This course is validated by: Lancaster University

Fine Art BA (Hons)

Location: University Centre at Blackburn College
UCAS Code: W101
Code: IA3074A21
Fees: View fees and financial information
Validated by: Lancaster University
Study Mode: Full Time
Duration: Full time: 3 academic years
Part time: 6 academic years
Start Dates: september 2022
Term Dates: View term dates

The BA (Hons) Fine Art programme at Blackburn University Centre provides a platform for both traditional and contemporary art practice.

The Fine Art degree facilitates opportunities for our students to make art works in any media, engage in practice led research and develop their practice as critically engaged participants in the local, national and indeed global community.

Engagement takes place in large, bright, purpose built Victorian drawing studios, a modern University Centre, in the town itself and in cities across the country.

Equal value is placed by staff and students on both analogue and digital process and outcomes, with workshops that are an exciting mix of traditional print making, sculpture, photography and painting that allow the best traditional processes to be explored alongside digital image making, moving image production, audio recording and television studio access that allows students to develop an individual practice in any media appropriate to their work.

We are looking for students who demonstrate ambition, curiosity and bravery in their work, and who understand the benefits of working in small groups with access to large studios supported by a dedicated and internationally recognised staff team of practicing and visiting artists who will support you in your journey towards becoming professional artists on an international stage.

We also offer a Foundation Entry option for this course.

What will I study?

The main emphasis at Level 4 of the programme is to introduce you to a range of technical and conceptual skills that will help you develop your critical judgment and establish the focus for your future work. 

You will explore the possibilities of Drawing, 2D media and 3D and 4D media (including moving image, audio, photography and performance). In these early stages of the programme you will be given workshops in all areas to support experimentation, allowing you to gain confidence in working across a range of media.

Later in the year you will focus those aspects of fine art that are most relevant to you by undertaking an independent research project. This module aims to broaden your understanding of the contexts of your practice to prepare you for year two, when you will focus your chosen discipline.

At Level 5 you will begin to refine your practice after reflecting on strengths and weaknesses from year one. During year two you will also be encouraged to develop and refine themes that underpin your work in preparation for dissertation; the extended essay you will undertake in year three.

At Level 6, will build on the work you started in your second year and bring it to resolution, with the final degree show as an opportunity to exhibit your achievements.

The course is delivered through lectures, workshops, demonstrations, discussions, e-learning, live briefs, study trips, artist talks, gallery visits and exhibitions. Most importantly however, critical engagement and dialogue is formed through critiques and participation with the community of practice that is staff, students and visiting artists across the art schools at Blackburn College.

All students take a total of 120 credits per level.

Level 4 Modules (all modules are mandatory) include:

  • Contextual Studies
  • Studio A: Experimental Practice
  • Studio B: Refining Practice
  • Studio C: Proposing Practice

Level 5 Modules (all modules are mandatory) include:

  • Critical Studies
  • Studio Practice: Not Knowing
  • Studio Practice: Knowing
  • Beyond the Studio

Level 6 Modules (all modules are mandatory) include:

  • Dissertation
  • Studio: Landscape of Practice
  • After Art School
Entry Requirements

You’ll need 80 UCAS points to join this programme.

Applicants should have and be able to verify that they have a pass in English GCSE or Functional Skills Level 2 English or equivalent as an entry requirement. Proof of this should be shown at the interview.

Applicants should have an interest in the practice of fine art or an interest in some aspect of the creative arts. Applicants should attend an interview as part of meeting the standard entry criteria for the programme. This interview will perform two purposes: 

  1. To allow the admission tutor(s) to assess the applicant's prior learning through portfolio review at interview.
  2. To allow for a supportive discussion surrounding issues such as fees, course structure, support, career ambitions, student and institutional responsibilities.

Students who have not gained formal qualifications or have done so over five years ago should still apply, and an interview will be used to determine eligibility to study based on relevant life and work experience.

If English is not your first language you will need to demonstrate the ability to study in English. For non-native speakers of English, you must demonstrate proficiency of English equivalent to B2 of the Common European Framework, specifically IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent) with no more than 2 sub scores below IELTS 5.5 (or equivalent).

Student Equipment and Financial Investment Required

Applicants should demonstrate an awareness of the range of media and materials available for developing a contemporary fine art practice. Introductory materials are provided but students are expected to finance their practice as they progress on the course, submitting works suitable for assessment at Level -5 and (at Level-6) a public exhibition.

We advise that any equipment or materials queries be directed at the programme delivery team.

There may be trips to external locations for workshops, conference or another external event that the student will be required to pay for.

If you feel you do not meet our standard entry criteria but have relevant work / life experience, we would still urge you to apply or speak to our Programme Leader, Jamie Holman, using who will be happy to discuss your options.

We also offer a Foundation Entry option for this course.

Care Leavers or Young Carers

We want students from all backgrounds to have the opportunity to go to University. If you have spent three months or more in local authority care OR are a young carer, you will be eligible for a contextual offer. This is a grade reduction of 1-A Level grade below our standard entry requirements. For example, a standard offer of CCC, would become CCD. MMM at Level 3 Extended Diploma would become MMP. To apply we advise that you tick the box on your UCAS application which identifies you have spent time in care and to help identify you as eligible for our contextual offer.

See our General Entry Requirements.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment will be undertaken through a range of established methodologies at various stages throughout the course. Examples of assessment activity includes:

  • Illustrated essays
  • Proposals for written work and practical work for exhibitions
  • Group discussions and themed seminars
  • Testing skills through examinations
  • Personal portfolios of personal and professional practice
  • Primary research and dissertation
  • Research findings and reports
  • Group exhibitions and presentations
  • Live and self-initiated projects
  • Peer critiques and assessment
  • Group critiques and assessment.
Teaching and Learning

Learning and teaching will be delivered through a range of established methodologies including:

  • Interactive lectures
  • Specialist seminars
  • Practical skill based and creative workshops
  • Audio visual materials
  • Live research projects
  • Local and regional archive and library searches
  • Distance based asynchronous learning
  • Local, regional and international visits
  • Attendance at exhibitions and conferences
  • Presentations at conferences
  • Exhibiting opportunities
  • Research visits
  • Debates and discussion
  • Collaborative opportunities with staff and external agencies
  • Peer critiques

The learning environment and facilities could include lecture theatres, classrooms, technology suites, laboratories and workshops, library and skills labs, art and photography studios, small group and quiet zones. Learning methods will vary according to the programme of study but will include lectures and group tutorials. In addition, seminars, field trips, work placements, role play or scenario activities, laboratory and workshop practical, demonstrations, guest lectures, discussions and debates all contribute to the learning experience to support the acquisition of subject specific skills and knowledge and the development of transferable and employment related skills.

You should typically expect to have around 15 contact hours per week if you are studying full time.

In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your personal tutor.  

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course.  The team could include senior academics, professional practitioners with industry experience, demonstrators and technical officers.  You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles.

What can I do next?

As a fine art student you will develop a range of transferable skills that will be useful in a variety of jobs: the ability to work independently, organise your own work schedules, communicate verbally and in writing, solve complex problems, evaluate situations and make decisions. Graduates from the course have, for example, gone on to management training schemes for major retail organisations, joined the civil service and, in general, gained access to other forms of employment that are not specifically related to art - such as in Marketing. Careers that are more directly related to art include: illustration, teaching, museum work and art therapy. Past students have set up their own studios in Blackburn, Bolton and elsewhere in the region.

We encourage applications for postgraduate training and study. Some of the routes that former students have progressed down include:

  • Freelance artist and associated employment
  • Events organisation and coordination
  • Gallery and museum employment (marketing, administration, curating, restoration and education fields)
  • Freelance technicians and artist assistant roles
  • Postgraduate study in a range of arts subjects
  • Access to visual industries including film, set design and theatre
  • Artist studio management
  • Community arts practice and employment with associated institutions
  • Fundraising for the arts (employment with national funding councils)
  • Art therapy courses with access to the profession
  • Residencies and travel grants
  • PGCE teacher training and postgraduate routes to FE and HE teaching
Supplementary Information

Download the Programme Specification. This Programme Specification is subject to change, but will give you further information about the course structure, learning outcomes and detailed information about the assessment you can expect during the course.

Work Placements

Work placements are subject to availability. You are also responsible for any costs in travelling to and from your work placements, for any accommodation costs and in some instances the cost of acquiring a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) report.

What will my timetable be like?

If you choose to study this course in September 2022, your timetable will consist of the following days of study at our University Centre.

The days that have been set for this course, for the first year intake only, are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

You will be required to undertake work in your own time and also undertake private study. This will be in addition to your taught hours in class. You may also be required to undertake a work placement/work-based learning. This is in addition to the taught timetabled classes, please bear this in mind with your planning. 

The University Centre reserves the right to change timetables for the year ahead and this information is provided to you as a guide. The days of study in subsequent years of the course may vary.