Snapshot into studying an Art and Design degree at Wrexham University

Leila Hodgson, an Applied Art student, and Olivia Horner, an Illustration student, talk about their experiences studying at Wrexham University and their involvement in the annual art and design degree showcase.  


"My year group started in September 2020, only 6 months after the official declaration of the first UK lockdown. The lecturers on my course had to adapt to new teaching methods very quickly to provide distance learning.  

Luckily, even with keeping to Government guidelines, our weekly workshop sessions were still able to happen. I mention this as the dedication by the members of staff of the applied art course was amazing. We had interesting and engaging video tutorials and we were very well supported during this period of blended learning. 

The two years that followed continued in this way as lockdown measures eased and the workshop environment returned to how it once was. The staff always remained helpful, encouraging and supportive of us as we continued our creative journey. 

On a personal perspective, my work is influenced by nature and the small details that can be observed when the time is taken to stop and appreciate what is around us. I also use colour in my work as I am drawn to bright and colourful artwork with a sense of fun. I consider myself a mixed media artist and really enjoy working with clay. 

The degree show was an exciting opportunity to showcase the skills we have learnt as makers over the last 3 years. My creative career path that I see in the future is either within a teaching or healthcare setting, and I have been lucky enough to be offered voluntary places to try both after I graduate. 

My experience at Wrexham University has been a very positive, nurturing and inspiring one, and I would highly recommend the course to anyone wishing to further their creative learning and skills." 

You can check out Leila’s work via Instagram 

Clay pieces of art


"I am really enthusiastic about Wrexham University’s School of Art as it is a safe space for me to be myself and be creative. An important thing for me coming to university was the class sizes as I struggle with anxiety, but the small class sizes here are amazing and enable us to have 1 to 1’s with tutors. There is such a wonderful community aspect in the whole building.  

You get to negotiate your own project in your third year of studies, and I decided to focus on my interest of home interiors and surface pattern design. I also explored traditional printmaking techniques to create handprinted wallpapers. I have applied to become a designer in residence to continue building my confidence, and to start to establish my small business.  
I have made prints using the new risograph printer based in the print room. The print room is a collaborative space for people to try out different printmaking techniques and gives students a place to make and then sell their work in the art shop in the school. The art shop is open to the public Monday to Friday, 11am to 2:45pm, and has a range of art supplies and prints made by students. It’s a great feature to have as part of my course as it gives students an insight into having their own business. Caron, who works in the shop, is lovely and can help with any queries from visitors. 

I would not have been able to create and sell my prints without the support I have had from the staff, particularly Steve, the programme leader. He has been absolutely outstanding with his efforts to support me with my mental health issues and the pressures of a university environment. 

I designed and helped set up the degree shows art shop to showcase mine and other students’ work as an extension of my current studies. As my work is influenced by Biophilia, I wanted the shop to reflect this and have the students’ work as the main focal point. 

This has been my first exhibition experience as the pandemic meant we missed having an end of year show at college, so it has been incredibly exciting to see what everyone exhibits. It has been a pleasure to see everyone grow these past few years and I am lucky to have been a part of it." 

Art student painting

You can check out Olivia’s work via or her Instagram, @livletink. 

If Olivia and Leila’s experiences at Glyndwr sound like what you want out of an art and design degree then make sure to check out our Art and Design courses.