Advanced practice

Advanced Art Practice Courses in London & Online

City Lit’s Centre for Advanced Practice is where you can find advanced courses from across all subject areas in our School of Visual Arts. In many cases, this means well established courses of a year or longer, with outstanding reputations for preparing students for study at Bachelors or Masters level. Equally, their quality and depth makes them a viable alternative to the conventional Higher Education route, for many learners, into careers as creative practitioners.

To continue to support learners from a range of backgrounds, with diverse requirements, we have several new courses, recently launched – with more appearing soon – that build on our long-standing fine art and contemporary craft provision, and bring traditional practices up to date to ensure learners have the relevant skills for the contemporary creative industries. This is supported through increasing connections with external organisations and practitioners in many courses, for example through real-world project briefs, public exhibitions, or visits from industry professionals.

For Autumn 2021, we are introducing new titles in contemporary media and communications-based creative practices, and new courses running across a range of patterns and modes (weekly, monthly, studio-based, online or blended), to ensure that our advanced provision remains accessible and manageable alongside learners’ existing commitments. Alongside these developments, we are progressively refreshing many of our well-established courses, with an increased emphasis on critical discourse, and contemporary cultural debate, in keeping with the advanced level of study and focus on professionalism that are the common characteristics of all advanced practice courses.

In addition to our expanding range of advanced long courses, a new and growing range of advanced one-day workshops is now available (launched November 2020), aimed at providing knowledge and insight required to support specific aspects of professional practice. These can be taken individually, according to need or interest, or as complementary components of your own, pick-and-mix modular course. In common with our long courses, these will provide you with the skills, knowledge and confidence you need to take your advanced creative practice forward.

Any questions? Contact our visual arts team on visual.arts@citylit.ac.uk or call us on 020 7492 2700, Monday to Friday between 10am-12pm or 2pm-4pm.

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  1. Is meaning inevitable? Intention, action and interpretation
    Course Date:  Fri 2 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Does every creative act have meaning? Is there a statement – conscious or unconscious – inherent in everything we do as artists? Should we interpret or analyse what we see, what we do, what we’ve done? In this one-day workshop, we will examine a range of specific works, considering the question of whether and how meaning has been embedded (intentionally or otherwise) and can be identified and interpreted. This will, to some degree, touch on how individuals and societies make and ascribe meaning, perhaps as an attempt to process and come to terms with, for example, otherwise seemingly arbitrary events like a natural catastrophe or suffering. We will discuss and workshop these themes in the larger group, draw on examples presented, and the experiences of the members in the group. Other questions that may be considered include: discerning meaning as an attempt to find order in chaos, and whether or what we might lose by attempting to impose meaning, by attempting to explain within the confines of critical analysis, that which may, in fact, be critical to the character or intention of a work of art.

    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. 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
  3. Presenting and exhibiting: photographing your work 1
    Course Date:  Fri 9 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Photographing your work properly is important, whether for the purposes of promotion, for your own records, or to document your own exhibitions or installations. While smartphones offer convenience and immediacy, and allow us to share images instantly, to our audiences on social media and potentially anyone around the world, there is much more to consider both in terms of equipment and set-up, if you want to document and archive your creative work to a professional standard.



    In this one-day workshop, approaching from the perspective of the exhibiting artist, craftsperson or designer, we address the factors involved in documenting your work for or in an exhibition, and demystify the process to ensure you will always be able to obtain images of your work that serve as a faithful reference even after you have sold the original piece. We cover selecting lenses and filters to ensure an appropriate image quality; use of appropriate photographic equipment and why you need to ensure appropriate lighting and metering; understanding and selecting camera modes and settings to ensure appropriate image quality; why is your smartphone is not good enough to document your work to the standard required (although it can still have a role in the documentation process)



    Although not a requirement, this workshop will be of particular benefit to those who are also doing VPP850-1 Presenting and exhibiting: curatorial perspectives.

    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. Presenting and exhibiting: photographing your work 2
    Course Date:  Fri 16 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Photographing your work properly is important, whether for the purposes of promotion, for your own records, or to document your own exhibitions or installations. Having spent hours ensuring that you have captured perfect photos of your work, you need to be sure you can process them for the purposes you have in mind (eg: print, web, publicity), edit them non-destructively, and archive them appropriately for future reference.



    Working from the premise that you have already photographed your subject (your own work or exhibition/installation) to an appropriately professional standard, using suitable equipment and data formats, this one-day workshop covers: processing and archiving photographic records of your work, selecting and organising the best shots, using non-destructive data formats and working with specialist photography software and formats to ensure commercial standard image quality, and the integrity of the original image files in the editing process. We also look at considerations involved in processing your images to the required specifications for galleries, promotional materials, websites or publications, and effective systems for archiving images non-destructively, for your own future use and ensuring access to a growing body of work in perpetuity.



    Although not a requirement, this workshop will be of particular benefit to those who have completed VPP861-1 Presenting and exhibiting: photographing your work 1.

    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. Presenting and exhibiting: copyright and IP for artists
    Course Date:  Fri 23 Jul 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    Copyright and intellectual property are not interesting subjects – until you discover that someone has stolen your idea, or, maybe, that someone else is accusing you of infringement of their rights. Then, they become very important! You can avoid distressing and potentially expensive disputes and possible legal action by making sure that you know the rules, and understand how to make and present your work without falling foul of any laws or regulations. You can also judge when your own ideas might have been stolen, or ‘appropriated’. Copyright and IP applies in situations and contexts that you might not be aware of. This workshop, primarily for the practitioner who is intent on developing their profile or career as a creative professional, considers the most relevant laws, points out where you might be at risk (but might not be aware), and advises, through hypothetical scenarios and case studies, how disputes might arise and be resolved. Amongst the subjects covered are: protecting your intellectual property, copyrighting or trademarking your images or other intellectual property; quoting or attributing in creative practice; plagiarism and legal cases; sampling/quotation/referencing; digital watermarking; performing rights for screening/playback in public events/contexts.

    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. Presenting and exhibiting: curatorial perspectives
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sun 15 Aug 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This workshop is designed to walk you through the various curatorial considerations that factor into presenting an exhibition of your own work, in a more-or-less conventional gallery setting. It covers the broad editorial aspects of working with the space in selecting work and planning layout to present it to best effect, including implications of working within curatorial conventions, (or rejecting them).



    Ensuring a professional standard of exhibiting extends beyond the work itself, into aspects such as: quality and consistency in use of materials; transportation/shipping and storage of work; ensuring use of archival quality materials in presentation, shipping and storage; conventions (or not!) in mounting, framing, hanging, labelling, categorising of work; documenting the exhibition…



    In a wide-ranging workshop, delivered in a discursive format, and drawing on the experience of participants, or directly addressing their questions, you will also consider: ensuring consistently professional standards of delivery through the exhibition, including documentation, signposting, information/displays, visual and informational consistency across rooms/spaces and the exhibition publicity and website; systems for capturing interest and enquiries, press and media, and recording visitors and sales.

    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. Get your artwork out there
    Weekend
    Course Date:  Sun 22 Aug 2021

    Location on this date:  Online

    This workshop will provide you with the understanding and confidence required to create your own opportunities to present your work in the public arena, focusing primarily on the conventional gallery or exhibition space, and with an emphasis on opportunities leading to sales. This can be a daunting process, and it can be hard to know where to begin, or how to present your work. Through group discussion and experience, we will draw on perspectives from across a range of backgrounds and creative practices, and start by interrogating and defining our own work in order ensure the ability make an effective opening pitch or presentation. You will test approaches to presenting your work, with a sympathetic and supportive audience, and develop the ability to communicate clearly and concisely about your practice, and what motivates you. Having provided insights and presented strategies for securing opportunities to present your work, the session will consider practical, organisational and technical considerations that go into preparing, delivering and exhibiting work in an exhibition, and introduces many essential resources and services that you are likely to need.

    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: media and protocols for creative practice
    Course Date:  Fri 17 Sep 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
  9. Digital fundamentals: imaging for print and 2D
    Course 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
  10. Developing communities of practice
    Weekend
    Course 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. Open source software and platforms for creative communities
    Course 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
  15. Reflecting on practice
    Course 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

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