Dear student,

My name is Mal Burkinshaw and I am the Head of Design at Edinburgh College of Art, the University of Edinburgh. I hope you are well and looking forward to your upcoming studies with us in September 2021.

On 27 May 2021 you received a message from the Principal of ECA. As promised in that message, I am writing to you today to provide more detail about the plans we have been working on for students joining us in the School of Design this September.

About us

The School of Design’s ambition is to provide you with cutting-edge teaching and learning experiences, and to equip you with the skills to contribute positively to peoples’ lives through your respective disciplines. Design is not just about making artefacts and visual experiences: it is also about responding to and understanding the world around us in order to improve the lives of others. At Edinburgh, we will encourage you to articulate highly personal visions and identities that are innovative, considerate, and sustainable. As is evident through the exceptional and meaningful work produced by our graduates this year, we aim to empower our students to embed equalities, diversity and inclusion into their working ethos and final outcomes, contributing to positive global futures.

Our teaching plans for 2021-22

I can assure you that we will provide you with a wide range of academic, student support and administrative experts who are fully equipped to guide you through your studies.

Our Programme Directors and Course Organisers have been working extremely hard to ensure that, wherever possible, we can prioritise your access to ECA’s campus for teaching and learning activities during session 2021/22. These plans will of course continue to be dependent on evolving Scottish Government advice regarding physical distancing and will vary according to the distinctive needs and natures of all the School of Design’s Programmes.

In some cases, therefore, there may be aspects of your 21/22 learning and teaching activities that will be prioritised as online in order to maximise your ability to access appropriate on-campus space, studios, and workshop facilities to support your independent studies too. Our staff are seeking to provide a constructive, balanced, and future-proofed approach in this regard, with deep consideration for your structured learning needs.

You should expect to continue to be taught through a range of approaches, from 1-1 teaching tailored to your specific abilities, lecture-based learning, to small and large group teaching. You will learn not only from your tutors and lecturers, but also through exchanges of ideas within your peer groups.

Studying Design at Edinburgh

Whilst existing within and contributing to the framework of a large, world-leading University, Edinburgh College of Art itself is a place where your experience will be enhanced by becoming part of a close community of students, from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, within a stunning campus next to the historic Edinburgh Castle. We pride ourselves in providing students with an excellent variety of technical resources, workshops, and studios, where you will be able to develop your design and creative ambitions to your fullest potential. And, within the wider city of Edinburgh, you will be able to access a unique and exciting range of culturally enriching museums and galleries, all within close proximity to the ECA campus.

Whilst you and we prepare for your studies at ECA, you will be able to view and celebrate the spectacular work of this year’s Graduates from the 18th June onwards as part of the ECA Graduate Shows. We have expanded these exciting annual events to include a greater digital presence, increasing their global impact and reach. I would warmly invite you to take a look to see the range of projects and talent that we support our students in developing and sharing with the wider world. For example, our Performance Costume students have created a filmed show as part of the online Graduate showcase.

Additionally, our Textiles, Jewellery and Product Students will also be participating in New Designers 2021.

Our Fashion Graduates (undergraduate) will be showcasing their new collections at Graduate Fashion Week in London on Tuesday 15th June at 8pm. You can watch the livestream of that event by registering here at:

Please look out for further email updates, as well as browsing the University website that will provide more general information about getting to and living in Edinburgh. 

We are all excited to welcome you to the School of Design in September 2021 and we look forward to you joining our vibrant community.

With best wishes

Mal Burkinshaw (MA RCA)