Art and Design in Further Education is different to being in school. For one, the student gets to have a timetable that is all creative practice, so there’s no filling the week with those filler subjects you have to do in school because you just have to pick something. They get to spend 100% of their time on the subject they love and want to learn, and to develop the portfolio that will open doors for them.Emma DicksonAssociate Lecturer Art & Design Limavady campus
Meet the Lecturer - Emma Dickson
Associate Lecturer in Art and Design
Years spent at NWRC
I started working in Limavady in 2003 as a part-time lecturer and then as a full-time member of staff from 2004, so around 19 years now.
What campuses do you work in?
I’m based in Limavady Main Street Campus.
Describe your job in under 50 words.
I nurture the talent of creative young people who have decided they want to specialise in art and design. Along with the great team of lecturers in Limavady, I help to develop their skills and support their career aspirations on our UAL Extended Diploma and Foundation Art and Design courses.
What was your path to becoming an educator?
I did a BTEC Foundation Art and Design Diploma in what was Limavady College on leaving school, and during this time I found a love for all things ‘design’. The course was one of the most amazing years of my life. I even met my husband there when we were both students.
I then went on to Ulster University in Belfast to study BA Hons in Design where I graduated with First Class Honours. At my Degree Show I was offered a job in a Belfast Design consultancy. In addition to my design job, an opportunity arose to do software training with students on the BA Hons Design course I had completed, so I did that for a while for a few hours a week. It sparked an interest in teaching which then led to my applying for a part-time lecturing post in Limavady few years later. I’ll always remember coming through those doors and feeling like I was coming home in many ways, to a place where I had such fond memories and thinking “Please pick me!”. I succeeded in getting a part-time teaching post and a year later, I managed to secure a full-time post when a vacancy came up. I’ve been here ever since.
Most rewarding part of your job.
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the progression in my students from their initial interview, right through to the end of the year when we exhibit their work to the public. Seeing their talents, confidence and skills develop and knowing that when they eventually move on to their chosen pathway that I’ve played my part in that, is deeply satisfying.
How does FE in your subject differ from education at school.
Tell us about some of our student successes. (e.g. where have they gone on to work/study?)
Art and Design in Further Education is different to being in school. For one, the student gets to have a timetable that is all creative practice, so there’s no filling the week with those filler subjects you have to do in school because you just have to pick something. They get to spend 100% of their time on the subject they love and want to learn, and develop the portfolio that will open doors for them.
In Limavady, we are blessed with amazing facilities and resources for students to enjoy the best that art and design has to offer. We are a team of creative lecturers who are able to give our students a diverse experience of fine art, design and craft practice. We also have loads of room and our students even have studio spaces with desks to work at and exhibition spaces to call their own. They get to have somewhere to base themselves and to feel part of something more.
Many of our students have gone on to have successful careers in their chosen areas. Three of our past students are running thriving tattooing businesses. We have a number of other students who have made names for themselves in the area of craft, with successful local businesses. We have other past students who have worked in design consultancies, visual merchandising and on productions like Game of Thrones. Some of our past students are even teachers!
Best moment at NWRC?
I’ve had lots of great moments during my time as a lecturer in NWRC, but one of the best for me personally was when I got the news that I had made the shortlist of finalists for Creative and Cultural Skills Northern Ireland’s Creative Tutor of the Year in 2019. It just felt so good to get some recognition for my work with students and to go to the awards themselves in Belfast. I didn’t win, but I was still buzzing!
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