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Student blog: 5 things that I learnt about group crits

A crit is a formal group session where feedback is given to students by their course tutors and small groups of fellow students in the studios. Crits may seem a little daunting, so we asked Year 2 BA (Hons) Illustration student Tricia Mercer-David about how she has navigated her way through such a public feedback process.

Tricia Mercer David

I know that when I was in first year, seeing the words ‘group crit’ scheduled in the calendar filled me with dread.

So, it was a great relief and a positive surprise to realise they were miles away from the public humiliation I’d originally imagined them to be.

With that being said, here’s five things to consider that’ll hopefully help you realise they’re not as terrible as you might expect!

1. New perspectives are everything.

It might be technical advice from your tutors or ideas and approaches you’d never even considered from your peers.

Bouncing ideas off each other is probably the best thing about group crits.

It’s refreshing to hear different views and contribute to the discussion yourself, and you might even find yourself more motivated to get on with your project afterwards!

“Whether it’s through discussion, feedback or seeing how others work through the same brief in different ways, there’s always something new you can pick up on.”

2. It doesn’t matter how much or little work you bring.

There’s a mutual understanding that people work through projects in different ways and go through ups and downs throughout.

Even just showing up and discussing your initial sketches and ideas can be helpful.

It’s a safe and respectful environment, where the aim is for everyone to come out with some solid advice and realistic ways to progress through their projects.

3. It’s a supportive environment that’ll prepare you for industry.

Group crits are challenging but also encouraging, so try to think about them as a way of developing your communication skills. It’ll all help for when you’re working with clients in your respective industries after graduation.

4. You’ll be surprised at how much you learn from your peers.

Whether it’s through discussion, feedback or seeing how others work through the same brief in different ways, there’s always something new you can pick up on.

Talking about your work can be awkward at first but it’s very valuable in developing your practice.

Hearing the thought processes and development behind someone else’s work is also interesting, and the sharing of ideas can aid everyone’s development.

5. And finally, they’re not as scary as you’ll make them out to be!

It’s important to remember that everyone will be in a similar position to you and that your tutor is mindful group crits are something that takes time getting used to.

No one’s going to be judging you, at the end of the day, it’s just a way to discuss your work with others and develop throughout your degree.

Header image and title image by Tricia Mercer-David, BA (Hons) Illustration

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