The Conservation and Education Centre at the former Bristol Zoo Gardens site 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 Bristol Zoo Project. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Course Description

The FDA Fine Art offers you the chance to engage with contemporary fine art practice and its relationship to cultural and creative industries. During the first year you will experiment in a range of different media and explore processes of making in drawing, print, painting, ceramics, textiles, sculpture, or using digital processes such as photography, film, or graphics. In your second year you will study more independently in your chosen contextual area and organise (as a group) an off-site public exhibition of your work. The programme is built around studio practice and full-time students have dedicated studio space. Delivery takes place in form of lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. Scheduled visits to galleries and exhibitions, a varied programme of Visiting Lecturers and the opportunity to exhibit at the Bristol School of Art degree show will make this an unforgettable experience. Progression from this course is onto our BA (Hons) Fine Art and Contemporary Art Practice L6 top-up programme, a one year course to complete the full BA (Hons) degree.

Bristol School of Art

At the heart of Bristol School of Art lies a dynamic team striving to support and develop your creative thinking. This unique environment has been a centre for art education for 160 years. Located in the beautiful Royal West of England Academy building, it is located within minutes from art galleries and museums in Bristol’s city centre, such as RWA, Bristol City Museum and Gallery, the Arnolfini and Spike Island. A particular feature valued by our alumni is the small group sizes, which help forge an atmosphere where everyone is valued for who they are. The school has an ethos for interdisciplinary approaches to idea development that fosters both individual and collaborative outcomes. Our HE programmes are awarded by the University of Gloucestershire.

Recent students have had work accepted at international exhibitions, have been accepted onto residencies abroad, have gone on to study at Masters level, and have initiated cultural projects in Bristol.

  • Artist
  • Museum/Gallery Work
  • Teaching/Education
  • Progression to BA (Hons) Top-Up, Level 6

Degree Show 2023

"New ideas and perspectives"

"I love having my own studio space where I can work alongside a group of peers who are interested and engaged in studying art. The class sizes are small. This is really beneficial in terms of students having their own dedicated workspace and lecturers having capacity to dedicate time to students. What I like most about the FdA is how enjoyable it is! I like the fact that I am building upon previous skills and knowledge whilst at the same time being challenged by new ideas and perspectives."

FdA Fine Art
Study Modules
Drawing as Investigation

This module will introduce you to the notion of drawing, in all its forms and possibilities, as a tool for the investigation of forms, phenomena, ideas and sensations. It is an introduction to the ethos of the Foundation Degree in Fine Art and the nature of drawing (in an expanded sense) as central to this. You will use two/three dimensional drawing processes to investigate various experiments. This is an opportunity for you to consider and engage in drawing both as a tool to aid the investigation of sources, the recording, development and progress of your ideas and as a set of processes or ways of producing works in its own right. We encourage you to define drawing as broadly as possible It can be a paper / pencil activity but it might be more helpful to consider it as a set of functions rather than specific media or processes. You'll produce a portfolio of drawings in a wide range of media.

Portfolio: 85%

Evaluative statement: 15% (500 words)

Preparation for Surface, 3D and 4D Projects

This module will allow you to undertake a range of project work firmly based around Fine Art practices and processes. You will meet different tutors who will introduce you to the various specialist workshops/studios and their facilities, as well as the ideas and approaches that are possible. You will make work for each of these areas, which will then find a home within your shared studio environment, each element becoming a part of your shared experience of the studio, to be worked in and lived with. You will also continue your own projects, feeding in ideas and processes that you have enjoyed from the workshops. The module will culminate in an Interim Show (or exhibition) that will showcase the things you have been working on in the first two modules. Staging the show will introduce you to the idea of collaborative exhibition making, and editing/selecting work for presentation. You will also reflect on what you are doing, researching and discovering throughout the module. You'll evaluate what you have learned from your research (practical work as well as wider artists re-search) and identify areas of Fine Art practice that you would like to explore further in future.

Portfolio: 80%

Evaluative statement: 20% (500 words)

Surface, 3D or 4D Projects

You will build on the creative thinking and practical skills gained in the previous module and be encouraged to acquire contextual and interpretive skills, which will provide an opportunity to refine and develop experimental approaches to your work. During the module, you will work on a series of projects to explore two identified areas of Fine Art practice with a view to further development of specialist skills. You will develop personal and familiar strategies for originating and recording ideas and identifying relevant research methods. This period of study will allow for further development of your creative and technological skills and culminate in extended study around process specific project briefs. The module will include introductions to: Surface (printmaking, painting, photography, etc.)  3D (sculpture, installation, plastic materials, etc.) 4D (performance, moving image, multi-media, etc.). The examination of semiotics, language and meaning in the context of Fine Art practice Development of responses to project briefs using traditional and innovative methods.

Portfolio of practical work: 80%

Evaluative and reflective blog: 20%

Contextual Studies: Art in Society

This module will involve you in a series of lectures and seminars that introduces you to a range of historical contexts of Fine Art practice. Why? So that you come to identify what has been done in the past, which enables you to create work that is relevant in the present, and the future. Taught sessions will focus on a wide range of themes of contemporary art practices, analysing the developments in art history that have influenced these current practices. Seminars will enable you to gain confidence in analysing a work of art and understanding how it relates to a specific context of creation and exhibition. You will maintain an individual blog of your ongoing and increasingly personalised researches into historical and contemporary Fine Art. This blog will complement the knowledge the student will gather during taught sessions. The blog will maintain reflective records of exhibitions visited, books, journal articles and discussions you might have had. Lectures and seminar topics will include: Postcolonialism, Marxism, Feminism, Semiotics, Iconography, Modernism, Postmodernism.

Presentation: 25%

Folder: 25% A blog or folder of ongoing research into art practice relevant to the lecture and seminar topics (1200 words or equivalent)

Essay: 50% A written assignment exploring the relationship between an artist and the society within which they function.

Idea into Form

This module encourages you to build upon research and ideas developed in FA5005. Visual research in the form of drawings and related works form the starting points for a final major project and a single work to be appropriate for exhibition. You'll write a proposal for a programme of study that will sustain you for several weeks. Your individual creative identity in terms of your ideas and choices of materials and processes will be clear. The aim is to allow students to prepare for either: exit from the course at level 5 to seek employment in the creative industries; or to plan progression to a Level 6 programme to top up the Foundation degree to a full Honours Degree in Fine Art or a related discipline. You will devise and produce appropriate conclusions to your major project; this will include selection and development of a single 'work' for exhibition and to be developed as a conclusion to FA5007 and presentation to an audience.

Portfolio: 75%

Blog: 25% Project proposal (750 words) and final evaluative statement (750 words)

Contextual Studies: Art and Community

You'll engage with Communities of Practice and / or Art in the Wider Community through the preparation and execution of a small-scale, work-related, research project. You will get involved with an individual practitioner, in a community based art project, an art institution, gallery or community of artists with a view to reporting on its functions, processes, ethos, ethical positions, funding, etc. You will seek out and engage, either as a volunteer or through some other mechanism, with an example of individual practice, a community based art project, an art institution, gallery or community of artists. You'll use small-scale research methods such as participant observation, interviews, focus groups, etc., to illicit information and data. This data will then form the basis of a written report that locates their experience within a wider contextual landscape as outlined in the lectures and seminars.

A written report / assignment 50% (300 words)

A blog of research into art practice 25% (1500 words)

Professional Practice and Off-site Exhibition

This module will involve students in preparation and presentation of a group, off-site, exhibition and the production of a final major work. In addition students will prepare a digital, online, portfolio and a printed, professional standard, catalogue of their practical Fine Art output. They will explore possible venues, e.g. public, private, commercial, non-commercial, subsidised, non-subsidised, etc. They will explore funding opportunities; prepare their work and the venue; explore and utilise appropriate and relevant installation methods. Students will maintain an evaluative journal throughout in which they document their engagement with: curatorial issues, e.g. the exhibition's inception, conception, development, production, information and realisation. Students will be responsible for personal, financial and physical resources and for all publicity tools e.g. catalogues, press releases, etc. Students will produce a digital portfolio and a professional standard catalogue of their Fine Art practice to be published alongside the exhibition. This portfolio / catalogue will demonstrate a developing engagement with contemporary Fine Art professional practice.

Digital portfolio & printed catalogue: 25%

An evaluative & reflective journal / blog: 25% (1500 words)

Presentation: 50% [On a suitable work appropriate to the exhibition & rationale for its selection, method of exhibition and conceptual background. No more than 3000 words]

Drawing and Idea

This module underlines the centrality of drawing to the creative process. You'll return to drawing, in its widest possible definition, as a starting point and as resolution alongside your other chosen areas of practice. Through negotiation with teaching staff, you'll design a series of programmes of study that will sustain you over several weeks. These will include drawing as a central component in the research, preparation and execution of ideas. The emphasis of this module will be on developing existing skills within drawing alongside your chosen areas of practice in Fine Art. You will be expected to extend your research and recording skills in order to realise innovative and experimental responses to a series of negotiated projects.

Portfolio of practical work: 80%

Evaluative and critically reflective blog: 20%

Course Video
Jack Wilson (Jack Lewdjaw)
FdA Fine Art Programme Lead & Fine Art Lecturer
*This programme is subject to validation and delivery approval by the University of Gloucestershire.
Queens Road Campus
Foundation Degree
Full-time Duration:
2 Years
Full-time Fee (Per Year):
Part-time Duration:
4 Years
Part-time Fee (Per Year):
UCAS Application Code:
UCAS Entry Tariff:
Entry Requirements

The minimum UCAS tariff entry points from a level 3 qualification, GCSE Maths and English at grade C/4. Please submit a portfolio to be reviewed by Programme Lead. Once your portfolio has been reviewed, you may be invited for an interview. Mature students over 24 without the relevant qualifications will be required to demonstrate previous experience and evidence of academic ability.

Course info last updated:
December 6, 2023
Delivery Format

The delivery format for your degree-level programs is primarily face-to-face and in-person sessions. However, there may be some hybrid sessions offered occasionally, mainly for flexibility purposes, such as tutorials or for larger events like visiting lecturers. Additionally, it's mentioned that all degree programs are well-supported by Virtual Learning Environments, which include Teams or Google Classroom.

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