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Art and Design with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons) *

This four-year Art and Design degree course with a Foundation Year has been specifically designed to allow you to undertake an additional year of study which will build stronger creative footings to ensure successful progression through your chosen degree course....

  • School Birmingham School of Art
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Explore this course

Course overview

This four-year Art and Design degree course with a Foundation Year has been specifically designed to allow you to undertake an additional year of study which will build stronger creative footings to ensure successful progression through your chosen degree course.

Working in a lively and energetic environment, you will be given the freedom to expand your knowledge of practical skills, creative exploration and conceptual development, underpinned by broad critical understanding, academic writing and emerging theoretical principles.

There will be a range of opportunities to work on collaborative projects aimed to develop employability partnerships and to identify the role of developing practitioner. Teaching staff from across both schools will work closely with you throughout the course to prepare you for progression.

The course concludes in a public professional exhibition of your practical work supported by individual websites.

After successful completion of the foundation year, you will have the flexibility to change direction onto a related undergraduate degree programme within Birmingham School of Art or the School of Visual Communication.

BA (Hons) Art and Design

Our BA (Hons) Art and Design course is a highly flexible interdisciplinary programme of study that encourages you to identify your own individual practices, apply them to a range of real world contexts and facilitate creative responses to a range of issues.

After an initial diagnostic period, critical approaches and design methodologies will help your personal development through, external facing ‘live’ projects, collaborative working with both university and other professional organisations, diverse workshop facilities, and a team of academic and technical staff.

What's covered in the course?

This course covers interdisciplinary approaches to practice in contemporary art, design and craft.

You will work on studio, live and collaborative projects to develop your own independent practice, whether your interest lies in photography, installation, print, digital media, sculpture, illustration, curatorial practice, textiles, drawing, sound, graphic design, public art or three-dimensional design. Working closely with academic and technical staff, you will develop new skills and approaches to projects which help you gain confidence, helping you to uncover your own strengths and interests.

At all levels, contemporary and historical contexts modules are clearly aligned with core practical modules to develop the integration of theory and practice and develop the way critical studies are embedded within the degree.

Your personal development is enhanced by regular talks and workshops from visiting experts from a range of backgrounds – such as artists, designers, curators, craftspeople, entrepreneurs, educators and project managers alongside representatives from regional and national support agencies for the creative industries. You’ll also receive the support of expert academics, like Stuart Whipps, who has recently exhibited his work in the British Art Show.

You will also be required to engage in an experiential placement in the second year of the programme to develop an understanding their potential role within the relevant professional sector. This provides an opportunity for students to develop a post-graduation roadmap including a visualisation of their ideal future, analysis of their personal capital, barriers and values and a development timeline to identify future aims and objectives.

Students have previously enjoyed experiences, like responding to the architecture of Dudley Zoological Gardens’ World Heritage Site and in particular the Zoo’s 1930s-listed animal enclosures.

Our graduates have recently showcased their work at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, MK Gallery, and also presented a collection of design ideas to Associated Architects, earning a £5,000 prize to further present their work in the West Midlands.

What really stuck with me was the intention to cultivate the skill set needed to define my goals, break down the steps/stages to achieving my goals and fulfil them.

Devon McFarlane

Why Choose Us?

  • Your Foundation Year gives you the chance to explore Graphic Communication, Illustration, Design for Performance, Photography, Fine Art and Art and Design. You will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree programmes within Birmingham School of Art or the School of Visual Communication.
  • Our Faculty of Arts, Design and Media is one of the UK's largest and most prestigious institutes of art, architecture and design education
  • Work experience placements and live industry briefs give professional exposure that has led to employment with companies including BBC, Cadbury, Channel 4, Fused, Games Faction, Saatchi & Saatchi, TBWA Worldwide and The Mill
  • Our graduates regularly receive awards and prizes recognising their excellence
  • We have links to a range of national and international institutions, including Ikon Gallery, Tate Liverpool, , and the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
  • Each year the onsite project space IPS will be the hub for a series of residencies, exhibitions and events and will work with a number of local, national and international partners to deliver a range of projects with our students.

Examples of recent graduate activity include:

  • A coveted place on the graduate training scheme to become a TK Maxx buyer 
  • External affairs Coordinator for the BBC, after exploring relevant issues in their individual and professional practice modules
  • A video commission for the international property developer CBRE’s Birmingham office with the potential for more commissions for the company’s offices worldwide.

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Facilities and Staff

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 million on new learning facilities.

Birmingham School of Art (an impressive purpose built Grade 1 listed example of Venetian Gothic architecture) was the first major renovation project undertaken by the university (£5.5m refurbishment). The School provides an incredible resource for the production of art and its associated fields of study. The building has a range of facilities available including studios, workshops, specialist art and design library, bookable spaces and lecture/seminar rooms.

Our staff

Jo Newman

Course Director

Jo chose a career in education so that she could provide students with learning environments where conversations, ideas and materials can be selected, combined, analysed and shared, offering them a way of socializing, caring and questioning to grow their learning with meaning for their futures.

She champions the integration of interdisciplinary approaches with her creative practice, which has a direct impact on her teaching and the student learning experience.  
In line with the 2015 HEA report on the ‘Interdisciplinary Provision in Higher Education, Jo aims to facilitate collaborations and synergies between disciplines to challenge students to become inquisitive and to speculate on multiple ‘real life’ scenarios.

More about Jo

Dr Lara Furniss

Senior Lecturer

Lara has twenty years professional experience working internationally across many art and design disciplines. This extensive cross-disciplinary professional experience directly informs Lara’s teaching, with a primary interest in developing new pedagogic approaches to non-discipline specific problem solving. Lara’s research interests have emerged directly from her professional practice and academic experience within Higher Education. Her PhD study explored evolving design practice and design education in the 21st Century. The study examined the processes of internationally renowned UK design studios and the implications for design pedagogy. Studios included Ron Arad Associates, Heatherwick Studio, Punchdrunk, Jason Bruges Studio and Assemble.

More about Lara

Kristian Jones

Lecturer in Illustration

Kristian is a multidisciplinary artist and lecturer at Birmingham City University. A graduate of the MA Fine Art program at Manchester Metropolitan University, his work focuses on ‘New Media Art’ and digital Interaction, combining generative graphics, algorithmic procedure, and sound/sensor-driven technology. Kristian’s research currently centers around ‘surveillance culture, invisibility, and the human-computer interaction of modern society as a result.

More about Kristian