Fine Art BA Hons
The Fine Art BA Hons programme at Newcastle University is ranked 1st in the UK in The Times/The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.
Over the four years of the course, you will develop an exciting body of studio practice. You will also acquire the professional, practical, intellectual and theoretical skills necessary to establish yourself as an artist, for a career in a related field, or for postgraduate study. Throughout your four years, you will be taught by a leading team of practicing artists and art historians.
The course is a ‘Fine Art’ course, and we do not require students to state a specialism when they apply, nor do they have to focus on just one area while on the course. All students are allocated personal studio space during their studies. Throughout the four years, there is an emphasis on individual art making, research, inquiry, debate and discussion.
Our unique four-year programme allows you the time and space to experiment, to fully develop ambitious ideas, to deepen your knowledge of art history and contemporary art, and to undertake a period of exchange study at one of our partner universities abroad. Career development is supported through our LifeWorkArt programme, with opportunities to exhibit your work and undertake live projects and placements that will help you gain the professional skills you need to thrive in the contemporary art world.
You will be taught in your studio by artists working across painting, sculpture, drawing, performance, film and video, and installation. This mainly one-to-one teaching is supported by your studies in Art History and by our Visiting Artists programme.
The Art History component of the course provides you with a grounding in the history and theory of art and an awareness of the relevance of these critical studies to the contemporary artist. The knowledge gained contributes to your overall development as artists. The programme helps you to place your studio work into context and understand and negotiate the complex relationships between making art and the ways in which contemporary and historical art is understood, interpreted, displayed and discussed.
The range of teaching methods - lectures, seminars, individual tutorials, presentations, gallery and museum visits are designed to develop your ability to articulate your ideas both verbally and through text. The production of written work is an integral part of these studies and modules are assessed through the presentation of essays and the requirement to research and present a dissertation in your third year.
We admit 65 students per year and we very much encourage local, national and international applications. Our students are very diverse and come from a wide range of backgrounds.
The facilities are amazing, enhanced by tutors and technicians who always seem ready to help.
Integrated with the studio practice and running progressively throughout the four years of the undergraduate BA Fine Art degree is a unique professional development programme – LifeWorkArt. Run in collaboration with many local and national arts organisations and galleries such as the Baltic, Vane Gallery, the NewBridge Project, Allenheads Contemporary Arts and Newcastle City Council, this programme gives students vital experience of a broad range of professional arts based practices and potential career paths. Skills are developed through live projects – for example, exhibitions, placements, public art, collaborations, education and community projects, art therapy and residencies.
In semester one of your first year, you will do a series of overlapping projects in painting, printmaking, drawing, performance/video and sculpture. These will be complemented by additional week-long workshops in a variety of technical and conceptual approaches to making work. You can choose from workshops including digital media, time-based, installation and drawing.
From the beginning of semester two onwards, you will have a studio tutor, and you will initiate and develop your own projects with tutorial guidance and technical support. Simultaneously, the art history course (Art Histories 1 and 2), gives you an introduction to a variety of perspectives on key areas within the history of art. Art History occupies approximately one day per week and is taught through lectures, seminars and short essays.
In the LifeWorkArt course, we arrange visits to galleries, studios and art centres in the region. You can take part in exhibitions and international study visits. In the studio, you will have very regular meetings with first-year teaching staff and you will have academic guidance through:
- Individual and group tutorials
- Studio 'crits'
The year culminates in an exhibition – usually in an external venue in the city. The students take responsibility for all the organising and publicity around this show and it is always an exciting end to the year.
In year two you take studio-based practice modules of 40 credits in each semester, together with a 20 credit Art history module in each semester. The modules are designed to help you continue to develop and extend your knowledge, skills and ideas. You will be assigned a studio tutor from the department’s staff and you can also will also be able to get advice, inspiration and help through our 'open surgery' system. You will receive a varied programme of individual and group tutorials; cross-year and cross-discipline crits will help you develop the ability to subject your own practice and that of others to increasingly rigorous criticism.
In year two you will further develop your ability to work independently. You will learn to make informed decisions about appropriate working methods, materials and technical skills. You will be asked to begin to contextualise your practice in relation to the contemporary art world. You can, if you wish, specialise in a particular studio discipline at this point. Or you can continue to explore possibilities and combine several ways of working.
You will also be able to select one complementary practice strand in each semester. These strands equip you with an additional technical, conceptual and theoretical understanding. In Art History, you choose one module per semester from the four on offer. You can choose specialist subjects, for example, Gender and Contemporary Art, Electric Dreams, Modern and Post-modern Photography, or Art since 1945.
You will also have opportunities to exhibit in the city, to undertake projects, and to apply for funding for projects and for travel.
In year three you will continue to undertake your sustained, intensive studio practice and research. You can also apply to study on our Exchange Programme for one semester at one of our partner institutions.
In Art History, you will begin to develop your dissertation. Your dissertation topic will be determined through discussing your ideas with art history staff. You'll be assigned a dissertation tutor, and wherever possible, this will be someone whose expertise is appropriate to your dissertation topic. You will have tutorial discussions throughout the planning and writing of the dissertation. These help you to organise, clarify and structure your study.
Third year students can also determine the balance between studio work and art history, and if you wish, you can take extra Art History modules in addition to your dissertation.
The main aim of year four - your final year, is to build a sustained body of work for the Degree Show. You can also choose to undertake additional modules, such as in Art Writing, in Curating, and in Career Development.
You will have regular timetabled tutorials and crits with your final year supervisor during each semester, as well as tutorials with Visiting Speakers and other members of fine art staff, which are available on an ‘open surgery’ basis. We run studio-specific and cross-studio tutorial teaching; this includes a weekly fourth year forum, where students present ongoing studio work for discussion with the rest of their year group and tutors.
Your future plans for study will be discussed, as will be your future plans for different careers in, or related to the art world. The Career Development module lets you do work-related learning. You can so this in a variety of different contexts, both on and off the University campus. An annual LifeWorkArt Conference is organised by staff and students; this is run in collaboration with the three other fine art departments in the region.
The final year culminates in the Degree show, which is shown throughout the Fine Art Building and in the Hatton Gallery. It is an opportunity to see the strengths of each and every student, and is a highlight of Newcastle’s ‘art calendar’ - attracting hundreds of visitors.