A quick summary of the course

Blending innovation of new design principles and processes with hands on making the Contemporary Design Craft course explores the adaptation of existing processes to arrive at new interpretations of materials, objects and ideas. Our students develop specialist material knowledge and visual language side by side on the journey towards becoming successful designer makers.  Challenging the traditional notions of Design Craft they are the explorers of visual and material worlds, pioneering new ways in the as yet undiscovered. Our students forge new paths founding own traditions, and creating new horizons as independent makers, designers and entrepreneurs.

The materiality of things is core to much of what we do. Our extensive workshop facilities provide the space to think, question and develop ideas. All of our workshops are purpose built and operate on an open access basis throughout the year. Here our students look beyond what is known; using sound knowledge derived from taught skills they are expertly guided by our workshop team to challenge and push existing boundaries into new realms. As much the home of newness and technology, our workshops are representative of a foundation of skill and knowledge of process. Masterclasses are delivered throughout the year by visiting lecturers specialising in a variety of material approaches and disciplines.

Our students continuously engage in critical discussion about Contemporary Design Craft, and what this means and looks like in a context which is in constant flux. In this evolving environment our students are challenged to widen their conversations through regular critiques and one to one tutorials. Opportunity is provided at all levels to take these conversations into wider forums, engaging with others and bringing new perspectives.

As a group of makers we are nimble, we are the creators of opportunity. As a student at Hereford College of Arts, this means that projects often involve working within the booming craft and design sector. Live briefs are available at all levels as well as a particular focus within the second year on gaining work placements. Experiences such as these equip our students with the knowledge and understanding to develop fully structured business plans and professional portfolios. Networks and partnerships are part of the legacy our student’s graduate with; these provide support, challenge and continued opportunity for the development of success.

• Staff who are actively engaged in their own creative design practices.
• International guest lecturers from a wide range of creative backgrounds, delivering tutorials and workshops.
• Specialist workshops overseen by expert staff.
• Live briefs and projects, with valuable real-world experience through work placements in year 2.
•Critical discussions about the future of Design Craft within the broader spectrum of Artist Blacksmithing and Jewellery Design students.
•Recognition at National level with regular awards including New Designers “One to Watch” and this year 2 of our students finishing in the overall top ten.

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Critical Studies

These studies are entirely focused around the students’ course area, providing a solid grounding in subject history and in critical ways of thinking about creative practice. The Critical Studies programme enables students to set their own work in a wider context, and also helps them develop a better understanding of how creative work can be interpreted and assessed. Click here for more details.


Progression and Careers


Why take this course?

The BA (Hons) in Contemporary Design Crafts will inspire you, to make you question and to wonder. Your perceptions of the made world will be stretched and challenged. You will be supported in taking risks, pioneering new ways of making. We are interested in learning why something is made as much as how something is made. As a student at Hereford College of Arts, you will learn both practical skill and that of a critical reflective practice. It is this knowledge that will equip and define you as a designer maker within a contemporary context.

To join us is to become part of an ever growing family of designer makers of international repute. Our students go on to do great things, and we are rightly proud of their achievements. As entrepreneurs they continue to be founders of new traditions in design and making well placed to take their place within the creative sector.



What you will experience

•We are a practice based degree, so students can expect to spend a large amount of time in workshops refining their skills and building new ones
•We have a strong emphasis on learning through doing and encourage experimentation
•All students are provided with their own individual design space, in large, bright design studios with unrivalled access to teaching staff
•We involve students in a wide range of live briefs and encourage them to enter into competitions both nationally and internationally
•You will gain experience of presenting your ideas and products to professional companies, galleries and crafts people within the creative sector
•You will regularly take part in exhibitions, gaining valuable experience
•There are many opportunities to be involved in masterclasses led by renowned professionals
•Trips abroad, which have previously included places such as Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, Paris and Venice.


Check to see what is happening right now on this course


Graduate Showcase

Click the links below for:
Graduate Showcase 2016
Graduate Showcase 2015
Graduate Showcase 2014



Workshops and studios

We have superb Design Studios and 3D Workshops both on site at the new College Road Campus and at our other Campus on Folly Lane. All workshops are run by expert staff who are able to fully support your needs and the development of ideas. We are uniquely placed to be able to offer students large individual workspaces throughout their three years of study. We have laser cutters, 3D printers, small metals, wood and plastic forming workshops, ceramics, glass, textile and drawing studios. We are proud that all our students, regardless of their chosen degree pathway are able to access all our workshops to develop and advance their practice. We also have dedicated IT suites with both Mac and PC’s, large scale digital printers and the full range of high end programmers adept in the latest software to support your practice.


Once graduated, our students progress on to a variety of paths including:
• Running their own small business/Workshop
• Working as a creative design professional within a large company/Manufacturer
• Curating
• Teaching
• Post-graduate study e.g. MA
• Exhibitions & gallery work
• Residencies

Year One+

During the first year of the course, you’ll be engaged in a wide variety of studio and workshop activities designed to introduce and develop strong visualisation, communication, creative and practical skills associated with wood, metal, ceramics and textiles in traditional and contemporary approaches to Contemporary Applied Arts. The course, which is primarily project based, encourages creative thinking and experimentation in both two and three dimensions. Particular emphasis in the first year is placed upon the development of appropriate visualisation skills using a variety of media, and the promotion of good problem solving skills through the exploration of materials and processes. An ability to communicate different creative aesthetics and understanding of contemporary and professional practice is continuously cultivated within studio and workshop based projects. Throughout the whole of year one, studio activity is underpinned by a Cultural Studies and Discourse lecture programme, in which issues of a broader cultural and contextual nature are explored.

Year Two+

Through a reflective and evaluative approach, Year Two will see you build upon the understandings and experiences of the first year, and begin to undertake more open ended and self-directed projects. Creative and practical skills incorporating more advanced research methodologies, as well as the development of a more ‘personal’ approach to contemporary practice, are paramount in establishing innovative practice. You will also have the opportunity to create and develop innovative solutions to real design problems by responding to a number of live briefs and national design competitions. In addition to the programme of Cultural Studies you commence in year one, you will begin formulating a business plan for development in year three.

Year Three+

The final year of the course provides you with a set of specific opportunities to assemble a highly specialist and professional portfolio of work. There is increased emphasis on research, critical thinking, and innovation. You’ll be expected to work in an increasingly self-directed manner to a professional level and have the opportunity to produce a body of work for public exhibition. At this stage, you will have the unique opportunity of profiling yourself and your practice to representatives of the creative industries through a series of appointments with gallery directors, craft shop owners, arts/crafts officers, etc. You’ll be given the opportunity to contextualise your own ideas and design philosophy by undertaking a critical enquiry project in the form of a dissertation or case study.


3 years full-time
6 years part-time

Course Code


Institution Code


Validated By

University of WalesTrinity Saint David

Entry Requirements

  • Minimum age 18
  • Successful portfolio interview
  •  200 UCAS Tariff Points
  • Mature Students with related experience
  • Applicants whose first language is not English - proof of IELTS overall score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all sections (reading, writing, listening & speaking)
  • Recognition of Prior Learning Opportunities - The college welcomes applications from students with prior learning and/or previous experience.  Further details on eligibility can be found on page 15 of our Admissions Policy.  Alternatively, please contact us at registry@hca.ac.uk and we can advise you on the college’s and the University Awarding body requirements




£8,650 p.a. UK & EU (2015)


All applications to our University-Level courses should be made via UCAS
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How to Apply