Design for Performance: Theatre, Film and Live Events - BA (Hons)
Are you looking for a course that can act as a springboard for a rewarding career in design and production for theatre, festivals, exhibitions, nightclubs, live arts and more? This degree will enable you to make creative and informed contributions to contemporary performance design practice....
Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23
The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.
Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
Are you looking for a course that can act as a springboard for a rewarding career in design and production for theatre, festivals, exhibitions, nightclubs, live arts and more?
This degree will enable you to make creative and informed contributions to contemporary performance design practice. Ambitious in its approach, this course includes design and production for theatre, events, museums, concerts, exhibitions, festivals, environments, nightclubs, film, live arts and scenography.
You will benefit from the collaboration of ideas within a multidisciplinary School, on a course that reflects the dynamic crossover common to creative arts in the 21st Century. Imagination, experimentation and risk-taking are fundamental to our students, as the challenges and opportunities are so varied on this course.
What's covered in this course?
You will develop a clear understanding of the scope and breadth of contemporary Design for Performance, engaging with a variety of individual and collaborative opportunities. You will work with traditional and experimental formats from stage design to live arts, and site-specific festivals to themed environments. Using hands-on making, technical skills, 2D and 3D design, craft techniques and digital platforms, you will be able to determine your own career path in this expansive and growing industry.
Our approach is to offer a first year experience that educates and supports students to develop skills and understanding that encompass spatial, figurative and performance design. From these underpinning principles, students tailor their second and third year study to areas of performance that are of particular interest to them. Because flexibility is built into our course design, you are able to study the same modules together regardless of your specific area of interest – this fosters a studio culture rich in diversity and collaboration.
You will be supported by an experienced team who will assist you with your exploration of the traditions, theories and practices that are pertinent to your individual student journey. Learning is demonstrated through an accumulation of individual, collaborative, realised, speculative and live projects, along with a suite of high profile industry opportunities.
This ensures that the course remains relevant and able to respond to the needs of the contemporary and future workplace and indeed to the discipline as a whole.
"The course gave me the opportunity to explore a wide variety of career options in the entertainments industry. I developed key skills for each step of the design process, from concepts to completion on site, gaining experience and having a lot of fun along the way! I would recommend this course to anyone who has a passion for designing and creating exciting experiences for all areas in the entertainments industry." Millie Proud
Why Choose Us?
- The School of Visual Communication prides itself on a long-established national and international reputation. It consists of a range of courses that celebrate innovation and allow you to realise your creative ambitions.
- Our end-of-year awards are sponsored and presented by high-profile names, with most award winners offered placements which have led to permanent employment.
- Live project partnerships have included;
- Birmingham Repertory Theatre
- MAC Birmingham
- Live Nation
- Merlin Entertainments
- Boomtown Festival
- Casson Mann
- Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
- 2000 Trees Festival
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels.
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|IELTS||6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.|
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications|
|A Level and Advanced VCE||
|AS and AS VCE||Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 112 pts|
|Access to HE Diploma||
|Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)||
|IBO Certificate in Higher Level||
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||
Obtain a minimum of 28 points overall
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)||Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 112 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects.|
|OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma||DMM|
|Scottish Advanced Higher||
|UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts||Merit overall|
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
Additional information for EU/International students
In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good digital portfolio.
Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.
In addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications||Requirements|
6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).|
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 3 years
- £9,250 per year
- Apply via UCAS
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 3 years
- £13,500 per year
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Project materials (mandatory)
This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected, but are likely to be in the region of £50 for the following items; sketchbook (A5 and A3), dry media, a good range of charcoals, pencils, pastels, etc, wet media, a good range of colour in either acrylic or gouache, model making materials such as foamboard and mountboard.
Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)
This course requires the purchase of safety equipment in order to use the workshop facilities, at an estimated cost of £50 for safety boots.
Specialist equipment (mandatory)
This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including an A3 cutting mat, metal ruler (300mm minimum), a variety of paintbrushes, 1 x scale ruler that has both 1:25 and 1:50 on it, Swann Morton scalpel and spare blades or disposable craft knife, a variety of pens for drawing (not ballpoint) at a total cost of approximately £40.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.
Field trips (optional)
This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.
Personal equipment (optional)
Whilst not essential is it adviced you own a computer or laptop capable of design and video editing.
Gallery visits (optional)
It is advisable for all Creative Arts students to visit exhibitions, galleries and other creative and cultural institutions and events depending on your own individual area of interest. Travel and entry costs may be associated with this.
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
Guidance for UK students
UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
Applying through UCAS
Register with UCAS
Login to UCAS
Complete your details
Select your course
Write a personal statement
Get a reference
Pay your application fee
Send UCAS your application
There are three ways to apply:
1) Direct to the University
2) Through a country representative
Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.
3) Through UCAS
If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.
Please note that the application process for this course includes an interview stage. If your application is successful, you will be contacted and invited to select a suitable interview date.
UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*
The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
School or college experience
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
Non-accredited skills or achievement
eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.
You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.
Course in Depth
Your first year of study will introduce you to the basic skills and critical framework within Design for Performance.
You will be taught through a series of modules, which provide you with the knowledge to further explore this ever-expanding discipline.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):
This module introduces the universal principles and theories of visual communication, celebrating the wider opportunities for interdisciplinary practice within the School. The aim of the module is not only to introduce you to the principles within your own chosen subject area, but also to provide opportunities to take workshops in other subject areas, seek advice from experts in other disciplines and work collaboratively with students from across the Visual Communication subject areas.
The aim of this module is to introduce you to the main principles and common practice found within Design for Performance, creating a solid foundation of knowledge and skill based activity. Emphasis will be placed upon providing a holistic view of the Performance Designer’s creative process.
This module will consolidate your practice undertaken in the previous Level 4 projects. Allowing you to develop further your creative process as a designer for performance, it will build on and extend your visual and technical vocabulary, and prepare you for progression to level five.
Throughout your first year, a series of Perspectives lectures will be delivered on a regular basis, exploring a wide range of themes appropriate to the analysis and production of visual communication outcomes. These lectures will be coupled with studio-based discussions and/or activities considering discipline-specific research. Discourse follows on from this lecture series, and is a module in which you will produce a written response. The module, and preceding lecture series, will supply you with a broad contextual framework that will underpin your practice.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules:
The ‘Space and Place’ optional L4 module is designed to equip students with a good understanding of the issues surrounding these two areas. This will be achieved through a conceptual and practical understanding of the narrative process.
The ‘Time and Sequence’ optional L4 module is designed to equip students with a good understanding of the issues surrounding these two areas. This will be achieved through a conceptual and practical understanding of the narrative process.
The ‘Sound and Movement’ optional L4 module is designed to equip students with a good understanding of the issues surrounding these two areas. This will be achieved through a conceptual and practical understanding of the narrative process.
The ‘Text and Image’ optional L4 module is designed to equip students with a good understanding of the issues surrounding these two areas. This will be achieved through a conceptual and practical understanding of the narrative process.
The ‘People and Identity’ optional L4 module is designed to equip students with a good understanding of the issues surrounding these two areas. This will be achieved through a conceptual and practical understanding of the narrative process.
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
Your second year is designed to broaden your experience and increase your critical approach to the role of the designer within performance.
Through a combination of theory and experiment, you will learn how to evaluate and apply principles to practice.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):
To further develop a creative understanding of the practical and technical vocabulary of Design for Performance, this module aims to develop your awareness of the breadth of practice within this industry and your potential role within it.
This flexible module reflects upon the range of experiences in Level 4 and Level 5 to allow you to identify a specific direction for your own practice and future aspirations. This will then form the initial stage and design of your Level 6 study. In this module, you will explore possible approaches, areas of research and projects that will help define your area of practice.
This module provides an opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional brief. The brief will be set by an external client/ agency, in consultation with your supervisor, and it could be a ‘real life’ problem to be solved, or a simulation. It is an opportunity for you to engage in a professional manner with an aspect of your subject area, which contributes to the development of employability skills within the supportive infrastructure of the University. Where appropriate, the project may involve interdisciplinary collaboration with students from other courses. In this way, it reflects the collaborative, flexible nature of employment within the Creative Industries.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.
The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and ADM Careers+.
The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the Creative Industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff. Within this module framework, several kinds of collaborative opportunities are available. For example, with the approval of your supervisor, you can determine a project based on your own interests; your supervisor may set you a predetermined project to enable you to work with other students in a way that is appropriate to your subject area; or there may be opportunities for you to collaborate with staff on research projects. In all cases, you must apply your subject skills to an interdisciplinary project which will be agreed in advance with your supervisor.
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
During your final year of study you will be supported in establishing the confidence to acknowledge and assert your own distinctive work identity.
You will take a critical view of the world of Design for Performance, identifying your own aspirations and place within the field. The work will be challenging, yet you will experiment and establish a solid foundation in the basic skills and conventions of the field.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):
Level 6 Critical Practice constitutes a step progression from Level 5, building and elaborating a more advanced expansion of study. Critical Practice provides the opportunity to adopt an increasingly autonomous commitment to the individually chosen direction(s), from the wide spectrum of Visual Communication and Creative Design Practice. These directions are established with guidance and academic rigour through individual tutorials, guest professionals, workshops, group discussion and peer participation.
The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practice-based portfolio.
You will develop skills and understanding that encompass spatial, figurative and performance design. From these fundamental principles, you can tailor the remainder of the course to areas of performance that are of particular interest to you and your future career aims.
You will develop your technical, creative, analytical, interpretive and reflective skills; helping you to understand traditional performance design and its relationship to contemporary practice. Through your modules, you will discover the application and use of colour, light, scale, composition, the figure and space.
Fundamental visual communication issues will be addressed through a series of core lectures and theory seminars. You will also have the opportunity to work with other students from across the school by selecting one of five in house options.
Shakespeare paper installation
Our first year students recently created a life-size installation featuring more than a dozen of Shakespeare’s most famous creations handcrafted from paper and cardboard as part of the figure in space module.
The show displayed scale models over six feet tall, a three-meter-high balcony and even a walk-in tavern, and was made as a tribute to mark 400 years since the Bard’s death.
Students used techniques learned on the course to sculpt 780 meters of corrugated cardboard and nearly 5,000 meters of brown paper into the entire setting and characters.
We are interested in allowing you to discover your own personal direction within this ever expanding and exciting area of design.
You will receive opportunities for placement, field study, collaborative and interdisciplinary work. We shall help you to develop your own personal direction, focusing towards the establishment of a specialised and flexible area of practice.
You will learn how to effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis in a variety of forms to specialist and non-specialist audiences. You will enhance your ability to work collaboratively within a working environment, demonstrating knowledge of the main methods of enquiry within the field.
Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the creative industries and the Collaborative Practice module in your second year allows you to develop these skills. Within this module you are able to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines across the School and wider Faculty.
Your second year of study is crafted to allow you to develop your critical awareness, and formulate approaches to solving problems. You will develop your own individual style and perspective, drawing upon your own influences and direction. Helping you to further understand the creative role, opportunities and responsibility of the contemporary designer.
You will be required to demonstrate, within your work, a particular view of what constitutes a design proposition. You will enhance your communication skills, allowing you to develop confidence and understanding, allowing you to capably articulate your views and knowledge to others.
The final year of the programme is designed to help you demonstrate a systematic, extensive and advanced knowledge of contemporary Design for Performance. You shall work autonomously or collaboratively to a professional standard on self-generated projects, with creativity and imagination.
Classroom activities and projects
Once you enter a studio you will feel part of a shared community, you’ll find yourself engaging in messy workshops, creative group work and working on live briefs.
Design For Performance requires a multitude of approaches and we believe that the best way to learn is by doing, throwing yourself in at the deep end and accepting that mistakes are part of the process. The activities and projects undertaken on the course are active, hardwork, memorable, realistic and fun.
In your first year, for example, you may take part in group work in which the group is expected to work together using nothing more than £500 worth of brown paper and card. Past versions have included WW1 trenches, Frost Fairs and a Shakespearean pub complete with characters from the play and the bard himself.
Enhancing employability skills
The programme is designed so that you will complete your studies skilled, confident and ready to take on a creative career. Throughout the degree you will develop transferable skills, equipping you for creative practice. You will learn methods and techniques, with the ability to review, consolidate, extend and apply your knowledge and understanding in order to initiate and carry out projects.
You’ll develop the skill to identify and tackle problems, with confidence in communicating information and ideas. You will leave with sophisticated and professional communication and presentation skills.
Not only will you be able to work well within a team through collaborative practice you will also have confidence in your own abilities, with the talent and knowledge to independently produce creative work. Knowledge of the field will be developed throughout your studies, allowing you to critically evaluate historical, contemporary and personal practice.
The course will facilitate in the development of a wide range of both practical and knowledge-based skill. We will help you in your professional development, encouraging you to develop portfolios and gain extensive industry experience. You’ll be taught how to devise and manage design proposals, from conception to completion, readying you for a career in creative design. We’ll help you nurture your own creative flair and talent, with a focus on the creation of your own personal creative identity; something that will make you stand-out in industry.
Artist in Residence, Wonderland Telford
"This course was the most rewarding three years of my life, I learned so much about the industry and how diverse a job in design for performance really can be! It was a perfect combination of all my interests in one course. I've made life long friends with some really talented fellow practitioners; there was a real feel of comradery rather than competition, as well we all so different in our specialisms.
After graduating I did a year of freelance work, working for a local charity, The Ironbridge Coracle Trust, who's aim was to bring a light onto the local history of the people in Ironbridge. I've also worked on set design and prop making for a few local theatres. All great skill building projects.
When the pandemic hit one of my regular freelance jobs, Events Designer at Wonderland Telford, was put on hold. But when I returned in June 2020 I was offered a full time position as Artist in Residence, repairing and repainting all of the props, buildings and figures around the theme park. I'm also still events designer, in which I decorate the park for Christmas, Halloween and Easter. My other roles include the general maintenance of the exhibits and props, as well as costume repairs for our live characters.
It's a hard manual job, and I work in all seasons, having to adapt my skills all the time. I have learned so much in my time here, and it's so rewarding to see my creative style now dominating the majority of the park.
For the future I hope to return to freelance work, keeping my role at wonderland whilst working on other projects. I would like to explore the idea of making my own props available for hire or sale."
Scenic Assistant, Brilliant Stages
"The course allowed me to keep my options open and explore many aspects of stage design. This flexibility helped me to explore both design and production and discover the career path I wanted to make in the rock and roll industry. The course was also flexible to allow work placements, helping me land my first job at Brilliant Stages."
"The course provided insight into the vast scope of career options within the entertainment industry. Through completing a variety of projects, the course allowed me to zero in on my choice of career and then pushed me to start learning the necessary knowledge to succeed in that career. I developed many skills and gained a lot of practical knowledge throughout the course, whilst still enjoying every moment. I would highly recommend this course to anyone that strives for a job in the entertainment industry."
Arts Producer, The Art House
"I currently work as an arts producer for The Art House in Wakefield, I manage a huge variety of projects and get to work with amazing artists doing fascinating work. It’s such a varied role and one which I think makes a real difference to my community which is what makes it so enjoyable.
I’m also part of a new social design collective, Open to the Public. Myself and 3 friends set up the studio in 2020 and we have already undertaken some big projects across Leeds and Wakefield painting murals, delivering creative workshops for children and designing publications, we’re really excited for what’s to come!
The course taught me to be collaborative, flexible and adaptable to different briefs and clients. It gave me the chance to really explore all the different aspects of design for performance and to understand how to make those skills work for me in the future. I still use all of those skills today and I'm really grateful for my time on the course and to everyone I studied with during my three years there, it was so much fun."
Creative Assistant, Harrods
"Studying this course has provided me with vast opportunities to work alongside a variety of students, academics and industry professionals. Working collaboratively throughout university has allowed me to adapt quickly into an industry environment with awareness of my strengths, meanwhile always learning from colleagues and clients. The freedom to explore a multitude of disciplines over the three years at university has allowed me to gain an understanding and establish favourable industries. Currently working in the exhibition and events industry, my knowledge of various creative practices has provided the ability to be innovative and individual in my approach to a brief. The value of development and having trust in the creative process is something that came to light in my time as a student at Birmingham City University; it is also something I have taken into consideration daily since, the ability to develop and adapt based on client requirements has allowed me to advance as a recent graduate navigating the endless opportunities in the design industry. "
Producer at Tate St Ives
“I am the festival producer for SWITCH festival for Tate St Ives. I have been a tutor creating programming with a group of young people to create a festival of newly created artwork, DJs and VJs, and contemporary dance on the beach. I have curated an exhibition and produced an open call for moving image artwork from young people across the UK. My role consists of tutor, mentor, programmer, exhibition designer, copywriter, producer, production manager, lighting designer and community liaison.”
Creative Director, STAX Creations
“I started Stax Creations with two friends a few months before graduating. We began by making decor and pallet furniture for local events, and we now design and make large-scale immersive installations and stages for festivals, venues, bars and experiential marketing. Our clients include Cornetto, Coors, Heineken, Carlsberg, Bestival, The Zoo Project and Sound City Festival, taking us to Ibiza, London and all over the UK. We’re on a mission to gather as many creative designer/makers as possible in all disciplines to help us on our way as we grow.”
Visual Merchandising Assistant Manager at Selfridges
"I absolutely love my job. I love being a part of a wider team, all working towards one goal of delivering extraordinary customer environments every day and new scheme designs within the windows and visual moments within the store. I get to work within the Manchester and London stores, as well as getting the opportunity to travel to places like Paris, Milan and Copenhagen. Within these trips I get to explore different spaces, designs, displays, exhibitions and fashion shows. Visual Merchandising combined both my passion for events and the design of spaces with fashion.
I began working for Selfridges as a sales associate when I left the University. Later I got a job as visual merchandiser for menswear, then team leader, and now assistant manager for the store. No day is the same and no is job quite like this."
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
Students come to study in the School of Visual Communication from all over the world but we have nurtured some long-standing relationships with Malaysia, Thailand, China and India.
If you are a student from these countries, or any other, you should consider studying with us, as we offer a wide curriculum that has internationalisation built into the modules. We actively encourage trans-disciplinary teaching, group projects and have established relationships with colleges and industry overseas.
We take a pride in developing strong creative communities and these thrive on the injection of different cultural experiences. To develop a sense of sharing all experiences and ideas is fundamental to the philosophy of Visual Communication.
International student case study: Karolina Bielskyte
Studying this course was the reason why I came to England. In this unique programme of study, I became an interdisciplinary artist experienced in design for theatre, film, performance, exhibitions and more.
The course enabled me to embrace various aspects of performance related design, unifying different techniques and combining them with my traditional art knowledge. I have explored storyboarding, set construction and dressing to filming and post-production. I really enjoyed my time on the course as the range of projects and the high quality of teaching developed the skills I already had, encouraged me to gain new ones and helped me to grow as an individual and an artist at the same time. Most importantly, course tutors never put me in any frames or made rules to restrict my individuality or creativity, instead always encouraged and lead me though my own individual development.
Soon after graduation, I won the Birmingham Repertory Theatre Award at the VISCOM Ian Emes Awards which led to backstage work experience at The REP Theatre. Here, I had the chance to work with a wonderful person, Milorad Zakula, the REP production Manager, along with artists Rob Olins, Douglas Benford and Lee Berwick to create ‘The Sound Of Memories’ - an interactive audio visual installation in the theatre foyer. While there, I was also involved into making of a 50 minute film production to be released in tandem with the new Pink Floyd album, and for ‘The Endless River’ directed by Ian Emes, I was both an art director‘s assistant and a performer as well!
Later on, I took an ERASMUS+ opportunity and a two month placement at a theatre company called ‘Chille De La Balanza’ (located in a former psychiatric hospital!) in Italy, Florence. Here, I helped set up a painting exhibition and worked on set designs for the show ‘Fathers and Sons’ by Ivan Turgenev.
Facilities and Staff
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.
Course Director/ School Academic Lead
Paul Barrett has been the course director for BA Hons Design for Performance: Theatre, Film and Live Events since 2001. A practising scenographer, his professional credits include designs for large-scale theatre, small-scale outdoor touring productions, corporate events and festivals. He has many years’ experience as a freelance designer, company director and performer. He holds an MA in Scenography and is currently studying his practice based PhD focussing on found object assemblages as an alternative method to generate performance design. He has led on numerous learning and teaching initiatives and is currently the School Academic Lead.More about Paul
Dr Lara Furniss
BA Art and Design Course Director
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
Dr Joanna Jarvis
Lecturer in Performance Design
Joanna’s background is in designing and making period costume for performance. She has combined her studies of dress in the eighteenth-century with an interest in women’s attitudes to self-presentation through their clothes and current theories on the psychology of dress. This combination is providing a rich field of study with reference to women in the eighteenth-century.
Joanna sees her teaching as an opportunity to enthuse the next generation in dress as material culture and what it tells us about ourselves, our attitudes and the society in which we live.More about Joanna
Lecturer in Scenography / School Marketing & Recruitment Lead
Hollie has a passion for immersive environments and dining experiences; having worked as a designer maker with experience in sculptural work and spatial design. Hollie’s professional credits span theatre, puppetry, and music festivals from Glastonbury and Download to 2000 Tree and Kendall Calling. Hollie has been lecturing on BA Hons Design for Performance: Theatre, Film & Live Events and BA Hons Stage Management since 2006.
Hollie is also the School Lead for Marketing & Recruitment for the School of Visual Communication.More about Hollie
Professor Andrew Kulman
Principal Lecturer in Visual Communication
Principal Lecturer and Professor of Graphic Art. Award winning Illustrator with 30 years of industry engagement. Currently Head of Undergraduate Studies in the School of Visual Communication. Responsible for developing courses in the School of Art and initiating several outreach programmes for the University. Research areas include the development of autographic print processes in contemporary graphic art practice.More about Andrew
Deputy Head of Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts
George Hart was the first member of my family to go to University, which has given him an understanding of the challenges students face when going to Universities.
After the completion of his degree George worked within the creative industries for seventeen years as a Freelance Illustrator/ Designer, mainly working in London, but also nationally. Some of the commercial clients he worked with include companies such as The Sunday Times, Channel 4, Conde Nast Publishing, Hodder and Stoughton Publishers, Brian Eno & War Child, British Airways, Commonwealth Institute, etc.More about George