Cambridge

In addition to its really cute coffee shops (Espresso Library and Bould Brothers being my favorites), I found it so peaceful walking along the River Cam.


Espresso Library
Espresso Library
River Cam

I highly recommend going punting down the river, too (riding in a small boat with a guide), as you'll be taken along the backsides of the University of Cambridge colleges, which are absolutely stunning buildings.


This bridge is how the city got its name; the bridge over the River Cam!
This bridge is how the city got its name; the bridge over the River Cam!
River Cam
River Cam
King's College
King's College
Bridge of Sighs
Bridge of Sighs
Bridge of Sighs
Bridge of Sighs
St John's College
St John's College
Mathematical Bridge
Mathematical Bridge
King's College
King's College
Wren Library, Trinity College
Wren Library, Trinity College

When back on land, do be careful though.


Sure, you can walk everywhere, but there are certainly a lot of cyclists!


Trinity College
Bikes in an alley
More bikes in an alley
St John's College
St John's College
Jesus Green
Jesus Green

It's also worth climbing up the tower of Great St Mary's for 360-degree views of Cambridge.


Great St Mary's
Great St Mary's
Gonville & Caius College
Gonville & Caius College
The market stalls are fun to visitOn a sunny day, the market stalls are fun to visit
On a sunny day, the market stalls are fun to visit
View of Cambridge
King's College
King's College

CSVPA campuses


There are three main CSVPA sites within Cambridge: Bridge House, Sturton Street and the Graduate Centre.


The Bridge House is where fashion and graphics students are based, from the foundation year through the BA program.


Foundation Fashion Design Studio

I met one of the MA students from Minnesota (who already had a job offer in London), and she had nothing but positives to say about the course leader of the foundation program (Dennic Lo), who previously worked for companies like ASOS.


In fact, all tutors are either still working in the industry or spent years in it.


Foundation fashion room
View from foundation fashion room
View from foundation fashion room
Foundation program assignments
Foundation program assignments
Foundation fashion room
Foundation fashion room
Foundation fashion room
Foundation fashion room
Lace designs
Foundation fashion room
Foundation fashion room

At the BA level, every student has their own permanent desk and computer space, which means they can leave their things there and not have to worry about finding a place to work or cleaning up.


BA fashion workspaces
BA fashion workspaces
BA Fashion designs
BA Fashion room
BA Fashion room

The BA Fashion students regularly receive national press coverage, and at the most recent London Graduate Fashion Week, they won a record 13 awards.


3D design

CSVPA also teaches a BA in Fashion Branding & Creative Communication, which covers all the topics ranging from styling, photography, art direction and trend prediction to branding, PR and fashion marketing.


Fashion Communication room
View from the Fashion Communication room
View from the Fashion Communication room
Fashion Communication room

The room for students taking the BA Graphics & Illustration course is set up to mirror what it's like to work in a company, with students from all years of the program located in different sections of it.


There's even a pool table!


Graphics room
Graphics room
Graphics room
Graphics room
Graphics room
Graphics library
Graphics library
Graphics room
Graphics room
Courtyard for CSVPA students
Courtyard for CSVPA students
Photography room

Students can also access other types of labs, such as woodworking studios.


Woodworking studio
Woodworking studio
Summer school projects
Summer school projects

At Bridge House, students will also find the student services team and a large canteen and dining area.


Canteen at Bridge House
Canteen at Bridge House
Dining area
Dining area

The Graduate Centre is located around the corner, and it's a space just for students on the MA programs.


Graduate Centre
Graduate Centre

There is large open plan studio space, iMac workstations, a photography studio with a backdrop, a photography lab and a dedicated fashion studio.


Graduate Centre
Graduate Centre
Graduate Centre

About a 15-minute walk away is the Sturton Street campus, home to dance, music and performing arts.


Here, there are 14 studios (seven of which possess Harlequin flooring), a theatre that can seat 100 people and various rooms to practice instruments.


Sturton Street campus entrance
Sturton Street campus entrance
Dance studio
Dance studio
Dance studio
Dance studio
Life drawing studio
Life drawing studio
Sturton Street computer lab
Musical instruments

I loved all the natural light pouring into the studio spaces.


Sturton Street studios

The canteen at Sturton Street was recently renovated, too.


Sturton Street canteen
Sturton Street canteen

Now, being located in the same city as the famous University of Cambridge does have its benefits, too.


For example, any CSVPA student can get involved in projects with students, tutors and researchers.


In the Arts Lab, one Cambridge student gave his poems to the CSVPA performing arts students on a dance course to express how the poems made them feel through dance, and another worked with students from the graphics course to provide illustrations for their thesis.


Lastly, CSVPA students graduate in the Cambridge Union building, the world's oldest debate space that often hosts guests speakers from around the world.


Cambridge Union
Cambridge Union

Cambridge School of Visual & Performing Arts: Summary


CSVPA is a really great option for someone looking for a close-knit creative community in a super beautiful, livable city.


Whether it's because of the endless access to tutors and hands-on guidance or being able to experiment for free with any materials that may be needed, students are well-supported and prepared for industry at CSVPA.


CSVPA entrance by the Round Church
CSVPA entrance by the Round Church

There is also an incredible buzz and energy in Cambridge, home to some of the world’s brightest thinkers and minds.


It’s almost impossible not to be inspired here -- and for the visual and creative students, there’s just nowhere like it.


 

Interested in applying for college or grad school abroad?


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G'day! My name is Sara, and I'm the founder of College Apps Abroad and a Certified Educational Planner (CEP), one of only 40 CEP's in California and 300 worldwide. I have more than 10 years of experience working in international recruitment and admissions, and I've studied and lived overseas myself in the UK, Ireland, Australia and Brazil for almost a decade. I've also worked for some of the world's top institutions, including The University of Edinburgh, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and The University of Western Australia (UWA)!

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