Leeds Arts University

Founded in 1846 as the Leeds Government School of Art and Design, Leeds Arts University has contributed significantly to the development of art education in Britain and across the world.  In 2016 the University was granted Taught Degree Awarding Powers, and in 2017 was awarded full university status, making it the only specialist arts university in the North of England.  


Leeds Arts University’s Careers & Employability Team offers information, advice and guidance to students and alumni, whether they want to go into employment or become freelance. As an arts institution, many of our students entering the creative industries become self-employed and, in order to best prepare them for this, we offer a range of activities to support them, including:

  • 1-2-1 Career Guidance appointments – the opportunity to discuss future career plans with someone with knowledge of the sector.
  • Start-up Wednesdays - a programme of events covering all of the topics crucial to business success, including self-employment, legal matters, accounting, viability, marketing, client negotiation and much more.
  • Freelance Summer School – Open to final year students and alumni, this intensive, weeklong programme of activities provides the information to develop a business plan and pitch to a panel of industry professionals for a chance to win £500 worth of mentoring.
  • Funded Studio Spaces – Recent graduates can apply for 6 months of funded studio space, along with valuable mentoring from creative professionals. Studio space is available for clean, desk-based creatives or artists looking for a traditional studio space.
  • Speed Mentoring – Face-to-face time with experts from the local and creative industries. 10 minute mentoring sessions on a range of subjects such as exhibiting work, intellectual property, working with agencies, business plan, funding applications, creativity in the region, marketing and PR and much more.
  • Live Briefs and Projects – Throughout the year, we advertise exciting paid creative commissions and competitions, providing the opportunity to work with external organisations, to get a feel for what it is like to work as a creative professional.


Leeds Arts University has been recognised for its industry-standard facilities at the Whatuni awards (winners in 2014 and 2016, runner up 2017 and 2018) and is the highest ranked specialist arts university in the UK for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2018. The University is number one for Design & Crafts in the Guardian University League Table 2019 and the winner of The Sunday Times ‘University of the Year for Student Retention’ 2019.