Illustration and Visual Communication BA Honours

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UCAS code: W220 | Institution code: W50 | Attendance mode: Full-time
Start: 15 September 2018
Duration: 3 years
Location: North-West London
Campus: Harrow

Undergraduate tuition fees for 2018/19 have not yet been published but are expected to be £9,250.

Home/EU: £9,250.00
Overseas: £12,750.00

This ambitious and interdisciplinary course offers practice and study in image-making applied principally within illustration but also in a range of creative design and communication contexts from animation to commercial installation. Our premise is that within contemporary visual practice the boundaries between art, design and illustration have merged, this in part is due to digital technologies but also the cultural merging of disciplines within the visual and performing arts.

New creatives can find themselves working on initiatives that require a range of skills, are multi-contextual, multi-media and increasingly involve collaboration with others. Within this context the course offers an in-depth, reflective and process led approach to image-making and image media.

Drawing is an enduring and central course activity in giving form to imaginative and conceptual thought, and as a means to understand in depth aesthetical, conceptual and expressive strategies in image-making and pictorial design. The course is delivered using a project framework designed to replicate the type and range of briefs anticipated in an industrial setting.  Projects also provide a context and creative challenge, they make demands that stretch your understanding and encourage a ‘what if’ approach to visual problem solving.  Projects are both set and self-defined and can be developed in a range of media process - animation, moving image, digital imaging, print-making, photography, painting, mixed media, three dimensional design.

We encourage involvement in the creative industries. You will have the opportunity to participate in major student competitions, external exhibitions, industry initiatives as well as internships and study abroad exchange. In the final year of study a rigorous professional practice programme helps you prepare for employment and our alumni work in a wide variety of occupations that include illustration, animation, film, television, art direction and project management, advertising, publishing and authorial practice, concept art and computer games. Some students continue study at post-graduate level in a wide range of subjects, film, national heritage, art with medicine, art and psychotherapy, art and science, teacher training and fine art.

Course content

Year 1 (Credit Level 4)

Year 1 serves as an introduction and diagnostic approach to visual communication though a programme that includes drawing and image making developed through varied media processes and visual technologies. All practical work is project led providing a menu of initiatives that test your imagination and help you build knowledge and skills.  You will gain understanding in visual culture and your views on many aspects of art and image-making will expand and become more informed through your learning and research.  You will learn how to analyse and deconstruct images, especially in the media and advertising and you will be able to create your own work in a more informed and sophisticated way.

Subjects of study include:

  • Introduction to contemporary Art and Visual Culture  (theory)
  • Introduction to Image Media (theory)
  • Figure drawing. (course option practice – figure drawing from observation in the studio and on location)
  • Visual Communication Technologies: workshops and classes in animation, print-making, digital media, photography and 3D.
  • Visual Communication – Development and Production (project led practice in image-making)

Year 2 (Credit Level 5)

You will now be expanding and deepening your understanding in visual culture and applied image-making through a menu of industry led and personally defined research initiatives, national and international student competitions and set projects. This year of study has the most flexibility where you can take elective or optional study modules in both semesters or undertake study abroad. This is a period of research, in-depth exploration of visual languages and methodologies in image-making and design. You will be beginning to tailor your own direction in the topics you choose and the media through which you develop your practice. In theoretical studies you will be examining visual culture in greater depth and scrutiny leading into choosing a topic for your dissertation.

You will be able to choose up to 2 Westminster elective modules or course optional modules.

Subjects of study include:

  • Drawing Systems (course option practice – experimental drawing practice and research)
  • Interdisciplinary Practice (course option practice - that develops image media for online production and distribution)
  • Visual Communication: Contextualisation and Enterprise (project led practice that encourages image-making in context with the environment, society and contemporary culture. This module includes participation in national and international student competitions and external enterprise)
  • Visual Communication: Research and Synthesis (theoretical studies that includes lectures in contemporary critical debate within visual culture and leads into research and preparing an essay question and bibliography for your dissertation)

Year 3 (Credit Level 6)

You will now be preparing your portfolio for entering the workplace or to continue with your research and studies at post-graduate level. This final year is focused on the culmination of your learning and the encouragement to produce work that defines your own direction and approach.

The Major Project and Dissertation modules help you to professionalise your practice and provide a final period of in-depth study. The two elective modules are designed to reflect vocational professional development or academic research and a personal practice that is less market driven. At this point teaching is principally guidance and advice on personal and professional development. As part of this industry launch to course offers exhibition for your degree show in London Gallery West, and as part of D&AD New Blood exhibition in Truman Brewery.

Subjects of study include:

  • Visual Communication: Dissertation (an 8 – 10,000 word essay on a topic chosen from topics studied earlier on the course and aligned to your practical work)
  • Research Informed Practice (course option for students whose practice is not vocationally driven and require time for deeper research and visual inquiry. This would apply for students continuing with post-graduate study, whose practice is more within the remit of film or fine art or intend to enter teacher training courses)
  • Professional Engagement and Enterprise (course option with a specific image-making and illustration industry focus for students who intend to work professionally in this sector of the creative industries)
  • Visual Communication: Major Project (an intense and extended period in which to develop practical work)
 

Westminster electives Westminster Elective modules icon

As part of your course you can take elective modules. Electives are an exciting opportunity to widen your experience at university and to gain skills and knowledge that will help make you more employable. Find out about Westminster electives.

Course team

  • Liz GrobCourse Director (research in art practice and drawing)
  • Caroline BaruahLevel 5 Lead Tutor (research in art practice and textile print-making)
  • Haydn CottamCourse Lecturer (research in art practice – drawing and painting)
  • Emma DodsonCourse Lecturer (research in illustration)
  • David FoldvariCourse Lecturer (professional illustration, art direction and advertising)
  • Alejandra Jiminez LopezCourse Lecturer (research in animation, digital media and moving image)
  • Tessa PetersCourse Lecturer (curator and researcher in art practice and applied arts)
  • Christine McCauleyCourse Lecturer (research in illustration, authorial practice and printmaking)
  • Jason Pidd, Course Lecturer (research in graphic design and art practice)
  • Tereza Stehlikova, Course Lecturer (research in film, illustration and animation)
  • Samuel Stevens, Course Lecturer (research – film and image media)

Additional costs information

To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.

Employability

Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.

We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.

During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.

In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.

For more details, visit the employability section on our site.

Career Development Centre

Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.

We can help you to:

  • find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
  • explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
  • plan your career development
  • identify your career options
  • market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
  • develop your enterprise skills

We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.

Find out more about the Career Development Centre.

Work Placements

Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.

More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.

Study in the city

If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.

Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.

Accommodation

After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.

Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships

In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.

Personal tutoring

All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.

Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.

Language support

Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.

Personal advice and counselling

While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.

International Westminster

With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.

Study Abroad and Summer School programmes

Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.

If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.

Sport and recreation

The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.

Students' Union

University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.