Manchester School of Art Interview

I was interviewed for Manchester School of Art last year, so I roughly knew what to expect – there would be a questionnaire in the beginning asking about my favourite designers and recent galleries I had been to, and it would be a group interview, prior to which my portfolio would be looked through by the tutor while I was given a tour of the university. As I assumed, this was the case, and it meant I had prepared successfully. When given the tour of the university, I fell in love with it. The facilities are amazing, just two floors down from the design room are umpteen ceramics and woodwork rooms, book binding rooms, several lazer cutters and 3D printers, a student materials shop, a renting shop for cameras and such. I loved where the design room was – you had to go up to the fourth floor then down a central staircase, meaning that the room is partially tucked away. Interiors is situated between graphic design and illustration, above textiles and fashion. This is an intentional placement, the tutor said, because interiors work very much with the other students on large projects. I found this really exciting because it felt like the School of Art was one big class, rather than separate degrees which don’t ever interlink.

I am unsure how the interview itself actually went. I was in a group with two other foundation students and one BTEC student. We were all so different and it was hard to identify the strongest or most successful. We were only asked to speak about one of our pieces in our portfolio, which I felt was very limiting because I wanted to talk about them all and really show off. I can only hope the tutors properly looked through my portfolio during the tour. After I had spoken about one of my pieces, I was asked to explain my current project, to which the tutor offered some advice. One of these things were that I need to record my designs and workings in a skecthbook, so I showed the sketchbooks I had brought, but she didn’t seem too interested. I tried to seem really engaged when the other students showed their work but at the same time I didn’t want to interupt their time with the interviewer. Coming out of the interview, I felt a little disheartened and unconfident. I feel frustrated that I couldn’t say everything I wanted to say but fingers crossed I was successful and it was taken into account how limiting group interviews are. Overall, I am trying to remain hopeful, but the tutor didn’t give anything away at all, so now it’s just a waiting game. I think attending this interview reiterated my initial love for this university. After the Leeds interview, I had been torn, but visiting Manchester again puts it back on the top of my list.


Mock Interview Notes

Areas to improve:-

  • Know who won various awards relating to interior design and architecture (RIBA awards).
  • Go into more detail when describing my personality – however this does show through the things I say.
  • Think of alternative ways to talk about my portfolio pieces and don’t point out all the negatives when doing so as this will highlight them to a real interviewer.

Areas that went well:-

  • Personality coming through in what I say.
  • Remain passionate.
  • Confident.
  • Relatively good at interviews.

Leeds Beckett – School of Art, Architecture and Design Interview

My interview at Leeds Beckett was an interesting one. I arrived just five minutes late having found it hard to park and being stuck in traffic. This already threw me off because I set off 45 minutes ahead of my pre-evaluated setting off time. I ran through the door of the uni and consulted the reception staff who got me to sit in the waiting hour. I expected to be sat for a few minutes while she figured out which room I was in and gave me directions, however this was not the case. I was left there for one hour. During this time the only things going through my mind were frustration of my five minutes late being extended to one hour and five minutes late, and increasing nervousness about my upcoming interview. During this hour the reception staff kept reassuring me they were doing all they could to find my room, but honestly, I probably could have found the room myself. Initially, I felt put off by this disorganisation, but I was eventually taken to the correct room to be interviewed and in the end, my lateness being extended worked out for the better. Due to my being late being fully out of my control, the tutor gave me a personal, informal presentation that I had missed when I was sat downstairs. This meant I was able to ask necessary questions, develop a kind of relationship with her and gauge the kind of person my interviewer was. When I was properly explained the course, I fell in love with it. My interviewer repeated that they value individualism more than anything – they encourage you to be different to stand out in industry. She told me how most of their former students had progressed onto amazing things in Manchester, London, and even LA. She showed me the work of the first years who had all created conceptual, indifferent models, which I loved and felt inspired by. This presentation was really reassuring and made me forget the disorganisation of downstairs. I was then interviewed, which went well, and was offered a place. Some pointers my interviewer said were to keep sketching; to maintain and build up my drawing skill, to develop. I found this really helpful because I presented to me what they were really looking for. She also said that she admires my passion, and can really visualise me on the course, pulling my love for many mediums together into a living space.

George Shaw Research

My initial impressions of the exhibition :-

  • His work Depicts what we have done to the landscape
  • Wasn’t what I expected – he portrays an unconventional urban landscape
  • Focuses on effects in woods, focusing on trees, not actual, conventional landscapes

The information board:-

  • Inspired by mythological woodland landscapes
  • Titan and Poussin
  • Violence, sex and drunkenness
  • Creates comparison between how people treat the landscape today


  • Transgression
  • Aftermath
  • Paints what would be found in today’s society if Poussin’s characters moved off the page of his paintings
  • Parallels to how people behave in the wood today

How well is the concept communicated?

  • Successfully
  • Witty, somber, sad, wonder, story

My sketches of work:-