This article explores the impact of COVID-19 on the physical learning spaces of art and design students to consider how this has informed and influenced the creative process, emotional resilience and engagement with learning during this difficult year of restrictions. More specifically, it draws on the experiences of students in a Foundation Art and Design programme in a Further Education college in the North of England as a case study. As a transitional year between Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE), this programme is designed to be transformative in terms of theoretical knowledge, practical skills and shaping student identities through ‘becoming’ creative practitioners. Concepts of liminality and liminal spaces provide a lens through which to offer an account of the nature and scope of these transformative experiences over the past year. As an accidental ethnography (Levitan et al. 2017), aspects discussed suggest that whilst COVID-19 had a significant negative impact on the experiences and progression of this cohort of students, there have also been many positive outcomes suggesting that this particular programme has maintained its transformative ambitions.