Photography Course Prospectus

Source - Issue 12 - Summer Autumn - 1997 - Click for Contents

Issue 12 Summer Autumn 1997
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University of Wales College, Newport

Documentary Photography has flourished at Newport School of Art and Design since the mid 1970s, producing many individuals who have helped shape the profile of documentary practice in Britain today. Traditionally, the course had emphasised the role of the photographer in relation to the editorial world that encompasses photojournalism. Within the last few years however, there has been a considerable move towards a broader definition of documentary practice, recognising the need to respond to photography's changing cultural contexts. This course has been designed to reflect this development.

The driving philosophy of the course lies in the recognition of documentary photography as a diverse practice. Photography is used in a wide range, of social and scientific institutions and is entailed in an increasing number of information, classification, storage and relay systems. The inclusion of photography as part of the national curriculum is an indication of the extent to which society now places importance on the need for an understanding of images. This sharpening of debate and the questioning of photographic 'truth' is currently -reinvigorating the discipline of documentary photography, as it becomes more widely recognised that the image is negotiated, both at the point of production, and at the point of consumption. It is this recognition, above others, that informs the approach to practice which the programme seeks to foster. It is the changing and developing contexts and forms of documentary photography that now provides the basis of the programme discourse: the role of the author, site, context, alternative forms of practice, convention, language and professional context. The practical elements of the programme are fully supported by technical workshops throughout the three levels of study and are designed to run parallel to certain modules in order to allow technical capabilities to keep pace with conceptual development. The expansion of degree level courses in photography over the last decade reflects photography's growing status and importance as part of the many complex forms of visual media technologies. The recognition of both the diversity of practice in photography, and its changing cultural significance, informs the practice that this programme seeks to foster here at Newport School of Art and Design. Contact: Paul Seawright.

Glasgow School of Art

The aim of the Fine Art Photography course at Glasgow School of Art is to nurture artists whose concerns are generated from, and developed through, photography. An emphasis is placed on cultivating an openness towards the breadth of possibilities offered at every stage of the creative Process from the origination of the initial idea through to its realisation in a publicly presented artwork. This is a four year course leading to a BA Honours Degree in Fine Art. There are two entry points: first year or direct entry to second year.

The role of the first year is to provide a grounding for further specialist study. The programme explores drawing/painting, printmaking and sculpture as well as photography. The emphasis in the second year is on the student's understanding of the basic expressive possibilities of photography through an intensive year of photocentric study while the third year of the course places a particular emphasis on the development of cross-media practice. In the third year students explore time based media, autographic and photographic mark- making, artists' books and installation as well as self directed projects and an exchange/placement. In the fourth year students work through individually negotiated programmes of study towards an independent artistic practice, culminating, in the public presentation of a coherent body of work at the end of the final year. Contact: Vaughan Judge.

University of Derby

The programme is a modular degree with three levels of study. Level One concentrates on the development of visual ideas and investigating the ways these may be constructed in production. It introduces the technical and theoretical basics.

Level Two consolidates individual production and theoretical skills. It provides a choice of specialist production areas and the opportunity to negotiate working across different disciplines within the school such as drama, dance, music and fine art.

At Level Three students are expected to take considerable responsibility for their individual work programmes and to refine their practical and critical skills. Contact: Oded Shimshon.

Napier University

The BA (Hons.) in Photography, Film and Television at Napier University, Edinburgh, is a broad based programme, which aims to provide a dynamic environment for the practice of a wide range of 'lens-media'. The first two years of the course tend to be generic in nature with students following a common programme before specialising in either 'moving' or 'still' image routes. Although the course has been in existence in one form or another for the last quarter of a century, It has been substantially restructured and updated in recent years in order to take into account some of the considerable changes which are taking place in the field of media production, particularly in relation to digital imaging and the electronic manipulation and distribution of images.

Approximately two thirds of the programme is practically based with the other one third being more theoretical in nature. However, in reality these two areas overlap significantly and all students are expected to be equally conversant with the contextual, analytical and cultural issues surrounding the use of photography, film and television, as well as the very specific skills involved in the production of these media. Contact: Colin Cavers.

Edinburgh College of Art

A broad-based approach to the medium of photography is the hallmark of the course at Edinburgh College of Art, with graduates going on to prosper in both commercial and fine art sectors. Students are encouraged to use traditional photographic hardware as well as the latest computer technology, and an ability to demonstrate individuality through image making will ensure that they will be in regular demand at the very highest levels.

The course accepts suitably qualified entrants direct into second year (first year being a general arts foundation year) who will graduate at the end of year four. A wide variety of qualifications may be offered to meet general entrance requirements. (Please see prospectus). Exceptions to these may be made for mature students i.e. 21 yrs. old or over. Application deadline for session 1997/98 is 1st March 1998. Post Graduate and Masters courses are also offered. Contact: David Williams.

University of Ulster

Visual Communication: Two patterns of course design have emerged in recent years in the ever-expanding Degree course sector of Higher Education in Art and Design (HE two year Diplomas are different again but tend, in the main, to be about the acquisition of technical skills). Firstly, there is the specialist degree pathway, which attempts to offer a discrete and highly focused three year educational experience based on individual maturing within a given discipline. The second pattern seeks to place a particular discipline within a wider, more holistic and integrated experience of cognate disciplines, and in particular in relation to common elements such as the new technologies. This latter view, which is both an ethos for education and a structure for actual course delivery informs the approaches to photography within the DipHE (two years) BA Hons. (three years) programme of Visual Communication in the University of Ulster's Faculty of Art and Design. Given that all undergraduate courses in UU are based on a modular structure within the constraints of two 15 week semesters, Visual Communication's approach is similar to that taken by many courses on the mainland in that students are accepted on to the course as a whole, not on to an hermetic specialism that allows them to spend 2/3 years doing nothing but, say, photography (however much some students would like to do that). Students have to demonstrate competencies across a range of ways of thinking and doing that relate to the wide and widening world of Visual Communication where the digital revolution linked to postmodernist values are constantly blurring the borders of what is and what is not a unique discipline.

Some students will choose to specialise in the latter part of their course in an area such as photography or illustration. Even then they can chose to develop in any one of several ways including, increasingly, cross disciplinary combinations where, for example, the individual student may employ photography within illustration. There are of course strong arguments for and against the specialism/delayed and informed choice scenarios, but those need to be rehearsed against the backdrop of student numbers, time, physical and human resources, industrial demands and others. And then there is the position of Photography as a pathway within the Fine and Applied Arts course here... but that is another story. Contact: Mike Catto.

University of Ulster

Fine and Applied Arts:: Lens-based media is one option available within the broader Fine and Applied Arts course offered at the University of Ulster, Belfast. A choice of module options enables students to specialise in one subject area, such as lens-based media, or to experience a broad range of discipline areas throughout the three year degree course. The Fine and Applied Arts course encourages students sense of self-awareness and independence through the development and production of their own creative ideas.In Lens-based media, students are encouraged to experiment across a range of facilities - from photography and video to computer-based media packages. Through personal research, presentation, and ongoing seminar and lecture programmes, the student develops an understanding of the cultural issues and concerns informing their individual artwork.

The emphasis on personal development within the Fine and Applied Arts course is designed to prepare graduates for the realities of operating within contemporary art practice. Contact: Moira McIver.

Dun Laoghaire School of Art and Design

Dun Laoghaire School of Art and Design in Dun Laoghaire Regional Technical College currently offers prospective students the opportunity to study photography in its broadest form. Initiated in 1988, the college's two year certificate, the National Certificate in Technology - Commercial Photography was the first full time photography course in the Republic of Ireland. This programme is designed to introduce students to the technical, conceptual and theoretical principals of contemporary photographic practice.

Following successful completion of this programme or the achievement of equivalent qualifications, students are offered the possibility of further study to diploma level on the 'end-on' Diploma in Photography. The Diploma course is a one year course with the opportunity to specialise in one of three arenas of practice; art, commercial and digital, This course, affording Irish students a greater opportunity for quality home based education, is scheduled to begin in October 1997.

The ethos of the course is to create a pluralistic student centred environment where project work is undertaken in relation to the educational requirements for the advancement of the student's knowledge base and areas of personal interest to the student. The course is supported by lecturers; whole-time, part-time and visiting, with a broad range of professional skills and artistic interests. The teaching methodology utilises; lectures, demonstrations, practical and discursive workshops and individual tutorials to foster in students an enthusiasm and commitment for the achievement of the highest standards of photographic practice. Contact: Daniel de Chenu.

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