Photography BA (Hons) (Single Honours)
2017 - 2018
Bachelor of Arts (Single Honours)
Photography (St Helens)
University of Chester
St Helens College
St Helens College
Undergraduate Modular Programme
Classroom / Laboratory,
3 Years [F/T]
Annual - September
Arts and Humanities
Art and Design
Art & Design
Art & Design
Friday 1st June 2012
The programme is modular in design and through three progressive levels of study, will provide students with a culture of supervised, self directed independent study. The programme will prepare students for entry into the photographic industry at a range of different levels or for postgraduate research.
This BA will encourage students to express their views about image making through stimulated discussion during group tutorials and critiques. Development of organisational skills is seen as fundamental both to the students' successful management of the programme and their intended career path. The support and guidance of the programme team will help to ensure that the learning needs of the individuals are addressed.
Hence the overall rationale behind the programme is to enable students to:
Critically Analyse and Evaluate own Photographic Work
Use all channels of communication to good effect
Meet the changing needs currently facing the photographic industry
The programme recognises that many photographers are independent practitioners and will therefore require the skills to manage and promote their own business. With this in mind, the programme endeavours to provide students not just with extensive photographic technical knowledge, but also the ability to engage in an extended period of research, confidence and maturity to work effectively to deadlines, along with communication, organisational and business management skills.
St Helens College has a track record over the past years of delivering quality Higher Education programmes in a range of subject areas within the visual arts, such as Photography, Graphic Design, Game Art & Fine Art. This programme not only builds upon these past successes, but has positively evolved out of them.
The programme has been designed by photographers for photographers.
The educational aims of the programme are:
To develop in depth photographic technical knowledge through the delivery of a broad based programme of study.
To provide learning which combines creative practice with critical reflection and encourages the development of theory into practice.
To develop a problem solving approach to creative image making and aid the development of pre-visualisation skills.
To emphasise the importance of developing individual research methodologies.
To encourage and promote originality in photographic image making.
To develop IT skills through contemporary media and associated industry standard computer applications.
To facilitate the development of active career planning and continued professional development.
To promote supervised, self directed independent study and the fostering of skills in critical analysis
To develop a body of photographic work that is worthy of both exhibition and portfolio development.
The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, intellectual skills, professional practical skills and transferable/key skills in the following areas; Students gain the knowledge and understanding to:
Utilise the craft of photography in relation to a range of photographic processes, materials and equipment. (AR4911)
Engage in individual and group criticism of photographic practice within a given context. (AR4911, AR4912, AR4920)
Fully engage within a self directed programme of study through the development of a coherent body of themed photographic work. (AR5911, AR5913)
Develop a range of photographic practice within both a contemporary and historic context. (AR5910)
Develop the capacity to create a body of photographic work at a professional standard for both portfolio and exhibition purpose, underpinned by relevant research methodologies. (AR6909, AR6911)
Progress the creation of a contextual based research project in order to further career development and output photographic intentions. (AR6911)
The Module Descriptors provide a more detailed account of the learning and teaching processes and their relationship with the following: independent study, set goals, deadline and workload management; contingent situations related to other factors which might include ambiguity, uncertainty, and unfamiliarity, and the ability to work in collaboration with peers and tutors. The programme also assimilates the student's life journey and personal growth, intellectual development and life skills and these are integrated as part of ongoing teaching and learning dialogues.
By the end of this programme the student will be able to:
Reason critically and apply theory within the development of photographic practice. (AR4910)
Effectively evaluate their own work in relation to contemporary and historic practitioners and evaluate the work of their peer group in a critical and constructive manner. (AR4910, AR4911, AR4912)
Analyse, interpret and synthesise a range of primary and secondary research information in order to demonstrate a coherent understanding of tasks. (AR5910)
Demonstrate an awareness and position on a variety of contemporary photographic practices, methods and approaches. (AR5911, AR5912, AR5913)
Exercise independence of mind and thought and ability to impose critical judgement. (AR6910, AR6911)
Critically evaluate a theme through substantial written documentation and the output of a contextual report. (AR6911)
By the end of this programme the student will be able to:
Practical Skills - Level 4
Integrate the creative and technical aspects of image construction. (AR4911, AR4912)
Demonstrate a sound knowledge of theoretical photographic principles and practice which underpin photographic activity. (AR4910, AR4911)
Practical Skills - Level 5
Demonstrate the ability to exercise control over the development of a series of themed bodies of photographic work. (AR5911, AR5913)
Negotiate and participate in the production and management of photographic assignments for submission to national awards. (AR5913)
Practical Skills - Level 6
Prepare and present an industry standard portfolio of photographic work. (AR6910)
Organise and manage a group exhibition of photographic work. (AR6911)
Professional Skills - Level 4
Develop effective team working skills through the application of a range of research and investigation methods. (AR4910)
Professional Skills - Level 5
Work effectively at a professional standard to deadlines, under pressure. (AR5912, AR5913)
Professional Skills - Level 6
Extend their knowledge and skills of professional practice through self-directed working and the ability to work with a team of other visual arts specialists (AR6910)
By the end of this programme the student will be able to:
Structure and communicate their ideas effectively through both written and oral presentation. (AR4910, AR4911, AR4912, AR4920)
Present solutions to problems with authority and confidence and develop a clear understanding of the associated skills necessary for successful self-employment. (AR5911, AR5912, AR5913)
Develop effective interpersonal interactions and communication skills. (AR6909, AR6910, AR6911)
The programme is designed to enable students to acquire and develop progressively higher levels of skill in the subject areas throughout the programme.
Programme Level Four - focuses on enabling the student to better articulate ideas and concepts. This is accomplished by ensuring the craft and art of photography are integrated within teaching and learning. Photography has been set within an historical and social context. A sound understanding of the visual language of photography also features. This helps ensure individuals may better articulate concepts and relay visual messages to their intended audience. Students are intended to have a clear understanding of their dual role as a service provider and a creative artist. Students are also made aware of the career opportunities and work placement opportunities. In essence, students are provided with the skills and knowledge of ‘how’ to take photographs.
Programme Level Five - provides a focus for more specialist work. Students are encouraged, whenever appropriate, to work on live projects. At this stage students are expected to manage photographic activities. This involves briefing colleagues, monitoring the way activities are carried out and making any necessary changes in organisation. This approach to their work prepares students for a world where informed judgement and the confidence to resolve new challenges are seen as the norm. In essence, students are required to answer the question ‘why’ they are taking photographs.
Programme Level Six - further develops the students ability to work independently but with supervision. The essence of this level is to put into practice everything learnt in the prior two years and develop an individual theme to their own work. This can then be taken into the Final Show at the end of the level. Students will also be required to develop their portfolio at this stage of the Degree.
The programme has been designed through both the knowledge of the existing programme team and feedback offered from high profile practitioners and specialists within the industry. The programme team have been informed through feedback from students who have successfully completed the Foundation Degree & Higher National Certificate programmes previously held within the HE photographic portfolio at St Helens College.
The development of the programme seeks to address the needs identified within the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement for Art & Design 2008. [See Section 27]
The programme has also been designed to give students the skills and confidence to support self-directed learning and on-going career plan development.
Level four of the programme corresponds to Framework of Higher Education Qualification (FHEQ) Certificate level, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Certificate of Higher Education. A candidate who successfully completes level four will have accumulated 120 academic credit points.
Level five of the programme corresponds to FHEQ Intermediate Level 5, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Diploma of Higher Education. A candidate successfully completing level five will have accumulated 240 academic credit points. These 240 academic credit points can be carried forward cumulatively towards the award of an honours level undergraduate degree award.
Level six of the programme corresponds to FHEQ Honours Level, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Bachelor Degree with Honours. A candidate successfully completing level six will have accumulated 360 academic credit points.
On receipt of application, candidates will be shortlisted and the successful candidates will be invited to attend an interview with the Programme Leader, bringing with them a portfolio of work appropriately selected to support the aims of the Programme. Candidates must be able to satisfy the following general admissions requirements and minimum qualifications in addition to satisfactory completion of an interview with the Programme Leader and/or members of the Programme Team. Applicants should possess a minimum of 5 GCSE’s at grades A, B or C including English Language in addition to one or more of the following:
A minimum of 80 UCAS points, including a grade C in Art or an Art-based subject
The remaining points may be achieved from GCE AS Levels, or from Level 3 Key Skills
Successful completion of ‘A’ level study with a minimum of two subjects passed
Successful completion of a Btec/EDEXCEL Art & Design Foundation Programme
BTEC National Diploma / Certificate (Art and Design): merit / distinction profile
Successful completion of an Advanced Diploma
Irish Highers / Scottish Highers: B in 4 subjects, including Art or an Art-based subject
International Baccalaureate: 24 points including 4 in Visual Arts
QAA recognised Access course, Open College Units or Open University Credits
Please note: A BTEC National Award or the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) will be recognised in our tariff offer
If English is a second language, then at point of entry students should possess IELTS grade 6, TEFL or an equivalent to GCSE English qualification.
Qualifications deemed equivalent to the above.
Points achieved through Key Skills will be acknowledged. Exceptionally, applicants whose qualifications do not conform to the standard requirements may be admitted on the basis of appropriate prior learning or experience.
Applications from candidates with special needs are also considered on a case-by-case basis.
Although entry to the programme is not dependent upon students having formal fine art painting qualifications, all students are expected to demonstrate an aptitude for painting by presenting appropriate evidence in the form of a portfolio which should include evidence of an ability to generate concepts, sound drawing skills, an inquisitive, questioning attitude to all areas of work, sound working methodologies and evidence of evaluative skills.
Mature students and International students will be considered for admission on an individual basis. Mature students with no or few formal qualifications will be expected to show their aptitude and suitability for the programme via a portfolio of recent artwork. The interview process demonstrates the Department’s desire to meet student's aspirations individually and recognises that individuality in the nature of their artistic ambitions.
Applications to undergraduate programmes are made through UCAS APPLY system.
A UCAS tariff score of 80 points or above is needed for entry to this programme. This reflects the level of achievement attained by the successful completion of an EDEXCEL Diploma in Foundation Studies programme at pass grade. UCAS entry profiles may be found at http://www.ucas.ac.uk. APL claims, (Accreditation for Prior Learning), from candidates who wish to be accredited for prior/experiential learning are carefully considered.
The design, structure and content of this B.A. programme has been informed by both the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement for Art & Design 2008 and The Higher Education Qualification Framework. These are both available on the QAA website: http://www.qaa.ac.uk.
The introduction to this Benchmark Statement identifies that: “Typically, programmes in Art & Design emphasise imagination, creativity and, where appropriate, craft skills and are designed to develop students’ intellectual powers and their ability to communicate.” [Section 1.9]
Furthermore the section dealing with subject specific knowledge and understanding goes on to state: “An honours degree in an Art & Design discipline also confirms that the holder has acquired relevant technical knowledge and practical skills, and will be able to employ materials, media, techniques, methods, technologies and tools associated with the discipline studied with skill and imagination while observing good working practices and professional / legal responsibilities relating to the subject.” [Section 4.5]
These two statements in particular reflect the fundamental philosophic ideal behind the overall structure of the B.A. programme design.
Modules demonstrating compliance with the benchmark statements employ both convergent and divergent thinking in the processes of observation, investigation, speculative enquiry, visualisation and/or making, and also provide students with the opportunity to develop ideas through to material outcomes, for example images, artefacts, products, systems and processes, or texts. Students undertake ‘the acquisition of an understanding of underlying principles and appropriate skills’ and then continue to ‘pursue a programme of development progressing to increasingly independent and personally focused learning’. The programme aims to create a solid base of knowledge and an ‘understanding of the critical and contextual dimensions’ of photography. Students also acquire the technical and communication skills necessary for the practice of photography. At the same time students ‘develop the critical awareness required to learn and articulate their process of learning’ in photography.
The Subject Benchmarks makes reference to ‘common characteristics’ shared by a broad range of disciplines which constitute Art & Design. These include ‘... conception, production, promotion and dissemination of material outcomes ...’. The programme is structured to initiate debates and practices within a wider art-based context, which propagates a self-initiated, critically reflective practice. Students are encouraged to assimilate and interpret a wide range of experiences in order to expand their personal artistic ambitions in a meeting of practice and theory. The emergence of ‘multi’ and inter-disciplinary approaches to photographic art nurtures ‘creative skills, imagination, vision, and - at the highest levels of achievement - innovation.’ Intended Learning Outcomes are clearly stated and mapped to Module Aims. These are linked to performance criteria, included in assignment briefs and written into Module Handbooks. There is a comprehensive College framework for the monitoring and improvement of quality and standards in learning and teaching and these will be used, where and when appropriate.
The following range of teaching and learning methods will be employed:
· Lecture – This is used to impart a specific body of knowledge to students. In most cases, ideas generated by lectures will be developed through supporting seminars or through photographic practice. (including use of multi-media presentations, video presentations)
· Teaching Workshop – This is where a lecturer or visiting lecturer introduces and demonstrates practically based technology, working methods and skills, potential of materials, within a short period of intensive study.
· Seminars - This functions as a forum for the discussion and debate of ideas. The primary function is the exchange of opinion between staff and students, or students and students. A seminar may be initiated and led by staff or may be focussed around a student presentation.
· Group Critiques – This is considered to be an essential learning experience for the student. Its functions are to reveal individual objectives, to encourage students to examine work in relation to their peers, to relate work produced to the objectives of the module, and to focus attention on a range of interpersonal communication skills and an appreciation of group dynamics. Individual one-to-one critiques are used in conjunction with group critiques, to allow for more personally focussed discussion to be pursued in relation to the students work.
· Self Directed Learning - The concept of independent study is an integral part of the programme. It refers to the idea of student centred learning, whereby the student takes responsibility for setting his or her own goals and creating his or her own pathway of study within the framework of the course. With this in mind, the programme team will act more as facilitators, enabling and encouraging learning by developing study skills, suggesting areas of investigation and research, and providing academic advice and counselling.
· Peer Group Learning – This is used throughout the programme and is the means by which a student develops an appreciation and understanding of different aspects of photographic practice through formal and informal discussion with their peers. The layout of accommodation and common access to workshop spaces encourages this exchange of knowledge, ideas and opinions.
· Written Work – The course involves a range of written assignments. These include essays, critical reviews, written discussions, project proposals, applications, letters of introduction, CV’s, reflective logs and a contextual report.
· Oral Presentation – Throughout the programme the student is required to use the spoken word to support their work in both formal and informal situations. This involves seminar debates, ideas tutorials, oral reports to support practical projects, project proposals, portfolio presentations, group critiques and discussions.
· Group Work – Certain assignments will require students to work together or in pairs, to practise or demonstrate learning or to initiate investigation and / or deliver presentations.
· Library & Gallery Study – The success of projects and the development of students personal knowledge and understanding of photography depends very significantly upon the use the student makes of Libraries, Galleries and other places of potential visual / reference interest. It is essential for students to be able to both contextualise their work and relate it to the work of other practitioners. Students are encouraged to visit galleries that they may not have visited before and to look at the work of other photographers whose practice they may not be familiar with.
· Visits – Throughout the programme the students are required to attend a series of visits that will be pre-planned. These visits are intended to enhance and extend their cultural awareness. These visits will take the form of exhibitions, trade fairs, conferences and industrial and professional organisations.
· Visiting Lectures – Students benefit from contact with a wide range of professional activities through direct contact with industrial specialists. The schedule of VLs is intended to introduce the students to a variety of different photographers' practice and working methods.
A scheme of planned teaching and learning activities for each module is issued to all students at the beginning of each Semester. Assignment briefs are issued and discussed at the beginning of each Semester in order to allow maximum planning time prior to presentation/performance/submission. These are detailed in each Module Handbook. All pieces of practical coursework contain an element of objective evaluation and critical analysis to encourage students to investigate and examine their work as if it was that of another practitioner. This analysis is included in the assessment of that element of work although the coursework and module themselves may be predominantly practical in nature.
The individual time allocation given to each module per week reflects the Credit rating and scheduling for that Semester. Tutor contact is in the form of lectures, workshops, seminars and tutorials. In addition to this, students are expected to spend the identified amounts of time in research activities, the taking of photographs, computer based activities, and studio and darkroom work.
The Programme is, for the most part, delivered via five sessions per week. How these sessions are used varies according to the requirements of the module content and the pedagogic strategies of the individual lecturers. There is good accessibility of staff and this helps to ensure close co-operation between students and tutors in the development of individual learning strategies and the promotion of autonomous learning.
In addition to tutorial support as identified within the Module Descriptors students are allocated a Personal Tutorial Group and a Personal Tutor with pastoral responsibility. Further learning needs are identified and supported by this system. Established practice requires students to action plan, undertake evaluation of each assignment and to identify areas of personal strength and weakness. In addition to the Tutorial system, further learning needs, where appropriate, are supported within the Learning Centre Facility.
The systems therein to support individual learning needs include:
Booking a 20 minute one-to-one intensive session re Literacy and/or Number
Specific dyslexia support
Facilities for students with visual/aural impairment
Systems established within the programme area to support individual learning needs include:
Extra support and guidance for students with dyslexia
In addition to the contribution of full-time members of staff, part of the programme delivery will be through part-time and fractional lecturers, who will bring their contemporary knowledge and practical skills to their teaching. Further professional input will be through a scheduled range of Visiting Lecturers.
It is expected of teachers at degree level that as a minimum, they are able to keep abreast of current developments at the research frontier, and that they are able to draw on these developments to enhance their teaching. As the scope and level of Higher Education work in the College expands, particularly at Degree Level, commensurate expansion in the level of original scholarship by members of staff engaged in degree work will be supported.
All students are introduced to the methods of assessment and assessment deadlines during the Induction Programme as specified in Section 31. The programme intends to enable students to become independent and creative photographic practitioners. The programme achieves this through the development and subsequent acquisition of both practical / technical skills and the ability to contextualise creative output, via a balance of practice and theory through production, interpretation and reflection. Assessment considers both practice and theory, measuring how both elements inform each other. Students are expected to be able to critically reflect upon both their own work and the work of others, via the progression through the modules at the different levels of the programme. At Levels 5 and 6 the students are expected to propose practical projects through seminar presentations with the rest of the group, thus taking clearer ownership of time management and project planning within a visual arts context.
The basic functions for assessment are as follows:
Achievement against learning outcomes
Written and verbal feedback to students on progress
Measure achievement against specified assessment criteria
Identify student strengths and weaknesses
Ensure national academic standards are met in comparison to other awards
Students work is assessed in order to ensure the programmes standards are met. All modules contain assessed work that is normally in the form of an "Assignment Brief". All assignment briefs will contain both evidence requirements for submission and a series of weighted assessment criteria that tells the student what they are being marked against. The assessment criteria will reflect the learning outcomes of the module and it is with these outcomes in mind that the external examiner can make a judgement on an individual student’s performance.
All assessed students work also needs to meet a national standard consistent with the award being offered.
Methods of Assessment
Two methods of assessment are employed throughout the three levels of the programme. They are as follows:
Formative Assessment – This is conducted through group and individual critiques, allowing the programme team to offer on-going feedback to students according to standards commensurate with the requirements of the programme. This forum also offers the opportunity for students to evaluate their own work in relation to that of their peer group. Individual academic tutorials also offer a continued method of formative assessment.
Summative Assessment – This is conducted through formal assessment records containing individual grades for specific individually weighted assessment criteria and written feedback. This form of assessment happens after work has been submitted to deadline and provides the students with a clear indication of their strengths and weaknesses, detailing how they might improve their performance.
Both practical and theoretical assignment work will be assessed in this manner with individually weighted assessment criteria detailed through the module assignment briefs. Assignment briefs for all levels of the programme will be made available to students through the Moodle site.
Graduates of the programme will be able to operate as independent photographic practitioners in a diverse range of art and industry contexts. They will be able to undertake self-initiated projects which effectively incorporate a broad range of photographic media and processes. They will be able to contextualise their practice in relation to the histories and theories of the medium, and the key themes and debates which inform contemporary photographic art practice and its wider contexts. They will also be equipped to recognise the scope of their practice within the creative industries. They will be able to critically analyse and research a diverse range of resources, which enable the production of meaning. They will also be able to synthesise and correlate experiences, concepts and research, which have originated as a result of practice-based learning. They will possess a specific knowledge-base of artistic, cultural and aesthetic precedents. This will allow them to critically evaluate the significance of relevant photographic, art and interdisciplinary contexts. This will lead to an intellectual approach to the medium based upon sustained and rigorous critical inquiry. Graduates will be able to manifest their ideas visually as well as be able to articulate them orally and contextualise them in written form. This will be manifest in many different forms which encompasses a wide range of possibilities which includes the following modes of reception, production and dissemination: exhibition, installation, portfolio, photobooks and publishing, mixed, multi and new media possibilities and platforms.
The transferable skills acquired by graduates of this programme will equip them for employment in the creative and cultural industries. A significant number of photography graduates secure employment in related roles such as curatorial practices, moving image production, gallery and museum contexts, photographers' assistants, press and publishing, as well as in image libraries and archives and photographic agencies. Other employment possibilities relate directly to skills based upon visual literacy, a critical-eye and other areas where the creativity of photographic practice is valued and utilised in diverse ways. These roles are exemplified in film, television and analogue and new media platforms. Other graduates will also enter the teaching profession as a vocation where their practical and research skills impact upon their pedagogy and research in a teaching and learning context. Photography embraces many interdisciplinary areas and offers avenues into alternative career pathways for those who are motivated and able to recognise these possibilities. The list includes: fine art, publishing, fashion/magazine photography, photo laboratories, digital imaging, advertising photography, public commissions and employment within museums and galleries, as well as the retail sector and visual merchandising etc. Such examples serve to confirm the significance of students’ transferable skills and subject knowledge. As a result of their experience in dealing with complex practical and intellectual visual challenges, and their ability to think laterally. Graduates also have the potential to consider a number of other career paths including public relations or marketing.
Significantly the nature of the programme, with its emphasis on self-initiated practice, intellectual and independent creativity in preparing graduates as photographic practitioners, is such that it will also equip them to contemplate freelance photographic work or to become independent or self-employed practitioners and artists. Some may choose to go on to study for a higher degree either in the Department’s postgraduate Fine Art, Design or MRes programmes, or another similar or alternative postgraduate course at another institution.
Extended access is an essential part of the St Helens College mission to maximise local and regional educational opportunities. The Degree programme will have a direct link to the College’s Diploma in Foundation Studies and National Diploma Programmes thus providing a coherent, in house progression route dedicated to widening access. Priorities include increasing widening participation, the active promotion of life-long learning and engagement with employers.
St Helens College respects diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity. The College strives to ensure that no student receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of social background, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
St Helens College will take positive steps to eliminate discrimination, reduce the effects of past discrimination, continue the drive to increase levels of under-represented groups and promote equality in all aspects of student admissions and experiences in St Helens College. No student should be disadvantaged by unjustifiable conditions or requirements.
All students of St Helens College are expected to treat each other with respect, as well as staff and visitors.
Induction - A one week induction period is provided for all new students. Sessions typically encompass familiarisation with the structure of the programme and introductory lectures and/or practical workshops or study/orientation visits. Induction often incorporates a field-trip or practical assignment which is integrated as part of an introduction to modules studied in Level 4. There is also a non-assessable introductory assignment often set, to encourage students to discuss their photographic work from the outset.
Students will have Learning Resources and Library induction sessions, and will also have the opportunity to meet with and discuss any questions they may have with Department staff.
Programme Information and University Regulations - A Programme Handbook, Module Handbooks and Schedules detailing the structure of the programme are made available to all students and are regularly updated as appropriate. All relevant information concerning the University's regulations is widely available via the University intranet Moodle pages in Portal.
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