Arts Access & Participation Statement
The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts is committed to making its high quality courses accessible to all students who have the capacity to benefit from them, and this Access and Participation Statement has been prepared in connection with our Teaching and Learning Strategy. This statement demonstrates how our School is able to offer the benefits of a higher education to a wide variety of groups and individuals who might otherwise have been excluded because of their life circumstances. We are committed to widening participation in the School and recognise that different people regardless of their ethnicity or background bring different perspectives, ideas, knowledge and culture to teaching and learning, and that this difference brings great strength. The School encourages a rich diversity of learner by fostering a culture of inclusion, respectfulness and acceptance of difference, where all students and staff feel highly valued and safe.
The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts
The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts was founded in 2004 by HRH The Prince of Wales as one of its core charities. It developed from the Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts programme established at the Royal College of Art where a postgraduate programme based on the practice and research of the traditional arts was pioneered. On 1 September 2018, The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts merged with The Prince’s Foundation to form the School of Traditional Arts. The Prince’s Foundation headquarters is in Dumfries House, Scotland with its London base at 19-22 Charlotte Road, London EC2A 3SG where the School of Traditional Arts will reside. The School’s aims and objectives remain unchanged in that it offers practising artists the opportunity to undertake research at the highest level with postgraduate degrees (MA, MPhil and PhD) validated by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
Principles of the School’s Commitment to Accessible and High Quality Academic Provision
Accessibility to All
The School is firmly committed to promoting equal opportunity and, in respect of student recruitment and admissions, the only consideration is that the individual meets, or is likely to meet, the requirements of the programme. The School’s courses combine the teaching of the practical skills of the traditional arts and crafts with an understanding of the philosophy inherent within them. People come from all over the United Kingdom and many other countries to study at the School making a diverse and unique mix of students. The ethnicity of the School’s students is very varied with many international students from around the world including students from China, Japan, USA, Canada, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Spain, France, Belgium, Australia, Taiwan, Portugal, Brazil, Russia, Tibet, Equador, Morocco, Malaysia, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago . The gender split of School’s students tends towards a greater proportion of female students. The School encourages applications from all types of applicants including those with parental responsibilities and more mature students who may be returning to HE level study. The age range of students is mixed with younger and older students working together.
Many of the world’s traditional art forms have already been destroyed. It is one of the objectives of the School to work on a practical solution to this threat . The main solution is the teaching and promotion of the practice of these traditional arts and crafts. Students who attend the School from all over the world and from many different cultures, may in turn, pass on these practical skills as taught together with an awareness of the universal principles underlying them. Thus the School is in a unique position to promote understanding and tolerance between cultures, helping to forge links and encourage recognition of the common values held by all.
Equality and Diversity is at the heart of everything we do at the School. It is a place where everyone can be themselves without fear of discrimination or harassment and be supported to achieve to the best of their ability. We are committed to equality of opportunity for all our students and we regard all as being of equal value irrespective of ethnicity, age, disability, religion, gender, sexual orientation or marital status. The delivery of a consistently high quality student experience is one of our overarching strategic aims. Students will experience a School which places huge emphasis on the needs of students.
The strategy of the School is to widen access by operating an equal opportunities policy with strategic emphasis on staff training for example supporting students with dyslexia.
Fair and Effective Admission Policy
When attracting students from non-traditional backgrounds it is crucial that the School can identify that the students have the appropriate skills required and that they are fully aware of the requirements of the course. Applicants with non-standard qualifications will be considered where they can show they have relevant experience and will be asked to provide an additional CV and a second reference as evidence of this. An admissions policy is available on the School’s website.
In order to be as accessible and as transparently fair to as many potential students as possible, the School seeks to ensure that its procedures:
- give all prospective students a fair and accurate reflection of the School’s ethos and mission
- are underpinned by transparent entry requirements, both academic and non-academic, and are designed so as to present no unnecessary barriers to prospective students
- enable the School to make a full and fair assessment of applicants in accordance with its ethos and mission and enable applicants to make informed decisions.
- are conducted by authorised and appropriate members of the School and that it is made clear to prospective students how these processes will be conducted, what is involved in them and what prospective students have to do.
- enable the School to select students who are able to complete the programme as judged by their achievement and their potential
- use assessment methods that are reliable and valid and underpinned by appropriate organisational structures and processes.
Affordable Fee Structure and Scholarships
The School aims to provide the best possible service for its learners while maintaining the tuition fees at an affordable level. The School is keen to maintain this value for money approach in order not to deter potential students, particularly those from non-traditional backgrounds as tuition fees grow in other HEIs.
The School provides a number of scholarships to help with tuition fees in particular for the MA programme. On average the majority of MA students (around 70-80% of students) are recipients of scholarships. There is also a small student hardship fund available for those students who can show evidence that they are struggling financially during their studies.
Research Excellence and Staff Development
The research promotion and facilitation activity provided by the School would be diminished without the high quality research active academics and visiting academics who contribute to the rich intellectual environment of the School. Its teaching activity, which is entirely postgraduate, is also enhanced by the research promotion and facilitation activity it undertakes, particularly the significant portfolio of research training made available to our research students.
The School has a staff development policy that is clear, accessible and equitable and in accordance with its strategic priorities to encourage staff training and research which is available to all staff annually. Staff are expected to engage in collaborative projects, conferences, seminars and networking and take other opportunities to update themselves in ways of enhancing learning. The School encourages its staff to develop new areas of practice as research, participate in exhibitions, publish research findings, engage in dialogue and collaborative projects with outside institutions and consider their position as practitioners in the field of traditional arts and crafts. The School ensures that staff members are actively encouraged to pursue their research and professional practice and, to ensure that teaching staff are active researchers and practitioners, many of them are part time. The School makes strategic use of its wide spectrum of national and international outreach programmes as a vehicle for staff development. The School ensures that is practice as research are made available to a wider audience through collaborative publishing projects such as the Thames and Hudson publication, Arts and Crafts of the Islamic Lands.
An important aspect of the School’s Teaching and Learning strategy is to integrate all its work and activities: research, educational initiatives, community and outreach projects and the School’s academic programmes.
The principal strategic priority of the School is to develop curricula that provide research students with the research skills, knowledge, practical skills and aptitude to be successful traditional artists, and secondly, to enable students to acquire transferable skills such as the ability to conduct independent research and practice; analyse spatial systems; evaluate and synthesise ideas and information; participate in peer review, dialogue and critical evaluation; evaluate a range of theoretical perspectives and interpretations in contemporary practice; and develop a critical reflective approach to creative work.
Transparency and Accessibility of all Information for Students
The School already meets a high standard of transparency by publishing detailed information about the School’s postgraduate programmes on its website which has recently been updated. In line with the GPDR regulations the website also includes a privacy notice and terms and conditions.
All new students are given an induction to the postgraduate programmes at the beginning of their studies and each student will receive a detailed student handbook.
Tutorials are the key to success for many of the students studying at the School. The availability of tutors to support individual students who have additional learning needs such as Dyslexia, and other barriers to learning is implicit with the higher education programmes and is embedded within the ethos of the School. This approach creates a safe environment for all students to work in, but is particularly supportive for more vulnerable students or students who need some additional support. It enables a personalised approach to learning and leads to greater success for all students, but particularly students who need that extra support.
Tutorials highlight when students are at risk, for example, through noting poor attendance. As signing in registers are compulsory at the School and as the student population is small with a maximum of 24 MA students each year, the tutors are quickly aware if a student has not attended learning sessions. This leads to investigation and support for the student by putting actions in place to encourage the student back to the School. This approach is particularly important for students who may feel isolated, for example, financial isolation causes barriers to learning and attending. As well as the scholarships to help with tuition fees, the School has a small student hardship fund which can help support students financially.
An advantage of a smaller teaching team and smaller student cohorts means that the student body get more personalised tuition. We believe that excellence will be achieved through recognising the value of every individual, whatever their background, and focus on giving all our students exceptional levels of support to help them to achieve their real potential, contribute fully and derive maximum benefit and enjoyment from their involvement with the School.
The high level of tutor support with the focus on individual attainment help is to ensure a high level of retention.
The MA students have an opportunity to participate in a collaborative project with art students from various disciplines from the Royal College of Art and previously with the Slade School of Fine Art. This gives our students a chance to have a dialogue with students from other universities.
The School also works closely with its validating body University of Wales Trinity Saint David. In the past our MA students have visited the UWTSD Swansea campus where they have attended a workshop in stained glass with Swansea students.
Field Study Trip
The MA students will have the opportunity to attend a field study trip where they will visit traditional architectural sites which will give students a more profound experience of traditional arts in their historical context and will be essential for enhancing the students’ experience of the traditional arts in situ. Past field trips have included Chartres Cathedral; the Alhambra in Granada and the mosques in Istanbul, Iran and Cairo.
The School works in partnership with students. Each MA cohort will have 2 student representatives and the research programme one student representative. There are a number of committees which are attended by students or student reps. At the beginning of each term, all MA students attend a Student Forum; at the end of each term MA student reps’ attend the Course Board of Study (CBS) and Academic Board. The research reps’ will attend Research Degrees Committees, as well as the Academic Board. After each module review, first year MA students will complete a questionnaire which is unnamed so that the students can provide anonymous feedback and the MA Director of Studies will endeavour to answer any comments received from these forms. The MA external examiner and UWTSD PTL will meet with second year MA students during the Part 1 and Part 2 MA exams to receive feedback. The MA external examiner will complete a report after each exam visit which is forwarded by UWTSD to the School. The academic team will then have to provide a response to any feedback from these reports to UWTSD. These reports will be made available to MA student reps for the CBS meetings.
Professional Practice, Alumni Network and Exhibitions
The School organises lectures to give advice about professional practice from a combination of successful alumni, staff and professionals.
The School also offers opportunities for work within the Open and Outreach Programmes, and many of the permanent teaching staff at the School are also alumni.
The School is keen to encourage an alumni network with Facebook and Whatsapp groups.
One outstanding student will be chosen to receive the Ciclitera Prize which will include the opportunity to exhibit at the Saatchi Gallery Art Fair START in September. From July to September 2018 to mark the 70th birthday of HRH The Prince of Wales, a number of alumni were chosen to exhibit their work at Buckingham Palace summer exhibition. Several alumni have also exhibited at the gallery at the School.
Both permanent and visiting teaching staff including alumni were invited to contribute to the Arts and Crafts of the Islamic Lands publication by Thames and Hudson.
Outreach and Open Programmes
The postgraduate programme in the practice of the traditional arts forms the core of the School, but the work of the School now extends to include outreach programmes both within the UK and internationally. The courses that form the core of the postgraduate programmes are also the basis of the outreach programmes, as well as the short course programmes and the school and community workshops. Courses are conducted by staff and alumni with the purpose of extending the work of the School into the community and enabling people to learn practical skills which are no longer taught at many arts schools. Links have been forged with many communities and organisations with the common vision of promoting the knowledge and practice of the traditional arts and crafts and the School has established a number of International Centres of Traditional Arts in Baku, Cairo, Jeddah and Karachi. Fundamental to these objectives is the commitment of HRH The Prince of Wales to encourage an appreciation of the universal values that are essential to the practice and understanding of these traditional arts and crafts and to support their organisation as a valid means of contemporary expression. The School has an international outreach programme with projects in Azerbaijan, Egypt, China, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. This active engagement with local communities to sustain their traditional arts increasingly attracts aspiring young artists to its core educational programmes in London. Some students from these programmes have taken the Master’s degree at our School and have returned to their countries on completion of their studies to take a major role in our projects there. The outreach team offer an induction to their programmes at the end of the student’s studies
and some alumni will then become involved in the outreach and open programmes once they have graduated.
MA and PhD students will be eligible to attend some free short courses within the Open Programme while they are students at the School.
The Prince’s Foundation, School of Traditional Arts is committed to widening participation in higher education amongst all under-represented groups. In our values we commit ourselves to equality, inclusivity and fairness and place our students at the heart of everything we do. The core values of inclusivity and widening participation are an integral part of our culture.