Mermaid Court, 165A Borough High Street, London, SE1 1HR
3 Years (Full Time), 4-5 Years (Part Time)
Please click here for term dates
The Diploma course has been carefully designed to support and challenge students to develop their own approach to art practice based upon their interests, ideas and aptitudes, with a different focus for each of the three levels of the course. Our huge selection of structured skills classes across a wide range of disciplines means that technical progress is guaranteed in whatever discipline they choose. Students can follow a path focusing on a single discipline – such as painting, sculpture, textiles, new media and digital art, installation, or print-making – or work across disciplines. Skills components are programmed over a two year cycle, ensuring students can choose across the full range of options in a logical sequence during Levels One and Two. (A list of typical skills components is available here). Because drawing is considered essential for all artists, everyone undertakes a number of drawing skills classes in Level One, and can choose to continue these in Levels Two and Three.
In Level One students are encouraged to experiment widely with materials, techniques and ideas. Studio practice classes at this level support the beginnings of creative and contextual research through a series of projects which encourage students to explore their personal creative motivations, how to use formal, artistic language and the relationship between the material and conceptual exploration of a creative idea. A series of classes in Art Theory help students to interrogate their ideas through an understanding of wider critical, philosophical and theoretical approaches, as well as introducing study skills and critical techniques. Our programme of digital workshops in Level One introduces students to basic digital techniques and to the skills necessary to present their work, including via a website.
During Level Two there is a shift in emphasis towards greater self reflection and analysis. Skills components support the further refinement of each student’s technique within the discipline (or disciplines) of their choice. Studio practice work challenges students to take on a commission, with tutor support and peer review as they negotiate the relationship with their client and balance the client’s needs with their own creative process. For the subsequent projects during this level, the focus is on each individual student’s own artistic practice as they develop their ideas and personal language, whilst undertaking a more in-depth analysis of the art historic and wider context for their work. An Art History programme explores the history of ideas, helping to develop students’ understanding of key artists and thinkers from 1900 to the present day, and their influences on contemporary practice. Our Professional Development programme during this level helps to start to prepare students for life after the Academy, with a series of workshops and lectures from relevant art world professionals and practicing artists, alongside exhibition and curatorial experience, and the development of marketing and business planning tools and materials.
In Level Three there is a further shift, this time towards self directed studio practice. Continuing support is provided in the form of regular group critiques, personal tutorials and discretionary skills classes, as students explore further their own practice, research their artist’s statement and prepare work towards their graduate show. The completion of a dissertation on a subject related to their own artistic practice enables students better to interrogate their own work, supported through a series of tutorials and seminars with the Head of Art History. And the completion of the Professional Development programme requires students to have considered fully all the factors that will support their professional lives as artists after the Academy.
The Graduate show is the highlight of each year at the Art Academy, attracting huge numbers of visitors, including representatives from the professional art world. Preparation for the show requires students to consider carefully all aspects of their practice, with a particular focus on how to present and curate their work, as well as how to promote themselves as emerging artists.
You will have access to the building during Academy hours (7.30am-9pm weekdays, and some weekends) for project work and self-directed study. We have built flexibility into the programme, allowing you work in or out of the premises on self-directed study on different days (some of our students need to work part-time), although you may complete this work elsewhere on other days if you wish.