Dept of History of Art | About us | Bursaries, awards and prizes | Royal Female School of Art Bursaries
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Royal Female School of Art Foundation Bursaries

The Department of History of Art at Birkbeck has been delighted to receive grant aid from the Royal Female School of Art Foundation for the last few years, to help support students on the following programmes, who are suffering short-term financial hardship:

We have just been successful in another application which will enable us, once again, to provide maintenance bursaries for a number of students on these courses in the academic year 2017-18.

Successful applicants will be awarded a sum to assist with costs such as tuition fees, the purchase of books, travel and childcare. This sum will vary, according to intensity of study, from £750 (for students on the Cert HE) to £1125 (for students on the 4 year BA) and £1500 (for those on the accelerated 3 year BA). Applications will be considered on the basis of need, prioritising cases where a student would be unable to start or forced to leave the programme without this financial support.

The deadline for applications is Friday 15 September 2017. To apply, you need to be able to make a case as to why you need one of these bursaries and how you think it will help you to continue with and complete your programme of study. You also need to supply any supporting material you are able to offer, and to provide a supporting statement. Please note: if you are not a current student, you cannot apply for one of these bursaries until you have been offered a place on the BA or have enrolled on the Cert HE.

Download the application form here.

We hope to be able to inform applicants shortly after the deadline if their application has been successful.

Statements from recipients of RFSA bursaries in 2016-17

“The RFSA bursary helped me immensely during my time at Birkbeck ... this bursary made it possible for me to continue my course full time without having to choose between being a mum and being a student."

“I cannot stress too much how important the Royal Female School of Art Foundation Bursary for the year 2016/17 through Birkbeck has been in my fourth year of study for a BA in the History of Art. Without this bursary, the possibility of carrying on with the course would be in doubt ... This year has been a struggle, as I have had the extra burden of costs with field trips and printing, in completing my dissertation."

“Thanks to the RFSA bursary, I could ensure that I could afford the correct books to prepare for the course, as well as printing, travel and exhibition access. To start the course knowing that I did not have to worry about my finances really helped me to focus and pay attention to my studies rather than my finances. Without the RFSA bursary, I would have really struggled to get started, and certainly would not have been able to afford the books for the course. I feel like the RFSA bursary really helped me to prepare as well as reassured me that the university is eager to support students.”

“I would like to express my gratitude to the Royal Female School of Arts for supporting me whilst studying on the BA History of Art course at Birkbeck. The bursary has made learning more accessible to me, funding transport costs to and from university and enabled me to purchase books and study materials. Without this support, it would not have been possible for me to pursue this path and, for this, I will always be eternally grateful. On a more personal note, having the knowledge that someone has invested in my future will always be an inspiration to me."

“The RFSA has been a valuable help throughout the year. With the money received I have been able to pay for books and other university related expenses such as transports. I am a full-time student who works part time and since I rely only on my job, not having any other sources of income, the money is always a vivid concern. The bursary has been for this reason extremely beneficial since it allowed me not to worry too much about the extra university expenses coming with the start of my degree.”

“The RFSA bursary provided great assistance during the final year of my BA. I felt it necessary to take prolonged leave from my current employment to tackle the substantial amounts of writing involved in my essays and dissertation. The bursary enabled me to take the time which I needed to augment both the quantity of research and the quality of composition in my final pieces of work. The assistance of the bursary during my BA has been an invaluable component of my success. The independence which its funds provide has gone a long way to enabling me to fulfil my potential at this stage of my education and to prepare for my advance to Masters study.”

"Thanks to the RFSA bursary I was able to pay my yearly travel pass and not worry about money for travelling every month. Moreover, I used the remaining money towards my tuition fees. As I already hold a previous degree, I am not eligible for a Student Finance Loan, and I am paying my tuition on my own. The help that the RFSA provided me with the award was immensely appreciated. It was a moral award as well, as it made me feel that there is still someone that is willing to help students in my position.”

About the Royal Female School of Art

The Royal Female School of Art is now a registered charity, provided with a secretarial and administrative service by the University of the Arts London.

The RFSA was an offshoot of the Government School of Design, established in 1842. It was an art training college, founded with the aim of getting its female students into paid employment. Teaching was originally carried out below the male school in Somerset House, but the School moved to Gower Street in 1852. An advert for its classes in elementary drawing in The Leader on 29 January 1853 states that the School was open on Monday and Wednesday evenings between the hours of 6 and 8pm, and that a month's instruction could be obtained for 3 shillings. By 1861, the School had moved to 43 Queen Square.

In 1908, the School came under the control of the London County Council and, five years later, it was merged with the Central School of Arts and Crafts (now Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design).

Life Class

Image: The Life Class at the Royal Female School of Art, 1868