How to Create a Winning Portfolio for Creative and Therapeutic Arts

Creative and Therapeutic Arts

If you’ve been invited to attend an interview for our BA (Hons) Creative and Therapeutic Arts degree, you will be asked to bring a portfolio. So what should you include?

Portfolio tips

We are looking to explore and understand your artistic identity – what you’re passionate about as an artist. This doesn’t have to be your most recent studies or work completed for a qualification, it could be work you’ve completed for fun, or for exhibition, as well as work that might have been part of your studies.

The work doesn’t have to be in one medium – show us what you can do! We welcome examples of 3D work, installations and film as well as 2D portfolios. Consider what the most effective means of communicating bulky work might be e.g. a good quality photograph of a sculpture if it is too big to transport.

Consider the viewer’s experience when working through the portfolio; think carefully about the order in which you present the work as well as the way you present it aesthetically. You might want to get a second opinion or practise sharing your portfolio with a friend or relative to get a feel for the flow of it.

If you have an extensive portfolio, it is important to prioritise the work you are most eager to share as we view your work within a limited time frame. We recommend a portfolio of 20-pages maximum.

We are interested in your process as well as your final pieces, it can be interesting to see a series of pages on the development of a piece and how it came to fruition.

You might want to bring a sketchbook or journal that shows your ideas as they have developed and any supporting research that has influenced your decisions and directions.

Interview tips

"The interview is an informal conversation where you can discuss your work, your ideas and ambitions, and how our course could help achieve these," says Beth Pickard, course leader.

We’re always pleased when students have researched the course, finding out about the tutors and our alumni.

In the same way, we like students who bring something extra to interview.

For example:

  • Have an interest in current affairs or the world around them
  • Visit exhibitions locally or nationally
  • Enjoy reading about participatory art projects in books, magazines and online
  • A knowledge of artists who inspire or influence them

What to avoid

Don’t rely on one image per idea or topic – try and express your ideas through a series of pieces.

Don’t come with a only memory stick, a CD or, worst still, your phone expecting the interviewing staff to view your work this way.

By all means bring a link to a good online website or Flickr gallery to showcase work outside of your portfolio, and academic staff will view this at a later as additional support to the interview.

Good luck!