Professional practice - Online

Professional Art Practice Courses in London & Online

City Lit’s advanced professional practice area offers a range of one-day workshops, which you can pick and mix to design your own programme of learning. New for autumn 2020, these will provide the skills and knowledge you need to take your creative practice further, (as well as some that might pique your interest), in the following areas:

Technical fundamentals and skills: the core technical competencies and underpinning technologies and processes we rely on: how to document, archive and present your work at its best.
Business and commercial skills: working with clients over a brief; promoting and selling your work; running studio or a creative practice; safeguarding your intellectual property; getting to grips with finances; costing your time effectively.
Theory, research and knowledge exchange: how to talk or write about your own work, including statements for applications; research questions and methods – of particular interest to those interested in theory, and in formal research.
Society, culture and ethics: the social dimensions and contexts of art and design. This covers artistic communities, making work consistent with your values, and examining art and ideas in historical and contemporary contexts.
Presentation and delivery: technical skills in creating presentations, structuring proposals and presenting to an audience. It’s all about communicating – clearly, confidently and effectively.

Many of these workshops are available for enrolment now, with many more coming in the next few months, all designed and delivered by many of our most experienced tutors across the School of Visual Arts. They will enhance your capabilities and support your learning on other courses you are currently studying, and you can sign up for just one, or as many as you like.

Keep checking back as the number of workshops and subject coverage increases. You are certain to find something that will help you.

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  1. Digital fundamentals: imaging for print and 2D
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 1 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    As artists and designers, we generally tend to observe a number of fundamental 'rules' when working with digital media for print-based or other forms of 2D output. These relate to processes or settings such as scanning, saving, resolution, image or data format, colour modes, compression... To a certain extent, much of this is received knowledge, and we don't necessarily know why we follow these rules. Knowing what they are based on, and why, is, however, fundamental to sound technical proficiency, and expertise, and knowing what these principles are based on allows us not only to produce work to professional standard, but also to exploit them to their full creative potential. This workshop will be of value to any visual artist who uses digital technology in their creative practice, from painters and printmakers to photographers and graphic designers. Coverage includes: principles and concepts underpinning digital imaging for print/static delivery: pixel/vector; resolution, scalability, application; acquisition, modes, formats and real-world constraints: file sizes/compression/data integrity; relation to physical output (size, resolution, process).



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £89.00
  2. Developing communities of practice
    ONLINE, Weekend
    Course start date:  Sat 9 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    What is a creative community? What does it mean to be part of a group of artists, designers or creative people? Communities maintain viability and relevance in ways that individuals can often struggle to achieve. Remaining a relevant part of the art world and engaging with issues with wider social significance is often easier as a collective, and arts organisations of all sizes increasingly emphasise the importance of groups, and their social relevance. This workshop, led by City Lit’s print area coordinator, examines experience gained working within the printmaking world, and establishing communities that have a life extending beyond the end of studies, exhibitions or projects. The workshop is relevant, however, to artists and designers of all kinds. In it, we examine what a community of practice is, how it might work, and what it means to be part of such a group. We consider and share insights of how artistic practice can have greater impact through group activity, how group activity can be relevant to your own personal practice, and, through it, how you engage with society. We also look at case studies, and consider the social and potential economic impact of each as an ‘artistic community’.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £89.00
  3. The design brief
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 26 Oct 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This workshop provides a forum for exploring and discussing the process (and sometimes challenges) of working with clients over a commercial design brief or commission. While some design briefs are relatively straightforward, and perhaps require a simple rendering of the client's vision, at other times the client can be unsure of what they actually want, and it can be a frustrating, uncertain and time-consuming process for the designer to identify and produce a solution to what is, perhaps, a poorly-defined question. Referring to real-life examples and case-studies, this workshop will take learners through the process of making a pitch, deconstructing a brief to be certain of what the client wants and needs (and whether these are same thing), presenting proposals, and working within time, resource and financial constraints. These are invaluable skills for the design professional that are equally applicable, for the student, to project briefs and coursework.



    For this workshop, you will need to have access to A3 or A4 plain paper, and a range of coloured marker pens, as well as a notebook.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £89.00
  4. Design thinking: creative problem solving
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 9 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    The term ‘design thinking’ describes an adaptive and reflective approach to problem-solving that is, in many ways, congruent with the kinds of processes that underpin creative practice generally, and is fundamental to the development of many of the systems on which the world’s current production, logistics, communications and supply depend. Although generally considered largely in relation to system design, information and interaction design, and product design, it is a way of thinking through and deconstructing creative and/or technical challenges that is equally valuable as a lens through which to examine creative processes and problems in any discipline. In this professional practice workshop, we examine the 5 classic stages of Design Thinking, and look at how we can use them to refine our thinking processes, apply our insight and focus our imagination, to solve both creative and practical problems.



    For this workshop, you will need to have access to A3 or A4 plain paper, and a range of coloured marker pens, as well as a notebook.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £89.00
  5. The creative industries
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 16 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Creativity is one of the areas in which the UK retains a leading position, globally, and much is made of the importance of the ‘creative economy’, and its value to the country. But what exactly are the co-called ‘creative industries’ we hear so much about? What is the value of ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation’ to the national and global economy, and does this extend beyond the overtly ‘creative’ pursuits of art, design and entertainment? How is so-called ‘creative thinking’ central to business, industries and services? In many countries around the world, the benefits of approaches to learning that are central pillars of ‘creative education’ are increasingly recognised in terms of their value in developing fully-rounded learners, and citizens. This workshop examines these questions, and considers the value of creative education in the context of a series of disciplines predicated on thinking related to solving problems, and its relevance for all aspects of contemporary life.



    For this workshop, you will need to have access to A3 or A4 plain paper, and a range of coloured marker pens, as well as a notebook.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £89.00
  6. Open source software and platforms for creative communities
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 17 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Open source software provides alternatives to virtually all the available commercial creative software, apps and platforms. It is generally free, or otherwise considerably less expensive than the commercial products, and, while generally less widely-used than what we might consider to be the giant 'industry standard' titles, generally benefits from an extensive and committed developer base, who tend to have a more generous attitude towards the community of users, and to be responsive to security issues through updates, patches and so on. This workshop provides a discussion space to: introduce the principles of open source software and the developer community; survey and consider the available options for creative software; examine how alternatives to the standard commercial software titles can help users address concerns related to privacy, personal data and security. It also looks at the value of open source as an alternative to the uncertainty of subscription-based licensing, and the potential future risk, within the commercial model, of being prevented from using software titles you have paid for, when they are no longer the latest version, or being frozen out from accessing your own work if your subscription expires.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £89.00
  7. Reflecting on practice
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 17 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    “What is your work about?” is a question many artists struggle to answer easily. The cycle of activity and reflection is a fundamental principle of creative practice, in which, as part of any attempt to address this question in any meaningful way, it is valuable to develop a paradigm for articulating one’s motivations, interests, processes and practices. Examining and analysing these points supports the creative practitioner in defining their areas of concern, and leads to deeper understanding, which is helpful in articulating a position to explain, support or contextualise one’s practice, or to define specific research questions. That said, there is perhaps something of a paradox inherent in articulating visual thoughts in words. This professional practice module is designed to support artists in identifying where and how to begin articulating concepts, defining appropriate contextual frameworks, and identifying suitable comparators. By the end of this workshop, you will be able to define your interest and identify further appropriate research into specific themes, questions and areas of interest, culture or knowledge – all in order better to understand and explain what you do, and why.



    For this workshop, please prepare to show a piece of work from your own practice that you consider to be unsuccessful, or alternatively a piece of work (in any creative medium) that you do not like, or do not understand.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £89.00
  8. Making a statement: how to write a strong application
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Fri 26 Nov 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Almost everything we apply for as artists or designers has to be supported by a statement. Once we have identified that an opportunity or a proposal is right for us, we have to present a compelling case, which convinces the reader that we are a potentially suitable candidate. This is a different approach to talking about our interests or motivations as artists. In this workshop, you will learn how to consider your statement within the wider context of the application. What are the needs of the organisation behind the opportunity? How does your statement match them? This workshop will help you to see your statement from another reader’s point of view, so that you can communicate your ideas and points to the person reading it. You will learn how to consider the structure of your statement and to target it to the specific requirements of the application, whether for a course, job, residency, funding or an exhibition.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £89.00
  9. Funding for artists and designers: how to make a strong application
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 8 Dec 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Thinking about funding is more closely related to thinking about your practice than you might imagine. This workshop looks at how to get ready to apply for public funding so that when you come to writing, all the planning has been done and your idea has improved in the process! We will examine how funding will help you to develop your work, in the short, but also medium and long term, and how to find the sweet spot between what you want to do and what the funders are looking for. Public funding means that our work has to have a public benefit, so we need to show how it does this. The challenge of funding can make you reconsider your project in exciting ways. We will look at applying for Arts Council England project grants, partnerships and a quick look at local trusts and foundations. Finding a fit between your need and funding criteria is key; from there we will look at how to write an application to make a compelling argument.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £89.00
  10. The artist's statement
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 15 Dec 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Building on the ability to reflect on one’s own practice, and the identification of interests, themes and relevant contexts, this professional practice module is designed to help visual arts practitioners to develop the ability to talk or write about their own work in coherent ways, and to articulate their intention, meaning or reflection in declarative or discursive statements. All artists are required to make statements at certain times, whether for exhibition, application for funding or study. In this session, we examine and discuss approaches to constructing a statement, based on specific requirements, and how to write or speak about one's work in terms of target audience, level of knowledge, and the length and depth required to articulate what work means and how it relates to ideas, themes and contexts. Although open to anyone on a standalone basis, this workshop will be of particular value to those who have completed 'Reflecting on practice' (VPP410).



    For this workshop, please select an image that you feel illustrates your 'subject'. This needn't necessarily be heavy on content, or meaning, you should just be able to make a connection between the work, and what you intend it to communicate.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £89.00
  11. Developing exhibition and event proposals
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 11 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    This professional practice module, delivered by the Head of City Lit's longstanding and prestigious Fine Art course, takes you through the steps of working with a gallery to put on an exhibition, from first proposals through to installation and opening. While questions of curatorial perspectives and agendas are important, and will be considered, alongside the 'fit' of your work and your exhibition proposal to the venue and their audience, the main focus of the workshop is the practical and pragmatic aspects of working with galleries to organise and present exhibitions of your own work, or that of your group. Within the broad framework of the ‘conventional’ gallery system, discussion will cover developing your proposal, or identifying opportunities for exhibition, negotiating with galleries, building support, programming activities, generating interest and promotion. Although not the major focus of this workshop, the tie-in exhibition website and afterlife online will also be considered.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £89.00
  12. The archive: resource and practice
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 11 Jan 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    The archive is an invaluable resource for artists and designers, without some version of which it is virtually impossible to engage in practice in any systematic way. Whether it takes the form of sketchbooks, photographs, found items and clippings, internet bookmarks, or any combination of these and other items, the archive is a tool for organising, examining and reflecting. In this professional practice module, we will look at how to create and access physical and online archives, and how to use them in both research and practice, creating and organising personal archives. Many artists use the archive as a form of art practice: we will examine this, and how it differs from other forms of archiving. We will look at multiple approaches to storing information, organising it for accessibility, and working with the tools and perspectives of the archivist or curator, as appropriate to one’s individual practice.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £89.00
  13. Exhibiting creativity: alternatives to the white cube
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Tue 22 Mar 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Who decides which artists get to present their work to the public, in what spaces, and according to what criteria? What role does the curator play in the decision-making process and how much influence do they exert over artists and institutions, in making these decisions? How do artists whose work is not ‘current’ (or which perhaps deals with unorthodox or potentially difficult topics) get to show their work? This professional practice workshop is a provocative enquiry and discussion of the role of the gallery in enabling creative expression, and the influence that decisions have on representation, or the imposition of an orthodoxy. How are artists responding to the limitations and impositions of the traditional gallery space–and the authority of the curator or agent–and finding opportunities in public or private spaces, and through technology? How are traditional galleries responding? We examine the ways artists and designers are making their own opportunities, and taking back control, finding innovative and creative ways to put their work before the public on their own terms.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £89.00
  14. Art is for now: temporary and situation-specific creative practice
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Wed 20 Apr 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    Conventional notions of artworks as physical objects, which imply considerations of authorship, ownership and the spectator, are opposed in many senses by artworks and practices that are predicated on impermanence, or which subvert expectations due to the location or context in which they are encountered. This professional practice workshop is an opportunity, through a combination of presentation, and the participatory exchange of ideas and perspectives, to consider alternative modes of practice, and the possibilities presented by art that is made in, and for, the moment. We examine different interpretations of the word ‘temporary’, including concepts of relative duration, the ephemeral, and man-made demarcations, and look at specific examples of work by artists including Fluxus, Beuys, Kaprow, Collective Actions, Brugera, Marina, Goldsworthy and Tempest. We also consider our own work and ideas in relation to a range of concepts and examples of practice in which the ‘product’ is not necessarily an ‘art object’, which prioritise the act or event over what we might call the output, or in which impermanence or mutability are significant factors. These include; Merz; auto-destructive art; actions and events; sound sculpture; performance; land art.



    The workshop begins with some participatory exercises, and it will be helpful to have a small selection of drawing implements to hand, and a selection of materials of your choosing (eg: paper, card, cardboard boxes, tape, ruler, string or wire, a cutting mat or hardboard…).



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £89.00
  15. Social engagement through creative practice
    ONLINE
    Course start date:  Thu 21 Apr 2022

    Location on this date:  Online

    The spectrum of socially engaged arts practice ranges from a long term intimate arts project in a community with 6 participants to nation-wide works such as Jeremy Deller’s ‘We Are Here Because We Are Here’, 2016, or Steve McQueen’s ‘Year Three’, 2019, with its focus on the 7 and 8 year old children (the future adults) of London. This type of art-making practice is not new, but is deployed in different ways. We will discuss what we mean by this, and consider the aims and value of socially engaged art. We will examine its origins and development and look at the work of artists such as Rabab Ghazhoul, John Newling, Yara & Davina and Somewhere, who work with participants as part of the creative process with different outcomes and impact.



    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £89.00 Senior fee £89.00 Concession £89.00

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