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b3 yrs full-time, 6 yrs part-time
££9,000 p.a.
Fees per anum UK & EU
DUniversity of Wales Trinity Saint David
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Find your place as an innovative maker on the UK’s longest-established crafts course.                              

Here at HCA, we support you to explore a fusion of traditional and contemporary practices. If you choose to study Contemporary Design Crafts with us, you will experience a personalised craft education focused on exploration and innovation, and be encouraged to develop your own visual language. 

As the role of craft continues to evolve, we look to the future and embrace new tools and technologies whilst also informed by and supporting traditional craft skills.

This Key Information document gives you a summary of the core characteristics of the BA (Hons) Contemporary Design Crafts degree at HCA.

On Contemporary Design Crafts, our course ethos is to blend modern design principles and innovative new processes with hands-on making. We will help you to develop both specialist material knowledge and your own visual language as part of your journey to becoming a successful maker. 

You will join a community of students who continuously engage in critical discussion about contemporary crafts. In this stimulating environment, your ideas will be challenged and developed through regular group feedback sessions and one-to-one tutorials. You will also have the opportunity to take these conversations into wider forums, engaging with others and discovering new perspectives.

As a student at Hereford College of Arts, you will learn to become a maker of opportunity, often working on projects within the booming crafts and design sector. Live briefs are available across all years, with particular focus on work placement activities in your second year.

Contemporary Design Crafts offer an amazing breadth of mediums and processes to explore: ceramics, print, textiles, small metals and many more. Your experience on the course will equip you with the knowledge and understanding to develop a fully structured professional portfolio. Additionally, the networks and partnerships you form will provide support and challenges both during the course and as a continuing legacy afterwards.

Materials and making is core to much of what we do. Our workshop facilities provide you with the space to think, question and develop ideas. You will gain a solid grounding in making skills, with expert guidance from our workshop team. 

Our workshops represent the foundation for learning new skills and processes. Masterclasses are delivered each year by visiting lecturers specialising in a variety of material approaches and disciplines.

You will have the opportunity to collaborate across a range of disciplines, leading to deeper understanding and exciting innovations. As part of the process of defining your practice as a maker you will also be encouraged to develop your critical thinking skills and contextual knowledge, through thought-provoking critical studies sessions,

Throughout the course, you will be encouraged to challenge and push boundaries to explore new realms in craft and design.

  • 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’ll help you explore professional practice opportunities in your second year.
  • 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 opportunities to be involved in masterclasses led by renowned professionals.
  • Optional trips abroad, which have previously included places such as Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, Paris and Venice.
  • Final year students all have the opportunity to exhibit their graduate work at New Designers, the UK’s most important exhibition for emerging design.

Over your three years of study, you will be given the opportunity to develop your profession networks through a variety of collaborations, live briefs and industry engagement. With access to some of the most exciting makers and thinkers working within the world of design and craft today, you will gain the knowledge to develop and apply your skills across a wide variety of different contexts.

Organisations that the course has collaborated with include:

  • Hay Festival
  • Hereford Cathedral
  • The National Trust
  • Hereford Archives and Records Centre
  • ‘Fresh Air’ exhibition
  • Made by Hand, Cardiff

HCA CDC students have access to superb Design Studios and 3D Workshops at both our College Road  and Folly Lane campuses. We are uniquely placed to be able to offer individual workspaces throughout your 3 years of study. 

All workshops are run by expert staff who support your technical needs and help you develop your ideas. We have laser cutters, 3D printers, small metals, wood, and plastic forming workshops, ceramics, glass, textiles and drawing studios. We committed to offering our students, regardless of their chosen degree pathway, access all our workshops to develop and advance their practice. You will also have access to professionally equipped IT suites with both Mac and PC’s, large scale digital printers and professional software to support your practice.

Graduate explore multiple destinations after this course, and we support students who may choose self-employment as makers and those who will continue their practice as part of a varied and rewarding portfolio career. In addition to employment within the creative sector, graduate destinations frequently include cultural sector employment, arts administration, curation, museum & heritage, postgraduate study, and teaching.

  • Minimum age 18.
  • Successful portfolio interview.
  • Academic achievement – we would normally expect applicants to have achieved 80 UCAS Tariff Points at entry but, whilst qualifications are important, our offers are not solely based on academic results. We may make offers based on other evidence of talent and suitability for the course.
  • 80 UCAS Points on the New UCAS Tariff system for 2017 equates to 200 UCAS points on the previous points system – for more details please see tariff explanation and advice on the UCAS website.
  • 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) is required.
  • Applications from mature students with relevant experience will also be considered.
  • 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 and we can offer further advice on HCA and the UWTSD awarding body requirements.

NB for Top-Up students different entry requirements apply – please see our Top-Ups application page for more information.

See more student work and inspiration

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Watcha short film about our course

“Whether traditional or innovative, art or science, on show in a gallery window or hidden away in unexpected places, making has the power to deeply satisfy. All it needs from us is a little patience and appreciation.” Teleri Lloyd-Jones, The British Museum, Museum Stories

Visiting Speaker

“My tutors do a great job, they are encouraging, approachable and constructive with their feedback.”
Contemporary Design Crafts Student

HCA Internal Student Survey

What you will study