BA(Hons)
Photography

A student standing in the corner of an art display

About this course

Accreditations and partnerships:

The UK Socrates-Erasmus Council Association of Photographers CREATIVE SKILLSET
  • Entry year: 2015/16
  • Course code: W640
  • Applications: UCAS
  • Level: Undergraduate
  • Tariff points: 280
  • Department: Film and Journalism
  • 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
  • Key fact: This course is affiliated with the leading professional body for photographers in the UK and beyond, the Association of Photographers.

Introduction

Why BA(Hons) Photography?

Our popular BA(Hons) Photography will develop your creativity and give you the high-level practical skills needed to become a successful photographer. You will work across all areas of the discipline, from editorial and documentary to fashion, advertising and fine art.

You will be encouraged to transform your broad-based photographic practice into an individual visual style. On graduation, you will have built a unique and compelling body of work for the marketplace.

Why study this course?

The course incorporates all the factors you need: a vibrant, collaborative environment, state-of-the-art facilities, supportive workshop instruction and expert input, all underpinned by theory and critique. At its core are creative projects in still and moving imagery, involving exciting opportunities in contemporary lens-based media.

Photography is based at Bower Ashton Campus where dialogue with journalists, designers and performers will expand and deepen your practice. You will have access to fantastic facilities on campus, including professional-standard photographic equipment and an unrivalled Media Centre, and will receive one-to-one support from our excellent technical and academic staff. The city of Bristol is a vibrant media community, which will also challenge and inspire you.

Real-world experience

We have strong links with industry, undertaking projects with partners in the UK and overseas, and there are numerous opportunities for work experience. You will also work to briefs set and assessed by external individuals and organisations throughout the course. These could include photographers, filmmakers, publishers, clothing labels, product designers, theatre groups, musicians or festivals.

Regular guest speakers include celebrated photographers, art directors, picture editors, art buyers, curators, agents, publishers and prop designers, and you will visit photographers' studios, agencies and picture libraries. Following your major final-year project, you will be encouraged to exhibit in Bristol and London. Crucially, you will have built a unique and compelling body of work for the marketplace.

Where it can take you

Our graduates work in fields ranging from editorial and fashion to movie stills and medical photography. Employers include the BBC, Sunday Times Magazine, the Tate and the National Portrait Gallery, Olympics 2012, British Journal of Photography, Aardman Animations and the Department for Education. They have also established important collectives and exhibiting networks such as One Giant Arm  and Splash and Grab.

Watch our film to find out more about Film, Photography and Animation at UWE Bristol.

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>> Structure

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

Structure

Content

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.

Year 1

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 Photographic Practice
  • Exploring Practice in Photography
  • Critical Perspectives
  • Professional Practice and Work Experience 1

Year 2

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 Photographic Contexts
  • Creative Analysis
  • Professional Practice and Work Experience 2

plus one of the following optional modules:

  • Developing Practice in Photographic Collaborations
  • International Exchange

Final Year

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 course content and structure can change from year to year. As a result there can be variation between the information shown here and the course when it is delivered. Please also note this structure is for the full-time course delivery only. For part-time delivery the same modules will be studied however the structure will differ.

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.

Study time

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.

Assessment

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.

>> Features

Special Features

Professional accreditation

This course is affiliated with the leading professional body for photographers in the UK and beyond, the Association of Photographers (AOP), which promotes good professional practice and protects the intellectual property rights of its member practitioners. Our affiliation is testament to the department's commitment to professional practice.

The course is recognised by Creative Skillset, with the BA(Hons) Photography carrying the Creative Skillset Tick indicating courses appropriate for a creative industries career.

Placements

Work experience takes place throughout all three years.This could involve assisting photographers, set designers and curators, or picture desk, agency and gallery work.

The thriving city of Bristol offers exceptional opportunities for work experience and placements. We have close relationships with the BBC, Spike Island, the Arnolfini, Watershed, M Shed, the Royal Photographic Society, IC-Visual Lab, Knowle West Media Centre, local schools and community groups, while our partnership with the Prince"s Trust has seen students working with young people and vulnerable adults, particularly valuable for those intending to become teachers or art therapists.

Fieldwork

You will visit photographers' studios, agencies and picture libraries throughout the course.

Photography is an international business and you will also have the opportunity to visit cities such as New York, Paris, Marseilles, Barcelona and Vienna, often coinciding with photography festivals. Wherever possible, professional practice is incorporated into these trips.Our trip to the New York Photography Festival in 2011 included a lecture from Andreas Konrath, and the Paris Photo Festival trip incorporated talks from the creative directors of Picturetank, the artist Jeremy Lenoir and Galerie Rivière et Faiveley.

In your second year, you will have the opportunity to spend the second semester studying abroad at one of our partner institutions, such as Rotterdam, Barcelona, Taipei, Hong Kong, Berlin, Bologna, Linz, Ghent, and Bergen.

Study facilities

The Photography Department at Bower Ashton Campus offers the latest photography technology. Full support is provided by our excellent team of technical staff through regular and easy-to-arrange workshop sessions. Our wide selection of equipment includes:

  • A fleet of full-frame DSLR cameras
  • 10x8, 5x4 and medium format analogue cameras
  • Medium format digital equipment
  • Lighting kits
  • Fully equipped analogue and digital darkrooms
  • Four separate studio spaces

Find out more about the facilities and resources UWE has to offer.

Guest speakers

Regular speakers include celebrated photographers, art directors, picture editors, art buyers, curators, agents, publishers and prop designers. Recent guests have included photographers Martin  Parr, Richard Billingham, Léonie Hampton, Tom Hunter and Ingrid Pollard; agents Olivia Gideon-Thomson and Marco Santucci; art buyers Stephen Ledger-Lomas and Sarah Thomson; and photographic writer-curator Aaron Schuman.

Final-year show

The degree show takes place on campus before being staged at a London venue: in recent years at The Rag Factory, Freerange at Trumans Brewery, Candid Arts Trust, The Proud Gallery and The Barge House, Oxo Tower. As a consequence, students have secured editorial commissions, featured in magazines, sold work and secured solo exhibitions. Shows in the past two years have been critically acclaimed by BJP, Getty Images, FT Weekend and Labyrinth Photographic.

Scholarships and bursaries

Our students and alumni have been successful in the Guardian Media Awards, the South West Photography Prize, the Black Swan Open, the Student Street Photography Award and Magnum Photos. Three of our graduates recently secured bursaries to make work for a newly built hospital in Bristol.

>> Careers

Careers/further study

Photography is largely a freelance practice and students with experience of live briefs are best placed to make a smooth transition to industry. Our graduates work in fields including editorial, fashion, fine art, advertising, movie stills and medical photography for employers such as the BBC, Sunday Times Magazine, FT Weekend, the Tate and the National Portrait Gallery, Olympics 2012, French Connection, Prix de la Photographie Paris, We Folk, British Journal of Photography, the Department for Education and Aardman Animations. Careers include:

  • Freelance photography (editorial, fashion, advertising, portraiture)
  • Photographer's assistant
  • Picture research
  • Photographer's agent
  • Studio work
  • Publishing
  • Teaching and art therapy
  • Arts and gallery administration
  • Further postgraduate study/academic research

Award-winning careers service

Our award-winning careers service helps you develop your graduate employment potential through career coaching, a vacancy service for internships, placements, graduate jobs, global opportunities, volunteering and community activity plus support for entrepreneurs and access to employer events.

Graduate destinations

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.

See great graduate prospects for further information.

Creating employable students

UWE Bristol 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.

Be inspired

Take a look at our students' work:

Useful links

Prospects - careers in the creative arts sector

>> Fees

Fees

Full time course

FeeAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9000
Home/EU-Full Time-15 Credit Module Fee1125
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee11250
International-Full Time 15 Credit Module Fee1406
Offshore-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9000
Offshore-Full Time 15 Credit Module Fee1125

Part time course

FeeAmount (£)
Home/EU-Part Time-15 Credit Moldule Fee1125

Supplementary fee information

For information about fees and funding for courses please see our fees and funding pages.

>> Entry

Entry

Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 280
  • GCSE: Grade C or above in English Language, or equivalent.
    Please note the University does not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • 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

Entry requirements

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.

For further information

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