BA, MA, PGCert
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Fine Art Course information
This course considers fine art in its widest sense, which means you can test out many different approaches or choose to specialise in one. Experimental workshops in painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, video, digital media and sonic arts provide you with a solid foundation in testing the physical and conceptual potential of materials that you can then develop further.
Our course is designed to provide you with a high-quality education in contemporary art practice, and is delivered by highly respected tutors, acclaimed artists and excellent technicians.
Over the duration of the course you will develop your individual artistic voice, informed through your own research and critical evaluation, peer and tutor’s feedback and a deep understanding of your chosen materials. When you graduate, you will be fully equipped to contribute and add something new to the UK’s art scene as an emerging artist.
Exhibiting and being enterprising is a key part of our course. We offer many opportunities for you to exhibit your work with an emphasis on site-specific locations thanks to our unique partnerships with local museums, councils and research centers. We also have a series of international student artist residency placements and worldwide partner university study exchanges. All these experiences are specially created by our tutors to give you a real sense of what it means to be a professional artist - both in the studio and the broader world.
In the first year you will work in open plan studios and participate in collective workshops to find what inspires and excites you as an artist. In the following years you will develop your practical, theoretical and critical skills within your self-defined study plans. The course culminates in two exhibitions of your work for your final major project, one on campus at Bournemouth and the second in London.
We support and encourage experimentation and development of skills, and workshops are offered as a continual part of the course over the 3 years. These are conducted in painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, video, digital media and sonic art as well as seminars to foster your conceptual development and understanding of curation / how exhibitions are put together.
You will have additional access to the latest technology, such as laser cutters, CNC (computer numerically controlled) machines and 3D printers. Our aim is to provide you with a solid foundation so that you can create contemporary artworks with high technical skill combined with solid conceptual grounding.
Above all we offer a welcoming and inclusive course, set in a vibrant campus dedicated to creative practices of all kinds.
UCAS course code
UCAS institution code
Level 4 (first year)
Your first year builds upon your previous learning; you’ll experiment broadly and acquire new skills and knowledge, from a combination of both practice and theory sessions.
You’ll attend various workshops, learn about curating and exhibit your work. An important part of the first year is helping you to confidently speak and write about your work. In the final unit of this year, you will define your practice and determine which areas you wish to specialise in.
You’ll work in a mixed practice studio.
Level 5 (second year)
Your second year encourages you to examine the positioning of your work within the Fine Art industries and to consider its relationship to audiences.
At the beginning of Level 5, you’ll decide where to locate your practice and which practical working zone of the course to locate yourself in. You can also move between zones.
You’ll continue to improve your practical skills whilst simultaneously clarifying the research questions you are investigating.
You’ll have opportunities to study abroad and participate in challenging projects.We encourage work experience in this year if you decide to opt for the independent study unit. Your research into career options and professional practice will also begin.
Level 6 (third year)
In your third year, you’ll continue to develop and refine your understanding of your own practice, specifically the Fine Art discipline, the language it operates within and how it is interpreted by viewers.
This is the crucial year where you consolidate your previous experience and experiments and pursue a focused practice. This is celebrated in your two degree exhibitions, one at AUB and one in London, allowing your work to be viewed by hundreds of people and giving you a springboard into professional life.
All students are registered for the award of BA (Hons); however, exit awards are available if you leave the course early, having successfully completed one or two levels. If you successfully complete a level of the course, you will automatically be entitled to progress to the next level.
For the award of a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), you must have achieved a minimum of 120 credits at Level 4. This qualification may be awarded if you leave the University following successful completion of the first year of your course.
For the award of a Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), you must have achieved a minimum of 240 credits of which a minimum of 120 must be at Level 5. This qualification may be awarded if you leave the University following successful completion of the second year of your course.
For the award of a BA (Hons) you must have achieved a minimum of 360 credits of which a minimum of 240 must be at Level 5 or above, of which a minimum of 120 credits must be at Level 6. This qualification will be awarded upon successful completion of your course.
A BA without Honours may be awarded if you have achieved 300 credits, at least 180 of which are at Level 5 or above, and at least 60 of which are at Level 6.
On the BA (Hons) Fine Art course, you’ll benefit from the expert guidance from our experienced teaching staff. You can read more about their specialisms by exploring their profiles below.
PhD, MFA, MA, MA
BA, MFA, PGCert
MFA, BA (Hons)
Ed D (Pending)
MA RCA, BA (Hons), FHEA, PGCert
What is Fine Art?
How to apply
Once you've found the perfect Undergraduate course, you can apply to study via UCAS, including direct entry applications to second and third year.
When applying through UCAS, use the institution code A66. All of our courses take place on one site, so we don't have a campus code. We'll then use your completed UCAS form to make decisions about your application. You can find out more on entry requirements in our apply section.
When you apply to one of our courses, it's important that you help us get a good picture of both you and your work – so you'll need a great personal statement. We want to know more about why you're interested in the course, your key influences, and what you hope to do after your studies.
If you're invited for an interview, many of our courses will ask to see a portfolio of your work so we can get more insight into your ideas and abilities. To help you, we've created guidelines outlining what we expect from your portfolio for each course.
Looking to be inspired? You can browse our gallery of student work and take a look at some of the projects that our current students have been working on. Students studying this course achieve great things and have won prestigious and high profile awards, such as:
- National ‘Lynne Stainer Painting Prize’
- Solo exhibition at Aspex Gallery Portsmouth
- Two graduates selected for inclusion in the Dangerous Women exhibition, which included Tracey Emin
- Two-week long artist residency in Milan
- Five students selected for Hans Brinker Painting Prize exhibition in Amsterdam
Practice in context
As part of the unit Practice in Context, second year students collaborated with three organisations; the Structural Genomics Consortium in Oxford, the Bournemouth Natural Science Society, and the Bournemouth council owned Lower Gardens mini golf course. The aim of the partnerships was to develop exciting artworks in response to the organisations.
Sadly, the exhibitions were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We look for originality and an individual vision and expect potential students to have a developed and knowledgeable appreciation of the fine arts. Most importantly, we are looking for students with ambition and drive who are able to use the creative freedom of the course to develop a strong practice and go on to build successful careers.
Top tips on how to prepare your portfolio:
For courses that require a portfolio review or an audition, the Admissions team will be in touch with you and request a digital portfolio or audition.
We'll hold Offer Holder days in Spring and invite applicants to visit the campus and meet the course team, or if you're unable to visit us you'll be able to attend a virtual Offer Holder Day.
Your portfolio of work should showcase interesting ideas that push the boundaries and explore concepts, media and materials. A variety of developmental and finished work, coursework and personal projects, sketch books, research files and journals should be included. The way you discuss and present your portfolio tells us much about your initiative and understanding.
Listed below are a number of suggestions to help you in compiling your portfolio. Please regard this list as general guidance rather than specific requirements.
- Arrange your work either chronologically or grouped according to themes, activities or projects. The ordering of your portfolio should help the interviewer to see links between the various aspects of your work and allow him/her to assess your progress and potential for development.
- Present your work in a way that shows each piece off to its best advantage. Avoid excessive use of card and window mounting. Work on paper is often presented most effectively without any mounting. However, please avoid a plethora of different sized sheets or scraps of paper. Only in exceptional cases should work be rolled together – for example large- scale paintings or drawings.
- A representative selection of any course work that you have undertaken should be included along with extended project work in one or more of the fine art related disciplines.
- You should include self-initiated work that demonstrates your self- motivation and independent thinking. This may be work that complements your course work or work that you have extended and developed from an initial self-initiated project.
- Sketchbooks provide a very useful insight into your creative thinking, idea development and visual research. You should include your recent sketchbooks.
Universities interviewing for creative courses will expect to be presented with a portfolio to help them understand your ability and range of work. Your portfolio could be your golden ticket into receiving an offer so making sure it’s presentable, well-organised and accessible is essential.
Our course challenges visual culture through the creation of new paintings, sculptures, videos and performance. We offer you many opportunities to explore materials and their application in new and exciting ways. A broad team of experienced practising artists will help you to progress and refine your art, testing it in real-world situations through the many international study and exhibition projects.
Fees and funding
The fee that you pay the Arts University Bournemouth provides the necessary equipment and training for you to complete your course.
You may also choose to buy some items of personal equipment such as a laptop or tablet computer, but this is not required; desktop and laptop computers are available for you to use in common study areas, including a loan system in the Library.
Studios and resources
Our purpose-built North-Light studios offer a bright open plan feel yet also allow for personal workspaces for each student. Our studio layouts operate in a flexible way and we adapt the space for each incoming first year group. In the second and third year you can choose to be sited in studio zones dedicated to painting, sculpture and media and Performance (MaP). We offer a messy space/‘setting up area’ for building larger structures, a casting/plaster space as well as a dedicated canvas stretching area. We have several large and bookable project spaces to test ambitious ideas out, they are also useful to document your work. A large fine art green screen studio with specialist lighting is also available for video/film/photography/performance.
Because the studios are sited on a specialist Arts Campus there are fully equipped state of the art workshops on hand for you to work in printmaking, metal, casting, Laser Cutting, Computer Numerically Controlled machines, plastic manipulation and vacuum forming.
Students can also book large drawing studios, such as the crab drawing studio, for themselves or groups when other courses are not using them.
The Fine Art studios are open until 21.00 Monday - Friday and until 17.00 on the weekends.
Teaching and learning
The course contains a rich mixture of taught activities that incrementally build practical and theoretical skills during the levels of the course.
Demonstrations: Making skills are learnt
Workshops: Practical or theoretical projects
Individual tutorials: Discuss academic progress
Group seminars: Talk about art work / practice and ideas
Group critiques: Discuss art work critically and respond to questions
Presentations: Present art work or a slide show to peers
Lectures: Critically engaged visual presentations
Study Visits: To local, national or international cultural places
External projects: Testing art practice through exhibition
These activities can take place both on and off campus and occur over all three years.
Independent study time is of fundamental importance for learning. We facilitate strategies to help students develop and manage independent learning.
Independent study time consists of two main activities:
1. Studio Practice (Praxis)
The skills and knowledge gained from the taught activities help inform individual work. Speculative material investigations take place. Uncertainty must be managed.
2. Contextual Research and Reflection
This can take place simultaneously in the studio and elsewhere, such as the AUB library or other off campus research centres that the student individually selects. We advocate that students conduct primary research.
It is also a time to be critically and analytically reflective about all types of work, and to decide on study plans.
The course promotes individual learning and teaching opportunities by adopting a student-centred ethos.
Elective choices can be made within each year of study. These include practical workshops, lectures, seminars, study visits and international university exchanges.
Contact hours include all scheduled teaching sessions, but also supervised time in the workshop or studio. In line with national guidance, we include in our calculation of contact hours all the time which is scheduled in the studio for independent study which is also supported by staff (either academic staff, or technicians).
The information provided below gives the proportion of your study time which constitutes contact hours. Where there are optional routes through the course, we have used the figures for the most popular option.
|Year 1 (% time)||Year 2 (% time)||Year 3 (% time)|
Assessment feedback is designed to enhance learning. We consider assessment to be part of the learning process, and promote deep learning through encouraging students to reflect and discuss their assessment feedback.
There are two main forms of feedback:
1. Formative feedback for learning.
This is developmental, takes place during a unit and can be verbal or written. It is used to help improve learning and to enhance academic performance.
2. Summative feedback on learning.
This is written and specific to the learning outcomes of a unit and takes place when a unit is completed. It is used to give grades for each unit.
Our feedback is constructively critical, helping determine how the student work might progress academically.
Each unit is assessed separately, and the assessment forms part of the unit. Assessment both provides a measure of your achievement, and also gives you regular feedback on how your learning is developing.
For every unit of your course, we will inform you of what you are expected to learn; what you have to submit; how your work will be assessed; and the deadline for presenting your work for assessment. This is made available through Unit Information, which is on your course blog.
You will receive a final mark for each unit in the form of a percentage, which will be recorded on your formal record of achievement (transcript). Each component of assessment is graded using a notched marking scale, whereby only certain marks are used within each grade. The only marks available within any ten-point band are *2, *5 and *8 (e.g. 62, 65, 68). These marks correspond to a low, mid, and high level of achievement within each grade band.
The University has agreed that, during 2019/20, it will run a pilot project. This will mean that on some courses, one unit at Level 4 will be assessed on a Pass / Fail basis only, with written feedback but no numerical grade. If your course has been selected for the pilot, your Course Leader will tell you this, and the details will be clearly expressed on the Unit Information Sheet.
All learning outcomes must be passed to successfully complete the unit.
On successful completion of your Honours degree course, you will be awarded a degree classification based on your unit marks. The final classification is determined using all unit marks at Levels 5 and 6 using two different algorithms, which are detailed in the HE Student Regulations. If the two algorithms produce different results, you will be awarded the higher class of degree.
If you have joined Level 6 through either the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) route or having completed a Foundation Degree (FdA), the final classification is determined using only your unit marks at Level 6.
For further information on assessment, progression, awards and classifications, please visit https://viewpoint.aub.ac.uk
This year, we invited a number of industry experts professionals into our classes to give our students a valuable insight into Fine Art and industry. Guest lecturers included:
- Otobong Nkanga; Visual artist and performer. Her work explores the tension between exploitative extraction processes and structures of care and repair.
- Jasmina Cibic; Film and installation artist. Her installations explore ‘soft power’ – how political rhetoric is deployed through art and architecture, particularly by the state.
- Ingrid Pollard; Mixed-media artist and researcher. Pollard uses digital, analogue and alternative photographic processes, printmaking, image-text and artist books, installation, video and audio.
- Caragh Thuring; London-based painter, originally from Belgium. Her paintings often examine the speed at which images are consumed, asking how much information is required and how slowly the process of looking can unfold.
- Jennet Thomas; MILM, media and installation artist. Her work can look like an experimental film, children's drama or performance art - it’s a call for complexity that collides genres, experimenting with collective constructions of meaning.
- Sean Edwards; Turner Prize Winner and represented Wales at the Venice Biennale
- Hardeep Pandhal
- Arts Catalyst
What our graduates are doing
Highly motivated graduates from this course go on to be leading contributors in a variety of fine art disciplines, whether as the next generation of contemporary artists, inspiring teachers, curators, or as assistants to renowned artist
Our students go on to a broad range of destinations, these include:
- HackelBury Fine Art – Gallery Manager
- The Pineapple Group Ltd – Creative Project Manager
- SpearWorks Jewellery – Jewellery Designer/Maker
- James Glancy Design Ltd – Production Fabricator
- Weston College (MA) – Art Tutor
- Picture Production Company – Head of Editing
- White Cube – Client Registrar
- Adidas – Project Manager
- Seen Displays – Senior Creative Project Manager
- Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) – Associate Director
- The Arts of Change – Art Therapist
- Pinewood Studios – Prop Maker
- Gloss – Gallery Manager
- V&A – Internship
- Digital Arts Organization – Assistant
- Damien Hirst and Ian McKeever – Studio Assistant
- ArtSway – Research Assistant as part of a Knowledge Transfer Catalyst Scheme
- White Cube Gallery – Intern
- Artworks artists studios – Founder
- Goldsmiths College – PGCE study
You can find out more about our alumni by exploring their profiles.
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Trips and visits
As part of your course you may also get the opportunity to take part in course trips, previous trips have included:
- New York
*These trips are optional and some may incur additional costs
Due to the current travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines, it is unlikely that any trips will be planned in the first half of the new academic year. We will follow Government advice as soon as it is available for the remainder of the year.