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Student work: Creative Arts - The Open College of the Arts
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Student work: Creative Arts

Creative Arts Skills – Using the skills hub to support an interdisciplinary approach

In the Creative Arts Degree pathway unit 1.2 Creative Arts Skills enables students to make use of the department skills hub for the first time. Each micro-skills course is written from a discipline specific viewpoint to support the exploration and development of specific skills. As a tutor I find the exciting challenge is how students can then be encouraged to combine, apply, and adapt these skills as they start to build and test their own interdisciplinary approach inside the unit supported by the course materials. 

Rachael Barns has recently completed 1.2 and her work is an excellent example of how skills can be combined and adapted to produce Creative work. In 1.2 she selected to complete the following skills hub micro-courses: 

  • Sculpture – Assembling Sculpture
  • Creative Writing – Using Senses and Descriptive Prose
  • X-discipline – The Power of the Book 

If you click on the link to her creative website you can see the work she submitted for her assessment as her Creative Presentation : (forty-nine years is) Seven Times Seven Seven artists’ books. 


What is exciting to see is how Rachael is using elements of these new skills to explore and develop her creative voice. The books have become sculptural objects inspired by the work of book-artist and paper engineer Colette Fu. Rachael’s creative writing takes inspiration from constraint based processes of writing and becomes integral to the work and how it communicates. Working creatively across disciplines to build an interdisciplinary practice. 

Rachael says: “So far my experience of the degree has really built my confidence. As I progressed into 1.2 I was surprised by the choices I made in the skills hub as this has opened up my interests in unexpected and positive ways. This unit has enabled me to start building a creative toolkit of methods. I have also felt supported to develop my personal voice and assert the fact that I am an artist.”

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Posted by author: Rachel Smith
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4 thoughts on “Student work: Creative Arts

  • I follow Rachael on Instagram and am always encouraged and slightly intimidated(!) by how inventive and prolific as an artist she is. Really pleased to see that recognised here…it’s also inspiring as I’m about to head into 1.2 myself – looking forward to seeing her progress through the course just ahead of me!

  • It is great to see you recognised Rachael. I love to see what you have been getting up to on Instagram and in our group sessions and how you merge your chosen disciplines at such an early stage in your OCA journey. Great work.

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