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Undergraduate

BA (Hons) Ceramic Design

Four terracotta cat heads
Elena Gomez de Valcarcel, Familia - Credit: Elena Gomez de Valcarcel - Familia
College
Central Saint Martins
Start date
September 2021
Course length
Three years full-time or four years full-time with Diploma in Professional Studies
UCAS code
W270

BA Ceramic Design is a unique, specialist design course.

It will introduce you to the transformational material of clay, exploring contexts of making, craft and manufacture. This course is part of the Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design programme.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

  • The subject itself: BA Ceramic Design at Central Saint Martins is one of only two single honours ceramics courses in the country. The design lens through which the course operates offers a unique insight into the subject.
  • Design responsibility: The course has long-recognised the need for responsible design practice. This addresses ethical and sustainable studio practice, meaningful public engagement and the need for ceramics education.
  • Collaboration: Collaboration within the ceramics profession is at the heart of the course. This way of working is enhanced by a number of live opportunities available to students. In the past, they have worked with clients including Boskke, the British Museum, Camden Libraries, Drink Shop & Do, Luna & Curious and Studio Levien.
  • Course team: BA Ceramic Design is delivered by a team of high-profile practitioners and specialist technicians. They are actively involved in professional practice and research and will become part of your individual network.

Open day

Virtual Open Days:

The undergraduate online open days are now finished for the September 2021 intake.

At Central Saint Martins, the safety of staff, students and visitors is our priority. Following government guidance on social distancing due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, we’re currently unable to run physical open days at the College.

Virtual Tours:

Instead you might be interested in checking out the College’s outstanding facilities and technical spaces through our virtual tours

Scholarships, awards and funding

Mead Scholarships and Fellowships
The Fung Scholarships

Course Leader, Anthony Quinn talks about the course experience, alongside students Jo Pearl and Ewelina Bartkowska

Student work

  • Sevak-Zargarian.jpeg
    Sevak Zargarian
  • Rafael_Atencia.jpeg
    Rafael Atencia
  • Srabani-Ghosh-Assimilation-2016-by-John-Sturrock_635.jpeg
    Srabani Gosh | Assimilation
  • Charlotte-Pack.jpeg
    Charlotte Pack
  • Ann-Mercer.jpeg
    A row of black and white striped blocks
  • Sarah_Christie.jpeg
    Sarah Christie | Library

Course catalogues

BA Ceramic Design stories

Facilities

Course overview

BA Ceramic Design embraces and challenges the versatility of clay as a creative and functional material. On this course, teaching focuses on design through making and haptic engagement with the material. You will apply clay to a diverse range of contexts and design opportunities. We define design as the methodology and strategy through which we teach – a productive enquiry founded in a curiosity for the application of clay in a range of creative or challenging contexts towards a breadth of conceptual responses and a wide range of possible creative applications. These range from the handmade bespoke object to public sculpture, performance, installation and designs for industrial production. Students may define their practice through a range of lenses from designer, maker, craftsperson through to artist. 

On the course, the studio and workshop culture are important. The course team work to foster a vibrant designer-maker-community. You will benefit from excellent workshop facilities as well as the support of specialist technicians. You will learn both traditional hand skills and digital production skills. This includes throwing, modelling, casting, moulding, hand building, decoration, glazing, drawing, printing and firing. As well as hands-on techniques, the course will also provide you with an intellectual framework. You will examine the potential of ceramics to progress into other visual languages, critical discourses and a wide range of professional opportunities.

BA Ceramic Design aims to send its students out into the world as confident and critically aware designers, artists and makers. Teaching is delivered in relation to professional models of practice. Through self-initiated projects, you will question, articulate and present your ideas. The course also has links with a range of practitioners and external organisations. This provides opportunities for collaborative projects. Previously, these have included the British Museum, Busaba Eathai, Ella Doran, Joseph, National Memorial Arboretum, NIO, Marks & Spencer, The Conran Shop, Traidcraft, Vista Alegre and Wedgwood. 

Course units

BA Ceramic Design is designed to help your creative and professional development. You will undertake a series of creative projects which engage with professional communities across the breadth of the subject – from art, through craft and into design. You will develop your own visual language, while also learning transferable skills to suit a variety of work environments.

Students explore their practice through hands-on engagement with skills and processes within the subject of ceramics. Stage 1 focuses on craft and skill; it’s process-rich and built on the acquisition of a multitude of core skills that act as a toolkit for future practice. In Stage 2, you will apply these skills within broader contexts and develop a conceptual framework in which to apply these skills. In Stage 3, you will begin to inhabit a specialist practice and become a confident, critical practitioner. Over time students start to bring other materials into their studio practice or seek opportunities within other disciplines. This reflects a growing self-awareness and confidence in the student designers. 

The course promotes student-centred experiential learning, enabling you to identify and expand on your own strengths, through active reflection and an immersive iterative making process. 

Across the three stages of BA Ceramic Design, studio practice is the main component of the course. Supporting studies include specialist technical teaching; contextual studies; and personal and professional development. These elements provide a critical understanding, so you can explore and develop your work with the ceramic medium.

Stage 1

Unit 1: Capacity to Learn: Introduction to Study in Ceramic Design Contexts
Unit 2: Skilling Up
Unit 3: The Production of Art: Capacity To Do
Unit 4: Ceramics +

Stage 1 focuses on developing an awareness of material. Regardless of prior ceramics knowledge, you will be introduced to a broad spectrum of skills and processes focusing on the making experience and the intrinsic qualities of objects and material. 

Stage 2

Unit 5: The Art of Manufacturing
Unit 6: Agency to Change 
Unit 7: Atelier Me
Unit 8: Creative Unions: Socially Engaged Practices for an Ethical World

In Stage 2, you will undertake a series of workshop-based activities which engage with the subject and its relationship to the wider creative fields. You will be introduced to how to design in response to specific briefs and how to design using a reflective and concept based approach.

Stage 3

Unit 9: Practice in Context 
Unit 10: Making It Real

In Stage 3, you will grow your own intellectual practice, developing your personal agenda and research approach. You will develop a professional persona: the crafts person, designer-maker, artist, or designer for production, supported by a relevant portfolio of work. 

Diploma in Professional Studies

Between Stage 2 and Stage 3 of the course there is an option for you to work with industry for the duration of an academic year (across three terms/two blocks) and complete a Diploma in Professional Studies. Whilst the Diploma is an optional aspect of the course, it is designed as an integrated and assessed part of your journey through the course, if you do take up this option. The Diploma results in a standalone qualification (rated at 120 credits), which involves researching, undertaking and reflecting on a 100 day/20-week (minimum) placement related to your professional interests and aspirations. The Diploma provides a valuable opportunity to make professional contacts and to develop your personal employability skills. In recent years, BA Ceramic Design students have had placements at Maham Anjum, Simon Stevens Design Studio, Studio Levien and Wanted Design Festival.

Exchange opportunities

BA Ceramic Design is actively engaged in the University’s Study Abroad scheme, with the incoming international students bringing an important additional dynamic to the course. 

Currently only a small number of places are available, which will be subject to Government guidelines on travel abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mode of Study

BA Ceramic Design runs for 90 weeks in full-time mode. It is divided into three stages over three academic years. Each stage lasts 30 weeks. You will be expected to commit 40 hours per week to study, which includes teaching time and independent study.

Credit and award requirements

The course is credit-rated at 360 credits, with 120 credits at each stage (level).

On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA Hons degree).

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications the stages for a BA are: Stage 1 (Level 4), Stage 2 (Level 5) and Stage 3 (Level 6). In order to progress to the next stage, all units of the preceding stage must normally be passed: 120 credits must be achieved in each stage. The classification of the award will be derived from the marks of units in Stages 2 and 3 or only Stage 3, using a dual algorithm.

If you are unable to continue on the course, a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) will normally be offered following the successful completion of Level 4 (or 120 credits), or a Diploma in Higher Education (DipHE) following the successful completion of Level 5 (or 240 credits).

Learning and teaching methods

During your course you will engage with learning and teaching that includes both online and face-to-face modes. Typically, this will include:

  • Designing through doing 
  • Studio practice 
  • Applied technology 
  • Skill demonstrations
  • Facilitated workshops 
  • Workshop-based teaching 
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Group and peer to peer learning
  • Professional practice presentations
  • Industry engagement 
  • Interviews 
  • Research practice
  • Creative Futures Blog

Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Portfolios 
  • Supporting materials 
  • Essay 
  • Presentations 
  • Collection of works 
  • Research reports 
  • Projects

Staff

Anthony  Quinn

Anthony Quinn

Reader, Course Leader and Stage 3 Leader, BA Ceramic Design

Duncan  Hooson

Duncan Hooson

Reader in Knowledge Exchange; Stage 1 Leader, BA Ceramic Design

Emma  Lacey

Emma Lacey

Stage 2 Leader, BA Ceramic Design

Elizabeth  Wright

Dr Elizabeth Wright

Contextual Studies Leader, BA Ceramic Design, MA Design (Ceramics); MA Design (Furniture); MA Design (Jewellery)

Visiting Practitioner: Barnaby Barford
Visiting Practitioner: Ian McIntyre
Visiting Practitioner: Anna Barlow
Visiting Practitioner: Matt Raw
Associate Lecturer: Teresa Peters
Diploma in Professional Studies Coordinator: Carla Sorrell

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on disability@arts.ac.uk or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

One or a combination of the following accepted full level 3 qualifications:

  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4) and 1 A Level at Grade C or above
  • 2 A Levels at grade C or above (preferred subjects include Art, Art and Design, or Design and Technology)
  • Merit, Pass, Pass (MPP) at BTEC Extended Diploma (preferred subjects include Art, Art and Design, or Design and Technology)
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferred subjects include Art, Art and Design, or Design and Technology)
  • Or equivalent EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma

And three GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*- C).

Entry to this course will also be determined by assessment of your portfolio. A high proportion of successful applicants complete a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference

OR a combination of these factors.

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

IELTS level 6.0 or above, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English language requirements webpage).

Selection criteria

We select applicants who can demonstrate current ability and potential to:

  • Work imaginatively and creatively in 2D and 3D visual media
  • Engage with experimentation and invention
  • Show imagination and ambition in proposals for your work
  • Take informed risks.

Demonstrate a range of skills and technical abilities:

  • Through your portfolio, demonstrate a range of approaches to design development, originated from personal experience of visual research and progressed through logical stages to a finished design solution
  • Evidence handling a material or medium (ideally clay) with sensitivity to its qualities
  • Demonstrate engagement and improvement in recently learned technical skill.

Provide evidence of intellectual enquiry within your work:

  • Evidence an ability to evaluate your achievements critically.

Demonstrate cultural awareness and/or contextual framework of your work:

  • Evidence an interest in contemporary art and design
  • Identify social and/or cultural influences on your work.

Articulate and communicate intentions clearly:

  • Discuss your work in group situations
  • Present your work appropriately and effectively.

Demonstrate commitment and motivation in relation to the subject and the course:

  • Develop your own ideas and address project briefs
  • Show willingness to collaborate
  • Show initiative. 

What we are looking for

We are seeking people who are open to new ideas, informed risk taking and challenge, and who are willing to get involved in the different disciplines and activities of ceramic design practice.

Making your application

You should apply though Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and you will need the following information:

University Code:          U65

UCAS Code:                W270

Deferred Entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry.  You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Transfers

If you are currently studying somewhere else on a course in an equivalent subject area and would like to transfer to this course, you can transfer to:

Year 2, if you’ve completed 120 credits in Year 1

Year 3, if you’ve completely 240 credits in Years 1 and 2

Apply via UCAS and choose Year 2 or 3 for your POE (Point of Entry).  Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and Year 1/Year 2 unit transcripts.

Please be ready to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January 2021 for equal consideration.  However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents / portfolio / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

Please add csm.ukeu@arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL.  Also consider altering your spam or junk mail filter to ensure that emails from @arts.ac.uk get through to you.

There are three ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at Central Saint Martins:

You can only apply to the same course once per year whether you are applying via UCAS, UAL representative or using the UAL online application system. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn.

If you are applying via UCAS you will need the following information:

University code:          U65

UCAS Code:               W270

You can only apply to the same course once per year whether you are applying via UCAS, UAL representative or using the UAL online application system. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn.

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Students webpage.

Deferring your place

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry.  You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Transfers

If you are currently studying somewhere else on a course in an equivalent subject area and would like to transfer to this course, you can transfer to:

Year 2, if you’ve completed 120 credits in Year 1

Year 3, if you’ve completely 240 credits in Years 1 and 2

Apply via UCAS and choose Year 2 or 3 for your POE (Point of Entry).  Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and Year 1/Year 2 unit transcripts.

Please be ready to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January 2021 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying online via UCAS or through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an immigration history check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  If you do not complete the check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents / portfolio / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

Please add csm.international@arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL.  Also consider altering your spam or junk mail filter to ensure that emails from @arts.ac.uk get through to you.


After you apply

What happens next

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course.  If you do, you will be invited to attend a full portfolio review or submit a full portfolio digitally.

Digital portfolio

The portfolio should be no more than 30 images comprising of your best work showing your skills and thinking. You can create the pages in any layout (For example: presentation boards) but they should be uploaded as jpeg images.  It should include:

  • A range of work – finished works or works in progress.
  • How you have engaged with experimentation and how well you may have pushed ambition through proposals and perhaps through making.
  • How well you have developed your skills with materials and processes.
  • How you may have applied any relevant research to your ideas and making – perhaps through the use of sketch books and study books.
  • Briefly outline – in one sentence - the ideas and interests behind the works as a title to each page.

The only files that can be uploaded as part of the portfolio are:

  • Images: bmp, gif, jpg, jpeg, png
  • Audio: mp3, mp4, ogg, wav, wma
  • Video: avi, mp4, mpg, mpeg, mkv, mov, wmv

Portfolio advice

Your portfolio should contain a range of visual material, including sketchbooks, research and photographs of three dimensional pieces or work of scale. Bring no more than two 3D pieces, in any material.

Your work should demonstrate creative development, whether for a college project or in your personal work. By creative development, we mean:

  • Ideas that have originated in your own experience and research and progressed towards potential visualisation
  • Ideas, visual research and experimentation are more important than finished design solutions and can be shown in 2D work, or through 3D objects
  • It’s important that the creative work you include reflects and demonstrates your thinking, initiative and personal commitment to a particular project, theme or idea.

For more portfolio advice please visit: https://www.arts.ac.uk/study-at-ual/apply/portfolio-advice

Interview

Following the review of the portfolio we select a small number of applicants to move on to the next stage of the process.  These applicants will be invited to an interview either online or by telephone.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through UCAS track.

Fees and funding

Home fee

£9,250 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students.

Home fees are currently charged to UK resident nationals . However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, depending on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students.

International fee

£22,920 per year

This fee is correct for 2021/22 entry and is subject to change for 2022/23 entry. Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course.

Students from countries outside of the UK are currently charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about our tuition fees.

From 2021/22 entry, most EU students will be charged the International tuition fee rate, depending on your individual circumstances. If you started your course in October 2020 or earlier, you’ll continue to pay Home (UK) fees for the duration of your course. Read more advice for EU students.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

BA Ceramic Design graduates take their knowledge of materiality into an ever increasing range of careers from ceramic practice, design practice and art practice, critical writing, commercial and broader design and cultural trend-spotting and also working with both bespoke, batch and volume production.

At present these are exemplified by BA Ceramic Design alumni such as Kathleen Hills, Ian Stallard of Fredrikson Stallard, Tamsin Van Essen, Jason & Lucy Boatswain of Diffuse, Annabel Johnson and Petr Weigl.

This designer/producer approach offers BA Ceramic Design design graduates a rich model of practice that creates autonomy and opportunity. The model is upheld by showcase marketing initiatives such as 100% Design, Designer's Block and Hidden Art, where our graduates consistently flourish.

Developing your skills

BA Ceramic Design has excellent links with a range of external affiliates in London and beyond that underpin the curriculum, including individuals and companies. It has a history of successful collaborative projects, including Thorsten van Elten, Marks & Spencers, Conran Shop, Vista Alegre Portugal, Few & Far, Wedgwood, Armourcoat, Stanton Williams, Joseph Joseph, Emel Magazine, Traidcraft, Ella Doran and the British Museum.

External projects in recent years have included;

Open competition across all years:

  • Across four European colleges:  Cersaie architectural ceramics project in association with Italian Tile Manufacturers in Bologna – first prize and two runners up.
  • Surface pattern for porcelain tableware with Viste Alegre, Portuguese manufacturer. Winner gained placement and 10 designs put onto ware.
  • Mug and surface designs with Ethos, volume manufacturer. Four students selected for production receiving royalty payments with cash prizes. Shown at trade fairs and shops such as Urban Outfitters and Argos.
  • Competition for a ‘Christmas Crib’ for St Martins-in-the Fields, Trafalgar Square, London. Two of our third year students designed and installed a sculpture that celebrated the meeting of international travellers and used as a focal point for the Christmas Carols.

Second year client based team projects:

  • As part of your professional development you will have the opportunity to undertake a number of collaborative projects. There are links with a range of household names including Conran Shop,Wedgwood, Ikea and also some key contributors to creative practice within architecture, spatial, product and decorative arts both in terms of unique, batch and volume production.
  • There are also opportunities to work with specific manufacturing sectors including tableware and architectural ceramics.

Third year individually framed projects:

  • Individuals often choose to frame one of their personal projects with outside collaboration. For example, a surface pattern project for pets with Marks and Spencers, a conceptually driven product which enriches contemporary life  informed by ancient cultural understanding with  product design consultancy Doshi Levien and a series of illustrative panels for Southwark Cathedral reflecting life in Borough Market, London.

Recent alumni activity demonstrates the breadth of student activity within the subject.

  • Pacharapong Suntanaphan (Yod)
    Collaboration with textile designer; showed at Designers Block and Design Boom; exhibited ' Art Hand Design'; showed at ICFF, New York and Metropolitan Works; colour and detail designer for Nissan UK.
  • Tamsin van Essen
    Showed at Designers Block, Design Boom and Apothecaries Guild; exhibited 'Art Hand Design', Crafts Council show and in USA; set up studio in Prague.
  • Patrick Morris
    Established a design company in New Zealand that is sourcing production, imminently launching collection; showed at Ambiente 2008; showed at 100% East and Designers Block; winner of Ceramic Industry Forum award at New Designers.
  • Angel Ha
    Designing for Chinese ceramic design company; full time employment German design company; showed at 100% East.
  • Mabel Bibby
    Designer-maker studio, group; teaching in Botswana.
  • Pedro Kalache
    Designer-maker studio with architectural ceramics; school and community based clay projects; commissions for architectural projects.
  • Hannah Padgett
    Architectural ceramics full time for Lambs Terracotta, Brighton; Thailand six-month sustainability placement developing ceramic product with Hill Tribes; working for websites selling design products; showed One Year On, New Designers; showed at Tendence Frankfurt; MA course on Design and Sustainability at Kingston University.
  • Matilda Moreton
    Designer-maker studio; teaching summer courses at CSM; two significant commissions for hospital panel installations; continuing practice.
  • Simeon Featherstone
    Part-time ceramics technician CSM; part-time MA Creative Practice for Narrative Environments; showed at Tendence Frankfurt.
  • Maham Chesti
    MA Design at CSM; freelance designer, also teaching in Pakistan and UK; PhD Royal College of Art.

Developing your skills

Recent external and competition projects have included: Cersaie architectural ceramics project across four European colleges in association with Italian tile manufacturer in Bologna - first prize and two runners-up. Surface pattern for porcelain tableware with Viste Alegre, Portuguese manufacturer - winner gained placement and ten designs put onto ware. Mug and surface designs with Ethos, volume manufacturer - four students selected for production receiving royalty payments with cash prizes, shown at trade fairs and shops including Urban Outfitters and Argos. Competition for a 'Christmas Crib' for St Martins-in-the-Fields, London - two third-year students designed and installed a sculpture celebrating the meeting of international travellers that was used as a focal point for Christmas carols.

Second-year client-based team projects

As part of your professional development you'll undertake a number of collaborative projects. The course has links with a range of household names including Conran Shop, Habitat, Wedgwood and Ikea. We also have links with key contributors to creative practice in architecture, spatial, product and decorative arts within unique, batch and volume production. There are also opportunities to work with specific manufacturing sectors including tableware and architectural ceramics.

Third-year individually framed projects

Students often choose to 'frame' their personal projects using outside collaboration. Examples include a surface pattern project for pets with M&S, a conceptually driven product that enriches contemporary life using ancient cultural understanding with product design consultancy Doshi Levien, and a series of illustrative panels depicting live in Borough Market for Southwark cathedral, London.