Spaces and skills

Our creative spaces give you the room you need to design, make, test and bring your ideas to life. We'll teach you both traditional and digital skills, blending established techniques with modern design and making methods.

An exterior shot of Priestman Building in the day time, with students walking outside


Our Fine Art and Design courses are based in Priestman Building, City Campus. From generous-sized individual studio spaces, to project and exhibition spaces, there is plenty of room for you to explore new ideas and experiment with different techniques. You'll also have access to the FabLab, where there are further fabrication and production facilities to use.

Over at the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's, the Northern Centre of Photography is home to our Photography courses (as well as host to the North East Photography Network (NEPN)), while Glass and Ceramics courses are taught in National Glass Centre. BA (Hons) Animation and Games Art is taught in the David Puttnam Media Centre, using specific animation facilities.

A close up of a person's hands working on architectural glass


We'll introduce you to and teach you a blend of traditional and modern techniques. You'll learn through staff-led demonstrations and hands-on making, designing and creating, using dedicated facilities and equipment.

As well as academic staff, you'll have the support of our specialist technicians, who are on hand to help you realise your vision.

Our aim is that the spaces you'll use and skills you'll learn will equip you with the skills and knowledge you'll need in your creative career after graduation.

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You’ll have access to a well-equipped wheel throwing area, including: pottery wheels; kick wheels; a clay reclaim room; drying cabinet; two pug-mills; two extruders and a plaster wedging table.

Our recently refurbished, well-equipped fashion workrooms include fabric printers, laser cutters, top of the range design suites and industrial sewing machines.

The Cintiq Suites are digital drawing rooms, with Mac Pro computers that have specialist screens and pens for drawing directly onto the screen.

Here you’ll have access to machinery including: table saw, crosscut, bobbin sander, metal and wood smoothers, welding and gas equipment, guillotines, pillar drill, routers, morso machines and hand tools.

Our Contemporary Fine Art studios are based in Priestman Building, City Campus. As a Fine Art student you will be allocated your own generous-sized individual studio space.

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National Glass Centre

We've been teaching Glass and Ceramics for over 40 years, with courses including BA (Hons) Artist Designer Maker: Glass and Ceramics (which has 100% Overall Satisfaction (National Student Survey 2022)) and MA Visual Practice (Glass and Ceramics routes available).

National Glass Centre is a nationally recognised glass production and exhibition centre with world-class production facilities and a programme of international exhibitions and creative projects.

You’ll be allocated your own workspace, in our open plan working areas which facilitates the learning community and allows students to learn and share knowledge freely.

The National Glass Centre is also home to the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, which has a long history of showing cutting-edge contemporary art.

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Northern Centre of Photography

Our photography courses include BA (Hons) Photography, Video and Digital Imaging and MA Visual Practice (Photography route available).

Hone your skills in our darkrooms, studios and digital suites housed in our dedicated facility, the Northern Centre of Photography (NCP). Here you’ll find a black and white dark room and processing room; a digital print studio and print finishing area; two large pro studios; the pixel lab, which is a large digital darkroom studio; and much more. There’s even an open-plan social space for staff and students to work and socialise, as well as display completed or in-progress work on the magnetic gallery walls.

What’s more, the proximity of the NCP to the mediaHUB and National Glass Centre means you’ll become part of a vibrant creative hub with students from other creative degrees.

Learn more about the Northern Centre of Photography.

Priestman Building

Priestman Building is the main base for Fine Art and Design on City Campus, which is a five minute walk from Sunderland city centre. Facilities include: three art and design galleries; art, design and fashion studios; wood, metal and print workshops; and a Wacom Cintiq design studio.

Fine Art students are allocated individual studio space to enable studio-based practice and can use additional exhibition spaces to test ideas outside of the studio. This includes 'Shaun Project Space' and our Fine Art, Digital, Photographic, Film, Sound Installation project space, where you can explore and discuss new ideas with your peers. There are also opportunities to gain experience installing and curating public exhibitions in the large Priestman Gallery.

Design students have access to digital design suites which are equipped with Apple Macs, PCs, HTC VIVE VR and Wacom Cintiqs. Software includes ZBrush, Unity 3D, Maya, Blender, Cinema 4D, Dreamweaver and Adobe Creative Suites. There is also extensive pre-production, process and finishing equipment, from 3D design and printing; bookbinding; vinyl; and large format printing. Fashion students also have access to our fashion workrooms, which feature industrial sewing machines, digital embroidery facilities, laser cutter, print studio and large-scale digital fabric printer.

David Puttnam Media Centre

The David Puttnam Media Centre is based at the Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's, and is home to our BA (Hons) Animation and Games Art course.

As an animation student you'll have access to facilities which include: personal studio space; HTC VIVE and Oculus headsets for VR work motion capture suite; shadow motion capture system; green screen TV Studio; digital design suite with Macs and Wacom Cintiqs; industry-standard sound recording studios and editing facilities; and much more. Software includes: Toon Boom Harmony Premium; Autodesk Maya; Adobe Creative Suite, including After Effects, Illustrator and Photoshop, Pixologic Z Brush, Blender and Unity. You'll also work alongside our specialist technical staff, including qualified Adobe and Maya Certified instructors, who will support you to get the best out of your work.