The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art offers a three-year studio-based BFA course in which all its students work alongside each other in collaboratively organised studios. Whereas many fine art courses run in an environment devoted exclusively to art and design, Ruskin students, as members of a collegiate university, have the advantage of contact with their contemporaries on all of Oxford’s other courses.
The Ruskin course aims to develop strong independent points of view and a mature grasp of the range of critical debate surrounding contemporary art and its many international histories. Oxford’s short terms, coupled with the ambitious atmosphere at the Ruskin, suit highly motivated and resourceful students with a good sense of how to organise their time both in and out of Oxford. The first year of the course is structured to introduce students to each other, to the resources of the School and to all the people involved in teaching and running the Ruskin. The combination of witnessing fellow students at work, group criticism and individual discussion with tutors and visiting artists, swiftly develops a strong sense of the diversity of experience and opinion within the School.
The close working circumstances of the School, arranged in two buildings, means that art history, theory and criticism are seen as integral to the development of all studio work. The Ruskin also enjoys a strong and constructive relationship with Modern Art Oxford, and students have full access to the many exceptional University libraries and museums, including the Ashmolean.
Since the School and its staff have built many personal and professional relationships with museums and galleries in London, these too are seen as one of the Ruskin’s major resources. Independent, as well as organised visits, are seen as essential to maintaining the energy of debate within the School.