Stepping Up to Art Director was a 5-day CPD course for people already working in the art department as art directors, or as experienced art department assistants looking to progress into art directing larger productions. The course aimed to identify any gaps in knowledge; to promote the skills needed to be a successful art director and to further develop any skills that are lacking through a practical-based programme led by experienced industry professionals.

The subsidised 5-day film and tv training course cost £35 (exclusive of travel and accommodation) and was open to anyone not already studying at university; bursaries were made available to support travel, child-care & accommodation costs.


  • This Continuous Professional Development course involved:
  • Taking an in-depth look at the key roles and responsibilities of an art director
  • Showing the best progression routes
  • 1:1 Skills Audit & CV surgery
  • Script Breakdowns: Identifying & troubleshooting issues
  • Professional Practises: Technical drawing & Construction Processes
  • Different Filmmaking models: studio vs location
  • Guest Panel Q&A with art directors, assistant art directors, supervising art directors and standby art directors
  • Optional Set Visit
  • Further networking opportunities

Course Location: Cooke’s Studios, 104 Abbey Rd, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria LA14 5QR


KATIE MACGREGOR (Watchmen, Sex Education) has more than 15 years’ experience designing and art directing for Film, Television, Commercials and Music Videos, Katie specialises in set design, studio / location builds, concept development, managing teams & budgets of all size and ambitions. Hailing from Toronto and originally trained as an interior designer, Katie has since worked alongside designer Michael Howells on several film, theatre and fashion projects.

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Joining us on the Saturday for our all-female panel Q&A will be:

  • LARA GENOVESE – Draughtsperson and Assistant Art Director on feature films, theatre & for theme parks. Her credits include The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Jurassic World 3 and Maleficient: Mistress of Evil.
  • MAY JENNIFER DAVIES – BAFTA X Crew member & Art Director for film, tv & theatre.  Her credits inc. The Importance of Being Oscar, People Just Do Nothing.
  • KAT HALE – Standby Art Director and Art Director for feature film & tv. Her credits inc. Nativity 2! Danger in the Manger, ’71 and Harlen Coben’s SAFE.

With a deficit of experienced-level programmes readily available and with the Number 1 entry identified within Technical, Craft and Creative skills shortages identified in the BFl’s Future Film Skills research and in consultation with industry; we built a bespoke course for highly-experienced people to address the issues and challenges faced within this progression route.

The programme was supported by ScreenSkills’ using National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI as part of the Future Film Skills programme. 

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This project would not be possible without the help and support from our funders: