Professional Art Practice Courses - Online & in London

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. Developing exhibition and event proposals

    Course Date: Tue 12 Jan 2021
    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

  2. The artist's statement

    Course Date: Wed 13 Jan 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

  3. Digital fundamentals 1: media and protocols for creative practice

    Course Date: Fri 15 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Whether or not we use digital media in our creative work, we rely on digital tools and resources to disseminate, communicate and organise, both in our art or design practice and in our lives, generally. While most digital and social media tools now allow us to do most of what we need to without understanding how they work, it is sometimes still necessary, and important, to know how to work with the technology to ensure the right results, so that we can archive, present and collaborate effectively. This workshop provides a thorough grounding in digital media concepts and principles for visual artists, including: the fundamentals of how real world information is encoded in data and saved in file formats; how digital data is accessed, transferred, processed, archived, manipulated, both locally and via the cloud or sharing services; how and when to use different data formats and how these affect quality or accessibility; technical principles, and creative potential.

    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. Picture framing and mounting for beginners

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sun 17 Jan 2021 (and 3 other dates)
    Location on this date: KS - Keeley Street
    Learn picture framing and mounting skills for the home or workplace. Using professional framing tools and equipment

    you will be taught all the skills you need to work in a busy studio or alternatively how to set up your own small scale

    practice from home. Suitable for complete beginners and those with some basic experience.

    This course takes place in the classroom, please follow this link to find out what we are doing to keep you safe: Staying COVID-19 secure at City Lit
    Full fee: £249.00
    Senior fee: £199.00
    Concession: £125.00

  5. The design brief

    Course Date: Tue 19 Jan 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

  6. Funding for artists and designers: how to make a strong application

    Course Date: Wed 20 Jan 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

  7. Ethical creative practice

    Course Date: Thu 28 Jan 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    This professional practice workshop is a forum for discussion and debate: what constitutes ethical creativity? Cultural and environmental issues, among others, are central to our lives and the contribution artists and practitioners can make is vital. Can we ‘do no harm’ when we make art? Can we make art that has zero or low carbon? Where are our materials coming from? How do history or political movements impact on us and how might we reflect these, without appropriating from another culture? What other harmful impacts might we consider? We will examine how art can promote, reflect or reference ethical issues and causes, looking at theoretical as well as actual examples, and the wider social/cultural context. This workshop will help you develop or refine an ethical framework for your own practice, and to learn from other artists. Potential topics include: socially motivated art, gender and the gaze, ethnicity and the postcolonial, looking at artists such as Hetain Patel, Ellie Harrison, John Akomfrah, Isaac Julien and Zanhele Muholi, whose work gives us platforms to consider our own and our society’s moral and ethical positions.

    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. Digital fundamentals 2: imaging for print and 2D

    Course Date: Fri 5 Feb 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

  9. Design thinking: creative problem solving

    Course Date: Tue 9 Feb 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

  10. Social engagement through creative practice

    Course Date: Thu 11 Feb 2021
    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

  11. The creative industries

    Course Date: Tue 16 Feb 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

  12. Developing communities of practice 1

    Evening
    Course Date: Fri 19 Feb 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 this first workshop, we examine what a community of practice is, how it might work, and what it means to be part of such a group. We will 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.

    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. Making a statement: how to write a strong application

    Course Date: Fri 5 Mar 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

  14. Collaborative creative projects online

    Course Date: Fri 5 Mar 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Recent advances in technology and communications provide creative practitioners and communities with opportunities that, in historical terms, are unique. We have never before had the capacity to react to events and engage with issues that, in some cases for the very same reasons, can no longer be confined, in terms of their impact, to the location in which they occur. Consider, for instance, climate change, Coronavirus, the BLM movement and the global reaction to inequality and injustice. Artists and designers have at their disposal, through these same resources, the capacity to respond to these developments, and to effect change, and with this, inevitably, comes the imperative of social responsibility. This workshop looks at how creative individuals engage with notions of online or distributed models of practice and collaboration, through the production or propagation of ideas, movements, memes or artefacts, with individuals one has possibly never met, or perhaps does not even know. Besides collaboration in making, we consider the potential of social/viral media as a disruptor or organisational tool, (for example in events, happenings, flash-mobs, and organised protests or movements such as Anonymous, Occupy, XR, BLM and others).

    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. Fringe, street and festival arts: celebration and participation

    Weekend
    Course Date: Sat 13 Mar 2021
    Location on this date: Online
    Street and/or festival arts have a history that can be traced back thousands of years, either as spontaneous celebrations or highly organised and ceremonial events. Activities of this type often draw on connections to the area, and to specific local and cultural traditions that go back generations, or have been introduced more recently with diasporas of various kinds, and, in so doing, have become part of the local culture and tradition. They can appear largely unplanned, or highly planned, but in either case, as with so much else in the present times, funding and support considerations are important. In this workshop, we look at some of the practical aspects of fringe, street and festival arts, including developing your initial proposal, planning and logistics, working with local authorities, groups and media. We also take a more playful and speculative look, in more general terms, at the possibilities of art and events that engage or surprise the public, considering theoretical interventions or disruptions in the urban environment.

    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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