A student guide to AA2A

If you are reading this page it is probably because your college or university is hosting an Artists Access to Art Colleges 'AA2A' scheme. The scheme works like mini residencies with four artists or designer makers working on their own projects in your college. For you, this means that there are practising artists around, who may be able to give you insight into life after college, the local art scene, a particular material process or a theoretical idea. They often also exhibit the work produced at the end of the scheme. It's hard to define what the average student/artist interaction on the AA2A scheme is, as it can range very broadly. It could be attending talks or exhibitions, following an artist online, assisting an artist to make or exhibit work, there have also been cross-discipline student and artist collaborations. Also you will be eligible to apply to AA2A the year after you graduate or leave college. NB You can apply straight away if you are graduating from an MA or Phd and you have at least one years experience as a practising artist.

This page aims to guide you through the most useful parts of the AA2A website, advise you how to find out who the AA2A staff are in your college, give you details on how to find the AA2A artists most relevant to your interests and introduce you to our networking site; AA2A.biz (Dotbiz).

Project background

AA2A is now in its seventeenth full year as a national project with 16 colleges across the country taking part. See list of Colleges... This year there are around 70 artists on AA2A schemes nationally. The funding to run AA2A comes from the participating Universities, Colleges and the Arts Council, England.

How to find your AA2A Artists

When artists applied to your college for an AA2A place, they were asked for an image of their work and a short statement about their proposed project. The idea being that this statement and a photo of the artist should be displayed somewhere prominent within the department so that you and the staff know who the artists are and what they are doing. You may even find that there's an AA2A noticeboard.

As artists information is not always displayed in college, we also put it online. We now have two linked websites: http://aa2a.org is our main site where you will find information about how the scheme works, and http://aa2a.biz is our artists networking site where you can see blogs and images from this year AA2A artists. This will allow you to find out about the artists, both in your college, and around the country. So, even if there isn't an artist working in your area of interest at your college (eg. digital animation, textile design) you might find an artist who is at another college. Most artists are very open to enquiries, but please be patient if they don't respond quickly. This is not a requirement of the scheme; although, in artists' evaluation feedback, the commonest complaint was that artists wanted more opportunities to interact with students.

Using 'Dotbiz' - the artists networking site

The AA2A artists networking site (affectionately known as Dotbiz) is a phenomenal showcase of work being produced on the AA2A scheme. You can get an in depth and up to date view of artists work as the schemes progress. Day by day, more blogs, image albums and exhibition listings are uploaded onto the site. Its a great way to research and find out about the scheme.

Find AA2A staff and artists from your college page

First go to the list of current AA2A colleges and then click on your college to get to their page on Dotbiz. This gives you the details of the AA2A Coordinator (usually a member of the lecturing staff) and the AA2A Administrator (they are usually admin staff). They should be able to tell you more about your AA2A scheme.

The artists on this dedicated college page are artists from your college past and present. Follow the link to go the current year's artists on Dotbiz. From 2010 artists all have profiles on the Dotbiz networking site where they can blog and upload image albums.

Find the AA2A artists most relevant to your interests

On this site and the AA2A Dotbiz networking site you can use the search facility at the top of every webpage to do a search of the text on the website. If you type in a keyword e.g 'glass' you will find AA2A artists past and present who are working in this area and the colleges that offer this facility. NB: Look carefully on the page you are taken to, to find out if glass is their area of interest or just a chance word in the text. You can even just type in the first name of someone you have met in college who you think may be an AA2A artist to check if they are listed and find out what they are working on.

Contacting artists

We would advise that the best chance of a response will come from contacting current AA2A artists on the schemes around the country. You will find them by going to the current artists list. This will give you artists' images, statements, weblinks and their contact email or phone number. If you wish to contact an artist with a question about their work please contact them by email if possible. Most artists are very open to enquiries but please be patient if they do not respond quickly. Although it is not a requirement of the scheme that artists interact with students, most are happy to do so.

Exhibitions and artists weblinks

We have an exhibitions page which gives brief details of our artists' exhibitions, past and present, these details also appear on the artists individual pages. See Exhibitions

AA2A student reps

This year we are looking for an AA2A student representative from each institution. Student reps will have a profile on Dotbiz and be able to blog and upload images. We'd like the student reps to use this as an opportunity to find out more about the scheme, promote it to fellow students and to network and promote their own work if they wish. If you want to find out more, see AA2A student reps, contact your AA2A Administrator or contact us through the email at the bottom of this page.

Keep in touch

You can show your support by liking us on facebook or following us on twitter.

If you'd like to join our student mailing list, please send an email with 'Student mailing list' in the title to