Learning / Creative Courses

Getting creative with the city’s crafty courses

By lowie trevena, Wednesday Nov 27, 2019

With so much creative talent in one city, the thought of dipping your toes into the arts and crafts world can seem a daunting prospect, especially as an adult.

But in Bristol, there’s nothing to be intimidated about. With creativity bursting from the city’s seams, there’s a course for everyone to try, as well as formal training from the likes of traditional colleges, as well as Circomedia and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.


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For people wanting to try something new, Bristol City Council’s Adult Learning Courses are a great place to get some ideas. As well as academic courses, they also run affordable creative programmes.

The council runs courses in everything from art history to floristry

With short courses in pottery, drawing, painting, print, newcomers can ty anything from life drawing to using acrylics, and each course leads onto another, for those wanting to progress their skills. The council also run courses in film studies, music and writing, as well as crafts such as floristry and sewing.

Adult Learning Courses are short term, have reduced fees for those who qualify and are accepting bookings for the spring term. Courses take place at Stoke Lodge in Stoke Bishop as well as centrally, at St Paul’s Learning Centre.

Located on Park Street, Bristol Folk House is a self-funded, not-for-profit adult education centre. Courses range from photography to etching to woodcarving.

As well as courses that run for several weeks, the Folk House also run day courses – so you can spend a day learning how to use natural dyes or discover the art of bookbinding.

The Folk House offer a huge range of arts and crafts courses

Spike Island, as well as being one of the city’s leading galleries, also hosts Spike Print Studio, a charitable, open-access workspace. In January, previous Bristol24/7 artist of the month Chitra Merchant will lead a ten-week course in screenprinting for beginners and courses in photopolymer etching, relief printmaking and papermaking are planned for later in 2020.

For anyone wanting to learn more about sewing and embroidery, Bristol Upholstery Collective is creative group running evening courses just south of the river. Based on Wells Road, no experience or tools are necessary, the collective will teach basic sewing skills, and their next course start on January 7 and will run for six weeks.

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College run creative courses as well. Some are hosted further afield, but many take place at the college’s campus on Queens Road. In addition to ceramics, drawing and printmaking, the campus (located next to RWA) also hosts courses in pattern cutting and jewellery making.

For anyone searching for formal courses, are looking to retrain or changing career, City of Bristol College run programmes in a range of creative arts and media subjects, all will a Level 2 or Level 3 qualification.

For young adults:

For people aged 16-18, great creative places to learn include boomsatsuma, Circomedia and Access Creative College. At boomsatsuma, who work with Bristol24/7 on several projects, courses include Dance Theatre, Games, VR & VFX and Sports Media. The organisation also hosts free courses for women in Visual Effects, Create & Digital Media and more.

For 16 to 18 year olds, there are plenty of courses available at Access Creative College

Access Creative College are another great option for young people, with Level 1, 2 and 3 courses in Creative Media, Music and Graphic Design, as well as much more.

Circomedia hosts shorts courses for adults and degree programmes, as well as a Level 3 BTEC, which teaches a range of circus disciplines.

Read more: Bristol named as one of Europe’s most creative cities

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