- 22 November 2023
- 5 minutes
Open to students from diverse academic backgrounds Graduate Diploma Art & Design at the RCA focuses on developing proficiency in the independent learning methods and practices of art and design. The programme offers on-campus, online or dual-learning modes of study, providing a global cohort of peers to learn alongside.
Students are introduced to the role and influence of art and design in the world today. With progression opportunities to RCA Master’s programmes, it provides an ideal environment to build a career in art and design.
Read on to discover the journeys of five graduates from the programme.
Jean Huang, Painting MA
Jean is currently a student at the RCA on the Painting MA programme. Before coming to the RCA Jean completed a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy in Canada.
I was looking for a bridge into the arts field and was excited to find that the Graduate Diploma programme was offering just that! I loved that the programme was open and welcoming to students coming from different educational perspectives, while preparing students for MA studies in the arts.
“I loved that the programme was open and welcoming to students coming from different educational perspectives, while preparing students for MA studies in the arts.”Graduate Diploma Art & Design alumni
I was encouraged to experiment and reflect on both how and what I wanted to create. I learned what worked for me and what didn’t, which helped me develop a practice that was authentic. The programme introduced me to the RCA’s innovative thinking and equipped me with the confidence in my own painting process, which helped me transition into the self-directed nature of the Painting MA programme.
I will always remember the way my tutors encouraged me to open my imagination, think bigger, and stretch beyond the limitations I place on myself. After completing the Graduate Diploma programme, I was proud to bring two projects to life that first began in the programme: “When We Were little” – a funded docu-series that showcases my art process and the landscapes of Vancouver, Canada, and “Chewed Up! An Art Show for Dogs by a Dog” – a public art installation centring the point of view of a dog.
Discover more of Jean Huang's work through her Instagram profile.
Anusha Balakrishnan, Design Products MA, 2023
The Graduate Diploma programme positioned me to thrive in an environment that values creativity, initiative, and a proactive approach to learning and design. It was important for me to understand that studies at the RCA are self-directed, which is a shift from traditional education models. Students are empowered to take control of their learning journey, fostering a sense of independence and autonomy.
“Students are empowered to take control of their learning journey, fostering a sense of independence and autonomy.”Graduate Diploma Art & Design alumni
The tutors and the structured, immersive nature of the programme offered a supportive environment where I could explore various aspects of design, enabling me to identify what truly resonated with me. This prompted me to consider not just what I wanted to design but, more importantly, why I wanted to design for the world.
My full circle moment – from starting with the Graduate Diploma in July 2020 to finishing my MA and exhibiting my work at the RCAxHSBC exhibition curated by the Graduate Diploma community to celebrate five years of the course – is my favourite memory so far. This is not only a personal achievement but also a recognition of my creative journey at the RCA and the culmination of my efforts throughout my academic tenure.
Discover more of Anusha's work through her RCA2023 profile.
Crysta Jewel Dela Cuesta, Visual Communication, 2023
After the Graduate Diploma programme Crysta completed her undergraduate degree in communication design in California. She then returned to the RCA to study Visual Communication MA with the support of a Snap Inc. scholarship. Crysta now lives and works in London as a graphic designer.
The Graduate Diploma introduced me to a community of brilliant talent and creative minds. It has helped me gain a deeper critical perspective and appreciation for art and design. It has taught me how to always keep an open mind and to keep exploring new ways of thinking and making.
“In the past, I felt like I had to choose between being an artist and a designer, but at the RCA, our tutors encourage us to be multidisciplinary”Graduate Diploma Art & Design alumni
In the past, I felt like I had to choose between being an artist and a designer, but at the RCA, our tutors encourage us to be multidisciplinary and merge our various interests and skills, and to keep developing our practices through different forms of research and creating.
The community is the best thing about the RCA because it is so diverse; everyone comes from different cultures and experiences. On the Graduate Diploma, I will never forget collaborating and writing a manifesto with my peers. In Visual Communication, I will always remember the conversations I had with my friends and tutors about our different cultures, similar experiences, and family lives.
Discover more of Crysta's work through her RCA2023 profile.
Katie Poon, Sculpture MA
Before coming to the RCA Katie gained an MA in interpreting, an MSC in international marketing, and a BA in journalism, all in the UK. She also studied traditional Chinese painting. Katie is currently an RCA student on the Sculpture MA.
The setting of Graduate Diploma allows students from different backgrounds and majors to come together to learn from each other and understand unknown fields, thereby stimulating creative enthusiasm. Through the effective combination of theory and practice, we maximised our understanding of hot topics at the forefront of art and found a future path suitable for our own development.
“The programme helped me with my own personal development by helping me understand myself better and fostering personal growth.”Graduate Diploma Art & Design alumni
Studying Graduate Diploma not only gave me a lot of guidance in technical exploration, artistic direction, and theoretical research, but more importantly, it helped me build self-confidence, learn how to listen to suggestions from many parties and further reflect on my own works.
I learnt to use my artwork to invite viewers to reflect, question, and contemplate different aspects of life, society, and the human experience, which did not exist before. Creating and appreciating art can be a journey of self-discovery. The programme helped me with my own personal development by helping me understand myself better and fostering personal growth.
Discover more of Katie's work through her Instagram profile.
Tanya Chaturvedi, Digital Direction, 2023
Before coming to the RCA Tanya studied design, fashion and lifestyle in India. After completing the Graduate Diploma Art & Design she studied Digital Direction MA. Tanya is a contributor at Cosmopolitan, India.
Graduate Diploma’s intensive yet supportive nature helped me learn how to multitask by lending me tools to make the best of my time at the RCA. The programme’s structure re-introduced me to my practice and helped me look at my interests from varied lenses.
“As intensive as the Graduate Diploma structure is, by the end of the course you feel better prepared and equipped for your MA.”Graduate Diploma Art & Design alumni
As intensive as the Graduate Diploma structure is, by the end of the course you feel better prepared and equipped for your MA. With the tools, techniques and research methodology cultivated with the Graduate Diploma, one feels more confident in their practice and is not overwhelmed by the varied courses, inductions, technical skills and extracurriculars – while moving forward with a ‘can do’ attitude.
With three campuses set in different parts of London, the course helped me explore the city. Moving forward, the rich history in the museums and art galleries helped me navigate and make visits on my own. Instilling a sense of confidence and independence, London for me started on a positive note.
Discover more of Tanya's work through her RCA2023 profile.