Professional practice

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. Artist talk: Carol Justin Wilhide - A history of Japanese woodcut
    Course Date:  Tue 29 Jun 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This inspiring talk by artist and printmaker Carol Wilhide Justin will introduce you to the fascinating history and development of Japanese ukiyo-e prints during the Edo period. Find out about how Japan was almost totally cut off from the rest of the world for almost 250 years and uncover the beauty of their ukiyo-e prints that were eventually opened up to the West in 1865. Discussing selected prints this conversation will explain how Japanese ukiyo-e prints electrified contemporary artists and paved the way for Modern Art.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £5.00 Senior fee £5.00 Concession £5.00
  2. Artist talk: Tanvi Kant - Textile Tales: Personal and collective histories
    Evening
    Course Date:  Tue 6 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Tanvi Kant’s textile jewellery practice began by unpicking the woven threads of her mother’s silk sari in 2004. Looking for ways to prolong the life of fabrics and clothing no longer worn she developed sculptural cords through wrapping, coiling, knotting and stitching. She began delivering workshops alongside solo exhibitions of her work and now has over 13 years’ experience in delivering workshops within a variety of settings including galleries, museums, higher education, women's charities and residential care homes. She has been a jewellery tutor with City Lit since 2013. Her practice demonstrates how readily available materials can be transformed with unashamedly simple techniques. In this illustrated talk, Tanvi will follow multiple threads traversing both personal and collective narratives that intersect with her practice. Join us this evening to hear and see how a sari in the mid-west of the USA, microscopic worlds, cotton spinning in Lancashire and an empowered social reformer in British India spin together in expected and unexpected ways.

    This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
    Full fee £5.00 Senior fee £5.00 Concession £5.00
  3. Reflecting on exhibitions: intention and experience
    Course Date:  Tue 6 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    How important is contextual knowledge when looking at art? To what extent, for example, do we need to understand the historical and political context of the time, or to know the biographical details of the artist? How do we apply such knowledge, and our own experience, in making informed subjective opinions of works of art?



    This workshop will build on some of these fundamental questions and assumptions, to examine how the visual arts are presented, and encountered. Alongside the context, environment, and design/production values of an exhibition, we will consider the target audience, visitor experience, accessibility, and so on. Beyond these questions, we will also consider a number of factors related to public policy and accountability. For example, how does the Arts Council assess the 'Artistic Quality' of the work it funds, and what are its criteria for assessing funded exhibitions, in terms of fulfilling their values (education, public engagement and access)?



    Referring to real case studies (either physical or virtual), the group will present and discuss experiences of visiting exhibitions or encountering works of art in specific contexts, and how these have informed, enlightened or affected individual thinking or practice, and served the needs of artist, exhibitor and audience.

    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. The design brief
    Course 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
  5. Design thinking: creative problem solving
    Course 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
  6. The creative industries
    Course 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
  7. Developing exhibition and event proposals
    Course 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
  8. The archive: resource and practice
    Course 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
  9. Exhibiting creativity: alternatives to the white cube
    Course 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

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