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Central Saint Martins

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BA (Hons) Ceramic Design

College
CSM
Start date
September 2020
Course length
Three years full-time or four years full-time with Diploma in Professional Studies
UCAS code
W270

Please note that BA Ceramic Design is undergoing re-approval. This is the process by which we ensure the course continues to provide a high quality academic experience. During re-approval there may be some changes to the course content displayed on this page.

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

Student work

Course catalogues

BA Ceramic Design stories

Reader: Tony Quinn

To mark his new Readership, we talk to Tony Quinn, Course Leader for BA Ceramic Design, about the relationship between material and technology and the misnomer of "interactive design"

The Community Kiln

Building on Ignition – a public participation project connecting people with clay – the staff and students of BA Ceramic Design have created a community kiln at The Skip Garden.

Facilities

Close up image of a pink and wide oval 3D object

Casting

Find out more about our casting workshops

Students working with clay and ceramic pieces on display inside the Ceramics Workshop at Central Saint Martins

Ceramics (1st floor)

Find out more about our ceramics 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. The course promotes the idea that working with the material forms research within the curriculum. Students are often drawn to the wide range of possible design applications. These range from the handmade bespoke object to public sculpture, performance and installation.

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, handbuilding, 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 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 Armourcoat, the British Museum, Busaba Eathai, Clayground Collective, Ella Doran, Joseph Joseph, Marks & Spencer, Sebastian Bergne, Stanton Williams, The Conran Shop, Thorsten van Elten, Traidcraft, Vista Alegre and Wedgwood. 

Course units

BA Ceramic Design is designed to help your professional development. You will learn practical and digital production skills. You will translate these explorations into creative work which engages 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. Stage 1 is immersive in the material, its visual language, history and typologies. In Stage 2, you will expand on these skills and begin to work in collaboration with others. 

The course is student-centred, enabling you to identify and expand on your own strengths. Your learning will encompass a range of design methods. In particular, the course focuses on three key methods: Design by Practice; Design by Project; and Design by Concept. You will draw on these methods in self-initiated projects. They are not exclusive and often overlap, but, your exploration of them will help you value your own design 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: Ways and Means: Introduction to Study in Ceramic Design Contexts
Unit 2: Making through Design by Practice
Unit 3: Personal Language in Ceramic Design
Unit 4: Modus Operandi

Stage 1 focuses on developing an awareness of material. It encapsulates the traditional ideal of “practice makes perfect”. Regardless of prior ceramics knowledge, you will be introduced to a broad spectrum of skills and processes. You will also be introduced to your community of practice through a series of London-based studio visits. In Stage 1 you will be introduced to Design by Practice, which focuses on the making experience and the intrinsic qualities of objects and materials. 

Stage 2

Unit 5: Manufacturing and Materiality
Unit 6: Bigger Picture
Unit 7: Design Contexts
Unit 8: Design Reflections

In Stage 2, you will begin to apply the skills learnt in Stage 1 to potential real-world design opportunities. This includes a series of workshop-based activities which engage with the subject and its relationship to the wider design field. You will explore how you can translate these approaches into personal and group design outcomes.  

In Stage 2 you will be introduced to Design by Project, which design in response to specific briefs or areas of research. You will also be introduced to Design by Concept, a highly reflective and research-based approach.  

Stage 3

Unit 9: Integrating Theory and Practice: Dissertation
Unit 10: Research into Practice
Unit 11: Synthesis

In Stage 3, you will grow your own intellectual practice, developing your personal agenda and research approach. You will inhabit a professional persona: the crafts person, designer-maker, artist, or designer for production. These personas are not mutually exclusive and students often transition from one to another. 

Industry engagement

The course often engages in industry collaborations and sponsored projects. This ranges from site visits and talks to competitions and consultancy projects. Recent client projects in the Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design programme include: Nespresso, Roche Bobois, John Lewis, Canal and River Trust, Action Dog. Field trips will also help you with industry awareness, professional community and a breadth of practice opportunities.

Exchange opportunities

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

Diploma in Professional Studies

Between Stage 2 and Stage 3 of the course there is an option to take a year out and complete a Diploma in Professional Studies. This separate qualification (rated at 120 credits) involves researching, undertaking and reflecting on a 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.

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

  • Designing through doing 
  • Studio practice 
  • Applied technology 
  • Skill demonstrations 
  • Workshop-based teaching 
  • Industry engagement 
  • Interviews 
  • Research practice 

Assessment methods

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

Staff

Anthony  Quinn

Anthony Quinn

Course Leader and Stage 3 Leader, BA Ceramic Design

Duncan  Hooson

Duncan Hooson

Stage 1 Leader, BA Ceramic Design

Emma  Lacey

Emma Lacey

Stage 2 Leader, BA Ceramic Design

Elizabeth  Wright

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 and Design (Level 3 or 4) and one A Level at grade C or above
  • Two 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)
  • 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 very high proportion of successful applicants complete a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

AP(E)L – 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 score of 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 not just looking for a passion for ceramic design – we are also 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

Transfers

If you have successfully completed 120 credits (year 1) or 240 credits (years 1 and 2) in the equivalent units/modules on a degree course at another institution and wish to continue your studies at Central Saint Martins, you can apply to transfer to year 2 or year 3 respectively.  The Admissions Tutor will consider applications for entry to year 2 or 3 on a case by case basis, subject to places being available on the course.  You must apply through UCAS and indicate POE 2 for entry to year 2 or POE 3 for entry to year 3 on your application. Click here for important information about our UAL External Student Transfer Policy .

Deferred Entry

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

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January 2020 for equal consideration.  However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

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.

Transfers

If you have successfully completed 120 credits (year 1) or 240 credits (years 1 and 2) in the equivalent units/modules on a degree course at another institution and wish to continue your studies at Central Saint Martins, you can apply to transfer to year 2 or year 3 respectively.  The Admissions Tutor will consider applications for entry to year 2 or 3 on a case by case basis, subject to places being available on the course.  You must apply through UCAS and indicate POE 2 for entry to year 2 or POE 3 for entry to year 3 on your application. Click here for important information about our UAL External Student Transfer Policy .

Deferred Entry

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

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January 2020 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.


After you apply

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.

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.

Full portfolio review – Home / EU applicants

Full portfolio reviews include an interview and are likely to take place in the weeks beginning 6 January, 17 February and 24 February, 2020.

Full portfolio review – International applicants

International applicants will be invited from January to March, 2020.

If you are unable to attend the full portfolio review in person, you will be asked to submit a FULL digital portfolio (up to 30 pages) through UAL’s online portfolio review system.  We may also interview you by Skype.

Please note that we do not accept portfolios by post.

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.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

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

Fees & Funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250 (2020/21).

Tuition fees for undergraduate degree courses have been set at £9,250 per year for full-time study. This applies from the 2018/19 academic year, subject to changes in the law. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our Undergraduate tuition fees page for more information.

International fee

£22,920 (2020/21).

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

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.

Alumni

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