About Us

The Course

Welcome to Art & Design and Fine Art

Nurture your creative talents and pursue a rewarding career with the dynamic fine art and art and design degree courses at the University of Bolton! With a history stretching back over 150 years, Bolton School of the Arts offers a highly creative and vibrant range of courses, led by staff who are practising artists, designers, makers, critics, writers and performers.

We are the number one university in Greater Manchester for student satisfaction for the third year in a row as per the Complete University Guide 2020. Our innovative and industry-focused courses have an excellent staff-to-student ratio, providing a supportive learning environment.

Our students are encouraged to explore, experiment and excel in their chosen field. Joining one of our courses means that you will be treated as an individual and motivated to sharpen your creative skills and build an exciting portfolio for future employers. We have strong external links with local arts venues such as neo:studios, Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, Rogue Artists’ Studios and Octagon Theatre Bolton, as well as links with many other Manchester-based galleries and arts organisations. You will be able to present your work to industry professionals, who will provide you with real-life creative briefs, and offer advice and guidance regarding building a career in the creative industries.

You will have access to some of the amazing £10 million purpose-built facilities within the Bolton School of the Arts, some of which include:

  • Spacious studio provision
  • Dedicated suites of Apple Macs
  • Large-scale printing facilities
  • Specialist workshops for printmaking, ceramics, glass, wood, metal, laser-cutting, 3D and digital ceramic printing

Fine Art Studios Walkabout

Come and Study at the University of Bolton – listen to our students

Please visit our 360 recording UNRESTRICTED Fine Art Degree Show 2021

Please visit our 360 recording Fusion ΦB Fine Art Degree Show 2022

The fine art, and art and design courses, will familiarise you with contemporary approaches to creative practice which are then underpinned by training in a broad range of practical processes. This combination will develop your creative confidence and capability and encourage innovative thinking and making throughout your studies. Here’s what you can expect from the courses:

  • Work on live briefs and significant public art projects both locally and further afield
  • Use our high-quality facilities to sharpen your creative skills and adopt experimental approaches to creative processes and techniques
  • Make links across different artistic media, steering your art to reflect your individual aspirations and facilitating exciting contemporary multi-media outputs
  • Enjoy one-to-one tutor support thanks to our small class sizes

Fine art graduates often splinter off into a range of career directions, which is why our course lets you explore your creativity and experiment with drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, photography, installation, performance, digital and video art.

The unique art and design programme allows you to combine two specialisms from fine art, photography, graphic design, animation, illustration, textiles and surface design.

Potential job roles after studying these courses include (please note that some roles may require additional qualifications and/or work experience for entry):

  • Artist
  • Art teacher
  • Lecturer
  • Printmaker
  • Ceramicist
  • Photographer
  • Performance artist
  • Art therapist
  • Gallery curator
  • Exhibitions officer
  • Arts administrator

If you have any more questions about studying at the University of Bolton, our award-winning student services team are here to put your mind at ease about any queries related to accommodation, finance, funding, health and wellbeing, disability support or anything else you may need.

To view the full course information, entry requirements, how to apply and fees & funding please visit The University of Bolton website here.

The Staff

Ged Young

BA (Hons) Fine Art Programme Leader

MA Fine Art Supervisor

Programme Leader and lecturer in BA (Hons) and MA in Fine Arts, covering a range of disciplines including Digital Media, Fundamentals of Studio Practice and Professional Practice, but predominately specializing in 3D modules covering a wide range of sculptural processes.

Early work in my practice focused on contemporary issues such as the nutritional crisis, through the guise of misrepresentation in advertising. Traversing the processes of painting, sculpture and photography, a questioning of reality was presented which commented on societal issues regarding consumerism and economic instability.

More recent research and work have evolved to focus on the importance of play within contemporary sculpture and the experiential aspects of the making process. Working with clay needs time and patience and this negates the fast pace of today.

Dr David Gledhill


I have been a professional artist since graduating in 1981, and have exhibited widely both in the UK and internationally. I am co-director of Rogue Artists’ Studios CIC, the largest studio provider in the North West. In addition to my activity as an artist, I have contributed writing and reviews to numerous artists’ projects and publications. I teach across all year groups on both the BA and MA Fine Art programmes, and lead the first year modules Fundamentals and Theories of Studio Practice and Applied Creativity, and the third year modules Research in Context and Professional Practice and Self Promotion.

Alongside the development of a confident and relevant studio practice, the acquisition of a diverse range of professional aptitudes is crucial if students are to achieve their potential whilst studying, and in the wider world of employment. At the University of Bolton Fine Art department, we are very proud to offer our students superb facilities, frequent opportunities to exhibit, and the support of experienced teaching staff who are integral to the arts ecology of the region.

Rebecca Sitar


My practice has historically been within the discipline of painting, more recently it has extended to include photography and writing. My research concerns centre around art and embodiment, ways of seeing and poetics in contemporary painting.

There is a precedence in my work to shared discourses between the visual arts and other creative disciplines. In my earlier work an interest in the thematic approaches within the Haiku form of Japanese poetry, was explored through the medium of painting.

In a visual analogy to the haiku tradition; one or two singular forms were strategically positioned within the spatial field to prompt a meditative state of contemplation. Works in this vein were first shown in national touring show Slow Burn : Meaning & Vision in Contemporary British Abstract Painting (1998) originated Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre. Strands of this pictorial approach still reverberate through my work today.

In an age of mass digitization and virtual media, I feel that the corporeality of painting still makes it a vibrant and engaging specialism to be working in today. It also has the potential to invite a slower way of looking, thinking and being in the world. I consider it a privilege to pass on my enthusiasm for the subject and share the knowledge, understanding and experience drawn from years of professional practice, teaching, learning and making.

I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of Rogue Artists’ Studios CIC. My work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Recent shows include; Focal Length at the Museum of Non-Conformist Art St Petersburg, Russia (2020). Fully Awake 5.6 Freelands Foundation, London (2019) an exhibition exploring inter-generational developments in contemporary British painting curated by Ian Hartshorne and Sean Kaye. Another World – Charity Postcard Sale curated by Tracy Emin, Deutsche Bank Lounge, Frieze Art Fair, London (2018).

Other selected exhibitions; John Moores Painting Prize 2014, Walker Art Gallery, Present & Elsewhere I Galerija Karas Zagreb (solo. 2006) supported by Arts Council England, The British Council and The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, Hinterland (2004) & Ritual (2001) solo shows @Eagle Gallery EMH Arts. London & Beginning : Times of our Lives Whitworth Art Gallery (2000)



Rachel Dawson

Course Leader for the Foundation

Rachel Dawson is the course leader for the Foundation in Art and Design course. A specialist tutor in Textiles, Rachel has a textile design background and is currently working towards her PhD. She has exhibited internationally at Mood Brussels, Pall Mall London for Wool Modern week alongside Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood, the Platform gallery, Knitting and Stitch show Harrogate and Newhouse in York. More recently she has been commissioned to produce a range of commercial surface pattern designs for Edinburgh Weavers, using her natural dye processes. These designs will be in TK MAXX in next year.

She also has an extensive knowledge of running practical workshops for a public audience and the organisation, marketing and financial implications of this type of creative practice, which many art and design students will practice when they graduate.

She has run workshops across Lancashire for the last 12 years at National trust properties and English Heritage mills, where  a dye garden has been placed after winning bronze at the RHS tattoo in 2014.

Liam Ainscough


Liam Ainscough is a multidisciplinary artist and teaches drawing, painting, print and sculpture on both the BA (hons) Fine Art the Art and Design Foundation Course at the University of Bolton. 

Liams’ paintings, prints and sculptures are created as a means of investigating surveillance and social control.

He has experimented widely with the manipulation of imagery, scale and viewer participation, gauging whether this alters perceptions of the subject matter and the potential demise of the crafted art object in an age of excessive access to information technology.

Steph Shipley

Visiting Lecturer

Steph Shipley is a part-time tutor on the Art and Design Foundation and BA Fine Art programmes specialising in the conceptual, historical and contemporary theory aspect of creative practice.

Her research driven practice investigates sites of heterotopia through the temporal narrative, embodied encounter and performance of place using still and moving image and print.  

She holds an MA in Fine Art Site & Archive Interventions and received the Artlab Contemporary Print Studios Fellowship Award 2018

Darren Tolliday

Visiting Lecturer

Darren is an artist and lecturer who has been practising in the North West for over twenty-five years. As an art educator he has taught a broad range of subjects, including drawing, painting, printmaking, illustration and graphic design. He believes that the visual arts should have a useful purpose within society, enriching peoples’ lives and challenging their perception of what art can be.

A figurative painter, he has been a member of Rogue Artists’ Studios since 1996 and has exhibited within a variety of venues in Manchester and the North West. The human portrait is the vehicle for his practice, being drawn towards the visual spectacle of this centre of communication and expression. Darren is also a

Co-Director of OT Creative Space, an arts community project based in Old Trafford, Manchester ( otcreativespace.co.uk )

Get In Touch


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University of Bolton, Deane Road, Bolton. BL3 5AB

+44 (0)1204 900600 

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