Self-learning: Should creatives design their own degrees?

Stacie Woolsey decided to create her own Master’s degree with help from established designers after finding herself priced out of art school. We talk to her about building a custom course and what she’s learned from the process

Earlier this year, Creative Review’s Emma Tucker spoke to a number of young creatives about whether an art school degree was worth it. With tuition fees at an all-time high, some designers, artists and photographers are finding other ways to develop their craft and find work – from building a presence through social media to interning and taking part in alternative programmes like D&AD Shift.

Designer Stacie Woolsey has also forged her own path, working with leading designers to devise a custom MA programme based around four creative briefs. An exhibition of her work opens at Somerset House this month – and once Woolsey has finished her studies, she plans to help others design their own bespoke programmes.

Woolsey decided to create her own Master’s in 2017. She had graduated from Kingston University with a BA in Graphic Design a year earlier, and had spent her first year out of uni working at design studios, agencies and a start up which makes personalised chocolate. But none of them seemed like quite the right fit. She liked working on conceptual projects but she also didn’t want to spend all of her time “making things look good”. And while she liked coming up with creative ideas, she found the ad world a little too commercial.