Contemporary practice: personal project
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Location: Blended (learn both online and in-person)
This course will be delivered online and in person. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: VM676
Duration: 30 sessions (over 38 weeks)
What is the course about?
Contemporary practice: personal project is about developing you as a creative, experimental, critically informed and confident contemporary practitioner. Through the proposal and development of a personal project that is significant to you, the course will support you in developing a greater understanding of the concepts and themes that underpin your work, and enable you to experiment, take risks and explore ways in which to manifest, represent, realise and present your ideas.
The course is playful in its ethos, and you will be expected to be active in contributing to classes and workshops, and in engaging supportively and collaboratively with their peers as a 'community of practice'. The course is taught by contemporary artists and cultural theorists with professional experience in working and maintaining a career in a contemporary art context. Tutors will guide, advise and mentor you through the research, creative exploration and presentation of your work.
To join this course you may be working (or wishing to develop work) in any creative medium or form, including 2D and 3D arts, installation, creative textiles, photography and digital arts, film-art, sound, object art, performance and body art, conceptual art, mixed-media and collage, book arts, contemporary ceramics, participatory arts, etc. The course encourages participants to be open to new ways of working, and to taking their project ideas in potentially unexpected directions.
Previous students have progressed into post-graduate study in London, Ireland, and internationally, gained art residencies to further explore and build their practice in unique contexts, and accessed or created opportunities to exhibit and perform their work in group shows and arts festivals.
This course will be delivered online and in person, and will involve tutor presentation and class discussion. Student preparation and homework outside class times is strongly encouraged. To fully participate in this online class you will need:
- An email address
- A reliable internet connection
- A computer/laptop/tablet with a fully updated browser (preferably google chrome). Your device will need a microphone, and preferably a camera.
What will we cover?
This course runs over three terms and provides a weekly opportunity to explore, develop, discuss and produce a personally determined project from initial conceptual development to exhibition and beyond. The initial stages focus on research and conceptual development where you will carry out practical and theoretical research into your chosen theme to gain a deeper, more authentic understanding of your practice, ideas and personal creative motivations. Tutors will support you in developing your own research plans, identify personal sources for creative work, as well as deliver workshops covering topics such as experimental, contemporary arts practice, creative play, critical research and theory, research visits, talking and writing about your ideas and work, and more. There will be time to work on your project in the course studio with one-to-one tutorial support and group crits.
Term 2 focuses on studio practices and experimentation, where you will develop an exploratory body of practical work. We focus this term on helping you to identify and develop your personal creative methodology, as well as seek out and access alternative ways of working and making. During this term advice sessions will be provided for those planning on progressing into further study at post-graduate level or more professional practice.
The final term will focus on realising your project - through exhibition or other means. This part of the course focusses on professional practice as you - as a group - design, curate, advertise and host an exhibition. This term will enable you to realise your project, bringing together the ideas and practices you have explored, and present this in a self-curated show. The final weeks of the course allow time for project review, and support you in planning where you and your project will go next.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Establish, expand and develop a personal project utilising personal, practical, critical and creative research
- Initiate and develop a body of experimental work in relation to your creative concepts
- Demonstrate reflective and evaluative skills in assessing, reviewing and articulating your progress and creative work
- Develop and produce contemporary creative outcomes for presentation and exhibition.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an advanced course, and students will need to demonstrate a good level of creative ability within an area of contemporary art or creative practice. Ideally, you will have completed at least a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, or the City Lit fine art course, or be able to demonstrate a broadly equivalent level of experience. Potential students will need to be open to contemporary practices, creative experimentation and risk taking, and be able and willing to engage in critique of their own work and those of their peers. The course involves group work and collaboration on exhibitions and other events, so you will need to be friendly, community minded and open to working with others. You should have a good standard of spoken and written English to engage with set theoretical readings, writing about your work, and engaging in group discussion. Basic computer skills are essential, and you will be expected to access and use the course's online Google classroom.
To join this course you will need to complete an application/project proposal, and attend an interview with the course leader. The application form can be accessed in the right hand panel, however we recommend you take time before submitting an application to plan and write your proposal. The application will require you to identify:
- your previous creative experience
- a project title, and an explanation of the theme and key concept(s) that you intend to explore
- your key creative influences and contextual references
- the media, materials or form you currently work/wish to work in
- your future aims
Your project proposal – along with a physical or digital portfolio of work – will form the basis of discussion at interview. Importantly, the proposal is a starting point and priority is given to projects that are exploratory, are open to development, and show potential for future exploration rather than those that are prescriptive.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will be delivered by a team of creative teachers who are all active contemporary artists, theorists or curators. You will be taught through a range of personal tutorials, group crits, experimental workshops, theoretical discussion groups, reading groups, studio visits, and independent practical work in the course studio and at home. You will be expected to work independently outside of set classes, which may involve developing work in your own studio/workspace, attending other workshops or courses to develop practical or technical skills in your chosen mediums, and visiting contemporary art galleries.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Basic and essential materials will be provided, however the course takes place in a general rather than a specialist studio and you will be expected to supply and bring any specialist materials or equipment, or fund your own access to, for example, a print, ceramics or digital studio. Some equipment and resources are available to you on studio days, but will need to be discussed and organised through the application process. You should prepare for each studio session, and book or bring any materials or resources you may require.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Past students have gone on to set up their own studios, participate in solo and group exhibitions and festivals locally, nationally, and internationally; establish artist collectives and working groups; and participate in artist residencies in London and overseas. Many students have progressed onto post-graduate art courses across London and in other European countries, studying at major London art universities including Goldsmiths, Central St Martins and City and Guilds.
In addition to our expanding range of advanced long courses, you will find a new and growing range of professional practice workshops in the school of Visual Arts, aimed at providing support, skills and context, and developing communities of practice. These workshops can be taken individually, according to need or interest, or as complementary components of a modular course, which you design for yourself; either way, they are there to provide you with the skills, knowledge and connections you need to take your advanced creative practice forward.
Ian is a cultural theorist and creative practitioner, with 15 years experience of teaching & managing in the areas of contemporary art, critical, cultural and communication theory, and art history. Ian has taught at City Lit for over 10 years, and has previously been Programme Manager for the Foundation Diploma in Art & Design and Art History departments, and Head of School for the Humanities & Sciences. Ian's current interests include creative learning and transformative education; contemporary art and theory; and mental health in relation to education and the arts. Alongside his teaching and management work, Ian is an arts based life coach, creative practioner and poet, and is currently training in Arts Psychotherapy.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.