University of Sydney Handbooks - 2012 Archive

Download full 2012 archive Page archived at: Wed, 02 May 2012 14:20:24 +1000

Bachelor of Visual Arts

Course structure and requirements

The Bachelor of Visual Arts is offered in three major study streams:

  • Fine Arts (painting, printmedia and sculpture, performance and installation studios)
  • Media Arts (photomedia and film and digital art studios)
  • Object Art and Design (ceramics, glass and jewellery and object studios).

First year

The first year includes a variety of units that help to develop your ideas and concepts to develop your work and theoretical and critical awareness of contemporary art practice. You will learn about appropriate materials and methods for your work and be able to develop the technical skills required to make and document it successfully. The interdisciplinary units of study are the main focus of the program and include Foundation Concepts, Contemporary Drawing and Theoretical Enquiry. Studio discipline-specific units from Semester One onwards include time each week in your chosen studio major and a studio theory class.

Second and third year

Second and third years expand your understanding of visual arts through studio-based practice and studio and core theory subjects. You will undertake specialist study in a single studio and develop your art practice through structured group and self-directed projects. You may also choose a broader interdisciplinary study within the faculty or other parts of the University. The Theoretical Enquiry program provides a theoretical and historical understanding of contemporary art practice and encourages you to place your own studio practice in context.

Studio units of study

Studio Major – 12 credit points

From the second year of the BVA, you undertake study in a 12 credit point studio-based major. The Studio Major provides a focused study in one of the eight studios. The curriculum is increasingly directed towards independent study augmented by group tutorials specifically oriented towards student-identified course outcomes in Fine Arts, Media Arts or Object Art and Design.

Electives – 3 credit points

From the second year of the BVA, major study is combined with elective studies to enable you to further tailor your study to your desired outcomes. Please refer to the list of electives provided at the end of this chapter. Please note: introductory electives cannot be taken in the same studio as your major study.

The 3 credit point electives may also be undertaken by students from other faculties of the University of Sydney, subject to availability.

If you would like to undertake an elective in another faculty, you are required to seek permission from the Associate Dean, Teaching and Learning at SCA, outlining your study objectives.

Theoretical Enquiry units of study

The Theoretical Enquiry units provide an introduction to the theories and histories of contemporary and modern fine art, media art, and craft and object design. The units are designed to support students' studio practice and develop their written, verbal and critical skills through essays, class discussions and other projects. The Theoretical Enquiry units are offered over the full term of the undergraduate course.

A general theoretical enquiry strand addresses the theories and histories of art and design practice and critical theory and covers the development of ideas and philosophies central to the theoretical and historical framework of visual arts study.

A discipline-specific theoretical enquiry strand (Studio Theory units) addresses contemporary concerns particular to Fine Arts, Media Arts and Object Art and Design and the focus is on the artwork and the actions of artists. This practical and actual aspect provides a bridge between studio practice and the theories of contemporary visual arts practice.


Studio Work Assessment

You must present the following material:

  • notebooks used to keep a record of ideas, projects and references
  • where this will assist in demonstrating progress, a visual record of studio work produced during the period to be assessed, including work not available to be viewed during the final assessment process, and
  • the completed studio work.

There will be two or more academic staff involved in reaching an academic judgement for all studio units. Studio assessment includes presentation of work and oral examination.

Theoretical Enquiry Units Assessment

For theory units of study the requirements and procedures for assessment will be different from those for studio work, and assessment notes or records will reflect this difference in individual unit of study outlines.

Technical Instruction

Technical instruction is an essential component of the undergraduate program at SCA. Technical demonstrations in specific core skills and processes, and related occupational health and safety, are held in studio-based units of study. Foundation Studio includes demonstrations of skills and techniques relevant to projects and facilities. Please refer to the Student Information section for details on Safety Equipment.

Academic adviser

Each student will have an academic adviser (mentor) who will be responsible for monitoring a student's progress in the course (assessment/evaluation) and supervising a student's academic work (assistance/advice). It is important that you understand the dual role of your academic adviser, in supervising and evaluating.

Academic advisers are required to post times and days when they are available for consultation as well as set up regular patterns of one-to-one tutorials (in studios).

Each academic adviser is expected to meet regularly with all students supervised in a group tutorial, normally held each week. General attendance and study problems are normally monitored through this tutorial.

It is a responsibility of academic advisers and other academic staff involved with evaluation to acquaint students with the requirements of the course, their expectations in relation to the subsequent evaluative process leading to assessment, and the criteria applied.

Consultations with students will identify work to be carried out, including expectations regarding its quantity, scale, quality and appropriate timetable for completion or submissions. It is expected that students will communicate their intentions and develop self-critical analysis in this process.

In the Week 7 Feedback Review, your academic adviser will discuss your progress to date. Your academic adviser will also monitor for problems that you may experience in any units outside the studio.

Information to be provided to students

You will be given the following information at the commencement of each semester as appropriate to their level of study:

  • name of your academic adviser, days and times of availability for consultation
  • frequency of one-to-one tutorials with academic adviser (approximately every two to three weeks)
  • a unit of study outline
  • a copy of the assessment criteria and definition of grades
  • attendance requirements in each unit of study
  • reading list if appropriate, and
  • deadlines for submissions of work if specified.

You will also receive requirements of units of study such as:

  • the minimum amount of work expected and guides for it, such as number of words, scale, complexity and sufficiency of number of works to judge development throughout the semester (eg although the number of works required will depend upon the scale and complexity of each, one large work for a semester would not be considered adequate)
  • expectations for participation in tutorials/seminars or collaborative work
  • expectations regarding method of submission or presentation of work
  • expectations for development of competence and innovation
  • expectations for quality or standard of work in terms of critical awareness and development, and
  • expectations regarding self-motivation in a unit of study.

Keeping records of work

You are required to maintain a workbook and to keep a visual record of work, both of which must be made available at assessment.