In 2019 UAL declared a Climate Emergency and pledged to ‘make sustainability a required part of the student learning experience’. In response to the climate and ecological crisis the Design School set in place an ambitious Sustainability Action Plan to fully embed responsible practices within the curriculum and in everything we do. As part of this initiative we have updated our course handbooks against a set of social and environmental sustainability principles to ensure that learning outcomes reflect the urgent need to equip students with the understanding, skills and values to foster a more sustainable planet. Our aim is to change the way students think and to empower them to work towards a sustainable future.
In common with all courses at the University of the Arts London, this course is credit rated. The course is 3 years, levels 4-6. Each year requires you to achieve 120 credit points. To be awarded the BA (Hons) Illustration and Visual Media qualification, you need to accumulate a total of 360 credits.
Introduction to Illustration and Visual Media (20 credits)
Visual Practices: Exploration and Play (40 credits)
Illustration Practices: Methods and Processes (40 credits)
Contextual and Theoretical Studies 1 (20 credits)
At the beginning of Year 1, you'll be introduced to a range of mediums and media in order to give you a firm base of skills which will help you realise your ideas for set projects. You’ll also take part in educational visits to museums and exhibitions, which will inform your project work and you'll be involved in group projects and cross year projects to increase your skills in negotiation, collaboration and time management. These are vital key skills needed for pursuing a career in the creative industries.
Year 1 will include introductory sessions to drawing, animation, computing and printmaking, which will involve a series of tutorials, seminars and workshops to help you build on the thinking, analysis and production essential for the creative process.
The Visual Practices: Exploration and Play unit will introduce you to research as practice through playful exploration. You will be encouraged to consider the possibilities of using image generation as a method to investigate a range of different subjects.
The Illustration Practices: Methods and Processes unit will show you how process led activities enhance and activate ideas generation through investigation and experimentation. You will also investigate the possibilities of generating impactful works that communicate to a wider audience.
Professional Practices (20 credits)
Exploring Studio Practices (40 credits)
Situated Studio Practices (40 credits)
Contextual and Theoretical Studies 2 (20 credits)
In Year 2 you are encouraged to experiment and explore an individual and personal approach to your illustration and design work. You will be supported in developing your own visual language and philosophy. Students are encouraged to choose from a range of live projects, take part in organised study trips and exhibit both internally and externally.
External industry links form a key part of this year, in relation to exhibiting and responding to live commissions, publishing your work professionally; taking part in cross year workshops and learning to curate; negotiating professional problems, visual languages, networking, self and group promotions and considering your place in professional practice.
In the Exploring Studio Practices unit, you will increasingly broaden your understanding of illustration and visual communication through workshops that will enhance existing skills and develop new ones including drawing, combining text and image, developing narrative, sculptural and spatial practices, curation of visual content, and prototyping, interactive and experiential image works.
The Situated Studio Practices unit will involve the examination of professional structures and opportunities with external partners. You will be encouraged to develop diverse processes and outcomes based on a reflective and critical understanding of image making.
A wide range of set projects and external projects will help you to consider the role of the contemporary illustrator; of professional life and its relation to your own practice. Students can also apply to take an industry placement year out called the Diploma in Professional Studies, as part of their course.
Diploma in Professional Studies
The Diploma in Professional Studies (DPS) is an optional year-long learning opportunity, allowing you to undertake a variety of internships and professional experiences for a whole academic year in Year 3, as part of a four-year degree. It is a managed year of professional experience largely undertaken in the design profession in a variety of national and international locations.
Successful candidates are selected on a competitive basis from academic performance and studentship, successful completion of the DPS bridging studies and by portfolio and proposal.
Contextual and Theoretical Studies 3 (40 credits)
Minor Studio Project (20 credits)
Major Project Studio (60 credits)
- Contextual and Theoretical Studies 3 (20 credits)
- Minor Studio Project (40 credits)
- Integrated Practice (20 credits)
- Major Project Studio (60 credits)
Year 3 is the culmination of your studies, focusing on your individual development and the combination of your previous teaching and learning into the production of a body of work that can be assessed academically.
When you reach the final year, it may be that you have developed an interest in your dissertation topic and want to place greater emphasis on it, Route A allows you to do. If on the other hand, you wish to place greater emphasis on studio work by doing a smaller dissertation, you can do so in Route B.