ACES is a national project involving the four major art schools in Scotland. It is co-ordinated in Tayside by the University of Dundee.

ACES can provide you with an insight into studying Art & Design or Architecture at University and also into the careers that these degrees can lead into.

We work with students for school students in S4-S6, offering support with the application process including advice and activities for building your portfolio.

Our programme of activities includes on-campus practical tasters of Art & Design and Architecture disciplines, school-based workshops, online learning activities and one-to-one advice and information.

Events & Activities

Events and activities offered by the ACES project include:

  • Practical workshops demonstrating processes and techniques
  • Portfolio Guidance workshops
  • Projects for developing your portfolio
  • Careers events and work experience
  • Exhibitions and drawing classes
  • Individual advice and guidance
  • UCAS Application and Personal Statement workshops
  • Information days for teachers and careers advisers

ACES Support

Applying for creative courses can be a daunting process. ACES will be here to support you at every stage.

We will help you explore your options – so you know which course is right for you – and help you develop key skills for your portfolio through activities such as printmaking and life drawing. We also run a portfolio prep club each Saturday to support you in completing mini projects and regularly go on gallery trips.

When it comes to UCAS and college, ACES will support you in writing your personal statement – and later we will support you in putting together your portfolios – both digital and traditional.

Get Involved

In order to take part in ACES events, activities and support you need to register. Please click the ‘Register with ACES’ tab below.

ACES works with 27 target schools in Dundee, Angus, Fife and Perth & Kinross (see the list below).  If you are not a pupil at one of these schools don't worry as you may still be eligible to take part depending on your home postcode.

For more information about the project, or to check your eligibility, please contact:

Helen Hardman, ACES Project Officer

  • Arbroath Academy
  • Arbroath High School
  • Auchmuty High School
  • Baldragon Academy
  • Beath High School
  • Blairgowrie High School
  • Braeview High School
  • Brechin High School
  • Craigie High School
  • Crieff High School
  • Dunfermline High School
  • Forfar Academy
  • Glenrothes High School
  • Glenwood High School
  • Kirkcaldy High School
  • Levenmouth Academy
  • Lochgelly High School
  • Montrose Academy
  • Morgan Academy
  • Perth Academy
  • Perth Grammar School
  • St Andrew’s RC High School
  • At Columba’s RC High School
  • St John’s RC Academy
  • St John’s RC High School
  • St Paul’s Academy
  • Viewforth High School
  • Woodmill High School

ACES works with 27 target schools in Dundee, Angus, Fife and Perth & Kinross (list on the right). If you are not a pupil at one of these schools don't worry as you may still be eligible to take part depending on your home postcode. For more information about the project, or to check your eligibility, please contact:

Helen Hardman, ACES Project Officer

Register Now

To register for the project, please complete the online form. Once you have registered you will be invited to participate in ACES events and access our online resources.

Register Now!

Available any time

1-1  personal statement surgeries

Email to book

1-1 portfolio surgeries

Email to book

Student shadowing

Email to book

September 2016

Sketchbook: The Exhibition

Wednesday 9th September (Day/Eve)
The first ACES exhibition of the academic year follows the theme of 'sketchbooks'.  You may interpret this however you wish!  You’re also welcome to come and help with the installation and the exhibition will open at 5:30pm to friends, families and teachers.

Applying to Creative Courses & Portfolio Planning Workship

Wednesday 14th September (Eve)
Find out exactly what is sought in an application and portfolio for creative degrees. We will use this information to help you structure your Higher/Advanced Higher plans to maximise your productivity and creative output.  You’ll work in small groups with current DJCAD students to get your portfolio kick-started.  Architecture and Social Digital applicants are also welcome.

ACES Portfolio Prep Club Block 1: Multiples

Saturday 17th September, Saturday 24th September, Saturday 1st October
The ACES Portfolio Prep Club is back for 2016! This year the club will work in series of three-week blocks for more productive and flexible working, helping you to complete mini projects for your portfolios. Each block will have a different theme for you to interpret, and our aim is to help you develop a range of projects and skills. Check our website for full details!

Our first Portfolio Prep Club block takes place at DJCAD, exploring the theme of multiples.  This broad ranging project will suit all abilities, styles and personal/course interests, and will be a great kick-start to your portfolio.

Life Drawing - 10 Week Block

Thursdays (Eve), Commencing 22nd September
Life Drawing is considered to be a key skill in creative portfolios.  This 10-week block will develop your skills and provide work for your portfolio.  Places are popular and limited, and you must apply to take part.

Please email or ask your teacher for an application form

Explore Product & Digital Interaction Design

Thursday 29th September (Day)
Experience a day in the life of a Product/Digital Interaction Design student. You’ll tour the department, find out more about the facilities and opportunities and complete a real brief.

October 2016

Explore Architecture

Wednesday 5th October (Day)
Experience a day in the life of an Architecture student. You’ll tour the department, find out more about the facilities and opportunities and complete a mini Architecture brief, including 3D model design and making.

ACES Portfolio Prep Club Trip

Saturday 8th October
Our first trip of the year will take us on a gallery tour of Edinburgh! We’ll try to make sure that there’s something to see for all tastes – see you there!

Explore Communication Design

Wednesday 12th October (Day)
Brand new to the ACES calendar is Explore Communication Design. You’ll spend the day working with current students and creating your own designs.

Personal Statement Masterclass

Wednesday 12th October (Eve)
Your personal statement is a vital part of your UCAS application, and creative statements can be tricky. Our masterclass will teach you the essentials and give you tips and tricks on how to get started.

ACES Portfolio Prep Club Block 2: Hospitalfield House, Arbroath

Saturday 15th October, Saturday 22nd October, Saturday 29th October
Location: Hospitalfield House, Arbroath (transport provided from Dundee)
In an exciting new collaboration ACES is teaming up with Hospitalfield House in Arbroath for Portfolio Prep Club Block 2. From ornamental details to sweeping gardens and exteriors, Hospitalfield House provides a plethora of visual treats.  Transport will be provided from Dundee to Arbroath.

Printmaking Workshop

Thursday 22nd & Friday 23rd October (Day) (October holidays)
A unique opportunity to experience printmaking in the wonderful DJCAD workshops.  You’ll be introduced to different techniques, producing work for your portfolios.  Recommended for anyone applying to Painting & Printmaking at GSA.

Printmaking Exhibition

Tuesday 25th & Wednesday 26th October
To coincide with the DJCAD Open Days we are hosting a mini exhibition of the work made at the ACES printmaking workshop.

DJCAD and Architecture Open Days

Tuesday 25th & Wednesday 26th October (Day)
The Open Day offers a great opportunity to explore the art school and all it has to offer.

  • Art, Design & Architecture Undergraduate Open Day

November 2016

ACES Portfolio Prep Club Block 3: Botanical

Saturday 5th November, Saturday 12th November, Saturday 19th November
Location: University of Dundee Botanical Gardens
An ACES Portfolio Prep Club favourite! Our focus for block 3 will be the University of Dundee Botanical Gardens. If plants aren’t your thing, don’t worry! From people to architecture there’s something for everyone here.

Digital Portfolio Masterclass

Thursday 19th November (Eve)
GSA, ECA, Architecture at the University of Dundee and some colleges all require a digital portfolio.  Here we’ll show you how to make one (and make it outstanding!).  Bring along a couple of pieces of work to be scanned & photographed in DJCAD’s pro facilities and we’ll get you started.

ACES Digi-Folio Prep Sessions

Saturday 26th November, Saturday 3rd December
Come along to our Saturday digi-folio sessions to make use of the DJCAD photography and computing facilities. Along with guidance from our ACES ambassadors we’ll help you craft your best digital portfolio.


Life Drawing Exhibition

End of November (dates TBC)
To celebrate the end of the autumn life drawing block we’ll be hosting an exhibition of the attendees favourite drawings created during the classes. Come along and be inspired to join the spring block!

What the pupils say

Natalie, St John's High School


“I heard about ACES briefly from a girl at my school then again when I went to the open days and careers exhibitions which were always being held at my school. Through ACES I did the Mail Art project (which was an amazing experience) and the Architecture workshop at Dundee University (best day ever!).

Words cannot explain how ACES helped me! Firstly, by getting involved in ACES, I’ve managed to get offers from all the universities I applied for. Plus Julie (ACES Officer) managed to help me a lot with my personal statement which really boosted my confidence. I now have experience in model-making all because I got involved in ACES.”

Robert, St Paul’s High School

Architecture and Art & Design

“I first found out about ACES through Julie (ACES Officer) when she visited my school in fourth year to explain the various opportunities ACES provided. I participated in a number of the activities. My first was a tour around the degree show where I was able to see the various work from a huge list of subjects that Duncan of Jordanstone provided. My most enjoyable activity was the "Architecture studio day". The day consisted of meeting students and following a brief and basic project, showing how an architecture student works. It was great to participate in this and speak to the students who were very enthusiastic and it was also a great insight into the examples and standard of university work. ACES was a very useful way of preparing myself for applying and gaining an understanding for building a folio and the preparation I needed for interviews. I also added these experiences to my personal statement and it was something that greatly helped me when I spoke in my interview.”

Lauren, Arbroath High School

Architecture and Art & Design

“I heard about the ACES project through my school. I had been informed about the project by my guidance teacher and also Julie (ACES Officer) came in to the school and gave a presentation on the benefits of the project and how it could help students looking to start a career in Architecture or Art and Design.

I took part in an Architecture workshop to design a pavilion for the V&A museum which is to be built in Dundee. The project gave me an insight into some of the work which is carried out in your early years at university. On the day, there were a couple of 5th year students there to help and were able to answer any question I had about the course. I was also given a tour of the university which gave me the opportunity to see projects which current students had been working on. Julie also helped me prepare for my interview by coming into the school and having a look at my portfolio to make sure that I had the right sort of pieces in my folio. I also accompanied a friend to Dundee University to have a look at portfolios to get an idea of what universities are looking for.

I am about to accept my place at Robert Gordon University to study Architectural Technologies.”