Whatever your choice of degree, at HCA you will study a tailored Critical Studies programme that we call Practice in Context. This puts your personal creativity into cultural context – both historical and contemporary – and gives you 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 our various course areas by a mixture of studio and academic teaching staff. Although every BA (Hons) student will take Critical Studies as part of their degree – we understand the unique qualities of each specialism; so the things you discover on this programme are relevant to your own particular area of studio practice.

These modules are assessed mainly through written assignments, and you will be supported in the development of your research skills and critical thinking.

Common Room - MA Fine Art Show 5

Practice in Context One

During the first year, you will be provided with a solid grounding in the history of your studio subject. Practice in Context One demonstrates that all creative practice is influenced by its historical and cultural context – including factors such as: 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

Practice in Context Two takes place in the second year, and introduces a number of theoretical approaches which will help extend your 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 our students to look at familiar material in a new way.

Dissertation and Dissertation Options

As a final year BA (Hons) student, you will undertake a substantial piece of self directed research on a theme of your choice. This module provides you with the opportunity to research and critically assess the ideas and contexts which give meaning and resonance to your own area of studio practice.

Your Dissertation may be produced in a number of different optional formats, ranging from a written essay to more creative, practice-led options, and you can choose which option you wish to take.

The ultimate aim of the Critical Studies programme is to give you a solid intellectual basis to support you to create a final body of work which is original, perceptive, meaningful, coherent and resolved.