Critical Studies

All of our University-Level Students study Critical Studies as part of their degree course.

University-Level Students who are reading degree courses at HCA will study Critical Studies as part of their degree path.

Practice in Context

A major part of every degree course (accounting for a quarter of module credits each year) is a Practice in Context programme which provides students with a structured way of thinking about the meaning and value of creative practice. Practice in Context is a lively and engaging academic programme delivered to students within course areas by a mixture of studio and academic teaching staff. It is assessed through written assignments and is supported by a programme of research and thinking skills workshops.

During the first year, students are provided with a solid grounding in the history of their studio subject. Practice in Context One demonstrates that all creative practice is influenced by its historical and cultural context – including contemporary events and conditions, the available technologies of production, creative work previously made by other practitioners, and the ideas, values and beliefs of the cultures in which the work is produced.

Practice in Context Two takes place in the second year, and introduces students to a number of theoretical approaches which will help extend their understanding of creative practice. This module places a new emphasis on the role of theory in challenging conventional ideas and perspectives, introducing new analytical concepts and enabling students to look at familiar material in a new way.

In the third year, BA (Hons) students undertake a Dissertation, which gives them the opportunity to research and critically assess the ideas and contexts which give meaning and resonance to their own area of studio practice. The ultimate rationale of the Dissertation – and of the Practice in Context programme as a whole – is to provide students with a solid intellectual basis to support the creation of a final body of work that is original, perceptive, meaningful, coherent and resolved.

Talking Dissertations

We asked students to speak of their experience of writing a Dissertation at Hereford College of Arts.