Natasha Makins graduated from ISCA in 2018 and is in her final degree year of Illustration and Visual Media at London College of Communication UAL
'Studying at ISCA was both exciting and challenging and from day one I had to work really hard. To be surrounded by such creative people makes for an inspiring atmosphere and community. Looking back I realise that working alongside those with a similar creative mindset to me was great preparation for university life. I think it's true to say that in some ways ISCA operates more like a university than a typical school and there is a focus on working independently. Having said that, the teachers are extremely supportive and knowledgeable. They put in a lot of time, even over the weekend, and want their students to do well and succeed. The A Level programme is structured but allows students to go on a personal journey through their artistic practice - I loved that freedom to explore under the guidance of tutors. Being part of the ISCA community opens you up to more cultures and experiences which also mimics the university experience.
It is great to be back working at ISCA as I love the environment and vibe here. It is a place where people's ideas can grow, allowing you to explore concepts and processes. The current students are full of bright ideas and new processes and it is so inspiring to see their work - it actually motivates me in my own university projects. It is certainly very rewarding to help other students who are in the exact same position as I was just a few years ago!'
Trish Phng graduated from ISCA in 2017 and is in her final degree of Illustration and Visual Medica at London College of Communication UAL
'The teachers at ISCA were always there for me during my A Levels and guided me while at the same time giving me space to do my own experimentation. I enjoyed my time as I was able to work at my own pace and the studios were always available to me. I also made the most of the sport facilities especially the swimming pool and weekly football games. The ISCA experience was great preparation for university and in some ways the teaching and expectations at ISCA mirrored some aspects of college life. I also made some really good friends.
Coming back as a studio assistant has made me appreciate even more the work ethic of the teachers and I can see the thought that goes into planning a lesson. I have really enjoyed finding my own way of guiding students and giving advice and seeing things from the tutor's point of view too.'
Ruth Phng graduated from ISCA in 2017. She graduated from London College of Communication UAL with a degree in Photography
'ISCA was a completely new experience for me and I wasn't sure what to expect. The tutors were very supportive and encouraged me to do my best work. The style of study meant I discovered more about the world which was interesting and fun. I'm glad I came! The most challenging thing as a student here is to find a balance between work and rest time, but the proximity of the pool and gym made that a little easier. At ISCA I was encouraged to work hard and think outside the box which is great preparation for university study. I was very happy to be offered five university places!
Now back as a studio assistant I am able to see first hand just how much tutors have to prepare. Personally, it is fun to work with the students and help them understand how to use the equipment.'
'ISCA is a great opportunity to develop a versatile and independent approach and to learn how to overcome obstacles. For support, there are one-to-one tutorials, where we can discuss projects with our teachers and ask about any matter we are worried about. One of the most enjoyable elements about ISCA is the other students. They have different ideas and attitudes to art itself but altogether they create a special atmosphere. I am so happy that after ISCA I'm going to study BA Fashion: Womenswear at Central Saint Martins.'
'ISCA encourages you to be independent and tutors guide you to problem solve. Through this approach I have found my creative voice and this has given me the confidence to express myself fully. I can't wait to start at Central Saint Martins studying Fashion Womenswear and believe ISCA prepared me well for my application. I have had the support of CLASP and ISCA study to establish a vision of working. My friends also have been massively supportive - it's a great environment.'
'ISCA has given me the opportunity to do what I love every day and this opportunity has improved my ability immensely. Through working in a completely creative environment, I've learned many technical skills and gained inspiration that further fuels my passion for animation and games design.'
'At ISCA I have been able to explore my ideas fully and develop my natural instincts as a designer. I've been encouraged to embrace new ideas and experimentations which have greatly benefitted my work. I am really excited to take up my place at Central Saint Martins in Textiles Design.'
'ISCA helped me to develop my art and design skills during my A-level courses. My artworks became much stronger and I made great progression over the two years of studying there. Moreover, ISCA helped me to become more confident in myself. Confidence is something everyone needs for university studies, or for anything else in life. At ISCA I lived in a community where everyone supported each other and that really helped me to open up. I learned how to communicate my ideas, take criticism and advice from tutors and students, and also how to give constructive criticism to others. These are the skills that I am asked to perform at Central Saint Martins every day and it is much easier for me to do so because I learned all of that at ISCA.'
'At ISCA I studied Textiles, Graphic Design, and Critical and Contextual Studies - such a range of very broad, but different subjects has really helped me to develop both as a student and as a designer because all the different skills were applicable across all the disciplines. I really appreciated that I learnt the whole process of coming up with ideas, developing research and completing a final outcome. These skills have helped me in my study of Textiles at Chelsea College of Arts.'
Li Yuen Yeaw
'In the two years I spent at ISCA I achieved a lot. At ISCA, and in the UK, I think there is more focus on primary research, and also wider research in terms of artists for example, than in my home country of Malaysia. I found this very useful and it definitely helped me gain more knowledge in art and design. With the support of my teachers I was able to develop my own ideas and practice for my A-Levels in Fashion and Textiles, and Graphic Communication. ISCA gave me a different perspective about design, but also taught me great time management skills. I feel ISCA prepared me very well for my application and interview at UAL, and now I am really looking forward to starting my degree course in Interior & Spatial Design at Chelsea College of Arts!'
'I wanted to come to ISCA as I was looking to focus on art subjects and prepare for university education in a design subject. I was attracted to the equipment and facilities, and this, along with the teaching from specialist art and design tutors of course, helped me achieve my goals. I am about to start a BA in Textile Design at Chelsea College of Arts! in Textiles and Graphic Communications. I also studied EFL, and having English support helped me write more clearly so I could describe my work well, and also write a good personal statement.'
Kit Yi Sung
'ISCA gave me an excellent foundation for studying at Central Saint Martins. Before I came to ISCA I had only covered art in a technical way, but I quickly learnt that many elements could be incorporated into my work. I was able to develop my work in a more interesting way, and to be honest even this was a challenge as it is hard to produce something creative if you don’t understand what art is. The teachers at ISCA helped me to extend my thoughts and gave me many ideas about possible ways I could express myself. This enabled me to be more independent and I feel it has helped me to make a success of my university course.'
'I actually chose my BA course while working on a project at ISCA where I made a bag out of paper for my final piece. It made me realise what I want to do, and so here I am currently in my second year at the London College of Fashion studying on the BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bags and Accessories: Product Design and Innovation course. I love working with leather and am able to access so many resources here. At ISCA I learned how to complete projects from the research stage to the final outcome. I also learned how to be independent, and the friends I made there became like a family to me.'
'At ISCA I learned so many useful core skills, as well as how to make a strong portfolio. While I was there I studied for A levels in Fashion and Textiles, Fine Art, Business Studies and History of Art. Doing the CLASP course in my A2 year helped me broaden my vision of art and design and also helped me choose my major. Best of all, I have kept in touch with my ISCA friends and it was good to know others when I started at Central Saint Martins. I am studying for a BA in Textile Design there and enjoy the creative and fun environment.'
'I feel that studying at ISCA gave me a real idea of how to study at degree level. In Hong Kong, art education focuses on skills, whereas at ISCA I learned how to process my ideas and bring them to life. I also found the intensive Foundation Plus course offered through ISCA at Central Saint Martins was a great opportunity to try many different areas. It combined well with my A level study and meant I had a very smooth progression onto the degree course. This summer I graduated with a BA in Fine Art from CSM.'
Farah Fareed Lutfi
'I am currently studying Games Cultures at London South Bank University where I am working on my first big game project called Fareed, a biographical game about my father, Fareed Lutfi. I’ve always been family-oriented, and always found my parents and huge family a big inspiration in my artwork. ISCA made me realise just how much I wanted to create interactive art. Game design showed me how to turn art skills into something anyone can immerse themselves in – I learned how to create an experience. I studied at ISCA nearly three years ago. The Fine Art, Graphic Design and English Literature (or story writing) skills I learned there helped me greatly in games design. It was good going into the new course knowing I already had skills in place to help me, despite not knowing much about the technical aspects of designing games.'