PRESS RELEASE: New higher education apply guide supports next generation of creative talent

February 11, 2020

A newly-launched guide, bringing together advice and guidance from specialist higher education providers across the country, is helping underrepresented learner groups to access degrees and careers in the creative sector.

This week marks the launch of a second edition of the Creative HE Apply Guide, a collaboration between higher education (HE) providers across England. Building on the success of the original guide released in 2018, this version showcases the creative HE study options available across England, and steers prospective students through the process of securing a place on those courses. It has been produced by the Creative Forum of AccessHE, the pan-London widening access to HE network, and the United Kingdom Arts and Design Institutions Association (Ukadia).

In the context of a continuing decline in the numbers of school pupils studying creative subjects at GCSE and A-Level, there is a greater need than ever for clear and accessible guidance on routes into creative careers. The Creative HE Apply Guide provides readers with information about a wide range of creative subject areas and HE courses, from dance and music to creative writing, crafts, photography and media, film-making, and sound technology, to name just a few. It also maps out the various entry pathways into these courses, looking beyond the A-Level route. Just as importantly, the guide addresses some of the main myths and misconceptions linked to creative study to show that it is open to anyone, irrespective of age, background or skill level. The guide includes extensive details on the financial support available to learners from disadvantaged backgrounds seeking to progress to a creative HE course as well as practical guidance relating to the application process.

This version includes a range of accompanying worksheets, for use by prospective students and by HE providers as part of outreach activities focused on routes into the creative and performing arts. As with the previous version, this guide encourages prospective students to consider their motivations for studying a creative subject, equips them with knowledge of what the application process looks like and what they can expect to happen at the different stages of it, and provides them with tips for making an informed decision. It can therefore be used in a variety of settings to support HE progression in these discipline areas, whether in school/college, at home, or in an extra-curricular context.

With the introduction of the EBacc threatening to squeeze creative subjects out of the secondary curriculum in England, concerted action is needed if creative HE study and creative careers are to be attractive and accessible to all. The Creative HE Apply Guide puts forward the case for pursuing these subjects at HE level and beyond, covering individual and also wider societal benefits. As Marianne Shillingford, Creative Director of Dulux UK and author of the foreword to the guide points out, one need look no further for evidence of the value of creative study than the fact that ‘the world needs creative solutions to the problems we all face’.

The guide is available to download from the ‘Practitioner Resources‘ area of the AccessHE website here (2-page spread version) and here (single-page version) and the accompanying worksheets are available here. Other resources for those thinking of pursuing creative study can be accessed at


For further information contact Tanyel Kazim, London Programmes and Communications Coordinator at AccessHE, on 020 7391 0685 or or


  1. A key division of London Higher and the largest collaborative network of its kind, AccessHE is the pan-London organisation supporting under-represented groups throughout their higher education (HE) learner journeys. AccessHE does this by enabling HE institutions (HEIs), schools, colleges and local authorities to achieve their objectives on widening access to HE and delivering improved student outcomes more efficiently and effectively. For more information on AccessHE, please go to
  2. The United Kingdom Arts and Design Institutions Association (Ukadia) is a group of specialist arts and design institutions from across the UK’s higher and further education sectors. Ukadia aims to promote, nationally and internationally, the key contributions of specialist colleges to the UK’s world-renowned reputation in visual arts, performance and the creative and cultural industries; to work together as a network to widen participation in Higher Education and encourage mobility into professions serving the creative and cultural industries. For more information on Ukadia, please go to
  3. This version of the Creative HE Apply Guide is a collaboration between the following institutions: Arts University Bournemouth, the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, Leeds Arts University, Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Norwich University of the Arts, Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and the Urdang Academy.