University of Chester

Programme Specification
Fine Art BA (Hons) (Combined Honours)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Arts (Combined Honours)

Fine Art

Fine Art

University of Chester


University of Chester

University of Chester, Kingsway Campus

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Art and Design

Art & Design

Not Applicable

Art & Design

Wednesday 10th December 2014

  • To facilitate the study and practice of Fine Art within an interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and contemporary academic context leading to an independent and informed artistic and theoretical position.
  • To engage, where applicable, with the potential synergy available from a relationship between two programmes of study.
  • To provide a vehicle through which practical and media based skills relevant to artistic practice can be experienced, utilised and deployed in an appropriate and informed manner.
  • To develop a historical, theoretical and contextual research base against which students can measure ideas and concepts, challenging, defining and expanding an individual artistic position.
  • To develop independent thinking, critical awareness and instigate informed debate applicable to visual concepts, artistic concerns, contextual frameworks and value judgements.
  • To provide access to the study of Fine Art at undergraduate degree level, for a wide range of students with diverse experiences, qualifications and origins, that equips them with creative, critical and analytical skills applicable to independent practice and/or graduate level employment.
  • To deliver a tutor supported, research informed student centred programme, employing a variety of learning, teaching and assessment strategies appropriate to the study and practice of Fine Art at undergraduate level.

Knowledge and Understanding

Through engagement with the programme, students will be able to understand, and in relation to a range of outcomes, appropriately deploy creative process, technique, material and method in the construction of visual artefacts. They will consider concepts and ideas as a means of both generating and responding to visual briefs, problems and proposals. Furthermore, they will record reflection on visual research and experiments as a means of prompting new avenues of visual exploration, investigation and visual enquiry. Students may draw on the potential synergy between their two programmes in the formation of knowledge and understanding within Fine Art.

FHEQ Level 4: generation of strategies in response to studio briefs, accumulation of initial studio skills and the development of an individual visual language:

  • AD4105 Studio Practice 1 (Combined Hons)
  • AD4106 Drawing Practice

FHEQ Level 5: generation of sophisticated strategies in response to studio briefs, accumulation of strategic studio skills and the investigation and further development of an individual visual language:

  • AD5105 Studio Practice & Theory 2 (Combined Hons)

  • AD5109 Contemporary Practice: Positions & Agendas

FHEQ Level 6: generation of sophisticated, appropriate and increasingly focussed responses to a self-written studio brief, deployment of strategically defined studio skills and the ultimate utilisation of an appropriate and tested personal visual language.

  • AD6106 Studio Practice 3 (Combined Hons)

  • AD6111 Negotiated Studio Practice

Students will also be able to interpret, analyse and reflect on contextual and theoretical information as a means of providing a research base to inform and develop theory and practice responses and arguments. Such knowledge and understanding will be embedded in the modules:

FHEQ Level 4: Develop a research base and concomitant research / presentation skills for continued and future use

  • AD4104 Art History & Theory

FHEQ Level 5: A synthesis of theoretical, philosophical and artistic understanding

  • AD5105 Studio Practice & Theory 2 (Combined Hons)

FHEQ Level 6: An in depth academic knowledge of an area of artistic research, debate and argument

  • AD6108 Negotiated Critical Theory
  • AD6109 Critical Theory 2
  • AD6305 Dissertation in Art and Design


Thinking or Cognitive Skills 

Throughout the programme, students will perceive, consider and propose courses of action involving the deployment and application of artistic processes, insights, arguments and debates across a range of both practice and theory modules. They will select appropriate means through which to articulate such courses of action whilst recognising the efficacy of speculative outcomes and / or considered conclusions. In so doing, students will exercise critical judgement in the evaluation of outcomes and the interpretation and implementation of ideas. This will involve the synthesis of new information, ideas and concepts with existing and developing experience to solve visual and theoretical problems or generate new visual and theoretical meaning and understanding.

Across the programme, students will adapt and apply knowledge to suit particular purposes and scenarios, whilst considering diagnostic alternatives.

FHEQ Level 4

  • Read, understand and formulate a plan in response to studio briefs, (AD4105 & AD4106)
  • Consider practical information, interpret and follow instruction whilst considering the potential of process, (AD4105)
  • Research, prepare and formulate a coherent oral presentation and constructed written academic argument, (AD4104)

FHEQ Level 5:

  • Considering, synthesising and utilising previous experience, whilst debating the efficacy of a number of possibilities, respond to studio practice projects, (AD5105 & AD5109)
  • Research, construct and refine a coherent written academic essay taking account of feedback discussion, (AD5105)
  • Research for, and undertake a professionally based art and design external placement, (AD5104)

FHEQ Level 6:

  • Consider the outcomes of visual and contextual research as they inform studio activity, (AD6106 & AD6111)
  • Synthesise practical and theoretical experience in the formulation and execution of a studio practice proposal, (AD6106 & AD6111)
  • Research, debate and formulate a written academic argument, (AD6108, AD6109 & AD6305)
  • Research, discuss and formulate an oral presentation, (AD6109)
  • Consider the application, potential and implications of programme experience within the context of an external live project, (AD6110) 

Professional Skills 

Students will be able to manage their time effectively with due regard to deadlines whilst operating in a resourceful manner employing lateral thinking techniques. Furthermore, students will develop a facility to solve problems based on experience and recognition of context. They may at times work collaboratively, taking into account other points of view whilst assimilating diverse sources of information in the synthesis of ideas, courses of action and outcomes.

Throughout the programme students will evaluate their own progress and position, making amendments and changes as necessary. 

Practical Skills 

Students will be able to acquire and expand a repertoire of skills thus allowing choice in their application in defined scenarios or through speculative activity. Similarly they will research, organise and make use of textual and contextual information within both theoretical and practice situations. Students will also maintain and develop verbal communication, written communication and presentation skills so as to articulate ideas and concerns coherently.

FHEQ Level 4:

  • Effective management of time and agendas taking into account the demands of two programmes, (all modules)
  • Resourcefulness and lateral thinking, (AD4105 & AD4106)
  • Practical and material processing skills, (AD4105 & AD4106)
  • Research presentation and reflection skills, (AD4104 & AD4105)

FHEQ Level 5:

  • Effective management of time and agendas with an increasing level of autonomy, (AD5105 & AD5109)
  • Enhanced development of individual initiative, (AD5109) 
  • Focussed practical and material processing skills, (AD5105 & AD5109)
  • Research and reflection skills within a defined topic area, (AD5105)
  • Develop suitable presentation and communication skills, (AD5104)

FHEQ Level 6:

  • Management of a negotiated studio practice agenda with inherent individual initiative, (AD6106 & AD6111)
  • Selection of appropriate high level materials processing and technical skills, (AD6106 & AD6111)
  • Individual and team time management and delineation of tasks, (AD6106 & AD6111)
  • Research, reflection and information processing skills at a high level, (AD6108, AD6109 & AD6305)
  • Deploy successful communication and presentation skills, (AD6106, AD6109 & AD6110)

Communication Skills

Students will employ verbal and written communication skills throughout the programme. Tutorial discussion, group seminar situations, formal presentations, journal / blog production and academic writing will form the diet of accumulated experience. 

FHEQ Level 4:

  • Communicate ideas to individuals and small peer groups within a studio setting and in formal presentations, (AD4104 & AD4105)
  • Prepare and make formal verbal presentations, (AD4104)
  • Develop, research and write an academic argument, (AD4104)

FHEQ Level 5:

  • Communicate increasingly complex ideas to individuals and groups, (AD5105 & AD5109)
  • Prepare and make formal verbal presentations based on individual research, (AD5104) 
  • Develop, research and write an academic essay, (AD5105)

FHEQ Level 6:

  • Communicate and negotiate complex ideas and strategies to groups and individuals from varying backgrounds, (AD6106, AD6110 & AD6111)
  • Prepare and make a formal verbal presentation to a small group audience, (AD6109) 
  • Define and utilise varying means of communication relevant to different constituents, (AD6111) 
  • Research, refine and write a significant academic dissertation, (AD6305) 

The undergraduate combined honours programme in Fine Art is predicated on the diversity of contemporary practice and its informing relationship with the critical theory and context that underpins it. The programme therefore asks students to engage with a range of propositions and possibilities, arguments and debates that cumulatively form a position against and through which they can define their own individual practice based and theoretical responses. The relationship between two programmes of study inherent to a combined undergraduate degree are recognised in the structure and delivery of the Fine Art programme. The informing nature and possible shared context of one programme to the other can make for a positive and rich interaction; similarly where that shared context is less evident students may find it productive to concentrate on the two separate elements of their overall programme in relative isolation from each other. In either case, the features, nature, content and delivery of the combined honours programme, whilst being aspirational in outcome and focus, take account of the fact that combined students spend a significant part of their time studying on another programme within the University.

The ultimate aim of the programme is to encourage the development of independently informed practitioners who are capable of engaging with practice and theoretical work with increased levels of autonomy. This aim is central to the structure and design of modules across Levels 4, 5 and 6, where Level 4 is intensively taught, Level 5 balances student autonomy with supported learning and Level 6 affords an opportunity for negotiated, self-directed study.

At Level 4, students are introduced to the diversity of contemporary practice through a series of projects within the Studio Practice 1 (Combined Hons) module, AD4105. Projects are designed to expand the boundaries of student thinking and experience in relation to Fine Art activity whilst taking account of previous experience gained prior to entry on to the programme. The module also serves to introduce good working practice including workshop induction and orientation, methods of visual and contextual research, reflective thinking, documentation, creative visualisation and experimentation. Combined honours students exhibit Fine Art work made in response to module projects in a group exhibition with their single honours counterparts.   Running concurrently to the studio practice module, the Drawing Practice module, AD4106 serves to introduce students to a variety of two-dimensional drawing processes, techniques and materials in support of their core studio practice module and as a means of generating studio practice outcomes. The Art History and Theory module, AD4104, provides Level 4 students with a broad knowledge base in terms of an historical and contextual frame of reference. The module also addresses necessary study skills including methods and sources of research, essay and presentation construction, appropriate referencing skills and the development and construction of coherent academic argument, debate and critical discourse.

Level 4 students will complete a summer project, a response to which is aimed at informing their initial engagement with AD5105, Studio Practice & Theory 2 (Combined Honours) as they progress to Level 5. AD5105 is a module with both studio practice and theory outcomes. It seeks visual responses to projects informed by visual experimentation and contextual reflection and a written essay responding to questions and contexts delivered within a lecture series. Projects within this module are more conceptually oriented than at Level 4, and allow for a wider set of responses or potential responses to be considered through visual experimentation. This relationship between self directed study and supported learning is then the focus of AD5109, Contemporary Practice: Positions & Agendas, which combined students can choose as an optional module. Here students are tasked with considering their own interests, concerns and preoccupations and how these might manifest as visual entities through studio making and reflection both at Level 5 and as a means of preparing for studio activity at Level 6. Both AD5105 and AD5109 embed further the necessity and relevance of visual and contextual research as instigated at Level 4. Level 5 students complete the academic year by undertaking a five-week placement in a context relevant to their programme or academic trajectory. Students may choose from a range of Work Based Learning modules available centrally through the University, undertake an experiential learning module from within their other programme if available or register for AD5104, Fine Art and Photography Experiential Learning. In this case students will utilise and expand their academic subject knowledge within a relevant work placement and through assessed preparation and reflection on action consider the relationship between their academic subject and its wider application and the implications this may have for future decisions.  There are further employability focused, options available such as WB5004 Learning in the Wider World and WB5008 The Study Abroad Experience.

WB5004 is similar in ambition to WB5101 but facilitates undertaking the work based learning placement at a location outside the UK. WB5004, although available to all students as an alternative to WB5101 this module must be applied for and participation is restricted to students who meet the criteria of interview, attendance and behaviour during Level 5. All students will be required to receive clearance from the PAT prior to departing on their overseas placement. Students are advised that, should their academic performance, attendance or behaviour deteriorate, they may no longer be eligible for WB5004, and will be switched to WB5101 Work-based Learning. Students must complete and have a Risk Assessment approved before they are eligible for this module.

WB5008 This module will be offered as a complementary year of study abroad to students who have successfully completed their second-year of study (level 5). Application will occur in January of Level 5. As such, students may be required to present evidence of successful completion of Level 4, satisfactory on-going assessment, academic references and attendance in order for their application to be accepted. Students must also complete a Risk Assessment to indicate that they are fully aware of the requirements for the exchange, university/college and destination that they are applying for.

Level 5 students, after module choice meetings and discussion will decide upon the weighting of their two programmes for Level 6. Combined students may choose a joint honours route with modules amounting to 60-credits from each programme. Conversely, combined students may opt for a major/minor relationship between their two programmes with 80-credits in one programme and 40-credits in the other. Whilst core modules are at the centre of a combined honours student’s Level 6 experience, a range of choices are also available depending in part on whether a student is combined with a programme within or outside of the Department of Art & Design. Thus students may bias their Fine Art programme towards theory or practice; within the theory modules a range of assessment experiences become available including a dissertation, extended essay or essay with oral presentation. 

Level 5 students choosing a studio practice module at Level 6 will complete a summer project that explores further the responses to their studio practice module or modules, and generates an initial course of studio investigation and action within the Level 6 modules, AD6106, Studio Practice 3 (Combined Hons) and AD6111 Negotiated Studio Practice. The first half of these modules affords students the opportunity to develop visual responses and experiments in as broad a manner as possible that are then questioned and tested at a mid year point of assessment. The resultant feedback from this process, along with subsequent discussion and negotiation highlights a course of increasingly focused, self-directed and refined studio activity that ultimately leads to work made for the purposes of degree show exhibition. This studio work, supported and informed by increasingly self-directed elements of visual and contextual research is also underpinned by the student’s choice of theory modules, of which three are available. AD6305, Dissertation in Art and Design (40 credits) is a Department-wide theory module leading to an 8000 word dissertation. This module develops a research question which can address issues and interests both relevant to the student’s own practice, across two programmes if applicable, but also across the expertise and knowledge base available within the Department of Art & Design, thus offering a degree of scope to suit individual approaches. As a Department-wide module, this module may be chosen as forming part of the module diet from Fine Art, Graphic Design or Photography. Students may choose either AD6108 Negotiated Critical Theory or AD6109 Critical Theory 3 both of which are 20 credit modules. The former results in a 4000 word extended essay answering a negotiated research question; the latter an essay and an oral presentation addressing subject areas raised in the associated lecture series. Level 6 students may also undertake the 20-credit Professional Practice module alongside their Graphic Design and Photography counterparts. This cross departmental module addresses questions relating to professional development and opportunities available to graduates as well as collaboratively facilitating arrangements for the organisation of the degree show exhibition. The module may be chosen as part of a combined diet of modules from either a Fine Art, Graphic Design or Photography perspective.


Students wishing to Major in Fine Art and Minor in their second subject would undertake 80-credits worth of modules (Studio Practice 3 plus a further 40 credits) and 40 credits from their second subject.


A joint honours student will undertake 60-credits worth of Fine Art modules (Studio Practice 3 plus one other 20-credit module) and 60-credits from their second subject.


Students wishing to Minor in Fine Art and Major in their second subject would choose two 20-credit modules and 80 credits from their second subject.

Part-time students will undertake modules in the order and combination discussed and agreed with the Programme Leader; module choices will be discussed with all students at module choice meetings within the framework of the academic year. To progress to the next level, students will need to have passed all modules at the previous level. The structure of the programme takes into account the QAA National Benchmark Statement for Art & Design and History of Art & Design and the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. The module learning outcomes and the assessment criteria for the programme are based on the descriptors of ‘Characteristics of Learning’ at each level. The programme recognises that qualifications should be awarded to mark achievement of positively defined outcomes not as a compensation for failure at a higher level, or by default.


Combined Honours only
Mod-Code Level Title Credit Major Equal Minor
AD4104 4 Art History and Theory 20 Comp Comp Comp
AD4105 4 Studio Practice 1 (Combined Hons.) 20 Comp Comp Comp
AD4106 4 Drawing Practice 20 Comp Comp Comp
AD5104 5 Fine Art and Photography Experiential Learning 20 Optional Optional Optional
AD5105 5 Studio Practice & Theory 2 (Combined Honours) 40 Comp Comp Comp
AD5109 5 Contemporary Practice: Positions & Agendas 20 Optional Optional Optional
WB5004 5 Learning in the Wider World 20 Optional Optional Optional
WB5008 5 The Study Abroad Experience 120 Optional Optional Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional Optional Optional
AD6106 6 Studio Practice 3 (Combined Hons) 40 Comp Comp N/A
AD6108 6 Negotiated Critical Theory 20 Optional Optional Optional
AD6109 6 Critical Theory 3 20 Optional Optional Optional
AD6110 6 Professional Practice 20 Optional Optional Optional
AD6111 6 Negotiated Studio Practice 20 Optional Optional Optional
AD6305 6 Dissertation in Art and Design 40 Optional N/A N/A

Level 4:

Is made up of three 20-credit core modules in Fine Art and a total of 60-credits from another programme. A candidate who successfully completes Level 4 will therefore have accumulated 120 credits and will be eligible for the award of Certificate of Higher Education. That candidate will also progress to Level 5 and carry forward those 120 credits towards the award of an honours level undergraduate degree. In line with FHEQ* “Holders of a Certificate of Higher Education will have a sound knowledge of the basic concepts of a subject, and will have learned how to take different approaches to solving problems. They will be able to communicate accurately and will have the qualities needed for employment requiring the exercise of some personal responsibility. The Certificate of Higher Education may be a first step towards obtaining higher level qualifications.”

Level 5:

20-credits will come from either a Work Based Learning module or an Experiential Learning module. Of the remaining 100-credits, 60-credits will be available from one programme and 40-credits from the other. The Fine Art programme therefore has a 40-credit core module and the availability of a 20-credit optional module. A candidate who successfully completes Level 5 will therefore have accumulated 240 credits and will be eligible for the award of Diploma of Higher Education. That candidate will also progress to Level 6 and carry forward those 240 credits towards the award of an honours level undergraduate degree. In line with FHEQ* “Holders of qualifications at this level will have developed a sound understanding of the principles in their field of study, and will have learned to apply those principles more widely. Through this, they will have learned to evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems. Their studies may well have had a vocational orientation, for example HNDs, enabling them to perform effectively in their chosen field. Holders of qualifications at this level will have the qualities necessary for employment in situations requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and decision-making.”

Level 6:

A major student in Fine Art will undertake 80-credits worth of modules with 40-credits from another programme. A joint honours student will undertake 60-credits worth of Fine Art modules and 60-credits from another programme whilst a minor student in Fine Art will have 40-credits worth of Fine Art modules with 80-credits from another programme. In line with FHEQ* “Holders of a bachelor's degree with honours will have developed an understanding of a complex body of knowledge, some of it at the current boundaries of an academic discipline. Through this, the holder will have developed analytical techniques and problem-solving skills that can be applied in many types of employment. The holder of such a qualification will be able to evaluate evidence, arguments and assumptions, to reach sound judgements and to communicate them effectively.” “Holders of a bachelor's degree with honours should have the qualities needed for employment in situations requiring the exercise of personal responsibility, and decision-making in complex and unpredictable circumstances.”

*Full details of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, August 2008 can be found at:



UCAS points A minimum of 112 UCAS points from GCE A Levels, including one of the subjects recommended by the Department, including Art, Art & Design
GCE A Level:

The department recommends one of the following subjects:

Art, Art and Design, Fine Art


BTEC Extended Diploma (Art & Design): DMM

BTEC Diploma (Art & Design): D*D*

Irish/Scottish Highers: B in 4 subjects, including Art
International Baccalaureate: 26 points, including 5 in Visual Arts
Access: Access to HE Diploma (Art & Design) to include 45 credits at level 3, 30 of which must be at Merit or above.

Accepted in combination with A level Art, Art & Design

Extra Information:

Please note that we accept a maximum of 8 UCAS points from GCE AS Levels and that the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) and A Level General Studies will be recognised in our offer. We will also consider a combination of A Levels and BTECs/OCRs.


Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

Applicants who have previously successfully completed study evaluated as equivalent to a total of 240 credits at Levels 4 and 5 in an appropriate related subject will normally be eligible for admission with advanced standing to Level 6 of the programme, depending on their respective profile of achievement [i.e. the merit/distinction profile]. This could include completion of a Foundation Degree, HND or an Advanced Diploma from Florence Institute of Design International or Raffles College of Higher Education in subjects benchmark approved by the University of Chester.

The structure of the Fine Art programme takes into account the Subject Benchmark Statements for Art & Design and History of Art & Design, available at  These benchmarks cite a number of common characteristics that should be achieved as a threshold by graduating students. These common characteristics are evident in the learning outcomes and module aims of studio practice modules where they are embedded and which cumulatively, through level progression lead to successful completion of the programme. Such characteristics are as follows:  

  • Present evidence that demonstrates some ability to generate ideas independently and/or collaboratively in response to set briefs and/or as self-initiated activity 
  • Demonstrate proficiency in observation, investigation, enquiry, visualisation and/or creative output  
  • Develop ideas through to outcomes that confirm the student's ability to select and use materials, processes and environments 
  • Make connections between intention, process, outcome, context, and methods of dissemination Also referenced is the development of graduating students’ relationship to professional practice within the discipline.

Such developments are evident in the learning outcomes and module aims of theory, contextual and professional practice modules and elements where they are embedded and which cumulatively, through level progression lead to successful completion of the programme. Such developments are as follows: 

  • The broad critical and contextual dimensions of the student's discipline(s) 
  • The issues which arise from the artist's or designer's relationship with audiences, clients, markets, users, consumers, and/or participants 
  • Major developments in current and emerging media and technologies in their discipline(s) 
  • The significance of the work of other practitioners in their discipline(s) Subject specific skills and generic, transferable skills are also referenced, and are to be found across the range of Fine Art modules: 
  • At the threshold standard, an honours degree in art and design confirms that the holder has acquired technical knowledge and practical skills. The student will be able to use materials, media, techniques, methods, technologies and tools associated with the discipline(s) studied, and will be familiar with good working practices  

On graduating with an honours degree in art and design at the threshold level, students will have demonstrated that they have some ability to: 

  • Exercise self-management skills in managing their workloads and meeting deadlines 
  • Accommodate change and uncertainty                            
  • Analyse information and experiences, and formulate reasoned arguments 
  • Benefit from the critical judgements of others and recognise their personal strengths and needs 
  • Apply interpersonal and social skills to interact with others 
  • Communicate ideas and information in visual, oral and written forms 
  • Present ideas and work to their audiences 
  • Apply information skills to navigate, retrieve, and manage information from a variety of sources 
  • Select and employ communication and information technologies

A synthesis of learning and teaching methodologies will be employed across the Fine Art programme to enable students to acquire and apply essential skills and competencies in the resolution of artistic challenges and theoretical briefs. One of the aims of the programme is to facilitate on the part of students a transition from a predominantly taught course at Level 4 to one that allows for a greater degree of autonomy and responsibility at Level 6.

At Level 4, students respond to studio practice briefs, complete tasks that evidence a level of proficiency with materials and technologies and demonstrate an understanding of historical and contextual material through presentations and written outputs. Studio practice at this stage makes use of projects that solicit a response but that are also a vehicle for the delivery of key elements vital for on-going and further studio operation including visual research, contextual research, critical engagement and debate and the embedding of self-study management. Hence whole group lectures are utilised along with smaller seminar discussion, group and individual tutorial sessions and studio interactions. Whilst the initial project may see Level 4 students working together in small groups as a strategy to build confidence and aid discussion and decision making, later projects allow for individual responses to challenges set. Project feedback sessions afford an opportunity to deconstruct such feedback but also build strategies for future engagement.  Workshop groups experience and undertake defined tasks across a range of Fine Art media areas. Initial demonstration and group discussion precedes student engagement with hands-on workshop activity within defined areas and to defined timescales. Students work both individually and collaboratively as required whilst the relationship between workshop activity and studio practice is constantly emphasised.

The whole group lecture is a strategy employed for the delivery of Art History and Theory; such delivery is then supported and embellished by the use of smaller and more intimate seminar sessions where particular ideas and concepts can be discussed and examined in greater detail. This theory module also delivers a range of study skills sessions relating to academic research and integrity, key referencing skills, essay construction and the development of a written argument. Furthermore, oral presentation and the construction of a spoken argument are also addressed.

Whilst Level 4 is predominantly taught and sessions remain structured, the significance of independent learning, self study time and the development of individual responsibility within an academic environment are introduced as important factors necessary to academic achievement. This responsibility and individual initiative is extended in the students’ completion of a summer project that serves to introduce an approach to Level 5.  At Level 5, whilst students respond again to studio practice briefs, the nature of those briefs is much more open to speculation and experimentation than at Level 4. Once again, whole group lectures deliver key information concerning the projects themselves, contextual points of reference and associated information. Smaller group seminars, group and individual tutorials facilitate the development of individual responses to briefs which allow for the development of student’s individual creative directions, thus allowing for the exploration and proliferation of individual concerns and interests within a common framework. This approach is capitalised upon in the Contemporary Practice: Positions & Agendas module, (for those combined students that choose this option), where such individual studio interests and concerns can be examined, developed and tested further. The relationship between theory and practice is developed at Level 5 both in terms of the mapping of concerns across and between both modes of operation and by the delivery of theory seminar sessions within student’s studio areas. Whilst whole group lecture sessions deliver key content, more discreet seminar sessions aim to address the needs of the student in terms of a theoretically informed and involved practitioner. The Studio Practice & Theory (Combined Honours) module aims to cement this informing relationship within the same module.  Work placement and external project placement modules at the end of Level 5 confirm not only the necessity of responsibility, organisation and autonomy but also place the content of the programme as experienced by the student in a position where specific skills and approaches can be tested within an external context.

Whilst the credit weighting of combined programmes influences the actual choice and availability of core and optional modules, the fullest possible range of learning and teaching methods are utilised across Level 6. Studio modules, where chosen, are preceded by a summer project with students proposing an individual and focused course of action in relation to studio practice and supporting elements of visual and contextual research. Responses to this project inform initial group and individual tutorial sessions with academic staff that explore the potential of such material and how it may be developed. Such development then occurs in timetabled studio sessions, where Level 6 students undertake an intensive period of visual research that explores and experiments with their proposed course of action supported by tutorial advice and seminar discussion. This process allows for the potential of ideas and concepts to be developed in visual form and the fullest range of possibilities to be considered in relation to later outcomes.

Summative assessment of a 15% element of Visual Research punctuates studio activity in January, the point at which students present their findings to members of academic staff and student peers. Not only is this process a useful vehicle for the basis of tutorial discussion and future direction, it also allows students an opportunity to consider the relationship inherent to studio work between intention, concept, content, form and resolution. Written and verbal feedback is delivered to each student providing the basis of a structured plan by which students can develop further visual research resulting in studio work to be exhibited in the departmental degree show.

A departmental Professional Practice module including students from Fine Art, Graphic Design and Photography is delivered through large group lectures and subject defined seminar and workshop sessions. Students will engage with notions of professionalism, promotion and presentation, group work and negotiation in terms of outcomes. Students are also engaged in this module with external live projects through which they can place their academic experience in context and consider, as a result of their action, future directions after graduation.

Throughout the programme students experience both formative and summative assessment. Formative assessment may be formal in as much as it takes place during timetabled sessions; equally it may be informal, occurring during studio seminar or tutorial discussions or at the point of individual essay draft feedback tutorials for example. Summative assessment will occur at the end of a defined project, the duration of which will be set out in advance, or at the end of a particular module. In both cases of formative and summative assessment, and at Levels 4, 5 and 6, assessment will result in written and/or verbal feedback to be integrated into future student development. Level 4 modules make use of assessment not only as a measure of the level achievement against module learning outcomes and a source of feedback and feed forward, but also as a useful and timely monitoring tool shared between academic staff and individual students. Within studio practice modules, summative feedback on projects and media area workshops is given at regular intervals throughout the academic year. In the studio practice module timetabled feedback sessions occur through which good practice and achievement can be recognised, poor performance can be addressed with a focused plan of action, and any discrepancies in attendance affecting achievement and in turn retention can be examined. The regular use of points of assessment at Level 4 ensure students are fully informed of their progress in an open and supportive manner thus building confidence and in turn, demystifying the assessment process at this transitional stage.

Level 5 studio practice modules follow a similar pattern in terms of assessment to their Level 4 counterparts with summative assessment at the end of projects. Again, timetabled feedback and feed forward sessions allow for a connected transition between projects, cumulatively affording the student a diagnostic overview of approaches to elements within the module. Such an overview then forms part of the reflective conversation allowing students to consider studio practice directions prior to summer project work and progression to Level 6. The January assessment point in Studio Practice modules for those students registered for them at Level 6 is an important process measuring the success of studio proposals prior to students embarking on completed and resolved exhibitions of work at the end of their programme. The formal structure and nature of the process, with students making presentations in timetabled sessions to small audiences of academic staff and students ensure that due preparation is exercised by students. The mark is similarly useful in the resulting feedback conversation that may explore strategies for maintaining or improving upon a given position within a defined timeframe. The use of the process is handled very carefully by the programme team who ensure that students understand that the later summative mark for studio modules may differ from the initial January mark depending on engagement, progress and other circumstances.

Theory modules at Levels 4, 5 and 6 make use of formative and summative assessment in much the same way as studio practice modules. Seminar discussion promotes informal formative feedback whilst timetabled essay tutorial sessions and feedback on essay first drafts provide more formal formative assessment. Summative assessment occurs at the end of theory modules but is usually staged at an earlier point than studio modules to avoid as much as possible assessment overload on the part of students. 

Across the three levels a range of outcomes are assessed not only to test the responses to those different outcomes but also to engage with the diversity of student approaches to assessment. Thus, different modules may require different outcomes from a range of for example, portfolios of visual research, contextual research statements, journals and reflective blogs, portfolios and exhibitions of studio practice, gallery/studio based work and site specific works. Students will also prepare and make oral presentations for assessment, compose written position and exhibition statements, write essays and reports and undertake a professional practice interview or portfolio review.

In all of these cases a cumulative approach to formative and summative assessment will have been employed. Individual module descriptors state precisely the learning outcomes to be evaluated through completion of each module in question and the associated elements and weightings involved. The cumulative diet of modules undertaken by a student therefore maps directly to the aims of the programme as a whole, itself in line with QAA benchmarks and FHEQ guidelines as regards levels of achievement.

Reassessment of modules in Fine Art is designed to replicate as closely as possible the original assessment task or outcome. Where the timing of reassessment precludes access to or availability of specialist equipment, resources or materials, a reassessment task of the same magnitude that addresses the original learning outcomes of the module will be utilised.

With reference to QAA Benchmarks for Art and Design and History of Art and Design and FHEQ levels of achievement, a typical graduate of the programme will be competent in the use of a range of materials, media, processes and techniques consistent with the practice of contemporary Fine Art. Furthermore, they will have developed an understanding, and relevant strategy that allows them to deploy materials, media, process and technique as a response to a given context.

Graduates will be familiar with a range of contexts, histories, issues and ideas that will inform their thinking and be evident in the resultant work produced. Graduates will have developed the skills necessary to undertake both visual and theoretical research in a strategic and focused manner. They will be able to synthesise ideas, concepts and information and undertake research using relevant methods and processes to give coherent visual, creative, written and verbal articulation to new ideas. They will possess knowledge of artistic and cultural precedents and contexts allowing them to critically evaluate their own work against a broader historical and contemporary framework. The combination of subject specific and transferable skills acquired by graduates of this programme will equip them typically for employment in the creative and cultural industries. Such skills will of course be embellished and expanded by those developed from the student’s other programme of study. 

Many graduates operate as self-employed or freelance artists and continue to develop a practice. They may continue to exhibit work publically, undertake commissions, engage with residencies and workshop opportunities or generate funding proposals in relation to artistic, curatorial or educational programmes and opportunities, either self-initiated or offered by other individuals and organisations. Graduates may also pursue careers and opportunities in, for example, museum and gallery settings, curation, teaching and education, art therapy, advertising and design, illustration, visual merchandising, restoration and research. Given that graduates of the programme will be accomplished in dealing with complex and often unexpected problems through lateral thinking, they will have the potential to consider career paths where such attributes are necessary and expected such as marketing and public relations. Such examples serve to confirm the significance of students' transferable skills and subject knowledge applicable to a range of contexts.

Graduates will also be equipped to consider study for a higher degree either through enrolment on the Department's own MA Fine Art programme or that of another institution.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

Induction for New Students 

A one-week induction period is provided. Sessions typically encompass familiarisation with the structure of the programme and introductory lectures and/or practical workshops. Students are also made familiar with life as a Fine Art undergraduate and have opportunities to meet fellow students from across the programmes in the Department. Learning Resource Centre inductions will occur and Departmental staff will be introduced. 

Personal Academic Tutors 

The department fully endorses and adheres to the University's established Personal Academic Tutor system.  All students on degree programmes are allocated a personal academic tutor, (PAT) and students are advised to see their personal academic tutor regularly and particularly during their first year of study. The personal academic tutor will usually remain with the student throughout their studies, providing advice on academic development and progress and on matters non-academic in nature. 

Academic/Learning Support 

In addition to the personal tutor system, academic members of the Department of Art & Design operate a system of ‘surgery hours'. Students who wish to discuss matters with a member of staff may do so during the advertised surgery hours or by personal arrangement. Although students will receive written feedback on their work, they may also make an appointment to see the relevant lecturer regarding any work submitted. The Learning Resources Department offers a wide range of IT and library services available to students. Student Support & Guidance provides dedicated support for students who may encounter difficulties with their learning or personal problems that impact on their learning. 

Programme Information and University Regulations 

Students will have access to a student handbook detailing the structure of the programme and relevant information concerning the University's regulations and how to access them. Each module within the programme has a dedicated Moodle page including module information and links to relevant information. All such information is widely available through SharePoint. 

Guest Speakers, Visiting Lecturers, Guest Lecturers 

The Fine Art programme and the Department as a whole invite a range of guest and visiting lecturers of national and international standing and with specialist interests and concerns to deliver lecture and workshop sessions to students across all levels. Such sessions compliment timetabled sessions and serve to enhance further the student experience. 

Study Trips 

The Department of Art & Design organises and runs a variety of study trips for students across Fine Art, Graphic Design and Photography. These have included visits to regional and London galleries and study abroad trips to, for example, Berlin, Paris, New York, Barcelona and Florence.  

Careers Advice

Careers' Advisors have been allocated to the Faculty of Arts & Media and students of Fine Art are able to access information concerning both vocational and educational opportunities during their programme and following graduation. 


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