Get Trained: AUB

September 2nd, 2016

September 2nd, 2016

Education maven Julia Townend is back, continuing her Get Trained series with us to help you make informed decisions on which course or college might suit you best.  Her latest adventure took her to Bournemouth and a look at the BA Hons Make-up for Media and Performance at Arts University Bournemouth.


This is my first review of a state college and I chose to write about AUB first, as – in my opinion – this is one of the leading colleges at a HE level in the UK.  Based in Bournemouth, this Arts University is located near to the Dorset coast and the campus offers a modern approach with a variety of well designed buildings offering courses in Fashion Design, Arts, Costume Design, Acting and Make-up.  I was an external specialist on the original validation of this programme of study and I know how much preparation and structure has been invested into this unique course.

The BA Hons course is headed by Sara Taylor and a team of make-up specialists who have vast backgrounds in film, theatre, TV, fashion prior to taking on a teaching and technician role.  This is essential to all Higher Education establishments – that the teaching team have had an extensive career as a make-up artist before teaching.  At this level these students are the future of the make-up industry and some will be future Make-up Designers.  In principal, students will get the best training from skilled teachers who have a wide range of abilities.


The programme of study over three years offers extensive training in all areas, in particular prosthetics, hair styling, wig dressing and all types of make-up application.  The make-up section is now housed in a newly built section of the campus which the team and the students moved into in January 2016.  There are three main classrooms which are well maintained, spacious and fitted with professional workspaces, mirrors, lights and make-up chairs that can be adjusted for height.  Each classroom has a good range of electrical stock and products for the students to work with.

For specialist work such as bald cap making, prosthetics, airbrushing and working with specialist products there are well structured ventilation systems in place so that the students are not inhaling fumes from the products.  There are many colleges in the UK offering state courses at all levels who allow their students to work in rooms without the correct ventilation while using strong substances, lacquers and glues.  This is a key strength for AUB as they are one of the few colleges that offer correct ventilation for specialised hair and make-up applications, therefore health and safety is always paramount in all of their delivery.  Additionally there are other sections the students have access to. such as a specialist workshop centre for life casting work and use of photographic studios.  Enrichment activities are offered in the form of educational visits to NYC and London, as well as certain students being selected to work on the AUB stand at IMATS, London.

Charlotte Hawkins, AUB graduate who came 2nd in the student competition at Olympia Beauty Body Painting Competition 2015

Charlotte Hawkins, AUB graduate who came 2nd in the student competition at Olympia Beauty Body Painting Competition 2015

Due to the nature of an Arts University the students are offered a wide variety of collaborations with the drama, photography, fashion design and costume students.  This fosters real life work opportunities and becomes an integral part of each student’s development and enrichment during the course.  At the initial validation of this programme I believed this was a key strength for the course and after viewing graduates exhibitions showcasing their work, I have been impressed by the photography and presentation of portfolios to an industry standard.

I asked Sara Taylor, Course Leader, some questions about the course.


What is the exit profile of the graduates generally?
We are very proud to have a high graduate employment rate and our graduates specialise in a variety of employment fields including film, stage, fashion, wig making and special make-up effects.  Examples of recent graduate employment include BBC productions The Secret and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Episodes (Channel 4), ITV’s Coronation Street and Midsomer Murders, NCIS (CBS), KM Effects, Altered State FX, Madame Tussauds, Graduate Fashion Week and Mac, Hairspray and Priscilla Queen of the Desert musicals and films such as Pan (2015), Cinderella (2015) and Spectre (2015).

Why do you feel training to a Degree level is important?
A degree qualification in make-up is rapidly becoming a standard requirement for industry employment.  An employer understands that a graduate from a make-up degree will have developed a broad range of specialist skills and knowledge over three very demanding years of study.  Graduates from a make-up degree will have also acquired advanced transferable skills necessary to be responsive, adaptable and professional in order to operate effectively in a rapidly changing industry.  A recognised degree qualification also enables individuals to diversify if they choose to do so.

Wig work as part of a current exhibition curated by Sara Taylor "A Hairs Breadth"

Wig work as part of a current exhibition curated by Sara Taylor “A Hairs Breadth”

What is the unique selling point of AUB?
The Arts University prides itself on collaboration within the creative community where make-up students produce work with the Acting, Film Production, Fashion and Costume courses.  BA (Hons) Make-up for Media and Performance offers a unique student-centred experience where students explore the diverse and exciting spectrum of make-up disciplines.  This course develops and builds strong skill sets which allow students to make informed decisions regarding your chosen specialist practice.  Students have the opportunity to specialise and graduate within a named award in ‘Hair and Make-up for Fashion’, ‘Hair and Make-up for Stage, TV and Film’ or ‘Prosthetic Make-up Effects’.

More from "A Hairs Breadth"

More from “A Hairs Breadth”

All candidates applying for this course apply through UCAS and may be invited for an interview.  Potential students come from a wide background of previous study but it is advisable to have some training in art.  Portfolios are submitted at the interview and there is an individual interview for candidates to promote their strengths to the team.  There are a high number of applicants for this course so I would advise anyone wishing to study at AUB to research this programme, to have some knowledge of the make-up industry and to prepare an interesting portfolio offering a wide variety of work.  Throughout the course students are assessed on selected modules which will include academic research, technical log book construction and the final piece of practical work.  The students are encouraged to become independent with their own learning and are offered workshop times within their timetable.  There are course fees for this programme, plus living costs to consider, and the students also buy their own hair and make-up before the start of the programme of study.  This is expensive to invest in but most students are able to apply for student loans to help fund their study.

For more information on this course at AUB please check out the University Website and for applications contact UCAS direct at




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By Deborah Murtha

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