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Specialist Staff – Visual and Performing Arts

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Our Visual and Performing department is full of specialist staff who dedicate their time to ensuring their students reach their full potential. From Cambridge graduates to industry experts; read below to meet some of our department staff and find out why they love teaching their course at Long Road! 


Ruth Laslett, Head of Visual and Performing Arts Department

Ruth studied a BA(Hons) 3D Design at Loughborough University, where she showed her final year work at The New Designers Exhibition in London. Ruth went on the achieve a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching at Cambridge University and an MA in Fine Art from Anglia Ruskin University. The focus of her MA was Black Identity and Cultural Content; Ruth’s high standard of work meant she was able to exhibit her work at the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology in Cambridge. For the last 10 years, Ruth has been a Trustee Director for Rowan, an Arts Charity in Cambridge.

 “I enjoyed using a range of materials and was privileged to be taught by the world famous ceramicist Madeleine Odundo for a year. Prospective students should enrol on a creative course at Long Road because they will be given opportunities to work on live briefs with industry specialists as well as being taught by teachers who have broad reaching experience of working within the Arts”. 

Gareth Roberts, Foundation Art and Design Course Team Leader

Gareth graduated in Fashion Womenswear from Central Saint Martins, then worked as the Red Label designer at Vivienne Westwood, amongst other posts. His work has featured in Style magazine, Dazed and Confused, Wallpaper and L’Oreal talent spotting, amongst others. He has lectured at Loughborough University on the leading Textile BA course in the UK and worked on three different Foundations prior to Long Road.

Claire-Louise Webb, Art Course Team Leader

Claire has a BA(Hons) Three Dimensional Design Interiors from the Birmingham Polytechnic Faulty of Visual Arts. She has gone on to work as a graphic designer and an interior architect!

Claire enjoys “teaching specialist pathways skills and processes working with to achieve full potential” with the “wide range of diagnostic art and design opportunities available” at Long Road.


Photo: Frantic Assembly Drama workshop, 2018

Sarah Borley, Drama and Theatre Course Team Leader

Sarah has an MA in Modern Drama from the University of London and she is currently halfway through an MA in English!

“I particularly enjoyed studying semiotics of performances and researching Film Noir. I love deconstructing plays and how they can be envisioned for live performance. To further my interest in creating for Live Theatre, I started writing Theatre in Education plays which have been toured to various schools and colleges as part of their wider safeguarding curriculums.

I equally enjoy teaching theory and practice, but this year, in particular, I have loved working on the Devising Component with Frantic Assembly as the chosen practitioner – my students created varied and excellent pieces in this performance style.

Prospective students should enrol to do Drama here as we offer a wide range of texts to deconstruct and practitioners styles to explore. We also offer LAMDA acting exams (that carry UCAS points) and the RADA Shakespeare Award during enrichment. We are a very friendly bunch who love to perform!”

Richard Smith, Drama Course Team Leader

Richard has a BA(Hons) Humanities from University of Wales Trinity College and an MA Shakespeare and Education from Birmingham University; where he particularly enjoyed“the studying of plays both from a theoretical and performance perspective, being given the opportunity to work and perform in a professional theatre.”

What does Richard most enjoy about teaching Drama at Long Road? “Working with the students who are totally committed and who enjoy and really want to learn about theatre. It’s never about ability but more about the desire to learn that is most enjoyable when teaching students. The Long Road course is suited for any young person who has a passion for theatre, whether that be direction, acting or technical aspects. It is for a young person who wants to learn about different performance styles, wants to work as part of a team and someone who is interested in learning about storytelling, characterisation and all aspects of theatre.  They don’t have to be confident, in fact building confidence is part of the journey of their personal study. Creativity is essential.”


Photo: Collection of Owens illustrative work.

Charles Whall, Design and Technology Course Team Leader

Charlie has a BA(Hons) Fine Art and Sculpture from the Norwich School of Art & Design (now known as Norwich University of the Arts). After graduating he become a self-employed designer-maker, running a small business supported by the Prince’s Trust.

“At art school, I really enjoyed the freedom to be creative and experiment with ideas using a wide range of materials and working with practising artists/professionals, and I ensure I give my students the same freedom to explore their own ideas in a similar way. Students applying for product design will enjoy a wide range of creative activities and will be able to explore ideas, experiment with a wide variety of materials, and with the support of creative professionals, students will make products they can be proud of!”

Owen Sherwood, Teacher of Design and Technology

Owen studied BFA Illustration at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York! Since then he has worked in a number of roles across the Art Industry; with 18 years experience as a freelance illustrator, Owen then worked for 10 years in Museum Exhibition Preparation, Fabrication, Framing and Design.

“I teach on both DT courses as well as the Extended Diploma in Art and Design and really enjoy the buzz of creativity and problem solving that happens in a busy studio. All the Art and Design courses at Long Road are taught by experts and there such a wide variety of knowledge and expertise to absorb here.  It is such a thriving and vibrant place that you can’t help but be inspired by the other students and staff.”


Photo: Graphic Design student winners of Cambrige Strawberry Fair t-shirt design competition 2019

Emma Burton, Graphic Design Course Team Leader

Emma began her studies with a BA Fine Art at the University of Leeds, continuing her studies with an MA Graphic Design and Illustration at Nottingham Trent University.

“My Master’s degree gave me opportunities to collaborate with creatives from all over the world and in a variety of disciplines, from Fine Art to Fashion, and explore how graphic design can be used in all of these disciplines. The teaching staff were exceptionally supportive and talented at NTU, which motivated me to want to become a teacher myself. 

I have worked as a freelance Graphic Designer and Illustrator working on commissions such as logos, t-shirt designs, album covers, children’s books etc. I have exhibited my paintings and illustrations across the country. 

I thoroughly enjoy inspiring young people to become passionate about design and watching students grow in talent and skill throughout the course. Students should enrol on graphic design if they are creative and full of ideas and want to learn how to make digital design work of a professional standard in a fun and supportive atmosphere.”


Photo: Music students perform at the Christmas Concert 2017.

Elizabeth Rowlands, Music Course Team Leader

Elizabeth achieved a BMus(Hons) Music at the University of Surrey and her PGCE from the University of Cambridge. Since graduating she has worked as a jazz singer and lead vocalist with various function bands. Alongside her teaching, Elizabeth teaches piano, clarinet, theory and composition privately.

She enjoyed “the breadth of music studied and meeting and playing with so many other young musicians” when at university and now she teaches she enjoys “introducing students to music that they have never encountered before. They will meet lots of other talented musicians who they will be able to perform with and learn to play in styles they have never previously considered.”