'You have the freedom to think big'

Katie Potter, 39, is doing an MA in textile design at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London.

Why did you choose this course?

The course is a stepping stone towards becoming a school teacher. I took an HND in textile design at Chelsea College of Art – I never did a first degree – and it prepared me well for my career. When I began teaching adults as part of my job, I fell in love with it. After my MA, I should be able to go on to the Graduate Teacher Programme.

Is there a project or dissertation?

There's a project – mine's all about visual communication in school classrooms, and how young people respond to different types of images. Teachers need to make their classroom a better learning environment for the children. The result of my project is a pamphlet that teachers can use to help them decorate their classrooms.

How much time does it take up?

It's an intensive course. I find that studying is not something you can just pick up and put down when you like, especially if it's creative studying. I have two days for lectures and seminars, and I work at a school in Acton for three days a week, designing classroom displays. This is relevant to my degree, and it's turned what would've been a mundane job into an interesting one. A teacher might say, "We need a picture of Lenin on the wall" , and it's my job to put him there.

What do you like best about the course?

Although the course is about textile design, it's very flexible and you're able to experiment. You have the freedom to think bigger if you want to, it isn't just designing to a brief. But the best thing about it is learning the theory. I'm reading books I never would have otherwise. Going to the lectures and hearing the academic language is amazing for me, as I came straight out of work, without having a first degree.

Will it set you up well for the future?

Definitely. I've learnt how important theory is, and how it impacts on practice. Since I've begun learning, my work has gone on to a whole new level.

How much does it cost?


Would you recommend the course to others?

Yes – but you need to know what you want out of it. It's important that people have a project in mind before they start, because the course gives you room to research it. It's really for people who need time to take their practice to another level.