The Academy is a true artistic community; an environment of vibrant exchange where you learn from expert practicing artists and wide-ranging creative stimuli. Find out more about what it’s like to study here.

We’ll stretch your thinking at the same time as building your skills across multiple dimensions. We don’t subscribe to the view that there is one way to train an artist. We start with the individual and invest time, supporting you through tailored, hands-on tuition. We believe in opening the mind every bit as much as we believe in training the eye and the hand.

Whatever your path, your programme will involve choosing from our Elective Skills Workshops.

You will be free to develop and express your vision in whatever language, style or medium best suits your intentions, but whatever the chosen medium, it requires a certain amount of skill and consideration in its formal and conceptual aspects; a portrait should be as conceptually considered as an installation and an installation as carefully crafted as a portrait.

The actual process of creating is a continual balance between thought and intuition, between the editorial, decision-making process, and the spontaneous flow of creativity. Considered marks, observed unintended accidents, and the subconscious knowledge that flows into the work all enrich the final piece.

For more information please see our Teaching & Learning Strategy.

The Academy’s Artistic Principles:

  • Stimulus and Motivation
  • Concept and Intent
  • Creative and Contextual Awareness
  • Visual Language and Craftspersonship
  • Manifestation of intent
  • Curation and presentation

Stimulus and motivation

An artist’s stimulus comes from a desire to respond to what resonates with them or has meaning to them as an individual, drawn from their experiences, passions and interests. That stimulus sparks an idea which motivates them to start the creative process. Being true to this core motivation can create a unique artistic vision and is the starting point for developing the concept and intent for their art work.

Intention and concept

The artists’s intention is what they want to express, create or communicate throughout their work. Developing the concept is the way in which they refine their response to the original stimulus through examination, exploration and enquiry.

This will begin to determine the best means of expressing their intention and communicating with the viewer. In order to fully develop a concept, this process needs to include rigorous, imaginative, lateral thinking and ingenuity, considering the idea as widely as possible. An effective concept will result in an artwork that opens new perspectives, experiences and understanding for the viewer.

Creative and contextual awareness

The artist practices within a personal, artistic, social, cultural and environmental context. It is essential for them to be aware of the context in which they are working. It is beneficial for an artist to understand their personal creative process and the way in which they best create. The artist should be cognisant of the surrounding artistic discourses (both contemporary and historic). They need also to be mindful of the wider context in which they are working – cultural, social, political and environmental. In developing their art, they need to determine how they wish to respond to or engage with the contexts within which they practice. They need to understand the relevant commercial markets for their work. They need to consider their responsibility to themselves, their peer group and artistic community, the art world and to wider society*.

Visual Language and Craftspersonship

For an artist to develop their own artistic language, they need to understand the application, impact and relevance of their aesthetic decisions. Harmony, discord, measure, balance, volume, contrast, line, colour, composition and craftspersonship form part of the artist’s language, through which they develop their own vocabulary to express their meaning.

Craftspersonship encompasses skill in whatever media, both traditional and contemporary. Through the continuous exploration and absorption of a wide range of skills, materials and techniques, the artist develops and constantly refines their artistic language.

Manifestation of Intent

This is the point at which the work manifests itself. The artist manifests their intention for the artwork through the choices they make about their formal language, including media, material, technique and scale. The evaluation of these choices and their relationship to the artist’s initial intent, even when these elements have been used intuitively, is essential for the effective expression of the creative idea.

The viewer may also better understand and connect with the artist’s concept when there is a considered relationship between form and intention.

Curation / Presentation

The presentation of an artwork in an exhibition, public or other context is integral to the effectiveness of the piece. The presentation includes the space, the lighting, the structural support system, the layout of the work and the movement of people through the space, the statement and the label system. It also refers to any verbal presentation by the artist about the work; how concise, considered and knowledgeable they are about the context in which they are working and their intentions for the work.

All these aspects need to be carefully considered if the artwork is to fulfil its potential. If an artist wishes for their artwork to be seen, it is necessary for them to gain the relevant professional skills to enable this to happen. The presentation of the work should reflect and support the artist’s purpose as well as underpinning the intended experience of the artwork by the viewer.

*at the Art Academy, part of the context for the students’ artistic creation is the wider community of the Art Academy. The student has a responsibility to this wider community and their fulfilment of this responsibility will impact on the quality of the work they produce. This will include their attendance, their response to other students and their contribution to the life of the Academy.

Allocation of tutorials varies from course to course, but broadly, tutorials at the Academy fall into two categories:

Personal & Academic tutorials

On all academic programmes you are allocated a Personal & Academic tutor (PAT) who is responsible for your pastoral care.

Artistic tutorials

If you enrol onto one of our undergraduate programmes, you’ll have the opportunity to attend artistic tutorials with visiting tutors. Artistic tutorials are in addition to 1-2-1 teaching and tutorials undertaken in Skills Elective Workshops and during assessed modules. Artistic tutorials have a wide and open brief, giving you the opportunity for focused, 1-2-1 creative and technical feedback on your art work with a tutor of your choice.

For more information please see our Student Support & Guidance Including Tutoring Policy.

Please note the following does not apply to the Certificate programme, which is not subject to summative assessment. For more information, please see the Certificate Student Handbook and Programme Handbook for details. 

Continuous formative feedback is central to the student-centered teaching and learning strategy at the Academy. You will receive verbal, formative feedback for Elective Skills Workshops and written summative feedback for core compulsory, assessed modules. Feedback sheets contain grades where appropriate.

Feedback will provide you with a clear explanation of how the marks have been derived or allocated and a clear understanding of how you can improve your work in the future. It should encourage learning and impact positively upon progression.

Across all our programmes assessment is entirely through coursework and is assessed against the learning outcomes described in the programme specification, course documents and module materials. The Academy believes in and employs continuous formative assessment through active learning opportunities such as 1-2-1 and group critique sessions, enabling you to evaluate and analyse your own progress and take control of your learning in order to maximise strengths and address weaknesses. All formative feedback is provided verbally and not recorded. Assessment tasks also follow a pattern that ensures that assessment is developmental and impacts positively on future learning. They reflect the increasing complexity and demands of successive stages in the programme.

Assessment processes should be inclusive and appropriate arrangements should be made for the assessment of students with disabilities, dyslexia and long-term medical conditions. Inclusivity in assessment practices should, however, go beyond making special provision for those students with specific needs or giving consideration of what are defined as ‘protected characteristics’ in law and should consider the totality of the constituency of students undertaking the assessment. Assessment processes should not (through design or omission) disadvantage any individual or group of students.

For more information please download our Assessment and Feedback Policy and our Alternative Assessment Policy. Further details of assessment processes are also available in programme handbooks.

As a student at the Academy the following is expected of you to successfully complete the programme you are enrolled on:

  • To attend all timetabled classes as required by the programme on which you are enrolled.
  • To arrive on time for classes; late arrival causes disruption to other class members and is unfair to the tutor.
  • To notify the Academic Team of any known lateness in the morning so it may be brought to the tutor’s attention.
  • To notify the Academic Team in advance of any absences so it may be brought to the tutor’s attention.
  • To independently make arrangements to catch up on any work missed during absence.
  • To not book holidays during term-time.
  • To give a week’s prior notice to the Academic Team of any absence or lateness where extra-curricular arrangements unavoidably conflict with classes (acceptance of the validity of the request is at the discretion of the tutor).

For more information please see our Attendance Policy.

Freedom of speech is an important part of academic and wider life. The Academy will ensure it promotes freedom of speech for its students, staff and visiting speakers. On rare occasions, individuals might seek to express unlawful opinions or an event might lead to a breach of the peace. It is, therefore, necessary to have regulations, as described below in our Freedom of Speech policy, to deal with the situation. However, in assessing any necessary restrictions the Academy will always be mindful of the sacrosanct principle of freedom of speech. For more information please see our Freedom of Speech Policy.

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