Learning to fail

Paul Jenkins is the Founder and Creative Director at Triple Double. He’ll be speaking at the upcoming UAL Awards Body Annual Conference on 2 February 2018. As a taster of what’s to come, he’s shared his thoughts on the importance of teaching and mentoring within the design industry…

Paul Jenkins UAL Awards Body Annual Conference

I’ve always learned skills and taken experiences away from others; my friends, previous colleagues, bosses, and now as the Founder and Creative Director of Triple Double, my team and our clients. I always say that when you stop learning, it’s time to move on and that’s essentially what I did by starting my own business – after holding several full-time design positions throughout studios, agencies and in-house roles.

Triple Double helps to educate everyone we work with by teaching and mentoring – helping people to gain new skills and empower their approach to problems. Within the education sector specifically, we work across traditional institutions such as primary and secondary schools, universities and adult learning, as well as with museums, charities, cultural organisations and community initiatives to deliver projects outside of the curriculum.

I’m also a huge basketball fan, and player, and so perhaps the idea of helping others is just embedded in me, working with four other players on the court to come up with the best solution to score points for every possession, but that’s another blog post.

So as a designer, what do you do with these experiences and skills you learn along the way? A lot of designers are good at keeping things to themselves, I mean they are specialists at what they do, and they help clients with their problems in a way that no one else could. But I’m a big believer that as designers, we should be helping everyone to learn and gain the knowledge and skills we also have – at every step of the way.

This is the reason why education is the first thing as a business I tell people about. Sure, we can make things for you, solve the problems you face, but if we can help you to become better at what you do, in your every day, then you learn from that, and so do we. It’s win-win. Educating others to become better really is one of the most rewarding parts of my job, I just happen to be a designer.

So where did this interest and passion come from? Well you guessed it, my own education experience. I left school at 16 to do a BTEC at college in Design, as my teachers at school told me I’d ‘fail’ if I didn’t do A levels – even though I knew graphic design wasn’t an option at school. I then went on to study graphic design at degree level at the London College of Communication and purposely took this specific course for its optional structured year-in-industry, supported by the excellent Sarah Temple. That year out truly changed my approach to design as well as what design meant to myself – still to this day do I receive enquiries from students asking about my internships in Berlin and Tokyo.

Spending two months in Tokyo collaborating with the best boss I have ever worked under, Eric Cruz at Wieden+Kennedy, was the cherry on the top of the year (although that was experience was so much more).

After returning to London, I came to the realisation that if I wanted to progress in my design career and eventually start my own design studio (which I think will always be the biggest ongoing learning I have), then it had to be centred around helping others through design. It couldn’t be inward looking, it had to be open, honest, collaborative, empathetic to others’ needs and definitely full of opportunities to learn from. I had to seek out people and clients who also wanted to work in that exact way.

Since then myself and Triple Double have helped deliver education projects, courses, workshops and talks for the likes of The CASS, Design Museum, General Assembly, London College of Communication, National Citizen Service, Ravensbourne, Regent’s University, Saturday Club Trust, School of Communication Arts and Wellcome Collection.

We also work with the likes of Airbnb, BBC, Mercari Europe, Goodlord and Unilever on design projects, and the education simply continues here as well. What I explain to everyone is that you have to ‘learn to fail’ and what I mean by this is to try things out, get things wrong, do things quickly, iterate, experiment and most importantly, play. Design should be all of the above, but if done well, it can help others to understand and learn the true value and power that it can bring. That’s when the exciting stuff, and true learning starts to happen…

So, why am I writing all of this? Well I’ll be speaking at the UAL Awarding Body conference in February 2018 so firstly, I’d love to find out why you help others – that’s one of the most inspiring things you can take away from someone I think. I’ll be (spoiler alert) talking about some specific projects that really have been prime win-win examples of everything I’ve explained here, including one about emojis with students in Sheffield and a project I’ve been involved with the Design Museum since its early beginnings.

For now, remember to learn to fail…

Image courtesy of Paul Jenkins

Centre-led standardisation event

On Friday 20 October, Suffolk New College’s (SNC) Media and Games team held a Centre-led standardisation event for colleges delivering the UAL Creative Media Production & Technology qualifications in the East Anglia region.

Tutors and department heads from City College Norwich, Cambridge Regional College and the College of West Anglia spent the day with their counterparts at SNC sharing good practice, resources and ideas in what was an excellent atmosphere of collaboration and cooperation.

The event included workshops with the teams in their own pathway groups, and also more general discussions across both subject areas.

Andy Sankey, Chief Examiner for Music & Media said:
“I would like to thank and congratulate all involved in the ‘cluster’ event with a special thank you to Tim Hetherinton from Suffolk New College for organising and hosting it. Although this event was not an official UAL event, it gave centres a chance to network, share good practise and ideas. It also gave the attending centres a chance to sample and see the different level of work being created by other students and centres in their locale”

Image courtesy of Suffolk New College

2019 Performance Tables Update

We’re pleased to announce that the following qualifications have been approved for inclusion in the 2019 performance tables’ Applied General[1] category:

These qualifications contain external assessment and will be piloted by a small selection of centres from September 2017, with first assessments taking place in 2018.

All other centres, not participating in the pilot should continue to run the existing Art and Design qualifications.

For more information on these new qualifications, please view the specifications on our website: http://www.arts.ac.uk/about-ual/awarding-body/

Further information:

UCAS points
As these qualifications are included on performance tables they will gain automatic approval for UCAS points. Tariff points are usually published in May each year.

Both qualifications attract 16-19 funding and will also be eligible for Advanced Leaner Loans and Legal entitlement funding.

Talk to us
If you’d like to speak to a member of the team about any of these qualifications then please email qualdev.awarding@arts.ac.uk

[1] Applied General qualifications are rigorous advanced (level 3) qualifications that allow 16 to 19-year-old students to develop transferable knowledge and skills. They are for students who want to continue their education through applied learning. Applied General qualifications allow entry to a range of higher education courses, either by meeting the entry requirements in their own right or being accepted alongside and adding value to other qualifications at level 3 such as A levels.


Origins 2017 – Winners and photos

Origins 2017. Photo by Eva Clifford

This year’s Origins exhibition at the Truman Brewery on London’s Brick Lane was a great success.

The showcase included 116 pieces from 48 Centres across the country. The work, by students completing UAL Awarding Body qualifications in Art & Design and Creative Media, was chosen by curator Elliott Burns from a total of 450 submissions.

Seven students’ works were selected by our Chief Examiners for outstanding achievement, with each student receiving a prize – the list of winners can be found below.

Huge congratulations to all of the artists exhibited, we received excellent praise for the quality of the work exhibited and we wish you all the best in your creative futures.

More images can be found on the UAL Awarding Body Facebook page.

This year’s prize winners are as follows:

Level 1 Art, Design & Media – Kacey Amoo, Kensington and Chelsea College
A fantastically well developed experimental fashion piece that really showed the level attainable by Level 1 students who are challenged and supported to achieve.  What I liked about Kasey’s project was that he had not only produced great fashion outcomes, but had also realised some wonderful photographic images that wouldn’t look out of place in any contemporary fashion editorial.  His tutors said that the award will mean a great deal to him as an individual and the team who have worked with him were over the moon to see his achievements recognised – Matt Moseley, Chief Examiner.

Photograph: Tallulah Tarnowska
Make Up: Alfie Sharpe

Level 2 Art & Design – Damian Kalinski, West Suffolk College
Damian’s photographic images showed a level of maturity and sophistication that far exceeds that expected of a Level 2 student. What won me over about his submission was that not only had he proposed, shot and finished a wonderful set of images, but he had gone on to produce a ‘look book’ of images to support the project. In the pursuit of students becoming ready for industry progression and evidencing transferrable, vocational skills development, Davids piece showed a student on the cusp of a strong career in the creative industries – Matt Moseley, Chief Examiner

Level 3 Art & Design – Jordan Mortlock, Plymouth College of Art
An excellent example of the power of the narrative through the medium of photography. Jordan’s close work with the subject ‘Kevin’, Kevin’s extraordinary life, and the trust developed between the artist and subject, resulted in an impressive and moving visual story, which was a technical and conceptual triumph. The final image and the supporting journal resulted in a creative celebration and was recognised through the Level 3 Art and Design prize – Martin Vella, Chief Examiner.

Foundation Studies – Rob O’Leary, CCW Progression Centre (UAL)
Rob’s work was selected as prize-winner for a multiple of reasons. At first glance his intriguing group of sculptures appeared playful, on closer inspection, highly skillful and beautifully crafted elements were apparent, before a whole other layer revealed itself through the concept of fragile masculinity. This level of skillful manipulation challenging his chosen material to take on the most delicate forms alongside the maturity of the concept would hold its own in any degree show – Sue Cook, Chief Examiner.

Level 2 Creative Media – Malachi Groves, Fareham College
Malachi’s film was funny, professional, ambitious and thoroughly entertaining. When students take on the challenges of the Extended Project (or FMP) the attribute of most value is commitment and Malachi evidenced this in spades.  His film sees him race go karts, fly planes and swim seas in the pursuit of milk for his breakfast.  It was a great concept thoroughly realised to a very high standard – Matt Moseley, Chief Examiner

Level 3 Creative Media – Neeraj Kainth, Birmingham Met College
All the chiefs were struck by the complexity, sophistication and professionalism of Neeraj’s submission. His mastery of augmented reality in itself was impressive, his entrepreneurial ability to fund his project commendable, but it was the overall attention to aesthetic and interactivity that bowled us over.  A beautifully considered and exciting media project that wouldn’t look out of place at any BA or MA showcase. Outstanding work – Matt Moseley, Chief Examiner.

Special commendation – Level 3 Art & Design – Amelia Al-Attar, Abingdon & Witney College
Abingdon and Witney student Amelia Al-Attar was awarded a special commendation prize for her work, a set of two traditional family photo albums, at first sight identical but one where her own image had been digitally erased from every print. In addition to being a very technically sophisticated piece the judges were impressed with the alternative narratives that the work provoked in the viewer, posing questions about identity and relationships – Sarah Atkinson, Head of Academic Standards

All images by Eva Clifford. Except Malchi Groves’s still from Milk and Kacey Amoo’s photograph.

Barbican Box showcase – HOME, Manchester

Carmel College students perform at HOME, Manchester. Photo by Simon Liddiard

By Sue Cook – Chief Examiner, Foundation Studies
I recently attended the Barbican Box regional showcase (20 June 2017) and had the opportunity to witness something so creatively individual and exciting! It was in an amazing venue – HOME in Manchester is a fantastic space.

Four schools and colleges participated in the evening; two groups completing UAL qualifications from Macclesfield College and Carmel College, as well as a year 8 and year 10 group from local schools.

Two Barbican Box artist mentors worked with the groups, either visiting the Centres for full-day workshops or via skype.

To quote one of the artist mentors:
“Students all start with the same stimuli and created very different work as part of the Regional Pilot. Common to all has been enthusiasm, wit, imagination and support for each other while learning to find ways of telling stories that deal with global issues. And, being young people, they bring positive energy and play to a subject that, right now, many adults are worn down by”.

The box’s contents were incredibly relevant to what is happening now both nationally and internationally. It contained:

  • Ballot papers
  • Camcorder
  • Masks
  • Megaphone
  • Military leader’s hat
  • Newspaper
  • Spy’s umbrella
  • The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s briefcase
  • Two banners – with paint and paintbrush
  • Ziploc bag full of cash

Michelle Mahoney, course tutor at Carmel College took the very brave step to use the box as a starting point for Unit 12, and wow, was it powerful!

At Macclesfield College, it was introduced as part of an extra-curricular opportunity, which was equally challenging, creating work that was above and beyond the already-packed Level 3 Performing and Production Arts curriculum.

The students performances were incredibly personal – at times, I got goosebumps, at others my eyes were filling up – a sign indeed that these students can touch hearts and minds.

A special mention for Carmel College, their interpretation of the contents of the Barbican Box was for their Unit 12 final project, which had been translated incredibly well for a stage and audience very different to the ones they were accustomed to. The project also provided the opportunity for individuality, varied performance styles and genres, which is incredibly important for these students’ development and progression. They did an amazing job reconfiguring the piece to suit both final project and public performance.

About the Barbican Box
Barbican Box supports students and their teachers to create original theatre, music or visual arts from scratch. The programme comprises of a beautifully designed ‘Box’ of inspirational objects, curated by different world-class artists every year, along with six months of support including teacher training, mentoring from artists who deliver workshops, and tickets to performances to help inspire creativity. This regional Box was curated by leading theatre company, Complicite.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Barbican Box project please contact creative.learning@barbican.org.uk and visit barbican.org.uk/learning to find out about the Barbican’s work with schools and colleges.

Don’t miss Origins 2017!

Now in it’s seventh year, Origins is an exhibition of art, design and creative media work produced by students studying UAL Awarding Body qualifications at colleges nationwide.

Hundreds of pieces of work were submitted for consideration by the 170+ institutions that deliver our qualifications nationwide. The 117 pieces on display were selected by professional curator Elliott Burns.

For many of the students, this is the first time they have exhibited outside of a school or college environment.

This year’s exhibition will take place at The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane as part of the established art show Free Range.

The Old Truman Brewery
91 Brick Lane
E1 6QR

Opening times:
Friday 7 July (10am-7pm)
Saturday 8 July (10am-7pm)
Sunday 9 July (10am-7pm)
Monday 10 July (10am-4pm)
Please go to the Brick Lane entrance.

We hope to see you there!

New qualification – Level 3 Applied General Diploma and Extended Diploma in Art & Design

From September 2017, UAL Awarding Body will be running for the first time, the following qualifications:

  • UAL Level 3 Applied General Diploma in Art & Design (603/1457/6)
  • UAL Level 3 Applied General Extended Diploma in Art & Design (603/1459/X)

These are designed to be ‘Applied General’ qualifications that provide post-16 students with the skills, knowledge and understanding necessary to progress into further education, higher education and training or employment.

Both qualifications include external assessment and have been designed to meet the criteria for inclusion in 2019’s 16–19 performance tables.

You can find out more about the qualifications on the UAL Awarding Body website.

Are these qualifications replacements for the existing Level 3 Art & Design qualifications?

No, there are currently no plans to remove the existing Level 3 qualification and centres will be able to choose which qualification they would like to run.

Centres are still able to deliver the existing qualifications:

  • UAL Level 3 Diploma in Art & Design (600/2827/0)
  • UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design (600/2826/9)

UAL Awarding Body will notify centres when they can transition over to the new qualifications.

When will we know if the new qualifications are approved on performance tables?
UAL Awarding Body will be informed by the DfE of whether the qualifications have been included in performance tables by the end of August. We will notify centres of the outcome via our September newsletter.

Who will be delivering the new qualifications?
A small number of centres have been selected to pilot the qualification in September 2017.

What if I want to deliver the qualification?
These qualifications will only be available at selected centres during the pilot year. If you are interested in delivering one of these qualifications in the future, please register your interest with Ioanna Saltaferidi at i.saltaferidi@arts.ac.uk

UCAS tariff points for Level 3 Music and Fashion Business qualifications

We are pleased to confirm that our Level 3 Fashion Business Retail and Level 3 Music Performance and Production qualifications have been allocated UCAS Tariff points. Students applying for HE courses starting from September 2018 onwards will be able to access the following tariff points:

Music Performance and Production

Grade Level 3 Diploma UCAS points Level 3 Extended Diploma UCAS Points
Pass 36 72
High Pass 96
Merit 60 120
High Merit 144
Distinction 84 168


Fashion Business and Retail

Grade Level 3 Diploma UCAS points Level 3 Extended Diploma UCAS Points
Pass 36 72
High Pass 96
Merit 60 120
High Merit 144
Distinction 84 168


All UAL Level 3 qualifications are now in the UCAS tariff points system and the newly allocated tariff points are in line with the rest of our Level 3 qualifications.

Image: Academy of Contemporary Music. Copyright Liz Carrington

Emerge 2017

UAL Awarding Body hosted Emerge, our first music and performing arts showcase event, on Saturday 3 June. 

More than 80 students from nine centres approved to deliver UAL Awarding Body qualifications performed at Emerge, which took place at Central Saint Martins’ Platform Theatre and Bar.

Produced by No|Ordinary|Experience, the day featured: dance, drama and musical theatre performances; sets from live bands, DJs and solo artists; screenings of filmed performances; an open mic session, and Q&As with host Deborah Coughlin.

Thanks to all of the colleges who took part:

  • South Essex College
  • The Sheffield College
  • The Academy of Contemporary Music
  • Uxbridge College
  • South Gloucestershire and Stroud College
  • Sussed Downs College
  • Reynolds Training Academy
  • West Suffolk College

Watch our short film for interviews with some of the students who took part in Emerge 2017:

You can view some photos from the day below…

The Uxbridge Lot, Uxbridge College

Dimensions, South Essex College

Lauren Walton, Academy of Contemporary Music

Students from BSix College and SGS College are interviewed by host Deborah Coughlin

Musical theatre, Sheffield College

EJK, Academy of Contemporary Music. All photos by James Hopkirk.


Colleges pilot national Barbican project with Complicite

Two colleges that deliver UAL Awarding Body’s qualifications have been selected to pilot a national education programme with leading international arts centre, the Barbican

Students studying UAL’s Level 3 Diploma in Performing & Production Arts qualification at Carmel College and Macclesfield College have been taking part in Barbican Box since February.

Barbican Box is a creative education programme designed for secondary schools and FE colleges, which aims to ignite, support and facilitate music, theatre and visual art making in schools through a process of devising and creating work from scratch.

Institutions taking part in Barbican Box receive: a box containing stimuli and learning resources curated by a leading artist; teacher continuing professional development (CPD) training; tickets to a theatre, music or visual arts event; mentoring and workshops from professional artists; and the opportunity to showcase their work at a venue.

Barbican Box has previously only been available to schools in East London, but if the regional pilot proves successful, the Barbican hopes to roll it out nationally.

Jenny Mollica, Head of Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning said:

We are thrilled to bring the Barbican Box to students and teachers from Carmel College and Macclesfield College. The Box, which changes every year, is designed to give schools and colleges all of the creative ingredients and ongoing support they need to create exciting new theatre, art or music. It is one of our most popular Creative Learning programmes and we hope it will continue to inspire lots more young people across the UK in future.

Leading British theatre company Complicite, which specialises in physical and devised theatre, are the artists leading the process, with support from cross-arts production company No | Ordinary | Experience. The project began in February 2017 and staff from both colleges took part in teacher CPD training in March.

Sarah Bacon, Course Leader for Performing Arts at Macclesfield College said:

Barbican Box has been an incredible experience both for the students involved and me as a teacher. Right from the start of the project, the students have been inspired to create exciting and challenging drama through the exploration of the objects and themes of the box.

The two-day CPD programme gave me the opportunity to work with practitioners involved in international theatre projects. My mentor Sasha Milavic Davies has worked with Complicite, Hamburg Opera, Young Vic, and Opera de Lyon. Engaging in CPD from practitioners of this calibre has significantly improved my own practice. This will have an enormous impact on the quality of teaching and learning during the Box project and beyond.

Michelle Mahoney, Teacher of Dance and Performance at Carmel College said

Working with The Barbican and Complicite has been amazing. For students from a small town in the North West to be able to work with two world-known theatre establishments has really helped to put their learning into a wider context and establish aspirations beyond their local area. The students have been enthused and excited by the Complicite workshops, leaving them full of ideas of concepts they want to explore. The CPD and support provided for teachers has been outstanding too, it has given me the inspiration to try out new methods and explore different methods of working.

The students will showcase their work in front of an invited audience at the prestigious Manchester HOME Theatre on 20 June 2017.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Barbican Box please contact: creative.learning@barbican.org.uk