University of Chester

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

Bachelor of Arts (Single Honours)

Fine Art

Fine Art (including Foundation Year)

University of Chester

 University of Chester

Chester / Kingsway

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

4 years

7 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Art and Design

 Art & Design (2008)

 Not Applicable

Learning and Teaching Institute (Level 3 only)

Art & Design (Levels 4-6)

Monday 18th January 2016

  • 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 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.

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. 

FHEQ Level 3

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of terms and concepts relevant to the subject-specific modules.[FP3302, FP3303, FP3304]
  • Use academic study skills at the required level for further study at the University. [FP3002, FP3003]
  • Identify how theory can be applied to practice. [FP3002, FP3003]
  • Be aware of how undergraduate study prepares students for a professional career. [FP3003]

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

  • AD4101 Studio Practice 1 (Single Hons)
  • AD4103 Studio Practice Exhibition & Presentation

  • 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:

  • AD5106 Studio Practice 2 (Single 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.

  • AD6101 Studio Practice 3 (Single 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 and Theory

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

  • AD5111 Critical Theory 2

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

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 3

  • Analyse, interpret and summarise information.[FP3002, FP3003]
  • Write in an academic manner.[FP3002]
  • Begin to reflect on their own learning and use feedback as part of this process. [FP3301]
  • Demonstrate independent learning. [FP3003]
  • Integrate a variety of information sources to develop academically and professionally. [FP3002, FP3003]

FHEQ Level 4

  • Read, understand and formulate a plan in response to studio briefs, (AD4101, AD4103 & AD4106)
  • Consider practical information, interpret and follow instruction whilst considering the potential of process, (AD4101 & AD4106)
  • 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, (AD5106 & AD5109)
  • Research, construct and refine a coherent written academic essay taking account of feedback discussion, (AD5111)
  • 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, (AD6101 & AD6111)
  • Synthesise practical and theoretical experience in the formulation and execution of a studio practice proposal, (AD6101 & 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) 

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 3

  • Retrieve and collate information from a variety of sources. [FP3301, FP3002, FP3003]
  • Use proficient reading and writing skills in preparation for the next level of study. [FP3002]
  • Demonstrate ability in Creative Arts applications. [FP3002, FP3304]
  • Present creative skill in the production of their assessed work.[FP3303]
  • Work with others for problem-solving activities. [FP3302]

FHEQ Level 4:

  • Effective management of time and agendas, (all modules)
  • Resourcefulness and lateral thinking, (AD4101, AD4103 & AD4106)
  • Practical and material processing skills, (AD4101, AD4103 & AD4106)
  • Research presentation and reflection skills, (AD4101, AD4103 & AD4104)

FHEQ Level 5:

  • Effective management of time and agendas with an increasing level of autonomy, (AD5106 & AD5109)
  • Enhanced development of individual initiative, (AD5109)
  • Focussed practical and material processing skills, (AD5106 & AD5109)
  • Research and reflection skills within a defined topic area, (AD5111)
  • Develop suitable presentation and communication skills, (AD5104)

FHEQ Level 6:

  • Management of a negotiated studio practice agenda with inherent individual initiative, (AD6101 & AD6111)
  • Selection of appropriate high level materials processing and technical skills, (AD6101 & AD6111)
  • Individual and team time management and delineation of tasks, (AD6101 & AD6111)
  • Research, reflection and information processing skills at a high level, (AD6108, AD6109 & AD6305)
  • Deploy successful communication and presentation skills, (AD6101, AD6109 & AD6110)

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 3

  • Communicate the ideas of others and their own ideas in an academic format. [FP3002, FP3301, FP3003]
  • Use IT applications effectively for research and presentation purposes.[FP3002]
  • Discuss and debate relevant topics and ideas as part of the learning process.[FP3301]
  • Convert researched information to a summarised form.[FP3002, FP3301, FP3303]

FHEQ Level 4:

  • Communicate ideas to individuals and small peer groups within a studio setting and in formal presentations, (AD4101, AD4103, AD4104)
  • 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, (AD5106 & AD5109)
  • Prepare and make formal verbal presentations based on individual research, (AD5104)
  • Develop, research and write an academic essay, (AD5111)

FHEQ Level 6:

  • Communicate and negotiate complex ideas and strategies to groups and individuals from varying backgrounds, (AD6101, 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) 

Foundation Year (Level 3)

The foundation years are aligned to the Framework for Undergraduate Modular Programmes and offers foundation level study whereby modules are 20 credits and students study for 120 credits in total to progress to the next level of study.

The programme is designed to introduce students to topics within the Creative Arts undergraduate degrees offered by the University, in conjunction with an academic skills curriculum to support learning and preparation for progression to level 4. There are synergies between the foundation year and the level 4 curriculum that students progress to. This includes module topics and themes that relate to the transference of knowledge and skills to the workplace, and the relevance of differing modes of teaching, learning and assessment.

There is a 20 credit module within the foundation year, University Study Skills, which offers students skills-based learning in preparation for level 4-6 studies to support academic progression, and to provide an introduction to successful undergraduate studentship.

Levels 4 - 6

The undergraduate single 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 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 media area based projects within the Studio Practice 1 (Single Hons.) module, AD4101. 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. This module is then further developed in the Studio Practice Exhibition & Presentation module, AD4103, wherein students are supported as they devise their own working brief and subsequent visual responses within an exhibition and presentation context whilst remaining cognizant of their experience of the earlier module. Running concurrently to the studio practice modules, 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 is made up of one 60-credit module, AD4101 and three 20-credit modules, AD4103, AD4104 and AD4106.

Level 4 students will complete a summer project, a response to which is aimed at informing their initial engagement with AD5106, Studio Practice 2 (Single Hons), as they progress to Level 5. AD5106 is a studio practice module that seeks visual responses to projects informed by visual experimentation and contextual reflection. 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 the focus of AD5109, Contemporary Practice: Positions & Agendas. 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 AD5106 and AD5109 embed further the necessity and relevance of visual and contextual research as instigated at Level 4. Complimentary to studio modules, the critical debates, histories and philosophies informing artists of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries are examined in AD5111 Critical Theory 2. This lecture-based module also engages with students through seminar sessions timetabled in studio spaces. Such timetabling is designed to emphasise the importance of the relationship between theory and practice in terms of the students’ own studio practice outputs, the resultant conversation being pivotal to the research for, and generation of an essay. 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, 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.  Level 5 is made up of one 60-credit module, AD5106 and three 20-credit modules, AD5109, AD5111, and AD5104 or Work Based Learning equivalent (WB5101), both of which are external placement modules. 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 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 will complete a summer project that explores further their responses to the module AD5109, Contemporary Practice: Positions & Agendas and generates an initial course of studio investigation and action within the Level 6 module, AD6101, Studio Practice 3 (Single Hons). The first half of this module 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 and accounting for 60-credits of the Level 6 programme 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 studio practice 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. Students may however choose instead 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. In both these cases, students will also choose AD6111 Negotiated Studio Practice, a 20-credit studio practice module that addresses a project brief. This structured brief will be negotiated alongside individual studio practice concerns being developed in AD6101 and therefore be complimentary to it. At Level 6 single honours students will be able to choose modules from a diet that allows not only some flexibility as regards the weighting of theory and practice, but also the nature of the assessment of that theory in a number of different forms. Level 6 students will 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. Level 6 is made up of one 60-credit module, AD6101, one 40-credit module, AD6305 and one 20-credit module, AD6110. Alternatively one 60-credit module, AD6101, and three 20-credit modules, AD6108 / AD6109, AD6110 and AD6111 can be chosen.

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 Statements 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.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
FP3002 0 University Study Skills 20 Comp
FP3003 0 Independent Project 20 Comp
FP3301 0 Critical Thinking 20 Comp
FP3302 0 Tools and Methods in Visual Communication 20 Comp
FP3303 0 Concepts in Practice in Visual Communication 20 Comp
FP3304 0 Visual Culture: History and Society 20 Comp
AD4101 4 Studio Practice 1 (Single Hons.) 60 Comp
AD4103 4 Studio Practice Exhibition & Presentation 20 Comp
AD4104 4 Art History and Theory 20 Comp
AD4106 4 Drawing Practice 20 Comp
AD5104 5 Fine Art and Photography Experiential Learning 20 Optional
AD5106 5 Studio Practice 2 (Single Hons) 60 Comp
AD5109 5 Contemporary Practice: Positions & Agendas 20 Comp
AD5111 5 Critical Theory 2 20 Comp
WB5004 5 Learning in the Wider World 20 Optional
WB5008 5 The Study Abroad Experience 120 Optional
WB5101 5 Enhancing your Employability through Work Based Learning 20 Optional
AD6101 6 Studio Practice 3 (Single Hons) 60 Comp
AD6108 6 Negotiated Critical Theory 20 Optional
AD6109 6 Critical Theory 3 20 Optional
AD6110 6 Professional Practice 20 Comp
AD6111 6 Negotiated Studio Practice 20 Optional
AD6305 6 Dissertation in Art and Design 40 Optional

Level 3:

A candidate who successfully completes 120 credits at Level 3 will be eligible for a Foundation Certificate.

Level 4:

A candidate who successfully completes Level 4 will therefore have accumulated 240 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 240 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:

A candidate who successfully completes Level 5 will therefore have accumulated 360 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 360 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 candidate successfully completing Level 6 will have accumulated 480 credits and will be eligible for the award of a Bachelor’s Degree with Honours. 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:

For full details connected to University Admissions requirements and procedures, reference should be made to the current University of Chester Prospectus or the University and UCAS websites.

  • 72 UCAS points from GCE A Levels
  • BTEC Extended Diploma: MMP-MPP
  • BTEC Diploma: MM
  • Access Diploma – Pass overall
  • International Baccalaureate: 24 points
  • Irish / Scottish Highers - CCCC

Other vocational qualifications at Level 3 will also be considered, such as NVQs.

Mature students (21 and over) that have been out of education for a while or do not have experience or qualifications at Level 3 (equivalent to A-levels) will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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

Foundation Year (Level 3)

The learning, teaching and assessment methods for the foundation year (level 3) are designed to development students’ academic skills and subject knowledge to successfully prepare them for their undergraduate degree programmes. There will be a focus on introducing students to the mode of delivery they will experience at undergraduate level on programmes across the University. These include the development of professional skills, seminars, lectures, debate, group and individual projects, and confidence with presentations and group discussion. Diversity of assessment types enables students to practise and demonstrate a wide set of knowledge and skills. There will also be instances whereby assessments will have a relationship with real-world scenarios and professional practice. Examples of assessments are group and individual presentations, exams, essays, posters, and the development of a portfolio or project.

Formative assessment is a key component of development on the foundation year (level 3). This will be used so that students can monitor their own performance, reflect on their development and prepare for summative assessments. This is particularly salient for the study skills provision, where skills development will be continuously (self) appraised by students and lecturers via group and personal tutorials. The subject-specific modules and study skills curriculum are not delivered as two distinct areas of the foundation year. Students will need to demonstrate proficiency in academic study skills throughout all of their modules.

A key aspect of the foundation year (level 3) will be the identification and development of critical thinking skills and reflection on one's own progress. This will be 'situated' within the University Study Skills module but students will be expected to utilise skills-based learning from this module across the programme. The programme aims to give students opportunities to take charge of their own learning by identifying their own interests and areas for development.

Levels 4 - 6

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 between students and academic staff. 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 addressed here.

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. Such an approach is evident in the Exhibition and Presentation module where a level of creative autonomy is introduced culminating in public exhibition. Academic staff support the development of students’ creative autonomy through individual tutorials and group crits. 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 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. 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.

Level 6 is 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 to explore and experiment 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 of formative dialogue assessment; 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 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.  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.

The following additional information applies to Levels 4, 5 and 6 of the programme.


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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