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Gray’s school of art Undergraduate course guide




Your First Year At Gray’s  1 Space To Think, Space To Reflect, Space To Create  4 Making As Learning  6 Our Community  8 What Our Students Do And Say  10 The Bigger Picture  12 What To Do Now   14 Applying To Gray’s  16 Communication Design BA (Hons)  20 Commercial Photography BA  22 Fashion And Textiles Design BA (Hons)  24 Three Dimensional Design BA (Hons)  26 Contemporary Art Practice BA (Hons)  28 Painting BA (Hons)  30 Visiting Gray’s  32 Entry Requirements  34 What’s Next?  36 Robert Gordon University is committed to the accessibility of its publications. An alternative, electronic format of this course guide is available. If you have any questions or additional requirements please contact our Admissions Team on +44 (0)1224 262728 or email

Your first year at Gray’s will encourage you to look at your world differently. We want to inspire your thinking and nurture your creative abilities. To do that we need to challenge you and your ideas . . . and we do that in a variety of ways. Practical studio projects introduce you to your subject and to the ways in which you further develop your visual research skills, your idea generation skills, your technical skills, and your ability to analyse

and select to give form to your ideas. We ask a lot of questions about the development of ideas and we encourage you to do the same. The beauty of the studio projects is that they are ‘themed’; students from all courses work with the same theme during the projects. You will apply and customise these themes to your specialist subject and specialist staff will be working alongside you. Our large teaching spaces

mean that you are able to see how other students from other specialist areas interpret the same theme. We challenge preconceptions and encourage you to talk about ‘how’, ‘what’ and ‘why’. We will provide points throughout the projects for groups to share ideas and discuss the developing work. This encourages the development of communication and presentation skills.

We also want you to understand and evolve opinions about the broader visual culture of the 21st Century. Our Critical and Contextual Studies lecture programme, seminars and on-line forums provide a wealth of content and opportunities to discover, discuss and comment on both today’s and yesterday’s visual culture. This learning experience provides a strong foundation for developing the analysis and questioning skills for essay writing, on-line discussion and presentation skills.

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YOUR FIRST YEAR AT GRAY’S The emphasis throughout the first year is on creating a strong basis of practical skills, knowledge and transferable skills and processes that will underpin the rest of your degree study at Gray’s and your future career.

In short…. • You will be expected to do things in new and unfamiliar ways. • You will work in teams and as an individual. • You will be set challenges to make you question your previous habits and preconceptions. • You will experience ways of thinking that will open up new directions for you. • You will develop new skills and knowledge.

‘F irst Y ear allows you to discover your strengths and where your best potential lies, whilst developing all the important observational, technical and process-based skills that become a definitive part of your practice from then on.’ the the professional professional university university || 3


The spaces you will spend most of your time in are key to Gray’s social framework. The first year studios are large open-plan, flexible spaces that are a hub of activity for the School. Gray’s is also at the heart of a vibrant and growing University campus set on a tranquil riverside location. These fantastic spaces are always busy with many different projects running concurrently or can be used as massive spaces for large tasks that the whole year group can join in with.

There is an important social aspect to this space within a small art school like Gray’s. This is one of our hidden strengths. The space encourages interaction during study, which means that you will mingle and make friends with a wide group of people who you will keep in touch with. Due to this, interaction between subject areas happens more freely at Gray’s than is normal in larger art schools. The ethos of subject and social interaction is at the heart of the School’s philosophy. The shared studio space in first year is replaced by

‘Gray’s is a fantastic place to create work in. The space you are given and the people you meet will always be a part of you. The studios and all other departments are open, so you are free to explore and see all the other exciting things that go on.’

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quality individual workplaces for all students in years 2 to 4. These vary in size and type, from subject to subject and from year to year with space being allocated to disciplines and activities appropriately, with an emphasis on supporting the final year in the production of their most ambitious work. At the end of the academic year these teaching spaces are transformed into professional exhibition spaces ready for the public show in June every year.

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Learning in Art & Design subjects is characterised by its use of ‘experiential learning’. This means it’s ‘hands-on’ and you learn by doing; being immersed in applying your skills and practising them daily deepens your knowledge and understanding both of your subject and of yourself. All courses involve the practical application of ‘process’. For some this is predominantly in the digital and on-line environment, for others it is a very physical activity. ‘Making’ can be drawing a life model, etching a copper plate, taking a photograph, polishing steel, sewing a hem or setting a stone. All are done

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with precision, thought and planning. All are done to address an idea, a problem or as part of a journey of investigation. Along the way the object of our ‘making’ throws up questions and further problems that we want to address or solve. We then go back to the studio or workshop and try again; we revise the idea or process and we develop further. This is a description of how we learn through making. You will develop attributes of patience and perseverance and appreciate your own discoveries through enquiry. At Gray’s we encourage thoughtful making and making that asks questions of the idea,

the material and the process. We want to encourage you to consider the ‘idea’ as the most important guide to process and technical need. Your idea might need input from a range of sources and expertise across the School. This is why we have an open workshop policy; should you need to consider a process or material outside that of the ‘normal’ approaches that your subject discipline may take, we would encourage you to investigate that. Students across the School work with many differing mediums and have found success in doing so.

LEARNING THROUGH WORK & STUDY ABROAD Throughout your course there will be opportunities to apply your growing experience and knowledge to new situations. Live projects and competitions will form part of that experience, but work-based placements and semester-long exchanges to our European partner colleges may also be a feature of your education as part of international exchange opportunities. Placement semesters and exchange opportunities occur in year 3 of our 4 year courses.

Studio Fund To provide materials for our students at the best possible prices, we have a Studio Fund for each of our courses. Depending on the course and year, students pay between ÂŁ20 and ÂŁ150 annually. This is common practice in art schools throughout the UK. The Studio Fund will be collected at the beginning of the academic year when students enrol on their course.

You would be eligible to apply for financial assistance towards work placements. This is from a fund set up by one of our generous alumni. The money is allocated towards travel and your accommodation costs.

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OUR COMMUNITY STAFF The size of Gray’s lets you experience our best asset – our staff. We are confident in stating that Gray’s has the best and most supportive group of teaching staff working in any art school in the country. Our staff teach across all levels. Academic Tutors oversee the structure of first year and teach the core of your studies. They also have a role as Personal Tutors, providing feedback and guidance on your academic work, and working with you to help with any difficulties that you may experience.

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During first year you will have a lot of contact with staff. We want you to become increasingly self-directed during your time at Gray’s, so this level of contact will gradually reduce as you progress. By year 4, you will be using the staff more as consultants and supervisors for your developing work. They will support you in working independently, preparing you for your degree show and your professional life as an artist or designer.

Your studies will be supported by a number of staff within the School. Our administrative staff will help you with aspects such as finance, academic forms, procedures and student trips etc. Our technicians are critical to the School’s activities and to your studies. They are located in all the workshop areas of the School and will help you with technical enquiries and difficulties; often our technicians are timetabled to give you workshops demonstrations on process and technique.

The atmosphere of the School is inviting and the staff, friendly and approachable. Our students tell us they find tutors and support staff really helpful and genuinely interested in the students. When you visit we are sure you’ll like the “buzz” around the place... being at a smaller art school does have its benefits. ‘The staff are very approachable and constructive. They treat you as an equal and help you by any means possible.’

‘The most important aspect of my time at Gray’s has been the support of the staff - ALL the staff. Everyone seems united to help students to reach their full potential. in a positive and encouraging way.’ the professional university | 9

WHAT OUR STUDENTS DO For a small art school we certainly punch above our weight in terms of prizes, nominations, and competition awards. We thought we would give you a quick resumé from last year alone. Here goes . . . Students and recent graduates of Gray’s in 2012 have:

• won the UK-wide, David Nieper Fashion Award • been shortlisted in the Royal Society for the Arts Product Design Competition • been awarded 6 prizes at this year’s RSA New Contemporaries Exhibition, including the RSA Art Prize, the David & June Gordon, Memorial Trust Award, the RSA Chalmers Bursary, the Friends of the RSA Award, and the Edinburgh Printmakers Award • exhibited at the Knitting and Stitching Show in London, after being shortlisted for the prestigious Knitted Textiles Award

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• been awarded the David Gordon Memorial Trust Drawing Prize, which this year received over 120 submissions • created the winning design for the Offshore Achievement Awards, 2012 • been named runner-up in the Scottish International Education Trust, Visual Arts Award, which highlights the cream of Scotland’s emerging fine artists • received awards at the 132nd annual Royal Society of Painters in Watercolour Exhibition • won the prestigious J. D. Ferguson Arts Award

• been chosen to be part of the Year of Creative Scotland, by taking part in the Scottish Parliament’s, Design and Democracy Exhibition, which was open to the public at the Scottish Parliament between November 2011 and March 2012. The designers featured in the exhibition were chosen to represent the best of up and coming Scottish design talent, at Scotland House in London, during the 2012 Olympic celebrations • won the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts’ Cuthbert New Young Artist Award


‘Looking back at when I started I didn’t have much knowledge of how to make things in glass. I am really surprised and proud at what I have been able to achieve whilst I have been at Gray’s. I have learnt a lot and want to keep learning.’ Helane Davidson, Three Dimensional Design

‘I think it is always important for your thinking to be challenged in order to improve your work. Through the help of other students you can bounce ideas around and your tutors are good at giving advice and steering you in the right direction.’

‘I think the relationship in the school especially between the staff and students is really diverse. It’s the first time in your academic career where you are on a level playing field and your treated directly as another person and you can be open with these people. It really helps create a buzz around the art school and a really nice sense of energy.’

Heather Pugh, Painting

Tom Anderson, Moving Image

‘It’s been really good, I was given the chance to go down to London on a placement to work at London Fashion Week which led onto another placement. Going to London was a great experience!’ Ashley Duncan, Fashion See more of our student testimonials online

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THE BIGGER PICTURE The ‘bigger picture’ is in fact the one you paint for yourself. It’s essentially about how you begin to see yourself working in the ‘real world’. We simulate the real world through the projects we run and through the experiences we give you. We have already mentioned that we offer placements and use live projects as a core practice within our teaching. As you go through the course we increasingly centre on your needs as a designer/artist; we support, constructively challenge and question your direction in order for you to build confidence in your approach and ideas. Your personal and professional development is addressed throughout your course at Gray’s and is embedded within the delivery of your project work.

At Gray’s we also try to bring the outside world to us…it’s not just about you or us going out to ‘it’! We bring many national and international practitioners to the School to speak about their practice and working experience. This is our ‘Guests @ Gray’s’ lecture programme. We have a phenomenal list of guest speakers that have visited the School. This provides a very rich experience for both students and staff.

We provide specialist input into the courses to enable the development of strong professional skills. We incorporate all the usual CV writing, promotional and presentation skills and information on funding opportunities. We try to do this in as student-centred a way as possible. This means we respond to your ideas about where you want to go and what you want to do . . . so we tailor the advice and guidance we give you.

You will find that an education in Art & Design is not only about learning about your subject and applying it to a working context, it is also about finding out who you are and what drives you. These elements provide the ingredients for the ‘bigger picture’, and will shape how you see the start of your practice and professional activities beyond art school.

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WHERE CAN YOU GO AFTER GRAY’S? Some go on to start businesses, on their own or with fellow students. Often our students have consulted our Careers Service at RGU and have then gone on to consult with other specialist agencies to gain insight into their business plans. Many students start to work part-time in a related field in order to earn income whilst seeking out freelance opportunities for work. Often students apply for funding from various bodies to support the development of new work. This approach starts to build a strong

folio of working experiences that add to your CV and to your working flexibility in changing working environments. Some students want to study at postgraduate and doctorate level. Sometimes they choose to stay with us here; others opt to go further afield and study at institutions across the rest of the UK and abroad. Staff at Gray’s are here to help and support your growing ambitions.

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WHAT TO DO NOW . . . If you are interested in applying to Gray’s and becoming part of our community, the following pages will provide you with some key information.

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There are six undergraduate application routes into Gray’s courses. NB Four of these routes allow for the customisation of the award to reflect the different pathways within the curriculum. Please read the next section so that you appreciate the flexibility of the learning experience.

Design Courses (4 years) • BA (Hons) Communication Design • BA (Hons) Fashion and Textile Design • BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design

Degree-Link Programme • BA Commercial Photography

You may apply to more than one course. The informal interview process is organised so that you are invited to one interview only. Interviews will be held with experienced staff who teach on the courses you have applied to.

(1 year course, recruits from HND [or equivalent] to Year 3. This course is partly delivered by Aberdeen College.)

Fine Art Courses (4 years) • BA (Hons) Contemporary Art Practice • BA (Hons) Painting

The six courses are as follows:

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COURSE STRUCTURE APPLICATION year 1 Entry and Advanced Entry Most of our courses are four years in duration. You can apply to any stage of the course. Successful entry to years 1-4 is determined by qualifications/ experience, portfolio and interview. All applicants that have the appropriate qualifications or the potential to gain such qualifications prior to entry in September 2013, are interviewed for Year 1 entry.

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Entry to years 2-4 is called ‘Advanced Entry’. A proportion of students will apply for Advanced Entry because they have equivalent experience either through industry or prior educational experience. Students wishing to apply to years 2, 3, or 4 will be required to submit a mini-folio. The mini-folio will be used as a tool to select candidates for interview.

year 1 In Year 1 all courses share common activities, particularly in the first semester you are with us. First year is fundamentally about establishing the core of your understanding about Art & Design. Developing key skills in visualisation, research, ideas generation and development, alongside critical abilities to evaluate and question, is core to all our creative activities. Projects are themed and contextualised through your specialist subject.

year 2 You move into studio spaces that are affiliated to your chosen course in this year. Your curriculum becomes ever more specific to your subject needs, but still provides a breadth and foundation to your subject allowing you to experiment with and challenge your ideas and interests. Your coursework is project-driven and again is supported by theoretical and technical inputs.

year 3 This is the year when you really start to identify what kind of designer or artist you want to be. Year 2 will have provided a strong foundation ready for you now to experiment with more self-directed work. Projects will now offer a greater opportunity for you to customise them to suit your interests. Live project work, competitions and placement opportunities are core in this year. The second semester of Year 3 is the point at which we encourage students to start to develop expertise in writing proposals for both practical projects and written research projects. This is in readiness for Year 4.

Customising your award title to reflect your specialist practice. The following courses allow students to customise their award title in recognition of the subject pathway they have been following: • A student of COMMUNICATION DESIGN can graduate with the following awards: BA (Hons) Communication Design BA (Hons) Communication Design (Graphics) BA (Hons) Communication Design (Illustration) BA (Hons) Communication Design (Photography) • A student of COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY can graduate with the following award: BA Commercial Photography. • A student of FASHION & TEXTILE DESIGN can graduate with the following awards: BA (Hons) Fashion & Textile Design BA (Hons) Fashion & Textile Design (Fashion) BA (Hons) Fashion & Textile Design (Textiles)

Year 4

• A student of THREE DIMENSIONAL DESIGN can graduate with the following awards: BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design (Jewellery) BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design (Ceramics & Glass) BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design (Product Design)

It is at this point where you will be asked which award title your work will be assessed under for your final year’s project (for specific awards only). This will reflect the specific pathway of your project work in Year 4. This will be the award you will graduate with.

• A student of CONTEMPORARY ART PRACTICE can graduate with the following awards: BA (Hons) Contemporary Art Practice BA (Hons) Contemporary Art Practice (Printmaking) BA (Hons) Contemporary Art Practice (Photography) BA (Hons) Contemporary Art Practice (Sculpture) BA (Hons) Contemporary Art Practice (Moving Image) • A student of PAINTING can graduate with the following award: BA (Hons) Painting



UCAS should receive your application to your chosen course/s by 15th January 2013 for equal consideration alongside all other applications.

When we look at your portfolio we always look at it within the context of the educational environment you are currently studying in. This means we are aware that a student who is at college will be getting a different experience to someone at school and we take that in to account. At the end of the day it is not the indefinable, “perfect” folio that we are looking for but a teachable student with creative potential.

Applicants will be asked for an informal interview at a later stage when their portfolio is more fully developed. This is most likely to occur in late March and early April 2013. • Advanced entry applicants should submit their mini-folios by 15th February 2013. Those selected for interview will be interviewed in late March and early April 2013. NB  All applications to the Degree-Link course (BA Commercial Photography) are interviewed. No mini-folio is requested.

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The interview with the portfolio allows us to consider the person as an element in the whole package. Your folio isn’t just about your finished and resolved work, but should show us how you think and develop your ideas. It should show a journey of ideas. It should demonstrate a variety of projects, a willingness to experiment and a sense of you as an individual. If you want help or guidance on your folio, we have comprehensive advice that can be found at We also run folio advice days, which allow you an opportunity to test your folio on us before the real thing. We are happy to respond to calls for advice with meetings, either with individuals or through groups.

OUR INTERVIEW PROCESS The process is a round robin system, which basically means that during the session you will converse with at least two members of staff in one-to-one situations, one after the other. You will get about five minutes with each member of staff, so be prepared to chat about your work for at least ten minutes or so. Sounds like hard work?

Don’t be stressed, our feedback from applicants has been that it’s an enjoyable period of time that flies by. Current students say it was a positive and affirming experience because of its relaxed, informal nature. They saw it as a chance to meet and chat with some other applicants, to visit the School and size up our staff.

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Communication Design BA (Hons) (Graphics/Illustration/Photography) UCAS Ww26

This course encourages a wide ranging understanding of Communication Design, leading towards focused study in your chosen specialism. Students develop the creative, critical and technical skills necessary to pursue a career within today’s ever evolving communication design professions across a wide range of industry sectors. The curriculum focuses on developing ideas and problem solving skills via a process of self-directed study, research, experimentation, creativity, innovation and enterprise. The department’s open-plan studios enable students across disciplines to work alongside each other creating a vibrant learning environment through interaction, discussion and shared learning experiences. Through the investigation of traditional techniques and the latest digital technologies, the syllabus explores the application of graphics, illustration and photography via studio based multidisciplinary

practice. Competition briefs and industry-led projects emphasise the professional and commercial setting. Studio activities are enriched by critical theory based study, exploring design culture and context through a series of lectures and seminars. There are also opportunities on international study trips and industry based placements with leading companies and designers. Emphasis is placed on critical thinking, professionalism, team working and key practical skills including drawing and visualisation. This is done via multidisciplinary projects that explore narrative and the communication of central, social and current affairs that shape our perceptions of modern culture. In third year, you will choose a specialism in preparation for your fourth year Honours project and the Degree Show. You will explore your interests and concerns and develop further depth to your studies by applying your critical design skills

to a range of externally based projects, such as live client projects and design competitions. These provide an opportunity to promote and exhibit your work on an international level. You will also explore the requirements of business start-ups, providing you with the skills to pursue a career as an independent practitioner. The Honours year is largely self-directed study characterised by external and socially engaged practice, and the further development of your individual specialism and proposed career path. Recent graduates are currently employed in a variety of roles by leading companies across a range of commercial sectors including publishing, web design, broadcasting and advertising. Several have established their own design consultancies while others are working as freelance designers, illustrators and photographers for major design consultancies and media organisations such as the BBC and Channel 4.

20 | the professional university Amber Thomson

‘The course encourages you to develop strong personal enquiry skills and a critical approach to communication through visual language.’

Sam Copeland

Alison Bell

Sarah Wilmott

‘The course was essential in launching my career within the design industry. The staff set up an industry placement which led onto a su mmer employment and a further collaboration for my Honours year project. This then resulted in a full time job offer even before graduating.’

Petia Koleva

‘Because there is a wide spread curriculu m in visual communication, we have the means at our disposal to really push the boudaries.’ the professional university | 21

Sarah Wilmott

Commercial Photography BA UCAS W641

This is a one year course designed to improve your photographic skills in a professional and student-driven environment. You will have the opportunity to test your skills within a choice of supported topic themes which are linked to live projects and industry liaison. Commercial Studio Projects will allow you to expand upon practical and technical abilities in studio and location-based projects linked to live clients, industry and commerce. Through self-directed work you will concentrate on your core strengths to build a professional portfolio of work.

and economic dimensions, exploring the work of key practitioners. Business Start-up in the Creative Industries and Management Studies will allow you to develop sound business awareness to support your business development.

This course is designed to articulate from HND Photography programmes and Gray’s School of Art has an articulation agreement with Aberdeen College. This course is taught at Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen College and Aberdeen Business School and marks a new and innovative approach Critical and Contextual Studies (CCS) in to course design and the integration of Photography will support your understanding business and creative practice. of photography through historical, cultural

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Eduards Rancans

Clare Lumsden

Maxine Tillman

‘The course is great – it’s a perfect extension of what we did at college and it is ideal for me to be able to gain a degree by studying for an extra year. I’m really into music and fashion photography and hope that I can make a career of it.’

‘It’s been brilliant. I have absolutely loved my time here, initially I was not entirely sure what to expect but as time went by I just grew to love it.’ the professional university | 23

Rory Cavanagh

Fashion and Textiles Design BA (Hons) (Fashion/Textiles)


The course draws upon the unique cultural heritage of the Scottish fashion and textile industry and its international profile, contributing to the success of such iconic brands as Burberry, Prada and Chanel. You will be working on “live” projects and will learn how to manage the design process from concept, design development, product outcome and finally, its marketing and presentation to the client.

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You will undertake intensive workshops which will address skills in digital and ‘wet’ textiles, flat pattern cutting, modelling on the stand techniques, constructed textiles (weave), garment manufacture, CAD, styling and marketing. These workshops will equip you with the practical and theoretical skills to enable you to take a project from concept to realisation. Alongside these workshops you will reference fabric, colour and silhouette trend forecasting. As you continue to develop your skills in Year 2, you will be encouraged to focus on your chosen area of specialism for Years 3 and 4, where you can choose to concentrate on either fashion or textile design. Fashion design is the design and manufacture of garments where the focus is concentrated on cut and silhouette. Textile design for fashion is the design of textiles for

fashion which may be carried through to the production of garments. As you continue to develop your skills base, you will increasingly be aware of the impact of fashion marketing and the task of taking your designs to the market place. Promoting design to the right client in the most appealing way is essential for achieving a full order book and business success. This is an essential part of the design process and invaluable experience in support of life after graduation. Building on this knowledge you will be using the final year of your degree to develop a capsule collection of your chosen specialism. Work will be presented in the end of year degree exhibitions at Gray’s and at the New Designers exhibition in London.

Iain MacDonald

The Fashion and Textiles degree is design based with the emphasis on creative thinking and appreciation of market forces and the commercial sector. The majority of projects are in partnership with the industry, providing a very “real” experience of how the role of the designer impacts on the global fashion and textiles market.

Ashley Duncan

Ema Kerr Jenny Morning

‘I went on to do Visual Communications and that wasn’t quite right for me, but then I got to try textiles and everything just took off… it was absolutely what I wanted to do and Gray’s let me change what I thought I wanted to do and enabled me to produce this show that I a m just so proud to have done.’

‘Y our thinking is challenged. This opens up other ideas and avenues, more choices of what might work for you, something that you might never have considered before.’

Emma Cummings

‘The highlights of my course were The Guests @ Grays events a nd the personal projects, mainly my final project which has gave me freedom as a designer a nd allowed my work to really develop a personality. The students a nd tutors I have met on the way have made my u niversity experience a me mora ble one.’ the professional university | 25

Three Dimensional Design BA (Hons) (Ceramics and Glass/Jewellery/Product Design) UCAS W290

The 3D Design course aims to produce graduates who have developed the intellectual, critical and practical skills to create artefacts and products which reflect and define contemporary culture and enhance and improve our quality of life. With the recognition of the contribution that the creative industries make to the UK economy, this course is uniquely equipped to develop graduates with the necessary skills to successfully operate in this ever changing and challenging working environment. 3D Design graduates establish careers as self-employed designers/ makers of jewellery, ceramics and glass and designed objects. They also gain employment as product designers, design consultants and design managers across the industrial sector. Many graduates will further their specialist studies at postgraduate level both nationally and internationally, e.g. in the areas of ceramics and glass, jewellery and design products at The Royal College of Art in London.

The course curriculum provides and encourages individual choice that promotes personal understanding and self-confidence and is intended to develop highly motivated, inquisitive learners capable of independent study. Team working and critical discourse support the development of interpersonal skills and professional contextual knowledge. Year 3 students have the opportunity to undertake Erasmus overseas exchanges or industrial placement for one semester. The course has very well established partnerships with academic institutions in Milan, Hanover, Dusseldorf, Hameenlinna, Turku and Hasselt. Hands-on making experiences and a thorough knowledge of manufacturing processes, appropriate to hard and soft materials, including metal, wood, plastics, ceramic and glass are explored through both new and traditional technologies. The course also develops the essential practical skills of 2D and 3D visualisation, CAD modelling and rapid manufacturing skills using

industry standard software and hardware. These practical skills are underpinned by a programme of Critical and Contextual Studies (CCS) and Professional Practice providing the students with an understanding of the “bigger picture� and the professional skills required to progress along their career pathway. 3D Design students learn through challenging, design led projects often involving external clients, organisations and industrial partners. These projects require the student to consider how creative design thinking and problem solving can enhance and improve our quality of life. They will also participate in national design and craft competitions, such as the EG RSA Design Student Awards and The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths craft awards.

26 | the professional university Katie Bryce

Audrey Gunn

Catriona Munro

Callum Fisher

Audrey Gunn

‘Thinking about when I joined Gray’s in the first year, I would have been blown away by what I’ve actually managed to produce over the last four years. It is totally different than I would have expected. I had aspired to this sort of standard, but I would never have thought I would have attained it.’

Robyn Reid

‘The tutors have been excellent, they really guide you, really get you out of your comfort zone, and encourage you to go down routes that you didn’t even know existed. The whole design process is a learning process.’ the professional university | 27 Stephanie Dowling

Contemporary Art Practice BA (Hons) (Moving Image/Photography/Printmaking/Sculpture) UCAS WW61

This course enables a variety of approaches to art practice, reflective of the broad resources and range of media that many of today’s artists now call upon. Central to the course philosophy is the belief that interaction, dialogue, and critical reflection are key to developing engagement with, and understanding of, the cultural, social, political and philosophical contexts for the making and consumption of contemporary art. The structure of the course is designed to respond to your evolving needs as you develop a personal visual language that best serves your interests, ideas and intentions. Whilst Year 1 delivers a broad introduction to aspects of photography, sculpture, printmaking and moving image, the emphasis in Year 2 is on developing your practice within one of these four core studios. Some may opt to place drawing at the heart of their practice whilst others develop alternative models of visualisation relevant to their emerging studio practice. The studio and workshop environment is central to learning and teaching. Delivery is through technical demonstrations, seminars, lectures, group activity

and builds on developing key personal skills: developmental, technical, intellectual, contextual and professional. Within all years, parallel yet central to the development of your studio practice is your engagement with Critical & Contextual Studies, delivered through a series of lecture, seminar and on-line forums that introduce key thinkers, writers, artists and curators. Along with studio activities such as group discussion the CCS programme enables you to develop key communication skills in both the written and spoken word. Year 3 brings greater independence and a more subjective approach that determines your day-today activity. Such activity may be focused in one of the four core areas or a hybrid combination. In Year 4, the final Honours year, you work through an individually negotiated programme of study towards a sustainable, independent practice, culminating in the presentation of a body of work as a public exhibition at the end of the year. Whilst some adhere to traditional studio practice

whereby the artist is sole creator, others adopt emerging models such as socially engaged or dialogic practice in which the artist facilitates or collaborates with others. Students typically explore various contexts including exhibition, installation, performance, art in public space, and so on. Professional skills modules in Years 3 and 4 are developed through a series of exhibitions and events in which students are required to install artworks within public environments and partner cultural bodies. We have well-established links and relationships with Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Lumsden and in Aberdeen Peacock Visual Arts, Limousine Bull, Deveron Arts and Project Slogan gallery. CAP aims to create dynamic, confident and capable practitioners who have the variety of transferable skills necessary to actively participate in the national and international arts arena. This may be as a practising artist or through related careers within the creative and cultural industries.

28 | the professional university detail of a print by Ade Adesina

Neil Cobban

Alison McGregor


‘It been incredibly important to me to have my thinking challenged at art school and the whole reason I came here was to be placed in an environment where there is a lot of discussion that happens. Just talking to people and being surrounded by so much work has really made me question a lot.’

Ade Adesina

‘It’s been very active and very energetic over the past four years, there is an openness between tutors and students to express concerns within the studio or outside.’ the professional university | 29 Laura Duncan

Painting BA (Hons) UCAS W120

The Painting course at Gray’s School of Art offers its students a challenging opportunity to study both the technical and contextual aspects of Drawing and Painting in a conducive studio environment. Through a sequence of both objective and subjective projects, which explore the grammar and various forms of painting, the course offers an informed context that allows for the development of a personal visual language, as well as a fuller and critical understanding of the subject. The study programme in Painting offers the opportunity to learn a wide range of traditional and contemporary approaches to painting. The course encourages independent personal expression and interpretation as well as

collaborative activity. At Gray’s we have always adopted an attitude of ‘unity through diversity’ and encourage the students to increasingly determine and drive their own agendas. Whatever the form or mode of painting adopted, the student’s ideas and ambitions will, in part, dictate the nature of their tutorial guidance. Drawing is at the core of the Painting course and is imbedded within the programme in a variety of ways. Life drawing and the importance placed on objective study through drawing is complemented by its application in more subjective forms within studio practice.

competitions including the John Kinross Florence Scholarship and the RSA New Contemporaries exhibition. Upon graduation Painting students possess a range of transferable skills that equip them appropriately for employment in a diverse range of careers within the Creative and Cultural Industries. Many also sustain individual studio practices, determining their own directions and are actively exhibiting, curating and furthering their careers as professional artists. Many of our graduates also go on to study at prestigious postgraduate schools including the Slade and The Royal College of Art.

The last few years have seen Painting graduates from Gray’s enjoy outstanding success in national

30 | the professional university detail of painting by Louise Timms

Mike Hughes

Katarina Chomova

‘Painting at Gray’s is challenging . . . there are always new ideas and you are encouraged to do more. You have the freedom to try new things you might not want to do, that take your work somewhere it wouldn’t have if you played safe.’

Anna Bergin

‘It’s really good meeting other people. Everyone’s of different ages and of different life experience.’ the professional university | 31 Lois Green

Visiting Gray’s open days Come along to one of our Open Days: Wednesday 3 October 2012 Saturday 3 November 2012

APPLICANTS’ DAYS / FOLIO GUIDANCE EVENT Gray’s will be offering workshop sessions and folio guidance during the period prior to application. This takes place as part of Applicants’ Days. This is your chance to visit Gray’s, find out more about the courses you are interested in and receive guidance on preparing your folio. This will include a presentation, illustrated talk on folio preparation and a specific question and answer session for each course. Apply to one of our courses and you will be invited to one of our Applicants’ Days in early 2013.

VISIT AFTERNOONS If you are unable to attend an Open Day, come along to one of our monthly Visit Afternoons. To register go to: 32 | the professional university

come along to our Degree show 2013 Saturday 15 - 21 June 2013

This is perhaps the best way to see the final product of four years’ learning. The final years work is on show to the public. Our graduating students are also present in their exhibition spaces to respond to questions from all visitors. Why not come along and see for yourself.

See 2012 DEGREE SHOW Why not visit our website to see our Degree Show video 2012. You’ll find several other videos including our Fashion Show.

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THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF ENTRY REQUIREMENTS For all courses, a portfolio plus the following qualifications are required:

YEAR 1 ENTRY SQA HIGHER BBC normally to include English and Art/Design.

GCE A LEVEL BC normally to include English and Art/Design.

IRISH LEAVING CERTIFICATE HIGHER B2B2C1 to include English and Art/Design or equivalent.

IB DIPLOMA 24, including Visual Arts and English at Higher Level.

34 | the professional university

YEAR 2 ENTRY Entry to Year 2 and later is subject to the presentation of a mini-folio to be submitted in February 2013, and if successful at the mini folio selection stage, a full portfolio of work relative to the specific course would be required at interview in March/April 2013. Accompanying qualifications may include HND, Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art or equivalent qualifications.

Applications from students are welcome where working experience replaces formal qualifications. Evidence of competence in written work may be required. Equivalent international qualifications plus evidence of proficiency in English for overseas students will be required.

Degree Link Programme A relevant HNC from one of our partner FE colleges may be considered for year 2 entry.

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What Next? THE NEXT STEP IS TO TALK TO US We can answer any questions you may have. Simply call us on 01224 262728 or email

We also offer a range of opportunities to visit us – so you can see what we can offer you, first-hand.

36 | the professional university

Open Days Our Open Days will be held on Wednesday 3 October and Saturday 3 November 2012.

For full information and to register, please go to

Visit Afternoons If you are unable to attend an Open Day, come along to one of our monthly Visit Afternoons. To register go to:

Applicants’ days

Have you seen our current Prospectus?

Apply for any of our courses and you will be invited to one of our Applicants’ Days, in early 2013.

This gives valuable additional information about student life in Aberdeen and the wider University. Request a Prospectus or download it at:

DISCLAIMER Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information given in this brochure, Robert Gordon University can accept no responsibility for any errors or omissions. The University reserves the right to amend or discontinue courses or amend entry requirements as part of continued improvement.

All unaccredited quotes are from graduating Year 4 students

Designed by The Gatehouse, Design & Print Consultancy at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. Robert Gordon University, a Scottish charity registered under charity number SCO13781

the professional university | 37

Gray’s School of Art Robert Gordon University Garthdee Road Aberdeen AB10 7QD

38 | the professional university

Gray’s school of art Undergraduate course guide


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Gray's School of Art 2013 Prospectus  

The 2013 prospectus for Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen.

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