In a nutshell

This is a full-time four-year programme. It is designed to offer students a wide variety of materials, processes, and experiences within a supportive and stimulating environment.

Contemporary and historical art practices are examined through a series of lectures, seminars and written assignments. A Work in Context module offers real-world experience within the arts sector. As students progress through the course there is an increasing emphasis on individual research and outcomes.

Students have individual studio spaces and access to specialized and well-equipped Printmaking, Ceramics, Photography and Digital Media workshops. All of our fine art lecturers are practicing artists bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to their teaching roles. External engagements include a regular visiting artist lecture series and national and international study trips. Students also have the opportunity to make collaborative projects with local and national art institutions.
We aim to equip students with the practical skills, knowledge and intellectual resources necessary for a rewarding career in the arts.

What's involved?

Entry Requirements

We are interested in people who want to pursue a career in art-making and related fields. The students on our course are all ages, and come from a wide variety of backgrounds. What unites them is that they are creative and imaginative people who can respond to the world around them in visual terms. We recruit candidates through the CAO system (min. 160 points) employing an interview to which examples of finished work should be brought, along with studies and notebooks that demonstrate the development of these ideas or works.

A solid foundation in fine art

In the first year you will concentrate on learning practical and conceptual skills. All students on the course have access to a regular visiting artist programme and regular study trips including one international trip every year. Each year is divided into two 15-week semesters.

Modules include Printmaking, Painting, Drawing, Ceramics, Visual Literacy, and Digital and Lens based Media (DLBM). Thematic headings enable the co-development of technical skills and conceptual focus. A module in ‘Visual and Material Culture’ provides grounding in the history and theory of visual art and design.

A full schedule of closely directed learning modules lays a solid foundation for the following stages, as they gradually open up to more experimentation and student led research

Building out your core skills base

A more tightly focused range of modules in the second year allows concentration on the areas most applicable to your developing work and ideas. As well as Painting, Drawing, Sculptural studies & Visual and Material Culture, you choose from a series of electives that include Printmaking, Ceramics, & Digital Lens Based Media.

Projects emphasizing the co-development of practical and conceptual skills provide a set of careful structures helping to guide you towards more individual areas of learning. One to one tutorials are introduced, where you will be supported by teaching staff who are all practicing artists. The visiting artists programme will introduce you to a range of diverse professional practices.

Preparing for exhibition

The first semester completes a more advanced programme of the second year modules. In the second semester a ‘Work in Context’ module is introduced enabling you to have ‘real world’ experience of a professional art context. Lectures, gallery visits and writing tutorials support the completion of written assignments at the midway point and end of year in History of Art.

A Drawing module runs throughout the year. An over arching module, ‘Studio Practice’ sees an increasing focus on studio work as a subject incorporating some or all of the previous subject areas (and potentially others). Supported by group critiques and one to one tutorials, you build towards a coherent body of work for exhibition and examination at the end of the year.

Note – At the end of third year students successfully completing the level 7 programme can choose to continue with an ‘add-on’ year and aim for the higher level 8 degree. Students successfully completing this stage and already enrolled on our level 8 programme continue into the final year.

Getting ready for the workplace

Fourth year provides a concentrated time and space to focus on your developing artistic practice. Studio work is primarily self-directed, with regular one to one tutorials and group critiques supporting this. A ‘Professional Practice’ module helps you to understand and situate your practice within a contemporary art setting.

The year culminates in an assessment by public exhibition of each student’s work. Through your studies in Art History/Theory you will write an extended essay on a research topic of your choosing and also a shorter ‘Critical Writing’ project based on an examination of your own art practice.

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