The Art School at Radley College is located in the newly refurbished Sewell Centre which was re-opened in 2013 by Sandy Nairne Director of the National Portrait Gallery.
The new Art Gallery was opened by artist Jenny Saville and is part of a development that contains several purpose built art studios, lecture studio and life drawing room. Four full time members of staff and a part time Art Historian offer expertise in a wide variety of disciplines.
Art is studied as a core subject in the first year at Radley. Boys then have the opportunity to undertake more rigorous study at GCSE and Advanced Level. Often leading to University courses in Architecture, History of Art and Applied Fine Arts. A significant number of Radleians go on to interesting and varied careers within the Art world.
Art A’ Level at Radley
Art at A ‘Level is a practical based course supported by written material. At Radley, we follow the AQA A’ Level examination board and focus on the Fine Art specification. The students produce practical and critical/contextual work in one or more areas of study. These may include; painting, mixed media, sculpture, ceramics, installation, printmaking, moving image and photography. There is a particular emphasis on good academic drawing.
The course is split into two parts. Firstly, the students undertake a personal investigation into an idea, issue, concept or theme supported by written text. The focus of the investigation leads the students to a finished outcome or a series of related final pieces.
Secondly, the students are given an externally set assignment from which they choose a theme from a selection of eight starting points. From this title, the students create preparatory work leading to 15 hours of unaided, but supervised, time during which they create a final outcome.
Art AS Level
There is also an opportunity for selected students to consider taking a stand alone AS course. This course follows a similar format as the full A’ Level. Students create a portfolio of art work which should demonstrate their ability to develop a theme/concept from an initial starting point to a realisation, making links throughout with relevant critical/contextual materials. They then undertake an externally set assignment from a choice of five questions to be used as starting points. This culminates in 10 hours of supervised time during in which they produce a finished outcome informed by their preparatory work.
Our Studios and Galleries
We work in four large, well equipped studios and are able to display students’ work in the new Sewell Centre Gallery alongside professional artists’ work and that of Old Radleians.
Within the studios, we encourage a variety of experiences working with a range of traditional and new media, processes and techniques appropriate to the students’ areas of enquiry.
Studio time is supplemented with visits to galleries and exhibitions throughout the UK. Furthermore, there are opportunities to join departmental trips abroad to further the students’ investigations into periods in western art and the history of art in other cultures.
Although Art taken at GCSE level prior to the A level course is beneficial, it is not a vital requirement. However, enthusiasm and a keen interest in art are essential, coupled with creativity and imaginative flare. During the course, the students build on their visual literacy and the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image.
After A’ Level
The subject equips students with a strong critical understanding and knowledge of subject matter it also helps to develop an awareness of a working visual vocabulary and imbues a candidate with analytical techniques along with advanced artistic skills in a range of materials and media. Students often choose to continue the subject at degree level or use it to complement other subject choices providing greater breadth and depth to their education. After University, the subject can lead to a myriad of careers in the creative industries. The UK is recognized as a world leader in this field and the sector makes a crucial and growing contribution to the economy.