Skip to main content Go to Site Map
Foundation day in the deep

Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media

This one-year foundation course gives you the chance to explore different creative areas before choosing the subject you want to take a degree in.

Our Diploma in Art and Design – Foundation Studies Programme is delighted to have achieved the ‘Outstanding’ rating in its 2018 Ofsted inspection – in all four areas. You can read more here and see the full report here.

It’s the perfect way to find your creative voice and to boost your existing skills and portfolio if they’re not quite up to degree standard. Or you might just like to enjoy a year of being creative before moving on to something else.

Course Information

This course is geared towards the preparation of a portfolio of work to support your application to a Higher Education course. Throughout the course, your practical studio work will be supported by a programme of contextual studies in art and design.

View the full specification from awarding body UAL

Course Info

Course duration: 1 year full time

Fees: Take a look at the fees page for more information about fees and funding for this course.

Contact admissions: +44 1202 363228

What you'll study

Foundation is the recognised way for students to identify their creative strengths to develop a portfolio and the necessary skills for successful entry onto a degree course.

Foundation students who successfully complete the Foundation Diploma with us are guaranteed a place on a degree course at AUB.*

During the first stage of the Foundation course, students explore creative elements, processes and principles in Art, Design or Media through projects and workshops. Drawing is central to learning on Foundation, and all students engage in experimental drawing; Life drawing; location drawing; sequential drawing and exploration of formal elements.

Students engage in projects that introduce them to a range of approaches in Art, Design and Media. Tutors work with students to diagnose their strengths to help them identify and refine decisions for future study at undergraduate level.

At the end of Stage One, you will select one of our specialisms, so that you can make informed decisions about your choice of undergraduate courses:

Fine Art, 3D Design, Illustration, Graphic Communication, Photography, Fashion, Costume and Textiles and Film and Animation.

We encourage all students to experiment and take risks on the course, to be ambitious and discover creative strengths and interests.

Assessment is based on a presentation of project work and takes place on completion of each stage of the course. Tutorials and Assessments are used to provide guidance on progress and potential in areas of specialist study. The final major project in the third and final stage of the course is graded as pass, merit or distinction.

Diagnostic investigation into creative practice


  • Conceptual and lateral thinking
  • Printmaking
  • Drawing and mark-making
  • Personal, open-ended enquiry
  • Relevant skills development


  • Problem-solving
  • Responding to a brief
  • Sustainability and ethical practice
  • Drawing and mark-making
  • Understanding context and audience
  • Relevant skills development


  • Time-based enquiry
  • Sound
  • Photoshop
  • Video editing
  • Constructing / deconstructing images
  • Drawing and mark-making
  • Relevant skills development

Developing specialist practice

Fine Art

  • Student-led briefs
  • Theory and critical thinking
  • Painting technology workshops
  • 3D workshops/casting/mould-making
  • Exploration of context
  • Time-based media workshops

Graphic Communication

  • Theory and critical thinking
  • Design for good
  • Information graphics
  • Visual communication
  • Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign
  • Book and Zine production
  • One day workshops

3D Design

  • Technical workshops
  • Casting/mould-making/Lasercutting
  • Google SketchUp
  • Exploration of 3D contexts
  • Theory and critical thinking


  • Book and authorial illustration
  • Genre study
  • Experimental drawing workshops
  • Digital practice/Illustrator
  • Life drawing
  • Printmaking
  • Theory and critical thinking

Fashion, Costume and Textiles

  • Fashion illustration
  • Garment construction/ Mannequin
  • Photoshop/print processes
  • Papermaking
  • Machine knit/embroidery workshops
  • Theory and critical thinking


  • Critical theory
  • Advanced Photoshop
  • Studio photography
  • Location lighting
  • Medium format camera use
  • Documentary workshops
  • Book design
  • Theory and critical thinking

Film and Animation

  • Storyboarding
  • Sound & editing workshops
  • Premiere/After Effects
  • Green screen workshop
  • Collaboration with actors
  • Script development
  • Life drawing/drawing for animation
  • Group work
  • Theory and critical thinking
  • Experimental & documentary work

Consolidating practice

In the final stage of the course, students build on their strengths, experience and knowledge gained in Stage 1 and 2, and independently initiate and complete a personal project.

In this Final Major Project the subject, research, activity and outcomes are identified and defined by the student. The course culminates in a public exhibition in the Gallery at AUB.

See what our students are doing

A Foundation diploma is the perfect way to begin your creative pathway. Take a look at the gallery below to find out more about the work that our Foundation students have been making.

"Foundation is the heart of the creative industries, we encourage students to push their boundaries, take risks and experiment with new exciting ways of creating. Through a mix of specialisms, students can take control of their journey and use the course as a springboard into the wide range of undergraduate courses we have to offer. At the same time, students are able to explore the interplay of the disciplines to support the building of their portfolio."

"The foundation diploma sets out to help students diagnose a preferred area of practice, to develop core learning skills and to extend their understanding of the creative process, whilst developing a sense of greater autonomy in preparation for undergraduate degrees or employment."

Josh Reed and Matt Theodore | Course Leaders | Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media

Staff on this course

You’ll be taught by specialist lecturers and technicians on the Foundation course. You can find out more about staff by browsing their profiles below.

JOSHUA READ headshot

Joshua Read

Course Leader - Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media

Image of Matt Theodore

Matt Theodore

Course Leader - Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media

Simon Frend headshot

Simon Frend

Pathway Leader/Senior Lecturer - Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media


Claire Flexen

Pathway Leader - Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media

aub fallback

Hester Poole

Lecturer - Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media

Roland Dry head shot

Roland Dry

Pathway Leader - Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media


Demeter Dykes

Lecturer - Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media

Stephanie Horan headshot

Stephanie Horan

Pathway Leader (Graphics) - Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media


Rachel Larkins

Lecturer - Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media

aub fallback

Kevin Lawton

Senior Technician - Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media

aub fallback

Lindsay Moore

Technician Demonstrator – Preparation for HE...

Marcus Voss headshot

Marcus Voss

Technician Demonstrator - Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media

aub fallback

Perri Scott

Technician Demonstrator - Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media

Caroline Johnson headshot

Caroline Johnson

Visiting Lecturer...

aub fallback

Jason Bascombe

Technician Demonstrator...

Rob Amey portrait

Rob Amey

Visiting Lecturer...

Lucy Turner Portrait

Lucy Turner

Lucy Turner is an artist and video editor based in Bournemouth...

See more of our student work