Coronavirus student survey

Coronavirus student survey reveals "tough generation" of design students

Dezeen and Bath School of Design surveyed design students about the impact the pandemic is having on their studies and wellbeing. The responses, published here in full, provide a unique insight into student life amid Covid-19.

To conduct the survey, Bath School of Design at Bath Spa University sent a questionnaire compiled by Dezeen to its 450 students. Thirty-one replied.

Sent at the end of January, the coronavirus student survey asked students to describe how the pandemic had impacted their studies both in terms of its impact on their work and on their wellbeing. It also asked them to explain where they were working and what they were working on.

Coronavirus student survey
Top image: textile design student Emilia Rose Dadswell-Jones. Above, clockwise from top left: Bath School of Design students Isabelle James, Patrick Dewar, Jacobus Oosthuizen, George Baker, Jason Ortigia, Alicja Marczak, Emily Clouter, Emily Taylor, Clemence Ali, Oliver Bacon

The responses reveal the impact the pandemic has had on students' studies, their social lives and their wellbeing. But they also paint an optimistic picture of resilience and adaptability among the next generation of designers.

"What will remain after all this is the newfound resilience that I think every student at the moment has found," said interior design student Lydia Daniel.

"The coronavirus generation of students is going to be a tough generation."

Read a summary of the findings here. Bath School of Design head Kerry Curtis describes how the staff and students responded to the lockdown in an opinion piece here.


"I'm more prone to anxiety now than I was before"

Name: Ali Al Amine
Age: 25
From: Lebanon
Course: BA (Hons) Graphic Communication
Year: Level 6 (third year)
Instagram: @aeadraws

Where are you now?

In my bedroom, in a shared house between Bath and Bristol.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

Not being able to use the print facilities at uni was definitely a blow. It meant that I needed to shift my trajectory from relying on printing my projects to having to learn 3D Modelling and rendering.

Obviously, this has positives and negatives. On the one hand, I've learned a valuable new skill and have managed to adapt my projects to the changing situation.

On the other hand, it meant that I needed to spend a lot more time preparing my projects for presentation than I would've had I had a physical mockup that would've been printed and photographed in a single day. In terms of my wellbeing, I'm more prone to anxiety now than I was before.

What do you miss?

I miss having a morning ritual. I would grab a coffee on my way to the studio every morning at 7:00am. I'd arrive at an empty studio, I'd switch on the lights and I'd sit and sketch before my class started.

How are you finding remote studying?

It's definitely been challenging. Not being able to speak to the tutors in the studio as and when you need to has been hard but everyone's trying their best. From my experience, the tutors have been extremely supportive, and have taken everyone's different circumstances to account.

What are you working on?

I'm working on a campaign for a brand of mustard! (It's more exciting than it sounds, I promise). I've had to shift my process a lot in terms of how I present the finished work, and how I critique my own work. I've had to rely on myself to self-critique, to iterate and to try different outcomes without relying solely on the opinion of my tutors.


"It has made me create things using materials I have"

Name: Clemence Ali
Age: 20
From: Reading, England
Course: BA (Hons) Graphic Communication
Year: Level 5 (second year)
Instagram: @cclementtine

Where are you now?

At home in my room, in Reading.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

I have not been able to use any of the practical facilities on campus (screen-printing, photography etc). My sketchbook work is now mostly digital. Although this is a change from last year, it has made me rethink how to create things using the materials I have. I had to invest in a good laptop at the beginning of the first lockdown otherwise I know I would have struggled with creating any work!

What do you miss?

I would say what I miss most is spending time creating in the studio with my friends.

How are you finding remote studying?

I think I am used to online learning now and the teachers are doing the best they can with what they can do. But obviously, it is not the same as actually going into campus. Hopefully, we can return to more of a normality in the near future.

What are you working on?

I recently had my final hand in for semester one, which was called Human. This involved artificial intelligence and what our thoughts/feelings were towards this topic. This theme overall linked to our present-day and how the whole world became practically digital as a form of communication with other people. Now I have some time off, I have been creating things that I have been putting off and enjoying making with no limits.


"It has been a fantastic opportunity"

Name: Katie Allen
Age: 39
From: Circencester, England
Course: MA Design: Textiles
Year: Level 7 (MA)
Instagram: @loopyewes

Where are you now?

I am working from home. I have a studio space squeezed into a spare bedroom. I've got three children doing homeschooling around me and a toddler bashing about. My husband is home-working in a different bedroom.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

The regulations surrounding lockdown means that family life has run at a slower pace allowing me to create more time and increase mental capacity to return to uni to undertake the final MA module.

This is balanced however against periods of homeschooling, particularly in these last couple of weeks as we have approached our hand in deadline. With a toddler and several school-age children at home, my working day has run through the night from 10:00pm to 3:00am.

Consumer behaviour has changed under the pandemic with an increase in online shopping, a greater awareness for provenance and sustainability, and an increased interest in supporting smaller, local businesses and makers. This will benefit my business going forward.

Tutor support has been delivered online in the main, which has been beneficial to me from a travel and childcare perspective. This was, however, really challenging just before Christmas when constructing my jumper. It was very difficult (understandably) for the tutor to assess any problems with shaping and construction without being able to touch the product and look closely at seaming etc, so I was reliant on resolving these issues myself.

What do you miss?

Being in a creative environment. Even walking through the gallery space at university you can feel an elevated sense of creativity and aspiration. I miss the constant input from other student work – especially from a mix of mediums.

How are you finding remote studying?

Online learning has been useful as it's allowed ready access to a variety of tutors and I think the uni has done a great job of providing additional lectures and tutor time that might not have been possible with a physical expectation. I wouldn't have been able to return to complete my MA at this point in my life without so much of the course being delivered online.

For me, it has been a fantastic opportunity. It has been hard when getting down to making my final products not to be able to get really hands-on support but this is a limitation I guess of a practical course being delivered in part online. There has been ample opportunity throughout the module to access staff and facilities at the uni, but lockdowns have undoubtedly caused difficulties at particular times.

What are you working on?

My final master's project has been delivered almost entirely under the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the covid pandemic, with the country in a national lockdown both at the start and finish of the module. I have now completed the module and handed in all my work. The biggest change in the way we have worked has been the online communication with tutors and using the Google Drive to photograph and upload work. It's worked well as a medium to monitor work and receive feedback, however.

One of the significant impacts on the module has been our assessment show being cancelled and having to submit all our work online for virtual assessment. For a textiles submission where so much of the work is about touch and feel, and quality of finish it felt like quite a blow so late on.

I had however been super organised early on in the module and arranged for a variety of professional photographs to be taken of the work so was able to produce some good imagery – and I changed how I was working with one of the photographers to get a whole collection image, almost as if it was being presented for an assessment show. Having used Google Drive throughout the module to share work, it made the process of submission easier.


"The pandemic has left me very unmotivated"

Name: Oliver Bacon
Age: 21
From: Isle of Wight, England
Course: BA (Hons) Furniture & Product Design
Year: Level 6 (third year)
Instagram: @ollieb.design

Where are you now?

I am currently at my family home on the Isle of Wight, about five minutes away from the beach. My workspace is in my bedroom, looking out to the garden.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

The pandemic has left me very unmotivated. It has been a time for reflection, looking at what I do and my own personal practice, but overall it has left me feeling anxious for the future. The world in which I will graduate is very different from the one that I started my degree in.

What do you miss?

People and interaction are the things I miss most about uni. I miss the opportunities for friendly chats with friends from different courses on campus, the physical collaboration with new people for projects, and the studio interaction of my course.

I miss the workshops, and the ability to be stuck-in to the making and the facilities that allow this to happen; and I miss events and seeing people's work in exhibitions, visiting galleries for research and being inspired by the people around me, in my immediate environment.

How are you finding remote studying?

Online teaching and online learning are hard. For a making-based 3D course, it is extremely difficult to talk about materials and ideas through this digital format. Tutors have tried so hard to expand the ways to be creative, and how to communicate through a digital platform.

Working in this way has expanded the need to be visual, and share work in a way that we may not always do, if we would all work together in person. Online teaching doesn't allow for "off-the-cuff" conversations that would happen in the studio, or impromptu opportunities to discuss work.

Working to more of a schedule, where time is precious for tutors, is difficult. But online teaching does provide some normality in a time when you can't meet your friends and you do feel isolated. It is nice to be together, even if digitally, with coursemates.

What are you working on?

I have been working on a brief that expands and responds to an RSA Student Design Awards brief. I have been exploring natural material cycles and the possibility of creating regenerative materials using natural fibres and bioplastics. I have managed to produce material samples using low-tech methods from my home kitchen.

We have also been working on a public platform brief that would (in normal circumstances) normally result in an exhibition of our work in progress. Digital and online communication tools have allowed the project to develop and result in a digital outcome of a website and Instagram.


"It has reduced the stress of time management and travel"

Name: George Baker
Age: 21
From: Southampton, England
Course: BA (Hons) Graphic Communication
Year: Level 6 (third year)
Instagram: @george_leih27

Where are you now?

I'm currently based in Bath where I'm working on my coursework in my bedroom of my shared flat.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

As someone with mental health issues, the pandemic has made attending lessons much easier and it has reduced the stress of time management and travel. It also forces me to focus on work because I can't go and hang out with friends. The downsides of working on a creative course specifically in a pandemic is the lack of connection with your classmates.

What do you miss?

I miss staying late in the studios and working with my friends and talking about each other's work and drinking tea and laughing together. I miss my friends most of all and the facilities. I never thought I would miss early morning lectures and barely being awake while being given a brief but I do now.

How are you finding remote studying?

Online teaching is definitely different. It has its positives like being able to do your laundry while also listening to a lecture, but also it's downsides like not being able to fully interact with peoples work and also the challenge of not having the facilities we previously had. I find online teaching doesn't give me the same excitement as walking into the studios, which is okay because they're different things, but it's a shame.

What are you working on?

I am currently working on a series of zines for a competition brief with [charity] Creative Conscience focusing on education on certain mental illnesses. At the moment I've been experimenting with the cover designs after being inspired by [artist] Josie Lewis.

One way I guess I had to adapt to this project due to the circumstances is I had to file for an extension on my deadline, which isn't what I had planned, but unfortunately due to being affected by the pandemic that is something I've had to work around.


"It has given me a new drive to push myself"

Name: Emily Brookes
Age: 21
From: Devon, England
Course: BA (Hons) Graphic Communication
Year: Level 6 (third year)
Instagram: @ebrookes.design

Where are you now?

Moved back home to family in Devon, currently switching between working on a makeshift desk in my lounge and the kitchen table.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

The pandemic has massively affected the way in which I approach my studies, as a design student the current restrictions have limited the way in which I can produce work, we no longer have access to any technical workshops such as print or 3D so have had to heavily rely on technology and digital methods as a way of producing work.

Another aspect to our course is being able to discuss our work in a collaborative way with course mates and tutors. Effectively the dynamic of this is changed, swapping out studio practice for online meetings. We no longer have an easy way of seeing each other's work, and instead of being able to look over everyone's work throughout the term, seeing progress, now we only get to see a handful.

It is hard to stay motivated and inspired at times. I have found it especially hard to be creative when the rest of the world appears to be in limbo, and I'm no longer surrounded by other creatives. This has been a rather isolating period for me. However, it has given me a new drive to push myself into keeping busy and finding ways to develop myself in ways I can.

What do you miss?

Being in my final year of study I hoped to make the most out of what facilities the university has to offer and spend the majority of time with my flatmates and coursemates before we inevitably head in different directions after graduation.

Unfortunately, this has all been put on hold and the social side of university has decreased massively – unless of course, we meet virtually on Zoom or Google Meets. I certainly miss the connection and community feel of being in a studio, being able to go into different workshops and ask different courses for feedback.

How are you finding remote studying?

Online teaching has definitely been challenging, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic almost a year ago! Since then I have found that most of the course has managed to adapt to this new style of learning.

Although it can feel distant to not be in person with peers I am grateful to still interact with everyone. For my course, skills can be transferred to a more digital practice. However, the analogue methods that include craft are missing from our work this past year which is a great shame.

What are you working on?

I am working on a project for a D&AD New Blood brief from Audible. The brief includes creating a visual identity for an audible book called The Faraway, which is a fantasy adventure audiobook aimed at 18-34-year-olds "who are looking to escape." This identity is a new take on the fantasy adventure genre. Digital illustration is the central aspect of the whole visual identity and builds on the idea of surrealism, escapism and the unknown.

As I am working remotely from home, I haven't had any studio time for this project so it is purely digital, working with sketches and building up to a more detailed response. Again, feedback has been limited as there is a lack of in-person interaction, we aren't receiving the same amount of discussion as I would have liked on this project. However, it has made me question my own work more and make personal choices, relying on my own decisions.


"It is lonely and frustrating"

Name: Emily Clouter
Age: 26
From: Bristol, England
Course: BA (Hons) Interior Design
Year: Level 5 (second year)
Instagram: @emilykclouter

Where are you now?

Back in the bungalow in Bristol with my mum. On the dining room table, on the sofa or on the floor usually sat cross-legged so quite stiff.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

I really struggle with computer-aided design programs such as CAD and Photoshop which are vital for my development in interior design. I lost my grandad throughout this lockdown as well as the pandemic I really focused on doing my work for the semester and finishing it to the best standard I possibly could at home via Zoom calls. It helped to keep me busy.

What do you miss?

I miss the interaction with my fellow students and meeting new people but most of all, if I have a question, I could just ask instead of sending an email and waiting for a response which could be in a few minutes or a couple of days.

How are you finding remote studying?

If I am honest it is nothing like being face to face with someone in the noisy, exciting environment at Locksbrook [campus]. It is lonely and frustrating. My tutors have done their very best but interaction with others face to face is so much more fulfilling.

What are you working on?

At this very moment, I have been ripping out skirting boards, stripping wallpaper and taking picture rails down. Before that, I was working on a leisure and hospitality/ construction in detail project where I had the opportunity to apply my creative and technical interior design skills to the hospitality and leisure sector.

We worked on a more complex site, the Hotel Indigo in Bath, in order to focus on structure and construction in more detail. I had to resolve a key area of design with covid-19 in mind.

I chose to design a garden room/extension to the restaurant with segregated eating/ social zones for the 60-plus demographic as they suffer from loneliness even before covid so I wanted to create a safe space where they could socialise safely. I have had to work on it online, socially distanced while self-isolating without any human interaction.


"I am working from the sofa and coffee table"

Name: Melissa Cole
Age: 30
From: Bristol, England
Course: MA Design: Textiles
Year: Level 7 (MA)
Instagram: @melissa.textiles19

Where are you now?

I'm currently finishing my final master's project (whilst working part-time as a graphic designer for an e-learning company) and I am currently working in my living room (the sofa and coffee table) of my flat in the centre of Bristol. I share my flat with my husband Richard who is also working at home for Bristol University.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

The biggest disruption is the lack of access to equipment and technicians. For example, I had to buy myself a sewing machine because I no longer have access to university machines. I also have to rethink my project because I no longer have free access to the laser cutting machine or screen printing.

I am also rethinking my final outcome because it's highly likely I will be handing it in digitally instead of physically. So I am currently researching 3D/VR programs to build my final installation digitally.

The other disruption is mostly around my dyslexia. I find it 100 per cent easier to explain my ideas and thoughts verbally but since we've gone online I've found I needed my writing skills more. I'm lucky my tutors are extremely understanding.

What do you miss?

People, studio space (I don't have much at home) and the cafe, which sounds silly but the walk to get tea or a snack was when I had my eureka moments. It almost feels the same – it's just awful when someone has bad wifi or a weird microphone. It's very distracting.

What are you working on?

My project was looking into how tactile textiles could help people with anxiety, but since touching has become a covid no-no, I've been looking into other sensory avenues for example sight and sound. Tactility and haptics will always be a big part of my work and I hope it will have a place in a post-covid world.


"The coronavirus generation will be a tough generation"

Name: Lydia Daniel
Age: 23
From: Bath, England
Course: BA (Hons) Interior Design
Year: Level 5 (second year)
Instagram: @_ldanielcreative_

Where are you now?

Currently working from my partner's bed as he and his mum are using the only two desks in the house.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

The pandemic has provided many issues, but for someone who lives alone and transferred over to this course from another uni, it has provided a plethora of challenges. I've not been able to meet anyone on my course and the one time I met a handful we were wearing masks and couldn't go near each other. A lonely creative is a cliche normally found in films but it appears this is going to be the theme as I give uni another go after bailing out the first time.

To protect my wellbeing I have moved in temporarily with my partner and his mum. However, neither are creatives so what I lack in conversation with my well-acquainted peers I can't exactly make up for here.

This has, however, forced me into a better relationship and understanding with myself. I've had to rely on myself and no one else for my ideas and although that has been intimidating it has been fascinating searching out ways to do that.

What do you miss?

My first year at uni wasn't spent at Bath Spa but I can confidently say that with uni in general I undoubtedly miss the company and congeniality of being around other people like you.

If you're someone reading this who is innovative and artistic then you know how exciting it is to have people share your passions and to be able to talk to them about everything as if it's the first time you've ever been able to talk!

The reality is that other creatives I have met outside of uni have been the major part of coping with the reality of online university.

How are you finding remote studying?

Online teaching is as good as it can be. Its highs can be seen on social media with American students playing pranks or all saying thank you to their tutors. However, its lows can be seen on a bleak Monday morning where no one turns on their cameras (perhaps a very British student thing?) nor says a word.

That's rough for us but also for the tutors; a blank screen doesn't exactly inspire confidence that half of us aren't bleary-eyed and still in bed. It's hard learning online, it's a whole other degree of independent learning. A challenge but one that I personally think will benefit us in the long run.

What are you working on?

Currently, we are on a two week assessment period and then a week inter-semester break, so three weeks of doing no uni work and furlough is slightly mind-numbing. However, having just completed a major assessment it proved to be the most organised I have ever been for a hand in. Now, whether that's because I've grown as a person or because I felt uncomfortable taking up an entire room in a house that wasn't mine, either is a possibility.

What is definite though is that adaptation has been necessary in every form. Study techniques have had to change, I've had to spread out less while working, not work late into the night so as to not disturb my partner and his mum (usually I am a major night owl).

But what will remain after all this is the newfound resilience that I think every student at the moment has found. The new coronavirus generation of students is going to be a tough generation.


"I miss the people"

Name: Eleanor Davis
Age: 21
From: Newbury, England
Course: BA (Hons) Graphic Communication
Year: Level 6 (third year)
Instagram: @eleanorilo

Where are you now?

I am in my childhood home using the kitchen table as my workspace.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

In the first lockdown, online working was a shock to the system as it was so unfamiliar to most of us and with moving home, it felt that I had taken a step back by being in my childhood bedroom. I adjusted to seeing faces on a screen and translating all my work to the computer for hand-ins.

Over this time, working and communicating online became second nature. Yet, of course, there is always this feeling of disconnect with sharing ideas over a video call. Collaborating in person was a big part of my creative process but I've managed to make it work so far.

What do you miss?

As with most of us right now, I miss the people. I miss being in-between lessons with others, the lunchtimes where we'd buy discount pastries and sandwiches, the group tasks where we made five-metre runways to throw paper along, where we shared ideas without buffering between words and talking over each other was natural, not lost wifi connection.

I miss people who I don't know but passed in the corridor and smiled at, I miss the people in art school who made funky sculptures and installations. I miss how the teachers and how we'd catch up with them in the cafe queue. I miss the people, I miss the real-life connection quite a bit.

How are you finding remote studying?

Online teaching, for me, has evolved since the first lockdown. It has become much easier to navigate and I believe my teachers have adapted well to this shift. We've held online exhibitions where we have spoken about our work and caught up with our peers, had regular critiques and have been captivated by talks from designers in the industry.

One part missing from the experience of teaching online is the connection with classmates, I miss shared small moments between classes where we would make conversation.

What are you working on?

With many of us rediscovering our hometowns, I decided to create a project looking into the lineage of a small village nearby. Using the British Film Institute's free film section of British location films, I found a short depicting that same village just after the second world war. I illustrated moments from the film that capture the heart of village life from idle chatter to flower arranging in the church, this book takes a look at the raw simplicity of life in the late 1940s.


"I didn't have the money to purchase my own laptop"

Name: Patrick Dewar
Age: 22
From: Swindon, England
Course: BA (Hons) Graphic Communication
Year: Level 5 (second year)
Instagram: @highseapirate_

Where are you now?

I'm currently working from my student rented flat in Bath.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

Back in March 2020, the pandemic affected my studies massively as I didn't own a laptop which meant I fully relied on the Macs available in my studio space to complete my work.

An added stress was that I didn't have the money to purchase my own laptop so I had no way of accessing my lectures and teaching materials when the university made its transition to being completely online.

I managed to contact the head of the school of art and design (Kerry Curtis) about the problem I was faced with. Kerry arranged a MacBook loan from the university to be sent to my flat just two weeks after the lockdown had been announced, so I was able to carry on creating work.

On top of this, the university offered me a non-refundable grant so that I could purchase my own MacBook.

What do you miss?

I generally just miss the social aspect of university such as not just being able to go to the pub with your mates after a deadline to blow off a bit of steam. I miss the naturally occurring conversations that you have with your lecturers and peers about work in the studio that kind of get lost through communicating on a Zoom call.

How do you find remote studying?

I really don't enjoy the online lectures simply because I'm someone who likes to get out of the house. When working at the Locksbrook campus I actually feel like a designer, whereas when working from home I just feel like a kid in my bedroom playing around on Photoshop.

What are you working on?

I'm currently working on a concept streetwear brand titled Highsea Studio where I have recently released some graphic T-shirts that I had designed and screen-printed in my flat during the lockdown period. My initial plan was to create the T-shirts on campus but I had to adapt to producing them from home due to the lockdown. I also designed a website for a platform to sell my T-shirts.

Everything I designed from the T-shirts to my website was made on the laptop loaned to me from the university, which I was truly grateful to have. Check out my website at www.highseastudio.co.uk.


"I'm really not liking online teaching"

Name: Charlie Firth
Age: 19
From: Wales
Course: BA (Hons) Furniture & Product Design
Year: Level 5 (second year)
Instagram: @firthbydesign

Where are you now?

I am currently based in Bath, sharing a house with another furniture and product design student and a fine art student.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

The pandemic has made it virtually impossible to do any practical work in the university workshops which has been difficult to accept considering that we are a practical course. However, I have been able to develop skills that we would normally spend less time on such as 3D modelling, rendering and the Adobe Suite.

Being unable to interact with my course mates in a creative space has been a challenge. Working with and around others is something I'm really going to appreciate when things improve.

What do you miss?

I really miss the practical side. We have been unable to make anything in months, which is a crucial part of the course. I miss working with my coursemates and developing our knowledge and skills together. I miss being hands-on with materials.

How are you finding remote studying?

I'm really not liking online teaching. The university does it's best but teaching a practical course over a poor wifi connection doesn't work. I have found that group research online has been okay, being able to communicate with everyone online has worked well.

What are you working on?

I have just finished an industry live project as well as a human-centred design project. Hands-on practical work has been virtually impossible so I have moved more to the digital side of product design. Experimenting with 3D modelling and rendering as well as the Adobe Suite. Being unable to present work through a sketchbook has meant that my digital presentations have improved.


"It was a positive change and an opportunity to relax"

Name: Rasa Gadirovaite
Age: 20
From: Vilnius, Lithuania
Course: BA (Hons) Interior Design
Year: Level 4 (first year)

Where are you now?

In my parents' house.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

It was a positive change and an opportunity to relax a bit. I'd say everything is like in a haze. Also, there are many things I miss.

What do you miss?

Campus life, walking to uni early in the morning, having work materials and appliances, friends.

How are you finding remote studying?

Online teaching is okay, the schedule for online classes is a bit unstable as the calendar shows only a couple of days ahead sometimes. Would be nice to see a fixed timetable. Overall the atmosphere is a lot more relaxing, I think due to being in a comfortable cosy environment (like home).

What are you working on?

No work currently, waiting for my evaluation and next semester.


"I miss the structure of getting up and dressed"

Name: Emma Gannon
Age: 21
From: Cornwall, England
Course: BA (Hons) Textile Design
Year: Level 5 (second year)
Instagram: @emma.knit

Where are you now?

I am in Bath living with my two flatmates, being the only creative course in the flat, they think I am going stir crazy coming up with new ways of working at home.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

The pandemic has definitely thrown a spanner in the works in my studies and progress with knitting. However, I have gained new confidence in my work by coming up with ways around not being able to use specialist equipment that is normally on campus.

What do you miss?

I miss the structure of getting up and dressed for university, I miss my daily walk to university too. I miss my classmates and gaining inspiration from their work too, I also miss socialising as some days pass at home where I find myself not speaking for hours and hours.

How are you finding remote studying?

Online teaching at the start was very different. I found it awkward and a strange way of learning. However, workshops online have been successful and it adds a bit of structure to my days too, knowing there are workshops at certain times when I can just focus on those.

What are you working on?

I am currently working on my knitwear project called Katie which was originally inspired by Grayson Perry's illustrative ceramic plates. I am creating a knitted accessory and clothing collection with an illustrative twist.


"I've had to be increasingly digital in my practice"

Name: Isabel Hurley
Age: 24
From: Cheltenham, England
Course: MA Visual Communication
Year: Level 7 (MA)
Instagram: @isabelhurleyart

Where are you now?

I live in rural Gloucestershire near the Forest of Dean. I moved out of university accommodation over Christmas and now work in an office turned studio in the garden of my parents' house.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

I've had to be increasingly digital in my practice and general way of life. Missing out on inspiration from learning new skills in workshops, engaging with technicians, going on study trips, mixing with other courses and using the library. Without being able to go out and see things it is difficult. I enjoy solitude so it hasn't affected me that much but realise I have to be very self-motivated every day.

It has made me reach out to people and has highlighted how important it is for me to build connections: serendipitous moments such as making friends with someone taking the same bus as me on my first day, sitting in the studio in an evening whilst a Winona Ryder film plays in the centre of Locksbrook Campus; shadows and props in life drawing classes, sitting in a full presentation space for a visiting artist talk; live music and crying over the process of making a screen print in the workshops.

What do you miss?

I miss friends who have moved back home to the other side of the world.

How are you finding remote studying?

I have had to be self-led. It's very independent. I haven't had much feedback on the work I'm making, and the ways that we stay connected manage to feel so disconnected. I was unable to present my final master's project to anyone due to the challenges of doing this virtually, so it was a bit of an anti-climax.

What are you working on?

I have just finished my final master's project. Light Encounters consists of photographs I have taken in the space of a year, drawing on my personal experience of the city of Bath. Looking at our perception of light in spaces, the aim is to encourage a return to the City after a period of absence and reflection. Focusing on the relationship between Bath Students and local residents, I hope to create openness through promoting and sharing spaces.

I mimicked Riso print effects digitally as a result of being unable to use a Risograph printer. I wasn't able to get the leaflet physically printed so I created a digital mock-up. This resulted in a double-sided leaflet which was a vehicle for the work.


"I am enjoying learning new skills in a subject I love"

Name: Isabelle James
Age: 18
From: Southampton, England
Course: BA (Hons) Interior Design
Year: Level 4 (first year)
Instagram: @isabellelauren.design

Where are you now?

I'm currently stuck at home working from the living room along with my mum and sister who are also working from home.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

It has been disappointing not being able to socialise and make friends with other students on my course. It has also been challenging to do coursework from home as all of the skills are completely new so it takes a lot of self-learning and trial and error in order to create the work. I am however enjoying learning new skills in a subject I love.

What do you miss?

I expected to spend a lot more time on campus using the facilities as well as going on site visits with classmates. However, this hasn't been possible. I was hoping to make many new friends on my course but restrictions have stopped this.

How are you finding remote studying?

My course leaders have been supplying online tutorials which have been very helpful. We also use Miro to upload our work and receive feedback on how to improve and the successful areas of our work.

What are you working on?

We have just finished a retail project, designing a shop on the high street of Bath. I relied on technical drawing tutorials to create scale floor plans of the shop which I then rendered in photoshop. I set up my A1 drawing board on my dining room table and scanned in my drawings to upload on Miro in order to receive feedback from my tutor.


"I miss having structure to my day"

Name: Mari Jones
Age: 20
From: Swansea, Wales
Course: BA (Hons) Furniture & Product Design
Year: Level 5 (second year)
Instagram: @fpd_mari

Where are you now?

At my family home in Wales.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

Living the same day over and over, seeing the same four walls has definitely taken its toll. I'm lucky to have a good relationship with my family but having younger siblings and parents who are working from home means internet connection and concentration are running low.

I do not have my own workspace. During the day, I occupy one half of the dining room table, while my mam has the other. This works well considering, but every day I clear up my work for the day and find it hard to pick up where I left off the following day.

What do you miss?

I miss having structure to my day; a reason to get ready. The interaction with other classmates is something that can't be imitated by our WhatsApp group chat, no matter how hard we try. The face to face feedback with tutors was much more productive for me since I could show and explain my thinking on a deeper level than video call allows.

The workshop experience is something that is impossible to replicate at home. Here is where I felt I was learning the most, experimenting with new materials and understanding processes better. This is what I wanted to achieve by taking a design course but, unfortunately, that's been taken away.

How do you find remote studying?

There is a real sense of "we're all in this together" with the constant mic struggles and pets causing havoc. I feel we have gained a deeper understanding of each other, not just by our bedroom wall colour choice, but also during our discussions of how we're feeling and what we're struggling with.

The Google Meets our course began with seemed more like lectures sometimes, with a lot of information being thrown at us over a long period of time. Concentration and motivation are difficult. Recently, we've been having more break out room sessions where it's more informal and seminar-like. I enjoy these as they're less intimidating and feel the most like campus working discussions.

What are you working on?

I've literally just submitted my project for our industry live brief. We worked with an arts charity based in Bristol, Knowle West Media Centre, on a number of different brief options. I chose to focus on identifying and utilising the centre's waste materials in order to create a product that would encourage engagement from a younger demographic.

My final proposal was a fabric-based privacy screen that would be placed on their open layout desks, creating a sense of safety for more anxious attendees. I chose fabric scraps since I was able to adapt to my return home. I replicated this material through cutting up my lesser-worn clothing so I could experiment on my kitchen table rather than the workshop.


"I couldn't work and suffered from panic attacks"

Name: Mohd Khuram Wani
Age: 21
From: Kashmir, India
Course: BA (Hons) Graphic Communication
Year: Level 5 (second year)
Instagram: @deludedone

Where are you now?

I reside in Sheffield and my bedroom is my studio.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

My first year was an absolute disaster from an academic point of view. I didn't know anything about graphic design as I changed my stream from fine art to a Graphic Communication course.

The lockdown somehow proved quite positive for me at the start. I was able to improve my eye for design and skills around it, mainly through online learning and books. But as the lockdown progressed on it did start taking a toll on my mental health. There was a period when I couldn't work at all and suffered from panic attacks.

On the other hand, it did bring me close to family as I spent some quality time with them almost after four years. In the end, this lockdown has made me strong mentally and also introduced me to new ways of working and self-development.

What do you miss?

I really miss the creative atmosphere that uni provides us with, the studio-based feeling, my friends and colleagues and the in-person sessions.

How do you find remote studying?

Online teaching works quite well with me. For me, this course is all about self-learning and improvising. The things that do knock me down sometimes are the unavailability of equipment and workshops.

What are you working on?

I am currently designing the brand identity for my own brand. I usually work with a mix of traditional prints and mixed media and modern graphics, 3D, augmented and virtual reality.

Due to ongoing circumstances, I have taken a completely virtual approach, presenting all my work in a 3D virtual space with photorealistic rendering in an attempt to fill the void of presenting my work in a realtime space.


"The repetitiveness of a day can be overwhelming"

Name: Alicja Marczak
Age: 20
From: Chandlers Ford, England
Course: BA (Hons) Furniture & Product Design
Year: Level 5 (second year)
Instagram: @alicja_marczak

Where are you now?

I am currently living with my boyfriend and his family (five of us in total). I work in our bedroom or from the conservatory downstairs when I require less privacy.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

The main effect the pandemic has had on my learning is the cut down of resources available. As a product design student, I heavily rely on workshops and machinery. Because of this, my current work is much more research-based, meaning I am stretching my abilities less.

My goal for my second year of uni was to learn new practical skills. I have had to reevaluate my plan for progress and focus more on soft skills. The positive is the ability to work remotely and have more of a relaxed schedule which I can adapt to my family's plans.

I am fortunate for my mental health to be stable as I am surrounded by an amazing bunch of people. However, there are occasional moments where the repetitiveness of a day can be overwhelming.

What do you miss?

I miss the studio culture and the ability to go in and be in a fully creative environment. We would share our ideas and discuss everything and anything.

How are you finding remote studying?

There has been a lot of feedback from us to our tutors, and the university is doing its best to make the second semester even more specific to online learning. It's been difficult to transfer from physical making to designing on computer screens. My eyes are not too pleased about this, to be honest.

However, I do enjoy the flexibility of the work and the ability to rewatch lessons and lectures. It's also helpful to have all my work in one place when applying to placements.

What are you working on?

I have recently been working on two modules simultaneously. Both of these modules are with a live client (a charity in Bristol). The first industry live module is an individual project looking at using waste to create a product. I focused on waste that was available both at the charity and at home.

I have created three sets of product instructions to encourage families to make at home and help children's skill sets grow as well as gain confidence in their making abilities.


"Everything is like a continuous night"

Name: Angélica Monge Garcia
From: Guadalajara, Spain
Course: BA (Hons) Interior Design
Year: Level 5 (second year)
Instagram: @am_glitch_city

Where are you now?

I live at Green Park House [student accommodation]. The first two lockdowns were easy because I was very active and my life would have been the same outside of lockdown: attached to the computer screen, working.

This third lockdown is being more difficult. Biorhythms have altered, insomnia has come and everything is like a continuous night. I feel lucid and strong, but I also feel like I'm holding a very heavy slab above my shoulders.

As a visual artist, being locked with my mind in the studio is something I know and manage well. My work studio in Spain was full of birds flying loose, which brought me a lot of joy. From my anonymous space, with them, we emitted a wave of love to the quantum field. Now there is their emptiness and I will never see them again because they flew free.

Working at Green Park House awakens synergies and joint projects in various fields of art and music with my housemates. I live in all the spaces of Green Park House in an amplified way. For example, whenever I have meetings, presentations for the university or job interviews, I go to the business room, a large open space with elegant furniture, which is located at the entrance and I have views of the park. I love that space.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

Working from home gives me a high level of intimacy and concentration, thought generation and creativity. It has saved me time travelling. But this has also reduced my body movement. Besides that, my dance classes were cancelled.

What do you miss?

Interacting with people through the computer has generated in me a dreamlike sensation of them. And of course, communication with myself is in a loop. On the other hand, the software for viewing the classes has helped me to translate the language and not lose any information from my teachers.

How are you finding remote studying?

It's almost a miracle that without social life my English language has improved! Well, when I came to England, this situation was highly probable. It was no surprise. Of course, I miss the face-to-face classes and being able to delight in the figure of the teacher on stage offering us this knowledge, a classic blackboard, and all that romantic aura of the usual classes. When I applied for my scholarship to study at Bath Spa University, it felt like a dream to me.

What I could not imagine is that it would really be like a dream, in the sense that I describe above, where the oniric state, or the oniric perception of reality, confuses everything a bit. In this pseudo-dream state, I have received very valuable information from my teachers. My teacher knows her teaching technique very well, her information delivery is clean, concise and very, very fine. Actually, my multisensory learning has been very connected, in quality and rhythm, with his way of teaching.

What are you working on?

I have been working on the remodelling of an area of ​​the Hotel Indigo in Bath. I have redesigned the inner courtyard because, in my perception, in my face-to-face visit, it was the most energy-deficient area. My way of working on a project is voracious. It's coherent/consistent with that pseudo-dream state because everything in my mind mixes.

And I became an animal that doesn't attend to schedules or biological rhythms. Research is what I'm most passionate about. From interior design, I have been studying approaches and their resolutions, along paths towards soil science, energy and material engineering, physics, art, architecture, Feng Shui, dowsing, geology etc. All connected with the current human existential context and looking for ways in the legislation of England to enter the 2030 decarbonisation plan.


"Overall it has been a positive experience"

Name: Jacobus Oosthuizen
Age: 22
From: Hereford, England
Course: BA (Hons) Graphic Communication
Year: Level 6 (third year)
Instagram: @_neozoicsouth

Where are you now?

I'm currently based in my bedroom, in my parent's house in Hereford; while doing research for the second semester on producing self-initiated design work.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

Honestly, it has been frustrating not to go onto campus due to the pandemic, being able to socialise with your course mates, to find motivation, and to share ideas between friends in real-time. However, working from home is nothing new. I have somewhat been in the same position since last year (my second year of uni, semester two), which was the beginning of the first lockdown.

During that time, I managed to produce some of my best university work yet and has led to sparking many new interests in wanting to produce more 3D work and product visualisations. For me, it has been not being able to have that in-person social interaction with my friends. Indeed, all of us had to make sacrifices and social distance so that hopefully soon, I can find myself on campus again.

What do you miss?

I also miss the aspect of going for a "light beverage" at the pub with friends; just general chit-chatting, catching up on other things and not just mainly uni stuff.

How are you finding remote studying?

Overall it has been a positive experience. I guess, in the end, it was just a continuation of online classes that extended from the first semester; with going on to campus now and then before the third lockdown. Being in the third year, we were expected to be self-driven and motivated to produce work with occasional input from the course tutors.

I'm not trying to say that having minimal input from our course leaders is a bad thing; it's quite the opposite. I can only imagine the pressure the tutors are feeling due to managing multiple year groups over online classes and prioritising everyone equally even if the time we get with them is short.

However, being in my final year of the graphic communication course, it is an excellent time to be more creatively independent. It very much reflects essential elements in the design industry and creates the perfect window to practice this skill you may need in the future.

What are you working on?

Currently, I'm coming up with a design idea for a modular toy project for semester two work where I have to come up with my self-initiated brief. I find myself to have an inner drive to produce good independent work with strong authorship focused towards visualising and creating aesthetically pleasing product design concepts. With this project, I want to create a real-life physical concept.

It is still very much a work in progress. Still, I have in mind that the idea is to create two to five character designs with different modular parts that plug into a cube with socket holes placed across all six faces, allowing a large selection of mix-and-match parts to be connected into an endless variety of different outcomes. This concept is based on the importance of play within the younger demographic so that they can tap into their world of imagination and creation.


"It has been tough on me mentally and physically"

Name: Jason Ortiaga
Age: 22
From: The Philippines. Based in Cardiff, Wales.
Course: MA Visual Communication
Year: Level 7 (MA)
Instagram: @ortiagadesigns

Where are you now?

I am currently based at my family home in Swansea, Wales during the Welsh lockdown. I do my coursework in my bedroom.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

This pandemic has been tough on me mentally and physically in my personal life and also within my studies. I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said it was easy doing virtual lessons, but the past year has taught me how to care for myself and to produce illustrations to distract myself from this ongoing situation that makes me anxious from the daily news I digest throughout the days of this pandemic.

Negatives really stem from the change of habits I have had to make to adjust to how virtual learning is today.

What do you miss?

I miss having the opportunity to speak to people face to face without a face covering, I feel there is a connection between seeing and feeling emotion through faces and it's been tough being used to this current situation with socialising when attending university lectures with peers and lecturers using masks.

How are you finding remote studying?

My experiences with online teaching have been a learning curve. I have never really enjoyed learning a practice-based course through virtual learning but I have made my best efforts in attending and learning as much as I can in a restricted environment. It is quite challenging but it has become easier throughout the months.

What are you working on?

During the past two months, I completed a project module through digital editorial illustrations recently, focussing on mindfulness and the well-being of the body. I wanted to focus on the topic of mental health and social media, finding positive practices you could partake in to distract yourself from a mobile phone or computer.

These practices included yoga, exploring, meditation and cycling. I achieved this project by adjusting my practice from sketching designs in a sketchbook to producing them online through Procreate due to restrictions with submissions, which was rather hard but manageable towards the end.


"My motivation went down"

Name: Mateja Perosa
Age: 40
From: Bristol, England. Born in Koper, Slovenia.
Course: MA Design: Textiles
Year: Level 7 (MA)
Instagram: @perosa_design

Where are you now?

Working in my new studio/office/bedroom in a shared house in Easton, Bristol, where I live with my 10-year old daughter.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

In terms of space, the pandemic affected me a lot, as I didn't have a studio at home before. As I don't own this house, I wasn't able to use shared spaces or living areas for working.

Surprisingly, doing my last MA module while homeschooling back in spring did not affect my mental health. We got a lot of outdoor time every day, as we worked on our allotment. I finished all my assessments, as I wasn't working part-time.

The autumn and winter lockdown are so much heavier though. Afternoons are dark, so we don't spend much time outdoors, which means meeting fewer people in the flesh. My motivation went down this January as I'm finishing my final project on my own; got no more tutorials, lectures or anything from uni, which makes you feel even more disconnected.

What do you miss?

Shared working places/studios! Even though you work on your solo project, you still share with others, get feedback and motivation. Even in disasters, you're not alone! Overall you get more perspective and are able to evaluate your work better. All of that is difficult to transfer through web meetings. What I miss the most, as a person and not a student, is libraries.

How are you finding working remotely?

As a final year MA student, we haven't got lecturers during the pandemic. We would have scheduled tutorials; then occasionally group ones, which ones were really nice, giving me some feeling of belonging to Bath Spa University and the study. Our biggest challenge throughout the year was not sharing the textile material with our tutors – fabrics are meant to be touched! It must be very difficult for them to assess our work.

What are you working on?

I'm just finishing my final project: a linen jacquard collection. My product is presented in garments, which I had to make at home instead of on campus with great industrial machines. My digital embroidery designs were outsourced to a studio in Bristol, which is a slower process, but above all, you don't learn from it, as you're not sampling yourself. One learns from errors, right?


"The online teaching is difficult"

Name: Charlotte Petley
Age: 20
From: Bournemouth, England
Course: BA (Hons) Graphic Communication
Year: Level 4 (first year)
Instagram: @chardoesgraphics

Where are you now?

I am currently working in the dining room at my mum's house in the New Forest. I am in the first year, so the pandemic has dramatically affected my experience of university so far as it hasn't been how everyone would normally describe it to be.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

I have missed out on meeting people, partying, exploring a new city and being able to make the most of the workshops and facilities at university.

It has also meant that the delivery of my education has been very uncertain. It went from being taught in person, to online but still being able to go on campus if we wanted to, to going home at Christmas and not being allowed back.

What do you miss?

I miss the ability to meet other people on my course, I consider us lucky that we were able to have a couple of weeks in person allowing us to meet some people. However, since going online it has meant it's been hard to meet other people on our course, considering our course is very small anyway, I know very few people.

I also miss the collaboration between the students and teachers, I miss the feeling of learning and exploring new things and the conversation it develops within the classroom.

How are you finding remote studying?

I must admit the online teaching is difficult. Although the principle and delivery is good, the lack of backwards and forwards conversation between myself and lecturers is lacking which can often lead to misunderstanding the task.

For example, normally you'd have a three-hour lecture where you'd have a task set, and the lecturer can walk around and correct your work or spark conversations to develop your work. However, with online learning, I have found that I attend the following week's lecture to realise I completely misunderstood the task and have to redo it.

However, overall I think the adaption to online learning has been really good and has opened me up to new opportunities, for example for our drawing workshop we have been able to virtually explore museums from all over the world which has been very interesting.

What are you working on?

At the moment I am currently between semesters and waiting for feedback on my first hand in. I'm not working on any big projects however we have been set a couple of tasks to prepare for semester two.

One of them is to create a flip-book of a key moment from a feature film, although I would have liked to have done this with an analogue approach I have had to adapt and do this digitally as a lot of my resources have been left at my term-time address, and I am currently at my home address.


"My creativity has been stretched"

Name: Emilia Rose Dadswell-Jones
Age: 20
From: Monmouthshire, Wales
Course: BA (Hons) Textile Design
Year: Level 5 (second year)
Instagram: @emiliarose_prints

Where are you now?

I'm living in my family home in Wales, working on the dining table in between meals.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

I am more frugal, my creativity has been stretched more than it ever would have been in "precedented times." It has made me grateful for the number of materials and tools that my parents refused to throw away over the years, although it feels as if I'm regressing into my younger self by navigating my life around the routine of my family again as a 20-year-old.

What do you miss?

I miss the rituals. I miss waking up and getting the bus at 8:00 am. I miss smiling at the caretaker with my eyes on my way in. I miss having good and bad days in the screen printing workshop and walking home through Victoria Park regardless of how my day has gone. I miss everything apart from the offensively loud hand dryer in the bathroom and dry, scaly hands from washing and rubbing in antibacterial gel religiously.

How are you finding remote studying?

I find that half an hour of one-to-one calls can be more efficient than spontaneous conversations in the workshop. I can plan what I want to show, note down questions in preparation and really focus on the information that I need to gain during my slot.

What are you working on?

I'm currently designing and producing items to sell at an online event hosted by the Holburne, our local museum and Bridgerton landmark. One of the key aspects of this brief, and the majority of our briefs, is sustainability. Had I been able to use the print workshop throughout this project I would have been screen-printing my designs and my reject material pile would have been considerably large.

However, being without this luxury has forced me to be resourceful and make use of old fabrics from previous projects which in turn has allowed me to produce a collection of entirely recycled products such as cushions, aprons and an upcycled footstool made from fabrics such as denim offcuts of vintage jeans handed down to me by relatives and old cotton curtain linings.

This level of resourcefulness has embedded itself into my design process and I aim to maintain as many elements of this in my future practices.


"It forever feels like you aren't making any progress"

Name: Latisha Southgate
Age: 19
From: Plymouth, England
Course: BA (Hons) Interior Design
Year: Level 5 (second year)
Instagram: @latishainteriors

Where are you now?

I am currently situated in Bath in a rental property, which I share with one another individual. Each day varies as I try to remain focused from changing my study location to attempting to find new interests and also trying to win the continuous battle with my mental health which, being confined to my home in a city with which I am still not fully acquainted, has worsened.

I, like many others, am currently finding it continuously more difficult to find a workspace as creative and nourishing as a campus and art studio would have been.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

The pandemic has affected simply an unknown number of individuals of various ages and from all around the globe, to a devastating extent with drastic cascading consequences. This has created and affected multiple generations from young adults who will miss out on basic skills needed for the future, to small children with hindered social skills or babies who haven't even seen the outside world.

Largely I and my peers have begun a significantly important educational journey in a world where change can happen overnight as it did. And this shows that going forward the world needs to be able to work and live in changing conditions.

Although this may largely be a negative situation, it has allowed us to become unique in a way and start to think and prepare for more unique situations going forward.

What do you miss?

The routine and the interaction with my lecturers and others on my course. Most days I feel I am not learning at all due to the lack of resources at my fingertips, which is ironic as pre-covid who didn't like a lie-in and working from home kind of day? However, now there seem to be few things worse than this.

How do you find remote studying?

I am finding online teaching very difficult due to a number of reasons:
1: The absence of face-to-face interaction
2: My personal lack of motivation
3: Technical issues with programmes we have become dependent on
4: The fact that online learning is so much more flexible is both a positive and negative as it allows you to learn at your own pace however, a negative as the amount of work remains the same
5: It forever feels like you aren't making any progress as all your work is digital therefore you can't see the whole process of your design journey
6: The fact that most of the programmes we have to hand and are now using we all had to quickly adapt to and learn the platforms ourselves without having previously experimented drawing and so on with such programmes.
7: Overall the time it takes to receive responses back from lectures.

What are you working on?

I am currently working on a project titled leisure and hospitality – construction in detail. The overall aim of the module is to explore structure and detail in-depth focusing on a complex site, resulting in a portfolio of research and drawings, plans and sections.

I began this project very open-minded and simply began to form a superb understanding of the site. Then I went on to develop my own personal brief and decided the key area of design I wanted to resolve was one of many restaurant spaces resulting in a number of experimental drawings.

At the start, I was making great progress. However, I hit a few barriers, which I would usually overcome by consulting a lecturer's opinion. I completely stepped back from my project resulting in me having an even larger lack of motivation to continue and go back to my work.

To overcome some of the barriers I was facing, I researched and followed designers' journeys and how they were slowly adjusting their ideas and designs, leading me to think about how I could alter and develop my own designs. This led to me exploring more playful and thoughtful designs.


"It has changed the way we work as designers"

Name: Jamie Stubbs
Age: 19
From: Birmingham, England
Course: BA (Hons) Interior Design
Year: Level 5 (second year)
Instagram: @design.by.jrs

Where are you now?

I am based in a shared house of six in the city centre of Bath, working in the tiny corner of my room with a desk squashed into it.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

The pandemic has affected my studies by cutting the use of several design facilities our university offers which help aid my course. It has changed the way we work as designers, by having to think of new and innovative ways of working and thinking.

The positives that have come from this are interesting ways to work using software such as Miro which is an online shared workspace where students can actively work together on a board sharing work and thoughts live at the same time.

Although we can not physically go into campus to use the facilities, it has opened new doors to design by using more variety of CAD and photography and imagery to represent and display our work.

What do you miss?

The main thing that I miss from being able to go into campus is the social side of it and the creative campus atmosphere, being able to go in and look at not just your own course and work but a variety of different sectors of design around the campus, such as graphic design and fine art.

How are you finding remote studying?

Online teaching is a different way of teaching and is not to everyone's taste, but some aspects I do enjoy such as being able to still connect with people on my course to collaborate and work together on projects.

Although I do miss the physical aspect as many people do, we are lucky to have the facilities we do to still be able to complete work, yes in different ways I wouldn't have thought of but it helps gain experience and gives a different outlook on how teaching can be achieved.

What are you working on?

The most recent project that I have undertaken was the redesign of a hotel in Bath to meet the needs of the new covid rules and regulations. I had to choose a section of the hotel and think of a new concept and layout to enhance the way we use it.

I decided to look at how covid has affected the economy and small businesses, and how I might inject that into the hotel by creating an underground market place in the vaults of this hotel to help small businesses in Bath keep running and selling independent goods, creating a unique holiday experience.

I adapted my work to use more imagery and CAD work to show and represent my thoughts and ideas, instead of doing large hand-drawn technical drawings more initial sketches and images were used to convey my ideas.

This was a nice experience for me as the previous year it was mostly hand drawings so it was nice to try more CAD and Photoshop work to express my design in a different way compared to what I have done before.


"I have found it very hard to focus on work"

Name: Emily Taylor
Age: 20
From: Bromyard, England
Course: BA (Hons) Graphic Communication
Year: Level 5 (second year)
Instagram: em_graphics_

Where are you now?

I am currently based in my old bedroom/makeshift workspace in my parents' house on a farm in Wolferlow. Basically, the middle of nowhere.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

I feel that the pandemic has had a mixed impact on me and my studies. I have liked spending time at home with my family and having them around to support me. The pandemic has challenged me to think differently about the way that I work and has driven me towards outcomes I would not have achieved otherwise.

However, I have found it very hard to focus on work. I found that when I was in Bath, I knew I was there for my degree and made the most of the time I had on campus.

Being back at home has completely thrown me off. I think the switch has negatively affected my wellbeing, mostly due to the anxieties of the pandemic and uncertainties about the opportunities that there will be for me after my degree.

What do you miss?

I miss the campus and all of the opportunities that came with it. It was just nice to know that the space was always there for me to use when I needed it. It was a place to be inspired and there always seemed to be something going on to get involved in.

I loved the screenprint workshop and being able to talk to technicians (especially Penny!) about my ideas. A lot of my work used to involve the print workshop, and this is something I have had to rethink now that I cannot access this.

How are you finding remote studying?

The online teaching has made me feel quite isolated, as I am lacking the face to face contact and social interactions that came with being on campus. I am finding feedback from my tutors helpful, but sharing work is sometimes difficult because you cannot present it in the way that you would have liked to in person.

However, because of this, I have strived to create different outcomes that hopefully show I can be flexible with the work I am creating. I am not getting what I wanted from my degree but it is a unique experience and not one that I expected at all when I applied two years ago.

What are you working on?

I have recently been working on type and image projects that explore themes of artificial intelligence. Something that I looked at for this was the unconscious bias that appears in AI systems. My visual outcomes involved videos made with a lot of trial and error in Adobe After Effects, a program that I probably would not have used if it wasn't for remote learning.

I am currently exploring typographic outcomes in Photoshop and Illustrator as this is something I enjoy experimenting with in my spare time. I also want to create my own Lino prints, when I have the means to do this from home. I am also preparing for the start of my second semester, where I have chosen commerce and social good modules.


"Remote learning is a good way to focus on your work"

Name: Paige Vandome
Age: 21
From: Burton upon Trent, England
Course: BA (Hons) Textile Design
Year: Level 6 (third year)
Instagram: @paigevandome

Where are you now?

I am back at my family home in Staffordshire, working from my bedroom.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

There have been dramatic changes to my everyday routine that has had a big impact on my wellbeing, for example using video calls as my way to connect with other people and not being able to be in Bath for my third year. I definitely took all of that for granted, as I didn't realise how much of an effect that would have on me.

Strangely, I have managed to work well at my family home. I think it helps that my mum works from home too so that gives me the motivation to get going. However, I still find it hard to study a creative course from my desk in my room.

What do you miss?

I really miss the studios, chatting with friends, tutors and techs. I think that is one of the main aspects that I love about university is the close relationship and support we have with the staff.

I also miss not being able to go into the knit room to ask Nick (our knit tutor) for help, in which he would show me how to do a particular technique. Even though we can do this over a video call, it isn't the same. In person, we don't have the internet buffering or crashing!

How are you finding remote studying?

I think remote learning is a good way to focus on your work and not compare it to other people's. I also think time with tutors for tutorials is more special and valued now because it is our only way to have feedback and show them what we have been up to.

However, it definitely has its challenges and I find the lack of motivation to be the hardest. I think this new way of learning has certainly helped us to adapt, but sometimes I find seeing other people work gives me the determination to keep going and being in my room I don't have that.

What are you working on?

I have just finished writing my dissertation and I am now approaching my final major project, which is going to be a childrenswear knit collection inspired by my favourite snacks, sweets and chocolate.

As it is my last project at university, it is quite daunting that I might have to complete it at home, especially as I need access to the knitting workshops. However, the excitement of the final master project is keeping me going.

I am in the research stages at the moment so I am finding it fun researching old packaging and photographing the textures within the foods. I am definitely trying to think outside the box and using the internet a lot more to discover online exhibitions and email companies for their archives, which I think I would have overlooked before the pandemic.


"Having lectures recorded is a real lifesaver"

Name: Zoe Weaver
Age: 26
From: Stafford, England
Course: BA (Hons) Textile Design
Year: Level 6 (third year)
Instagram: @zoelouelladesigns

Where are you now?

I am currently working in my bedroom in my parents' house in Staffordshire. I have turned my dressing table into a small desk where I sit every evening. But during the day, I put my laptop on the window sill to try and experience more daylight. I'm currently writing my dissertation and it's taking a very long time so I enjoy looking outside while I work.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

The pandemic distanced me from the specialist equipment such as silkscreens and sewing machines on campus. Even when we were able to access them, I didn't want to create a lot with them as I knew I couldn't depend on being able to use them throughout my project.

So the pandemic has made me think of alternative methods of creating. Instead of using an Irish [sewing] machine to create my designs, I painted acetate and cut it into flower petals. The shiny colourful acetate and its ability for 3D structure made for some wonderful flowers which actually felt quite unique to me.

What do you miss?

I miss being the bustling atmosphere of the studios with around ten of us in a really messy room with fabric everywhere! We all worked on unique projects and being able to be in the studio all day every day meant we could observe the progress of work week by week. It was so motivating and exciting to be in possibly the most creative environment I've ever been in!

Now we just see tiny snippets of work if someone decides to share on Instagram, and our bedrooms have to be reasonably tidy as we have to live in these spaces too, so it's nowhere near as immersive.

How are you finding remote studying?

I'm dyslexic, so having lectures recorded is actually a real lifesaver! I used to get confused having to write notes quickly to keep up, but now I can listen the first time and actively participate and then make notes when I play the talk back again. It's also a lot easier than having to travel into campus each day but I do miss being able to walk straight from a lecture into the library to look up something that was mentioned, like a period of art for example.

It also gets a little awkward when students are too shy to participate, so most of the time it's the same handful of us who are confident enough to speak who contribute. But I would always push myself to engage with my lecturer as I think it can come across as rude when no one speaks to them which unfortunately happens a lot.

What are you working on?

The only thing I'm working on now is my dissertation and previously I've been working on a business module so thankfully this has been easy to do at home! Due to staying indoors all day, I put my laptop on the window sill now so I can experience the natural light up close.

I've also had to rely heavily on e-books and the scan and send service from the library as my library books are in my uni flat where I'm not allowed to access them! In the second lockdown, I was in uni two days a week and then mainly working in my uni flat.

I was working on creating 3D florals but knew I couldn't depend on being able to go to uni and use their equipment just in case we suddenly went into lockdown, so I cut up fabric scraps, dipped them in PVA glue and wrapped them around pencils to dry into a curve shape. I also painted old phone chargers and acetate, cut out thorns and petal shapes and then melted them with my straighteners to portray realistic forms.

I had to act quickly so I didn't completely melt my work and hold it into shape when it was cooling to defy its memory of its previous state. Then I was able to paint vein details and sew them together into flowers and couch the stems down to the fabric.

It was a very different outcome to what I would have made if I had access to the digital embroidery machine and industrial machines on campus, but I'm really proud of my discovery as it feels new to me and I'm going to continue with this style of working to try and make it as innovative and exciting as possible.


"I miss the buzzing studio atmosphere"

Name: Josh Westlake
Age: 23
From: Salisbury, England
Course: BA (Hons) Furniture & Product Design
Year: Level 5 (second year)
Instagram: @m.e_josh

Where are you now?

In Bath, in an empty, eerie student house a stone's throw away from our campus and workshops. I often walk past my studio on a walk or when getting a food shop in, which is weird, as when viewing my student home last year I had never considered its workshop capacity.

How has the pandemic affected your studies?

I mean it's effectively gone from CNCing emerging, 100 per cent sustainable materials in the workshop which are locally sourced to making models from cereal packets on top of my chest of drawers with a rusty craft knife and Sellotape. I guess it's quite cliché to start with the negatives in the current climate, but although crude, it has shown design doesn't necessarily need to be precision-engineered or prototyped in 13 different materials.

What do you miss?

I do miss the buzzing studio atmosphere, being able to ask another student a question without having to sign it off with "kind regards" or "thanks" and not getting instant feedback which, in a fast-paced project, can be useful. The random encounters with students on campus, seeing what an MA ceramicist has just turned on the wheel or what graphics are being splayed over the toilet walls and taking inspiration from it all.

Also, I miss the technician's concerned expressions when a student asks them if they can make the equivalent of a hydrogen bomb in a fumigation tank. And just missing making use of the facilities, as unlike an employee, we are paying to use the buildings we spend 9-5 in.

There is a growing frustration amongst all students that the government is happy to let students continue to pay in full for something they aren't receiving. It means a longer lie-in which is great, but there is a big disconnect with being face to face, especially on a practical course. I've had to learn how to use several 'collaborative' software such as ConceptBoard which I'm sure before all this was only on the margins of our toolkit pre-pandemic.

It's being interesting to see how adaptable and how much in fact as a society, we've been solely creeping towards this age of digitisation anyway. Imagine if Zoom hadn't existed before March 2020 and we'd simply found existing tools to adapt.

What are you working on?

I've just finished working on a modular piece of furniture made from rejoined scrap plywood using coloured glue, which in theory should and could be made by anyone if they have a rusty hacksaw, ruler and pencil, in partnership with a local arts centre, which was inspired by the lockdowns and sitting around at home wondering: "What am I going to do with all this stuff?"

I found it difficult to justify it in parts as I lacked real concrete prototypes made from the material itself. However, it allowed me to really immerse myself in trying to democratise my design, as I was forced to think how someone not versed in design skills or making would be empowered into making something for themselves.