BA (Hons) Design & Materials

Bristol Zoo Gardens remains open to students.

You will have private access to the zoo grounds during lectures, to carry out your observations and data collection, but as more animals are moved, this will gradually be carried out at the Wild Place Project. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Course Description

The BA Design and Materials (Level 6) course will enable you to find and start to establish your individual identity as a designer and maker. It will help you to locate your design practice in the wider world of the creative industries. The course is aimed at those who wish to develop their practice in areas including studio ceramics, jewellery, textiles, print and enamelling.

Creativity by nature

The course is interdisciplinary in nature (enabling and encouraging you to work in more than one material or process area). You will explore a range of media and processes to find your own direction, articulating a distinctive individual and professional approach to the design and making of a range of resolved personal work. A lively and experimental approach is encouraged; practical workshops will allow you to explore and develop skills using a wide range of 2D and 3D materials, and digital media. It is regarded as critical to your development that you are free to move between areas and can seek out and devise your own means to combine materials and processes, as appropriate to your aims. 

Conversation Starters

You will also be actively taking part in creative conversations and debates in the studio, in workplaces (visits and placements) and through our lecture and seminar programme. You will research, critically analyse and write about historical or contemporary theoretical and social contexts for design, materials and making in your dissertation. Professional organisations and contexts will be explored in relation to your own personal approach to creative thinking and the production of practical work. You will develop the professional and transferrable skills necessary to pursuing a career as a successful practitioner in the creative industries. You will develop strategies to promote your work and build a sustainable practice. You will participate in exhibitions and enterprises to build a professional network and to market your work.

"All the staff are really helpful"

"The studio space is a great, light space to work and the 3D rooms for printing, plaster, latex and clay etc are brilliant. The lecturers push you to try new materials and are keen to get you making. All the staff at Bristol School of Art are really helpful. The lecturers are all really engaged and offer lots of support and feedback. Their artist knowledge is incredible, and they always have relevant, exciting artists and opportunities to share with you."

BA (Hons) Design & Materials
Study Modules
There are no modules at this level.
There are no modules at this level
Practice in Context

The module aims to extend on the knowledge you gained at levels 4 and 5 and provide a solid base for your own progression into practice, including compiling an effective CV, using various promotional channels, and marketing your work. Business planning for self-employment as makers, craftspeople or artists, and routes into employment will also be covered. An opportunity will be used during the year to actively test the promotional strategies and material in a live environment such as a craft fair, where merchandising will be explored. The module will include seminars, group discussions and visits to encourage you to engage with the wider creative industries and consider your personal progression. You will produce promotional material relevant to your practice (portfolio, website/social media presence, etc).

Presentation: 15 %

Portfolio: 85 %

Major Project Development

The module aims to encourage an experimental approach to the design process with the intention of arriving at a proposal for a resolved body of work. You will develop a design brief through research and experimentation with materials, technologies and approaches related to your specialist area of practice. The research and experimentation will be underpinned by reading and engagement with relevant current theory. The module will be studio-based and seminars and formalised group critiques will aim to assist the process of design and experimentation alongside regular 1:1 tutorials with specialist tutors. Additional workshop sessions will support the testing and evaluation of making processes.

Presentation: 15 %

Portfolio: 85 %

Major Project Production

This module will enable you to develop your practice and refine the ideas and methods explored in the preceding modules to a professional standard. You will present your work formally through an exhibition which will from the main element of the assessment. This forms a culmination of the course and is a stepping off point for future personal development, education or professional practice. You will need to take full responsibility for all aspects of the show, from designing and making work to the curation, presentation, dissemination and marketing of it, working both individually and collaboratively. The level of professionalism should take into account future professional development and self-employability. The module will be supported by seminar discussions and group critiques. Formative feedback will be given through regular 1:1 tutorials.

Display, Show or Performance: 85%

Assignment: 15%

Dissertation/Major Research Project

The aim of this module is that you identify an area of practice, a practitioner or an equivalent negotiated site for research, closely relevant to your own area of practice, and of direct use to you in the progression of your own work. You will, through negotiation with your dissertation supervisor, identify a relevant topic of interest to you and undertake in-depth research on it to produce either: 1. A formal written dissertation of 6,000 words. OR 2. An identified research project that would lead to an outcome (e.g. a curated display, a blog, video or other digital presence) supported by a critical and evaluative text of 3,000 words. Each will be supported by an assessed 20 minute presentation of your preliminary research findings and progress (including a 5 minute question and answer session).

Presentation: 25%

Dissertation / Major Project: 75%

Course Video
Oli Timmins
FdA and BA (Hons) Design & Materials Programme Lead
*Programme subject to validation by the University of Gloucestershire
Queens Road Campus
Top-up Degree
Full-time Duration:
1 Year
Full-time Fee (Per Year):
Part-time Duration:
2 Years
Part-time Fee (Per Year):
UCAS Application Code:
UCAS Entry Tariff:
Entry Requirements

For direct entry onto a Level 6 (Top Up) course, you will need to have achieved a level 5 qualification e.g. HND, Level 5 Diploma or Foundation Degree in a related subject.

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Course info last updated:
February 10, 2023
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