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Undergraduate

BA (Hons) Fine Art: Computational Arts

Close up shot of moulded shapes in a variety of pastel colours
Beth Mellett., Beth Mellett.
BA (Hons) Fine Art: Computational Arts, Camberwell College of Arts, UAL
College
Camberwell College of Arts
UCAS code
W285
Start date
September 2023
Course length
3 years

BA Fine Art: Computational Arts at Camberwell College of Arts invites you to experiment with new tools and approaches to art. You will explore how technologies influence art and culture.

Course overview

BA Fine Art: Computational Arts invites you to develop art through computers, software, and emerging technologies, in combination with more established discourse and traditions within fine art.

The course begins by testing and questioning the potential and impact of emerging technologies on art, culture, and society, towards an experimental and hands-on approach to using computational art tools.

The course is delivered in partnership with the Creative Computing Institute (CCI) and you will be supported by coding classes and technical resources at CCI. You do not need to know how to code to apply to this course.

There are many paths into computational art, including working with sound, digital illustration, and 3D modelling. The course will introduce you to new and exciting tools and technologies that are transforming art and culture.

Through a series of projects, you will be introduced to generative art, CGI, games engines, machine learning, virtual reality, and digital fabrication. In addition, you will be able to access expertise and workshops across fine art, giving you the opportunity to combine digital practices with other crafts such as printmaking, casting, and woodworking.

The course will enable you to explore how emerging computational tools can be applied to the arts and be transformed through them. You will critically embrace and question computational technologies, as well as use them as artistic tools to address and express wider cultural concerns and concepts. Through lectures and tutorials, you will have the chance to engage with discourse and matters that contextualise and support your practice.

On this course, you will develop your sensibility as a self-directed learner and collaborative practitioner through exploring critical contemporary art and its histories alongside other relevant fields. You will use a wide range of skills to creatively engage with materials and methodologies involved in making computational art.

What to Expect

You will:

  • Explore generative art and machine learning as well as CGI, games engines, and digital fabrication
  • Engage with debates around technology and society in order to articulate and contextualise your practice in an ethical, relevant and sustainable way
  • Draw upon computational art and fine art tools, methods, and discourses to develop your art practice
  • Use the dedicated computational art studios within the fine art department, with additional access to the Creative Computing Institute (CCI) for further technical support and training
  • Attend structured activities to expand your awareness of the digital possibilities for fine art as an expanded field of practice
  • Participate in practical workshops that will introduce you to a variety of digital and physical skills
  • Work with software such as P5.js, Blender, Unreal and Colab notebooks
  • Use large, open and customisable studio space that will facilitate rapid development and prototyping projects, as well as providing you with equipment such as high-end computers, screens, projectors, 3D printers, and VR headsets
  • Have access to Camberwell's fine art workshops that include printmaking, photography, film, moving image, digital, plastic, ceramics, wood and metalwork. View the Camberwell facilities

Work experience and opportunities

You will have the opportunity to exhibit your work on-site, online or at external gallery showcases. During the second year, you will also be invited to collaborate and network as well as take part in seminars and workshops hosted by a variety of external arts organisations. Upon graduation, you will have developed your own art practice, as well as having acquired a range of skills and knowledge applicable to emerging professional sectors such virtual production, digital fabrication, machine learning, digital media, and virtual reality.

Mode of study

BA Fine Art Computational Arts is offered in full-time mode. It is divided into 3 stages over 3 academic years. Each stage consists of 30 teaching weeks. You will be expected to commit an average of 40 hours per week to your course, including teaching hours and independent study.

Contact us

Register your interest to receive information and updates about studying at UAL.

Contact us to make an enquiry.

Course units

Year 1

You will receive an introduction to fine art with a focus on computational art. You will develop your artistic practice through a variety of projects, workshops, seminars, and tutorials. Year one will involve:

  • Structured activities to increase your awareness of digital possibilities within fine art
  • Coding classes and technical training at the Creative Computing Institute (CCI)
  • Looking at key computational media ideas and terms within contemporary art and culture
  • Seminars to develop an understanding of a decolonised visual culture
  • Working with popular tools for computational art such as P5.js, Google Colab, Blender and Unreal
  • An introduction to key terms that underpin ideas and contexts relevant to computational media within contemporary art and culture
  • Be taught strategies to help build confidence in different approaches to making work such as conducting academic research and working in the studio

Unit 1 - Introduction to fine art and computational arts

Unit 1 will introduce you to self-directed learning in fine art: computational art practice. This unit invites you to playfully explore human computation - rethinking artistic skills and techniques through instructions and procedures. You will also begin to attend classes at CCI that introduce you to coding, providing you with a foundation in creative computing.

Unit 2 - Creative coding and practice

Unit 2 introduces you to a wide variety of software and computational art practices such as generative art, CGI, and machine learning. You will be encouraged to openly explore and combine these techniques towards creating original works for a work-in-progress show at our dedicated computational art project space.

Alongside this, you will develop skills in writing, towards an essay in response to an art event. You will also begin to attend classes at CCI that introduce you to coding, providing you with a foundation in creative computing.

Unit 3 - Computational ideas into practice

In this unit you will explore different approaches to working in and creating spaces from 3D graphics and game engines to installations and gallery spaces. First you will collaborate in groups to produce collective work within a virtual environment. Individually, you will produce your own works for an off-campus year 1 fine art show at a gallery.

Unit 4 - Activating practice

This unit will introduce you to working outside the college’s studio environment and to thinking about its wider context as a site for viewing and making art.

Themed lectures will discuss the dynamic contexts in which art is made and shown, sharing examples of how proposals around the world are realised for specific locations and exhibitions. Through the lens of computational arts, you will also be introduced to practices such as augmented reality and critical engineering.

This will be an opportunity to imagine your work in public space towards a realised project or speculative proposal. Lectures, seminars and group tutorials will support your critical analysis of computational and site-based practices. There will also be a piece of reflective writing developed in response to the degree show outcome of a BA Fine Art work on display.

Year 2

The second year is about working in context. You will learn how to identify your own strengths and work with others in a variety of situations considering different audiences. You will be introduced to the artistic potential and critical debates around advanced software technologies such as machine learning through activities such as workshops and seminars within fine art and CCI.

By the end of this year, you will be able to situate your practice formally and critically in terms of context, audience, material and technical choices.

Unit 5 - Working for a context

Unit 5 is about re-establishing your practice whilst also progressing your research methodologies. It will build on your knowledge of computational arts. By creating new artworks that address your developing interests in materials and contextual themes, you will prepare for an assessed group critique of your work. This unit will be taught through a series of workshops and tasks that will involve collective ways of working.

Unit 6 - Collaborative and collective practices

This is a collaborative unit which invites you to extend your practice by working collaboratively across the colleges and external contexts. This unit aims to introduce you to different ways in which collaborative practice can focus and enhance your own creative strengths through working towards shared a goal.

Unit 7 - Machine learning

You will begin to work more critically and establish a deeper relationship with the chosen subject.

You will be introduced to the artistic potential and ethical debates surrounding advanced software technologies supported by the CCI. Subjects such as politics, sustainability, the environment, identity, economics and ethics will be expanded upon within studio seminars in relation to the field of computation.

Contextual seminars will help you build knowledge and deepen a contextual awareness towards writing an essay within a chosen contextual field that relates back to a practice-led enquiry. You will critically contextualise an artist’s work through written essay or presentation, based on relevant texts, theories or ideas.

At the end of Unit 7 you will participate in a group exhibition with peers in response to emergent critical contexts in which software technology may be explored.

Unit 8 - Audiences

Unit 8 will support you to articulate and clearly define your research and practice goals. This will help inform your development in year 3. The focus of this unit will shift towards the presentation and interaction with computational work and its potential audiences. You will continue to participate in workshops as well as accessing resources at CCI.

By the end of this unit, you will be able to situate your practice formally and critically in terms of context, audience and material/technical choices, ready for the more independent practice of the third year.

Year 3

Your final year is focused on articulation and presentation of your practice within a fast moving and ever-changing context.

  • You will choose to undertake research either individually or collectively
  • Your work plan will be co-curated with tutors
  • You will establish a work pattern for the year at the BA Fine Art: Computational Arts studio with the possibility of further support at CCI
  • You will demonstrate an understanding of inclusive, sustainable and ethical ways of working.

Unit 9 - Practice and articulation

The unit will support the creative realisation of artwork and further development of practice. You will locate this work critically and contextually with a piece of sustained, articulate research that can be produced either in written form, or in a presentation, or through a live project/work placement. This will be an extension of your previous research.

  • Develop and produce work for a public audience
  • Articulate a piece of research that can be produced either through a Dissertation, Presentation or Live Project
  • Art practice seminars and tutorials to support research
  • Dedicated sessions will be offered to support artistic life after art school and how to apply for funding, jobs or postgraduate study

Unit 10 - Practice and presentation

You will continue to refine the methods and techniques of your developing art practice with the aim of producing a new body of work for a multi-platform, public display of degree show outcomes. You will realise your ideas through an understanding of methods of display, audience engagement and the ethics of representation, and be able to position yourself critically, practically and professionally.

  • Present a multi-platform public-facing display of work
  • Workshops, seminars, tutorials and lectures on approaches to curation, audiences, methods of display, materials and the ethics of representation
  • Produce written work or a digital portfolio that presents your practice and ideas
  • You will be encouraged to proactively network to engage with communities within and outside of the art school to build sustainable and ethical working relationships

Optional Diploma between year 2 and 3

Between year 2 and 3 you can opt to undertake the Diploma in Professional Studies or the UAL Diploma in Creative Computing. Whilst these Diplomas are an optional aspect of the course, they are designed as an integrated and assessed part of your journey through the course.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Exhibitions
  • Individual and group tutorials
  • Group projects
  • Lectures and talks
  • Live, practical and research led projects
  • Peer review
  • Reflective journal
  • Self-evaluative writing
  • Seminars
  • Studio work
  • Workshops

An introduction to BA Fine Art: Computational Arts

Staff

Fees and funding

Home fee

£9,250 per year

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£25,970 per year

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 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 will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are one or a combination of the following qualifications:

  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • 2 A Levels at grade C or above
  • Merit, Pass, Pass (MPP) at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma
  • Or equivalent EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma at 24 points minimum
  • And 3 GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*-C)

Entry to this course will also be determined by the quality of your application, looking primarily at your portfolio of work, personal statement and reference.

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. 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
  • 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

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

Selection criteria

We look for:

  • An ability to explore and develop artwork
  • An ability to articulate an interest in Computational Arts verbally and in writing
  • Demonstrate digital literacy to a level of competency
  • An ability to present contextual information
  • An ability to self-reflect on their own work

Apply now

Apply

You must apply through UCAS, where you’ll need the following information:

  • University code - U65
  • UCAS course code - W285

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 25 January 2023 at 18:00 (GMT) for equal consideration.

However, this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

What happens next

Communicating with you

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Initial application check and selection

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

Following the review of the digital portfolio, a small number of applicants will progress to the interview stage. All interviews are held online and last 15 to 20 minutes. For support with your interview, visit our Interview tips page.

Portfolio advice

  • A maximum of 30 pages showing visual research you have conducted as well as contextual statements, sketchbook images and any supporting material made in the development of your work.
  • An engagement on some level with digital literacy and an interest in using software applications, technology, or code in the development of your work.
  • A carefully edited and selected portfolio so that you can discuss your working methods/decisions.

For more support, please visit our Portfolio advice page and PebblePad advice page.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

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

Applicants for this course may be given an alternative offer. This decision will be based on our assessment of your creative and potential interests.

Feedback requests:

If you would like to request feedback please contact us through the UAL Portal using the Contact us button in your My Application(s) tab.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner.

Read our Admissions Policy for details, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

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.

Be ready to provide us with:

  • Your current course handbook
  • Year 1 / Year 2 unit transcripts

Apply

There are 2 ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course:

Applying through UCAS you will need the following information:

  • University code - U65
  • UCAS course code - W285

Read our immigration and visa information to find out if you need a visa to study at UAL.

You can only apply to the same course once a year. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn. Read the UAL international application advice for further information on how to apply.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 25 January 2023 at 18:00 (GMT) for equal consideration.

However, this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

What happens next

Communicating with you

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Immigration history check

You will be asked to complete an Immigration History Check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL. We will not be able to proceed with your application until you have submitted your completed Immigration History Form.

Initial application check and selection

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course. If you do, you will be invited to submit a digital portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system.

Once we have received your digital portfolio it will be reviewed by the academic team. A decision will be made on your application which may include - offer, offer alternative, recommend to alternative course, reject or invite to interview.

We aim for all on time application reviews to take place by the end of March 2023.

Portfolio advice

  • A maximum of 30 pages showing visual research you have conducted as well as contextual statements, sketchbook images and any supporting material made in the development of your work.
  • An engagement on some level with digital literacy and an interest in using software applications, technology, or code in the development of your work.
  • A carefully edited and selected portfolio so that you can discuss your working methods/decisions.

For more support, please visit our Portfolio advice page and PebblePad advice page.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

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

Applicants for this course may be given an alternative offer. This decision will be based on our assessment of your creative and potential interests.

Feedback requests:

If you would like to request feedback please contact us through the UAL Portal using the Contact us button in your My Application(s) tab.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner.

Read our Admissions Policy for details, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

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.

Be ready to provide us with:

  • Your current course handbook
  • Year 1 / Year 2 unit transcripts
  • An official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed

Study Abroad

Through the Study Abroad programme international students can apply to join an undergraduate course.

For information on how to apply visit the Study Abroad section.

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