Studying Fine Art at the University of Oxford

03/06/20174 minute read
Studying Fine Art at the University of Oxford

Mariette Moor is a recent graduate of Fine Art at Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford. After navigating the application process at Oxford, Mariette was inspired to help other students through the difficult portfolio process.

Read on and discover Mariette’s insights into the application process at Oxford and discover why she urges students to keep applying to Oxford, even if they have been faced with a rejection before.

When you were in high school, did you ever think you would be studying at Oxford? If so, when did you start thinking of applying and attending?

I first heard of the Ruskin School of Art when I was 14. I happened to be in Oxford soon after so I was lucky enough to have a little look around. From then on, I desperately wanted to go there.

How did you choose Oxford and Ruskin School of Art? What questions did you ask yourself?

In Fine Art, each course is hugely different which means that choosing one can be difficult. I asked myself where in the world would I like to study, what mediums would I like to work in, how much art history would I like to do and what other subjects would I be interested in. Oxford is a beautiful city so it was an obvious choice. The course is very unusual in that you do not specialise in one medium; throughout the entire course, you can study as many as you'd like. This might not appeal to some but it suited my practise perfectly. There is also more art history and anatomy at the Ruskin, both of which I wanted to explore further.

What was the application process for your university? How did you find the process?

I found the application process quite challenging. Producing portfolios can be a long process, especially when you need to create different assemblages of your work for different schools in order to meet their requirements. I was nervous partly because I had already applied once and been rejected. However, I think this helped me in the end as I could see what about that portfolio had not worked. When arriving, I was comforted to know that over half my year had applied before and been rejected. It is very common and should not discourage applicants from trying again!

What academic strengths or extracurricular activities do you feel helped you to secure an offer into Oxford?

I think that universities like Oxford like to know that you are interested in other subjects beyond your focus. I was particularly interested in Religious Studies and Art History at High School.

Were you involved in any initiatives/clubs/organisations at Oxford?

I was trained as a Peer Supporter at Oxford, an initiative aiming to provide welfare for the student body. I was also involved with a variety publications of art and literature, working as an Art Editor or Graphic Designer.

What do you love most about studying at Oxford?

Each college is filled with talented and motivated individuals interested in such a variety of subjects. I think it is invaluable for artists to be surrounded by students studying other subjects. The course pushes and challenges you yet you are always immersed in a supportive and exciting community.

How has studying at Oxford provided you with unique opportunities?

Studying Fine Art here is different from anywhere else. I was able to venture into every medium, and study anatomy and art history. There are also brilliant schemes for internships in galleries and residencies!

What made you want to become a tutor/mentor with Crimson Education?

When I was an interview assistant at St Edmund Hall in 2015, I realised just how different and challenging applying to art school is. It made me wish I'd had a tutor when I was applying.

What do you love most about tutoring/mentoring students?

I love being able to see student's artwork evolve from the developmental stages into a complete piece. It is a privilege to be able to engage with their processes along the way.

What advice do you have for current high school students considering their future study options?

I would advise students to aim high and be determined. Most people at Oxford never thought they would be able to get in!

What have you been doing since you graduated?

I have now graduated and am working as an artist in London, as well as teaching, designing, assisting artists and attending short courses to further my practical skills.

What achievements are you most proud of?

I am most proud of graduating with first-class honours and creating an installation of two hundred sculptures for my Degree Show.


Image: Mariette's artwork completed at Oxford