Fine Art Critical Practice BA(Hons)
Image: student installation 'pub' for the 2011 second year exhibition.
The Fine Art Critical Practice [formerly Critical Fine Art Practice (CFAP)] degree course at Brighton suits student artists who wish to explore theory and practice as equally important and interrelated aspects of their activity. As a student on the course you can develop your artistic practice across any style, media, process or site or production, based on your own motivations and interests.
You may find it appropriate to work in a range of media, such as, collage, drawing, painting, photography, video, or in more recently developed media such as Facebook, Twitter, or video-sharing websites. Some students even develop a practice that has little or no material aspect.
Your work will be tested against a programme of discussion and analysis, considering the mode of authorship, the context for your work and how it engages with an audience and society. The repertoire of media, approaches and context is therefore extensive and constantly evolving, and the diversity of working methods, media and attitudes among the group is an important aspect of your course.
The course ethos is that practice and theory are equally important to your artistic activity. Engagement with critical and theoretical issues is integral to the practice of staff and students in Fine Art Critical Practice. The forms and techniques of mass media are discussed as well as those more commonly found in fine art. Historical and contemporary developments in the practical and critical aspects of art are studied in the wider context of cultural and social change. Throughout the course, work made by you, or by others, is subject to critique in relation to a wide range of perceptual and critical frameworks.
Between them, the teaching staff of Fine Art Critical Practice provide specialist practical knowledge of the media and processes with which you are likely to work. They also have an overview of past and current issues in international art practice, as well as familiarity with the theories that inform and interrogate such practice. The staff team includes exhibiting artists and writers, and those who combine both areas of activity. The fact that you are advised and assessed by the same tutors in the theoretical and practical aspects of your work promotes an integration of practice, which is uncommon on many fine art courses.
The course seeks to enable you to steadily develop and to refine your skills in discrimination, articulation and execution, as demonstrated through your selection, organisation and production of realised thought and response. While the focus of the programme must be to prepare each of you for a successful career in the professional context of fine art practice (and there is a long list of those who have so succeeded), it is understood that other Fine Art Critical Practice graduates have usefully followed a wide choice of careers. To provide you with the ability to think and converse clearly, to research comprehensively, and through effort to excel in your practical endeavors, will enable you to make that choice with confidence.
Our informative and inspiring course aims to develop your creative, intellectual and technical skills and prepare you for professional life within the art world.Our skilled teaching staff place equal emphasis on art practice and theory. Your work will be shaped by your own motivations and interests, matched with the resources we have available, and is then tested against a programme of discussion and analysis.
You will be able to work in an exciting range of traditional and innovative media, such as photography, moving image, Facebook, Twitter, or video-sharing websites.Our students are taught to consider the context of their work and how it engages its audience. You will develop a distinct body of work that is critically informed by contemporary art practice and ideas, which you should be able to articulate theoretically.
In year 1 you will review your work to date and explore a wide range of art practices alongside discussion of theoretical texts. You will begin to define your own art practice and present your work for exhibition. During year 2 you will further develop your critical engagement with theory and practice. You will experience working in a post-studio environment and produce work for public exhibition. Year 3 focuses on self-directed art practice, and theoretical interests, and prepares you for life after the course. Assignments include a presentation on work in progress that helps you prepare for your final essay and exhibition.
Areas of study
You will examine the relationship between art practice, theory and history by taking part in seminars, group critiques and tutorials. Our studio discussions are theoretically informed and intellectually rigorous. Opportunities for you to develop projects for a range of situations and environments are offered throughout the course.
Communication and research skills
Theoretical knowledge skills
Historical and critical studies
Historical and critical studies
Research and articulation
Career and progression opportunities
The course prepares you for life as a working artist or work in related areas. We offer advice on arts funding, networking and organisation and administration skills. Many of our graduates progress to our postgraduate study and research courses and become successful artists, including Turner Prize winner (2002) Keith Tyson, Heather and Ivan Morrison, John Timberlake and Harold Offeh.
UCAS code W100
Full-time: 3 years
We highly recommend that applicants undertake a pre-degree art and design foundation diploma. For those applying with A-levels only, grades ABB are expected, supported by a strong portfolio. Applicants whose predicted grades fall below these minimum requirements, but who can demonstrate a high quality portfolio, are still encouraged to apply and will be considered on an individual basis. For more information please see http://arts.brighton.ac.uk/foundation.
Access to HE Diploma
pass (at least 45 credits at level 3), with 30 credits at merit or above. Art and design diploma preferred.
GCSE (minimum grade C) or Access Equivalent
a good profile.
For non-native speakers of English:
IELTS 6.0 overall, with 6.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in the other elements.
Art and design foundation diploma.
Interview and portfolio review.
The fees listed here are for full-time courses for the upcoming academic year only. Further fees are payable for subsequent years of study.
The tuition fee you have to pay depends on a number of factors including the kind of course you take, whether you study full- or part-time and whether or not you already have a higher education qualification. If you are studying part-time you will normally be charged on a pro rata basis depending on the number of modules you take. Different rules apply to research degrees - contact the course team for up-to-date information.
Visit www.brighton.ac.uk/money for more information, including advice on international and island fee paying status, and the government's Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) policy.
BA(Hons) Fine Art: Critical Practice
UK/EU (FT) - 9,000 GBP
Island Students (FT) - 9,000 GBP
International (FT) - 12,900 GBP
Image: Students planning work in studio space.
The Fine Art Critical Practice degree course course helps you aquire physical, critical and cognitive skills together with professional practice and historical understanding. This is continuous throughout each semester and each year of the course. The teaching and learning methods used in the programme cover traditional categories such as the lecture, the seminar, the group crit, the individual tutorial, technical inductions and demonstrations and an increasing use of e-learning, e-methods of documentation and similar methods of e-communication such as email and Student-Central.
Assessment strategies in the studio practice areas of the course take the form of an appraisal of exhibited/displayed bodies of work. Feedback in this context is immediate and contributes directly to the learning experience, further feedback can be provided in one-to-one tutorials and in written form, while the historical and critical studies components take the form of written submissions.
In your first year (Full time) you are introduced to a wide range of forms and types of art practice, alongside discussions on theoretical texts, with an estimated 12 hours per week direct contact with academic staff. A new seminar-based unit is designed to facilitate debate and understanding on key institutions, roles and terms within the contemporary art world. For example the role of the critic in relation to the art gallery; the term 'art market'; the relationship of the art collector to the art fair and art museum. In your first year you will also begin to define the nature of your practice, the context for your work, producing practical and written work for assessment. A studio exhibition / event towards the end of the first semester is an early occasion for students to work together and think about how their work might reach an audience.
As a second year full time student you will continue to develop and deepen your critical engagement with theory and practice. Central to this year is a new ‘student placement scheme’ which encourages each student to work outside the boundaries of our Grand Parade campus and engage with other areas of activity across the University of Brighton. Second years also participate in a public exhibition / event that aims to develop their awareness of producing work for exhibition. This is an important opportunity to demonstrate your ability to work collaboratively, give visible form to ideas and engage an audience. Embedded within the art practice units are talks, workshops and seminars focused on professional practice, with the aim of helping you develop the tools needed to continue your practice beyond undergraduate study. Second years are also offered the chance to take one ‘Extension Study’ unit in the first semester, which runs alongside core Fine Art Critical Practice studies.
Level 6, consists of three core elements only, the final degree mark being the sum total of marks received for all three units taken at this level. The units are:
- Interim Presentation, an important step towards the consolidation of theory and practice as an interrelated agenda, and the articulation of your plans for your practice and work for the degree show.
- Historical and Critical Studies Essay, this research project should reflect, and have a demonstrable connection with your studio practice.
- 'Art Practice 5' the final unit of the course requires you to consolidate and develop your practice, as the basis for maximising its potential both in the degree show and post-graduation.
The final year units will include discussions, seminars and workshops that require you to consider the processes and mechanisms that will support your core creative activities once you graduate, for example, making art, writing, performance, curating.
In Fine Art Critical Practice the units of study provide a focus for art practice and theory but do not define it. The units are intended to inter-relate and build into a coherent experience of contemporary art practice in the widest sense.
Image: Oona Patterson, 'Ream', narrative paper sculpture: a little girl who lives inside a book tries to escape her story.
Community engagement and professional practice
Fine Art Critical Practice students have a history of working outside the studio, and engaging with in the city of Brighton, this way of working is actively encouraged and results in many new and challenging projects being realized. In the last year alone our students organised an exhibition at the Regency Town House, staged a durational performance in an empty grocery shop, made a series of temporary interventions in the Seven Sisters Country Park, and installed a fully functioning pub in the Grand Parade Gallery. All of these activities greatly enhance their understanding of being an artist in the world.
All staff teaching on the Fine Art Critical Practice course engage in professional activities including consultancy, running artists studios, external examining, academic validation and review. These activities provide us with useful comparative information and give us insight into the standard of work being done elsewhere.
In Fine Art Critical Practice we are fortunate to have members of staff with doctoral qualifications, which means they have learned how to research at a high level and made an original contribution to knowledge. We also have staff with national and international experience of exhibiting art, curating exhibitions, organizing public events, giving conference papers, publishing articles and writing books. All these scholarly activities inform the units taught, the ideas discussed and the ongoing course development.
A recent example of a student’s art practice successfully linking a number of interests and practices was a magazine project titled 'Playground'. The magazine began as modest student publication, but through the course of the final year developed into a professionally-designed magazine. Following a review on a design website, an international distribution network was established, with the magazine now being sold in Tokyo, New York and Buenos Aires.
Research within the ‘art school’ is a complicated and contested term; it can be used to describe a wide range of activities from making an artwork, writing a paper or curating an exhibition. The tension between what is commonly known as research ‘a systematic investigation in order to establish new facts’ verses an artistic work of the imagination, is something we continue to question. We see this ‘Socratic questioning’ as highly productive and an essential methodological tool for reaching a better understanding of what we do.
As a Fine Art Critical Practice student you will be expected to engage in these discussions and place you’re work at the centre of them. Most students’ benefit from this experience and many of our graduates have gone onto become involved in research projects through enrolling on a range of postgraduate programmes at Brighton and elsewhere.