About this course
Accreditations and partnerships:
- Entry year: 2014/15
- Course code: W640
- Applications: UCAS
- Level: Undergraduate
- Tariff points: 280
- Department: Creative Industries
- Campus: Bower Ashton
- Duration: Three years full-time. Approximately six years part-time.
- Delivery: Part-time, Full-time
- Study Abroad: Yes
- Programme leader: Jim Campbell
This popular undergraduate course offers you the opportunity to develop a creative photographic practice from a broad-based programme of activity, through to a specific and identifiable visual style. At its core is the development of strong creative project ideas in both still and moving imagery. This key attribute will enable you to take advantage of exciting opportunities in contemporary lens-based media.
The course team embraces a holistic attitude to photography, so that you can follow your developing aspirations in any number of fields. These potential career paths might include documentary, editorial, fine art, fashion, and advertising practices. We will help you to identify your creative strengths and assist you in making the most of your abilities.
The course builds from an experimental induction-focused first year of study, orientated around workshop activities, the expansion of your visual/critical vocabulary and on improving your technical skills.
The second year encourages you to consider the importance of your creative process and how your work might be situated in the creative industries through elements such as work experience, live project briefs and collaborations with professional and academic partners. In the final year of the course you will further develop a body of work to form the basis of a professional portfolio and prepare you for a career in your chosen field.
At all levels students are given the opportunity to engage in work experience and professional practice opportunities, locally, nationally and internationally. You will be given the opportunity to take part in exchange/placement programmes in cities such as Barcelona, Berlin, Bologna, Rotterdam, Delhi and Hong Kong. You will also be given the opportunity to go on course visits to London and to cities such as New York, Paris, Berlin and Vienna.
Students are encouraged to exhibit both in Bristol and London following the completion of their final major project and to develop a process that will translate to their chosen area of professional practice.
Learn more about Sarah's experience of studying BA(Hons) Photography at UWE.
This course is affiliated with the Association of Photographers (AOP), which is the leading professional body for photographers in the UK and beyond.
Student's view"As well as the course content I have enjoyed the support of excellent technical staff and the use of a comprehensive library as well as darkroom and digital imaging facilities."Nadja
Across all three years of the course, Professional Practice/Work Experience modules allow you to explore and effectively engage with industry and professional outcomes as an emerging practitioner.
You will be introduced to a range of practical and academic skills to broaden and deepen your knowledge of photography and your own approach to the medium. You will take project modules alongside practical workshops including digital and film camera use, film processing, black and white and colour printing, location lighting, studio practice, Photoshop, video, software for page layout, silk-screen printing, lithography and other specialist print disciplines.
A Professional Practice and Work Experience module enables students to begin to locate the context of their own practice, hear from professional practitioners and find out about future career options.
You will study the following compulsory modules:
- Introduction to Photography
- Exploring Practice in Photography
- Creative Perspectives
- Professional Practice and Work Experience 1
You will further develop your creative practice through tutorial-led project work, which becomes ever more self-directed as the course progresses. In the second semester, you will be given the opportunity to concentrate on the production of moving image work or to develop your still image project work.
The Professional Practice and Work Experience module at level 2 provides a series of structured lectures and events designed to help you explore your potential for employment and future professional practice. All students exhibit their work within UWE and at external locations and are encouraged to undertake work placements and live projects. There is the opportunity to undertake an international exchange programme at one of our partner institutions in Europe or further afield.
You will study the following compulsory modules:
- Developing Practice in Photography
- Creative Analysis
- Professional Practice and Work Experience 2
One of the following:
- Developing Practice in Photography 2
- International Exchange
You will undertake self-directed project and research work that reflects your own ambitions beyond undergraduate study. This will be negotiated with and supported by the academic staff. You will be expected to combine your creative practice with a high level of critical reflection culminating in the presentation of a substantial body of creative work. This will be underpinned by academic research into the professional and critical contexts for the work.
Your portfolio (where appropriate) will be further developed to meet the high requirements of professional practice but as well as working autonomously you will be expected to work co-operatively with your peer group involving yourself in peer-evaluation and any group exhibition of your degree work. The Professional Practice and Work Experience module in Year 3 focuses on self-promotion and readiness for employment.
Visual Culture lectures and seminars will allow students to locate their practice within the context of photographic practices and the wider creative industries.
You will study the following compulsory modules:
- Preparation for Extended Study in Photography
- Extended Study in Photography
- Independent Research Project
- Professional Practice and Work Experience 3
Please note, this structure is for the full-time course delivery only. For part-time delivery, the same modules will be studied over a longer period and the structure will differ slightly although you will undertake the same suite of modules.
Learning and Teaching
Most of the learning that you do will take place in a course-specific environment aimed at project related outcomes organised into specific modules. Teaching sessions include workshops, seminars, group and individual tutorials and lectures. The principal teaching and learning method used is the tutor group, which meets regularly to discuss student work and other course related issues.
Throughout the entire course you will attend lectures and seminars in Visual Culture with students from across the Department of Creative Industries. This core module enables you to develop a rigorous critical and analytical approach to your own work and the work of others. It also fosters a culture of collaboration between disciplines which is very valuable to you when you leave university. On completion of the course, you should expect to be fully aware of the business and working processes in your chosen area of creative practice.
For more details, please see our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.
As well as technical workshops that run throughout the course aimed at maximising your skills base, other practical elements include the development of professional skills; such as creating and maintaining a strong online presence, personal branding and promotion tactics, costing and invoicing protocols, networking strategies, communication skills, collaborative approaches, and presentation techniques.
On completion of the course you should expect to be fully aware of the business and working processes in your chosen area of creative practice.
All modules are assessed according to the level of attainment achieved in relation to the specific learning outcomes of that module. These learning outcomes will be made available to students. A variety of assessment methods are used including assessment by presented project work, research presentations and essays. Students are expected to critique and analyse their own work and relate it to the broader context of photography and related media. Marks from modules undertaken at both Levels 2 and 3 will contribute to your final degree classification. All students must pass Level 1 in order to progress through the course.
For more details see our full glossary of assessment terms.
This course is affiliated with the Association of Photographers (AOP), which is the leading professional body for photographers in the UK and beyond. The AOP promote good professional practice and protect the intellectual property rights of its member practitioners. Our affiliation with the AOP is testament to the department's commitment to professional practice.
Our photography facilities and technical support staff are exceptional and will enable you to develop and improve your photographic skills to a level of excellence comparable to the highest standards.
All Photography students also have access to the excellent facilities at the Bower Ashton site including the 3D Centre, the EPI Centre (software instruction), Media Centre, Print Centre and library.
Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.
Photography is very much an international business and we therefore run annual overseas trips to cities such as New York, Paris, Marseilles, Barcelona and Vienna, often to coincide with major photography festivals. Whenever possible we try to incorporate an element of professional practice into these trips. For example, our trip to the New York Photography Festival in 2011 included lectures from USA based photographers such as Andreas Konrath; and our trip to the Paris Photo festival last November incorporated a talk from the creative directors of photographic agency Picturetank.
London Graduate Exhibition
London is one of the most important worldwide centres for photography and at the end of the academic year we organise a forum to coincide with our London graduate exhibition, in which a panel from the photography industry responds to questions from the graduating students. This event is invaluable as a means of learning from and networking with the London marketplace.
Former venues have included Proud Gallery, Candid Arts Trust and Freerange. The 2013 degree show took place at The Rag Factory and included an editorially focused panel discussion which involved photo editors Emma Bowkett of the FT Weekend Magazine an Patrick Llewellyn of Getty Reportage as well as photographers Laura Hynd and Thom Atkinson. As a result of their final year work, graduates have had their work published in the British Journal of Photography, gained full-time employment in the industry, sold their exhibited work and secured exhibitions at London gallery spaces.
Bristol is one of the most vibrant and creative cultural cities in the UK and a great place to study providing excellent opportunities for work experience and employment for our students and graduates. Industry focused learning is an important feature of this course, and we will encourage you to get as much useful work experience as you can throughout the course.This could be assisting work with a wide range of photographers/ set designers/ curators, for example; but it may also include agency, picture desk or gallery work, etc. In order to get regular external industry input and feedback we have built up relationships with potential work placement providers and professional bodies.
You will be encouraged to obtain feedback on your work from regular guest speakers drawn from all areas of photographic practice. The invaluable input of guest speakers takes a number of forms including lectures, workshops, seminar sessions, studio visits and portfolio tutorials. Recent guests have included renowned photographers such as Richard Billingham, Léonie Hampton, Tom Hunter and Ingrid Pollard; leading agents such as Olivia Gideon-Thomson and Marco Santucci; important art buyers including Stephen Ledger-Lomas and Sarah Thomson and photographic writers-curators such as Aaron Schuman.
The course aims to prepare students for a range of potential careers while also recognising photography's position in and links to the worlds of fine art, fashion, journalism, advertising and graphic design. Individual careers aspirations will be identified and developed throughout the course, and students will be encouraged to undertake work experience or study abroad during the course in order to assist them in making their career choices.
Typical career choices for students graduating in photography include:
- Freelance photography (editorial, fashion, advertising, portraiture)
- Photographer's Assistant
- Picture research
- Photographer's Agent
- Studio work
- Arts and gallery administration
- Further postgraduate study/academic research
Our students and alumni work in diverse fields including editorial, fashion, fine art, advertising, movie stills and medical photography. They have worked with prominent employers and institutions such as the BBC, The Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times Magazine, the Tate Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, Olympics 2012, French Connection, Vogue Italia, Prix de la Photographie Paris, the British Journal of Photography, Aardman Animations and Encounters Film Festival.
Students and graduates of the course have been very successful in both national and regional competitions such as the Guardian Media Awards, the South West Photography Prize, the Black Swan Open, and the Student Street Photography Award. Students have also been successful in obtaining bursaries to support their practice. Recently, three of our graduates secured grants to make work that will be situated in a newly built hospital in Bristol.
Find out what our graduates are doing six months after graduating - includes examples of careers, employers and further study. Download a PDF from graduate destinations.
Creating employable students
UWE places strong emphasis on employability and skills development at every level. Through work placements, volunteering, study abroad and UWE initiatives which nurture talent and encourage innovation, students gain valuable real world experience and graduate with diverse career opportunities and a competitive place in the job market.
See great graduate prospects for further information.
Read about Ibolya's recognition for her work.
See some of our students' work on flickr.
Hear about some of the work opportunities generated by the Enterprise Office.
Prospects - careers in the creative arts sector
The UWE careers service provides guidance and support throughout your studies in addition to useful resources, CV checks, career coaching and details of current job vacancies.
- Tariff points: 280
- GCSE: Grade C or above in English Language
- A-level subjects: No specific subjects required. Points from A-Level General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of two A-Levels.
- EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: A minimum of DMM from the BTEC Diploma
- Access: Achievement of the HE Diploma; to include 15 L3 credits at merit; achievement of Level 2 credits giving GCSE equivalency (where appropriate) in English Language. Applicants completing Level 3 credits in Art and Design are guaranteed an interview.
- Baccalaureate IB: 25 points
Individual offers may vary. Entry is based on portfolio and ability. Successful applicants are generally those with the strongest portfolios. Students of all ages and from all social backgrounds are recruited with a variety of qualifications including Foundation Studies Diploma, BTEC National Diploma, A levels or equivalent qualification in Art and Design. Applicants demonstrating commitment to and knowledge of the subject on their application form are invited to a selection session where they will be required to present a collection of their creative work to demonstrate a good practical ability in and understanding of their chosen field. Your personal statement should outline your interests and aspirations within photography.
The emphasis of your portfolio should be on quality not quantity. You should be able to show evidence a variety of creative approaches and ideas through research, journals and sketchbooks. The course is looking for practitioners who are prepared to work independently and who are self motivated.
How to apply
Please see the general information about applications. The course code for applications is W640.
For further information