University of Sydney Handbooks - 2013 Archive

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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 of study that help 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 of study from Semester One onwards include time each week in your chosen studio major and a studio theory class.

Semester 1 Semester 2
Contemporary Drawing A Contemporary Drawing B
Foundation Studio A Foundation Studio B
Foundation Studio Concepts A Foundation Studio Concepts B
Theories of Art Practice A Theories of Art Practice B
Studio Theory A Studio Theory B

Second and third year

Second and third years expand your understanding of visual arts through studio-based practice and studio theory and theoretical enquiry units of study. You 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.

Second Year

Semester 1 Semester 2
Studio Major C Studio Major D
Elective Elective
Theoretical Enquiry Theoretical Enquiry
Studio Theory (in a relevant stream) C Studio Theory (in a relevant stream) D

Third Year

Semester 1 Semester 2
Studio Major E Studio Major F
Elective Elective
Theoretical Enquiry Theoretical Enquiry
Studio Theory (in a relevant stream) E Studio Theory (in a relevant stream) F
Studio units of study

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 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 you cannot take introductory electives in the same studio as your major study.

Theoretical Enquiry units of study

The Theoretical Enquiry units of study provide insight into theories and histories of contemporary and modern fine art, media arts, and craft and object design. The units aim to help develop students' studio practice as well as their skills in critical analysis and written and verbal communication. The Theoretical Enquiry units are offered over the full term of the undergraduate course.

Theoretical Enquiry units of study address the theories and histories of art and design practice and critical theory and cover the development of ideas and philosophies central to the theoretical and historical framework of visual arts study.

Studio Theory units of study address contemporary concerns particular to Fine Arts, Media Arts and Object Art and Design and focus 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.

Academic adviser

Each student will have an academic adviser 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-on-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 level of study. 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 submission 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 (for example, 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.