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Fine Art BA (Hons)

Location: University Centre at Blackburn College
UCAS Code: W101
Code: IA3074A21
Fees: View fees and financial information
Study Mode: Full Time
Duration: Full time: 3 academic years
Part time: 6 academic years
Start Dates: september 2021
Term Dates: View term dates

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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.

All applicants must show that they have a good level of spoken or written English, and if English is not your first language you’ll need to demonstrate the ability to study in English.

Applicants who do not meet the standard entry criteria but have relevant work / life experience will be considered on an individual basis and may be invited to interview. We welcome applications from students with a desire to learn more about Fine Art and the opportunity to return to education. You will be invited to attend an interview so that you can meet our team, see our factilities and we can talk about your own artistic aspirations. 

You will be able to show a portfolio at your interview or demonstrate prior learning. You will also need to show a willingness to write essays and participate in critical debate. 

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.

How will I be assessed?

Throughout the course a full range of assessment techniques will be used. You will be assessed by:

  • Portfolio
  • Supporting material such as: sketchbooks, Journals and blogs
  • Exhibition
  • Presentations
  • Written essays
  • Dissertation
  • Peer assessment
  • Peer critique
  • Self-assessment

This formal assessment will count towards your module mark and feedback is usually given within 3 weeks following the submission of your formal submission of work.

Additionally, some lecturers will provide informal feedback, for example, following an examination they may choose to work through the exam paper in a tutorial. It should be noted that feedback is part of the ongoing learning cycle which is not limited to written feedback. Other forms of feedback include one-to-one meetings with a personal tutor, dissertation and project supervision meetings, a lecturer responding to learner questions or responses during topic or situation discussions. 

Feedback is intended to help you learn and you are encouraged to discuss it with your module tutor.

Teaching and Learning

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.


We endeavour to make timetables available one month before you start your course.  Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week.  Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week. 

Overall Workload

You overall workload consists of class contact hours, around 15 hours of independent learning and assessment activity and any field trips which may take place.

Academic Support

We have a dedicated Student Engagement Team who will be able to provide support in the following areas;

  • Study Skills (including reading, note-taking and presentation skills)
  • Written English
  • Academic Writing (including referencing)
  • Research Skills
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.