BA (Hons) Fine Art

Our Fine Art course is both exciting and deeply rewarding, it will continue to develop your interest in art and grow your passion in fine art. The course is built around the principle of student choice; our programmes allow students to either specialise from the outset or to move between various disciplines over their period of study. Relating theory and practice, students will make new links and relationships between materials and visual representations to create new insights to the cultural context in which we live.

Student view

Charlotte Kimber
BA (Hons) Fine Art
"I would be lying if I said the course is easy; It is the most challenging and mind-boggling thing I have done to date, yet the most rewarding and memorable time of my life. The nurturing and encouragement in the first two years of my degree have enabled me to become the confident and skilled artist I am today. At the beginning my skills were basic and limited, but the well-structured workshops, lectures, life drawing, studio practice and tutorials enabled me to acquire the knowledge I need to carry on my practice after my degree. The one to one time with the tutors is brilliant; they have a genius way of getting you to try things that you never thought you would!"

Course content

We recognise that many Art students want to keep their options open when they start their degree, hoping to develop skills in a range of disciplines before becoming more specialised.

Our programme is built around the key areas of drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and textiles. Each of these disciplines is supported by technical workshop provision to enable you to achieve the highest quality art production. The range of degrees allows you to commit to one of these discipline areas or to work across these areas. We will encourage you to develop an intellectual curiosity, and a sense of adventure, with an ability to deal with the unpredictable.

In the first year students will initially be set a series of research and drawing based activities that will drive the students’ ideas towards a self-directed practice, greater independence, and by the final year, the attainment of a distinctive vision.

Lectures and seminars along with the peer group critique in the studio, support independent, self-directed work. Students will learn to create their own negotiated pattern of work as they move towards an exhibition for their degree show in their final year.

You will have the opportunity to visit a major international city at an affordable cost to study the museums, galleries and culture. Recent cities have included Berlin, Barcelona, Venice and Madrid. Trips to museums and galleries in London and other cities take place throughout the academic year.  We offer you the opportunity to exhibit your work outside of the artOne building. A series of selected work is hung in the general public spaces and provides a professional showcase for your work. As well as these public spaces there is the opportunity to show work in the University’s Otter Gallery.

Main Studio and Workshop Skills and Activities:

  • Painting: Oil, acrylic, drawing, construction, mixed media.
  • Textiles: Constructed textiles, felt-making, embroidery, papermaking, printed
  • textiles, mixed media, installation
  • Sculpture: Wood, metal, casting, plaster, ceramics, found materials, mixed media
  • Installation: appropriated materials, site-based and gallery-based work
  • Printmaking: Etching, screen-printing, relief printing, mono-print and
  • combined media
  • Drawing: Drawing is seen as an important
  • element in the development and realization of ideas and is the basis of the initial studio work at level one.
  • Digital Art: Digital photography, video, sound, net-art, animation, installation.

Study Trips

We offer the opportunity for all students to visit a major international city at an affordable cost to study the museums, galleries and culture. Recent city centre visits have included Venice, New York, Barcelona and Madrid. Trips to Museums and galleries in London and other urban city centres occur throughout the academic year.

Our facilities

Over the past few years, we’ve redeveloped both of our campuses so that you have the best facilities available for your degree. We pride ourselves on the quality of the learning environment we can offer our students.

The Art department are situated in the dedicated artOne building comprising outstanding studio and workshop facilities. It is an exciting place to study, providing a dynamic and supportive learning environment for the production of original new art work.

The well-equipped workshops and studios provide environments for you to create experimental, inventive and ambitious work. The main studio space in the purpose built artOne building provides individual studio spaces for all students as well as bookable spaces for installation, performance and projection work.  All full time BA students, and part timers doing the ‘studio practice’ modules will be allocated a personal studio base in which you can carry out your self-directed projects and art work.

All students also have access to workshop areas and technical support in the key disciplines of the Fine Art programmes.  The workshops reflect the range of options across the various degree programmes. A distinctive aspect of the department is that of individualized working areas in the studio space.

Where this can take you

The course provides the opportunity to develop skills across a broad range of areas and become resourceful, reflective learners, finding creative solutions to new problems with the ability to be self-disciplined and able to work independently. ‘Creativity’, thinking ‘out of the box’, and good communication skills (visual, verbal, and written) are all key skills that employers are seeking, and these are fundamental skills developed by Fine Art.

Potential Careers

  • Professional artist
  • Art teacher, educator, or technician
  • Art administration and management in galleries and museums
  • Art therapy (with extra professional qualification) and art community work
  • Art journalism
  • Curator
  • Or further study (such as MA in Fine Art, MSc in Art Therapy, PGCE, etc)

Work placements

It is vital that students are prepared for some of the things the contemporary art world will throw at them on graduating.

We have developed a programme in which second and third year (level 5 and 6) students focus on aspects of professional practice and vocational experience.

Some students may want to be Art Teachers in the future, so in level 5 we’ll find work experience opportunities in schools to enable them to test out if this is what they really want.

Other recent students have worked on site-specific commissions, community arts projects, and work placements with local galleries and museums (admin and marketing and gallery education), residencies in schools, and even creating their own virtual gallery, Art sales, Exhibition & Event development, and Business plans for self-employment.

The experience is invaluable in terms of working to time and budgetary constraints, and in dealing with the public.

Indicative modules

Years One and Two

  • Self-directed practical work with full tutorial support: Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Textiles, Printmaking, Design for Digital Art and Mixed-Media
  • Visual Research and Drawing-based activities encouraged as part of a self-reflexive focus on personal artistic development
  • Workshop skills development in Painting, Textiles, Sculpture, Ceramics, Printmaking and/or Digital Art, with workshop choices driven by a desire to specialise or to mix disparate processes and media
  • Critical and Contextual Studies: Modernism and Postmodernism from the perspective of the Visual Arts and Cultural Theory

Year Three

  • Development of a coherent body of work for public exhibition at the 'Degree Show'
  • A written dissertation OR
  • An essay followed by the professional practice module, which supports the degree show

Teaching assessment

You will experience a wide variety of approaches to learning through core and optional modules that build to form an incremental approach to fine art practice. The development of knowledge and skills is encompassed through the use of a wide range of materials, media and processes in studio and workshop activity to develop your practical skills and subject knowledge. The integration of the historical, critical and theoretical debate and inquiry provides you with the ability to contextualise your work within academic frameworks.

Throughout your degree modules are delivered in a number of different ways including:

Standard module: A single module scheduled over one semester (15 credits normally) examples, FAL 120 Workshop 1, FAL 130 Workshop 2,

Double module: A double module (30 credits normally) delivered in each semester for studio based learning at levels 4 and 5: Teaching is by tutorial, small group discussion, cross level peer group learning: FAL 100 Studio Practice 1, AL 200 Studio Practice 3

Triple module: Exhibition A (personal study 1) (level 6); A triple module (90 credits) is a year-long module that enables you to develop an in depth studio practice. Teaching is by tutorial, small group discussion, cross level peer group learning lectures and visiting artists.

Theory modules: Integrate critical theory, history of art with research skills to support degree level study and is strongly linked to fine art studio practice.  Teaching and learning is by illustrated lectures, small group seminars and presentations.

External project and social engagement: A single module (15credit) at level 5 to develop skills in professional practice in an external setting and to expand fine art practice towards future employability.

Professional practice pack: A single (15 credit) level 6 module that provides professional engagement through the preparation of materials relevant in the support of career development.

Visiting artists lecture series: A cross level lecture programme of national and internationally renowned artist provides insight to professional fine art practice

Daily access to in the purpose built fine art studios and specialist workshop facilities enables and encourages independent study with access to the safe use of technical resources in the production of high quality artwork. The experience of a wide variety of materials and processes provides the opportunity to discover new ways of working and to explore different specialisms .

UCAS code: 
W100
College Code: 
C58

Course length

3 years Full Time

Entry requirements 2017 - 2018

Typical Offer (Individual offers may vary):

Art Foundation Diploma

A levels (or combination with AS / E.P. / BTEC): 110 to 125 UCAS Tariff Point (Fine Art or Photography or Textiles at B)

BTEC: DDM - DMM

Access to HE Diploma (Fine Art) - Pass with 15 level 3 Merits.

Interview: You will be required to bring your portfolio and to discuss the development of your work and your interests and inspirations in Fine Art.