How to create a great portfolio video transcript

Hello, my name's David McGravie. I'm the Deputy Dean in the College of Arts, Humanities and Education here at the University of Derby.

What is a portfolio of work?

I think a portfolio is probably the single most important document you can put together, as a creative person. It provides evidence of your creative journey, your skills, your experience, what you're good at, your strengths and potentially your weakness. It is something that you start, as an 18-year old, and it will live with you as you go through your educational career, but also onto your industry.

What should I include in my portfolio?

A portfolio is a diverse document, it reflects your own creative practice, whether you're a filmmaker, a fine artist, a graphic designer or you're a writer or a performer.

We're looking for your engagement, we're very interested in process. In essence, we're probably less interested in the final destination. We're more interested in the journey, that creative journey, the ideas you've developed, and how you formulated that into a project proposal.

[Saffron Staley, BA (Hons) Textile Design]

[Saffron] Include things that show your personality and what you are really like and don't worry about things looking perfect because nobody is perfect so just show who you are.

[David] It's about how you develop your work, so those little untidy sketches at the side of a document, we actually like to see them, that's, kind of, your creative thinking, it's how you develop ideas, and they're really rich and we'd love to see them. A creative portfolio should also include evidence of experimentation, risk-taking in your work. I think that's really important for us here at Derby. We're very interested in people who push the boundaries and experiment in their practice and try different, new techniques and media and we'd love to see that in your portfolio.

How many pieces of work should it contain?

In terms of a number, I'd say somewhere in between about 15 to 20 different individual pieces, and I would submit a project, because a project is a really good way to, kind of, show the beginning of a process through to the end.

What if I haven't studied the subject before?

If you've not had a chance to study that course at school or college, that's OK, because what we're looking for is the generic skills, we're looking for the generic thinking, the practical work that you've done, in those sessions and how you've developed those ideas and we are very skilled in taking those aspects and applying them to a different context so be reassured that, actually, if you've not had the chance to study the course, or that subject area, that's OK.

How do I submit my portfolio?

Each individual course has it's own specific requirements, and they vary considerably. If you're a fine artist, your portfolio will look differently from that of an interior designer. They are varied and they are different. And the best place to go is the course website. In there will be specific advice given over to that course. And it will direct you and help and guide you in the development of that portfolio.

What is the process for receiving an offer?

So when you make an application to the University, we receive your application form UCAS, we read it, we look at your experience, and we look at what your teachers and your tutors say about you. On the basis of that, we make an academic judgement, we determine whether we can offer you a place on a course or not, and at the moment you get what is known as a conditional offer. So we look at your portfolio, we look at your qualifications, we look at your predicted grades, and we offer you a conditional offer, based on your achievement, later in the year during your A-Levels or BTEC qualifications.

[Saffron] During my studies at the University of Derby, I've learned to take risks, not to be a perfectionist, and just trust in the development process.

How to create a great portfolio video

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