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Case Study

Adam McDade

Sunderland, UK

BA (Hons) Illustration and Design

MA Design

PhD Doctor of Philosophy (Art and Design)


Adam McDade studied a foundation course and BA (Hons) Illustration and Design at the University of Sunderland. He was so impressed with the standards of teaching he chose to continue his studies here, studying both MA Design and a PhD. His PhD thesis `Beyond the Epidermis’ was conducted in partnership with tattoo studio, Triplesix Studios, which is based in Sunderland. After 10 years studying and working at Sunderland, Adam is moving to Vietnam to teach at RMIT.

Having previously completed a foundation course and then BA (Hons) Art and Design at the University of Sunderland, I was impressed with the standards of teaching I had received and felt like I could gain a significant amount by continuing my studies with an MA.

MA Design allows you complete freedom to explore the discipline fully, cultivating originality and authenticity. The guidance and relationship I had with tutors felt both professional and sincere, allowing me to begin to understand my role as an independent illustrator.”

After studying for his MA, Adam began a six-year PhD. He went on to lecture at the University while also working part-time at Sunderland-based tattoo studio, Triplesix Studios. His PhD thesis `Beyond the Epidermis’ was conducted in partnership with studio. It was described by examiners as “the most in-depth, detailed and considered first-person account of tattoo practice in the academic literature”.

Now, after spending 10 years working at studying at the University, Adam is taking up a new role as Design Studies role at RMIT, in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

“My family have been incredibly supportive and they know how much this all means to me. In total, I have spent more than 10 years at the University of Sunderland and I will miss it. It’s the best thing about Sunderland and I have learned so much along the way. It is the University that has kept me here and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities it has given me.

If I could sum up my experience of studying at the University of Sunderland, it would be an opportunity to study under kind-hearted, authentic guidance."

Published 8 July 2021

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