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Arts University Plymouth: Illustration

Institution Arts University Plymouth View institution profile
Department Arts, Design and Media
Study type Taught


Plymouth College of Art has been granted full university status and formally recognised with the new title of Arts University Plymouth, following approval by the Privy Council. This makes us the City of Plymouth’s first specialist arts university.

The title of Arts University Plymouth signifies a change to the way that the world will see us, our position within the sector and the mobility of our graduates; but not a change in the way that we see ourselves or what we do. Arts University Plymouth will build upon the existing strength of our unique culture and incredible community; we have no plans to change the specialist focus of the work we do together. The name Arts University Plymouth will appear on our qualifications, making it easier for employers and peers to recognise that our students were taught at a leading specialist arts university.

In May 2022 we were awarded the Best Small or Specialist University at the 2022 WhatUni Student Choice Awards, coming top in a list of well-respected specialist UK universities, based on unbiased and honest reviews from students across the UK, in a category that highlights the quality of our provision as a specialist creative university.

Our MA Illustration programme encourages the development of an individual and distinctive illustrative practice through engagement with contemporary approaches, contexts, audiences and debates.

Ethos Contemporary illustration continues to flourish, becoming far more fluid, outward-looking and interdisciplinary in nature, meaning that the role of the illustrator can encompass many new possibilities. Our programme explores this rapidly changing landscape alongside wider cultural contexts of image, text and narrative. The MA Illustration will allow you to develop a distinctive position for yourself as an illustrator, whether through traditional collaborations with the design community, creative directors and publishers, or through contemporary self-directed alliances – such as the formation of collectives and independent publishing and gallery-based ventures.

Outline Rigorous investigation and debate about illustrative practice will enrich your understanding of both the potential and relevance of the discipline as a whole, as well as your own social responsibilities as an imagemaker. We offer a dynamic studio environment in which to study illustration as an image-making practice, with access to workshop areas across the college. Taught delivery within the programme provides a mix of discipline-specific methods and cross-disciplinary approaches that can be applied across creative and commercial sectors. Our shared module structure allows you to develop a dialogue with creative practitioners across the Graduate School.

Supported practices This programme supports authorial illustration practices, and practitioners who want to investigate new approaches to illustration made possible by contemporary critical debates.


Arts University Plymouth


Winner of Best Small or Specialist University at the 2022 WhatUni Student Choice Awards.

Voted as the top Arts University in the UK in the National Student Survey (NSS 2022). Overall student satisfaction is 81% at Arts University Plymouth, significantly above the national average of 76%.

Founded in 1856, the institution has been granted full university status and formally recognised with the new title of Arts University Plymouth following approval by the Privy Council, becoming the city of Plymouth’s specialist arts university. Arts University Plymouth is a specialist arts university offering a comprehensive range of undergraduate and …

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