Course Structure

The course is made up of three stages spread over three terms, during which students explore approaches to observation and experimentation in preparation for expression of their personal ideas in Fine Art and Design. The structure of the course progresses from set assignments towards self-directed study. The course is full time, with five days’ teaching a week. During the first two terms students will have weekly life drawing sessions in the studio where they will draw from the unclothed model. There is a Contextual Studies component that runs throughout the year.

Stage 1

Stage 1 of the course begins with a series of taught workshops in a range of art and design media and disciplines including drawing, printmaking, sculpture, 3D explorations, photography, animation and bookmaking. In week 5 the first personal project is introduced alongside taught workshops. Every Friday students participate in a contextual studies programme.

Stage 2 and 3

The emphasis during Stages 2 and 3 is more focused on independent study as students continue to develop ideas through personal projects before embarking on their self-initiated Final Major Project. Independent study is supported by timetabled drawing classes and taught workshops throughout Stages 2 and 3 of the course. Students are expected to engage with timetabled lectures, studio critiques and debates throughout the programme

Tutorial and teaching structure

The teaching structure operates in two ways. The first is group teaching, whereby the tutor is assigned a group of students to deliver a set project, seminar, lecture or discussion. The second is one-to-one teaching. Each student will be allocated a personal tutor during the first term of the academic year and will be required to have one formal tutorial each term. 

Contextual Studies

Students have a dedicated contextual studies day every Friday throughout the course. The day starts with a morning lecture from art historian Antje Southern at Trinity Buoy Wharf, followed by a museum or gallery visit in Central London in the afternoon. This component of the course develops skills in analysing and critiquing artistic practices and introduces methods of interpreting and evaluating information. The selection of topics consistently link to the weekly workshops and encourages connections between practice and theory. Throughout the course we investigate a broad range of creative processes from the past to the present. 

Museum and gallery visits are tailored to provide a critical framework and complement the students’ practical work; students make drawings from the works on show to examine and search for image making possibilities. End of day group crits acknowledge the students insights and encourage them to establish a voice of their own. Linking both approaches, contextual research and drawing directly from artists’ work, helps students to clarify their personal interests and to generate their own ideas.

Students also attend a weekly lecture on Wednesday evenings in Shoreditch, curated by writer/artist Julian Bell and art critic/artist William Feaver. Past talks have discussed Freud, Auerbach and Beckmann, alongside in-conversations with Sir Peter Blake RA, David Shrigley, Tracey Emin RA, Grayson Perry RA and Michael Landy RA. Every spring term the Artists on Film series runs alongside the lecture programme.

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The tutors really care about helping and teaching you – you’re a person with a personality, not just a number. Isabeau Gervais Foundation Year 2014