BA (Hons) Contemporary Arts Practice

This course is designed for students wanting a broad educational experience across all aspects of the visual arts.

Whilst there is scope to specialise in one particular subject area during the latter stages of the course, you are given the freedom to work in any material or combination of materials and processes for the duration of your study.The course encourages a dynamic mix of creative thinkers across the literary, performing and visual arts, and allows you to benefit from an active cultural exchange programme with numerous academic partners from around the world.

About the course
The modular programme is tailored to allow the transfer of skills from an academic to a real working environment, with the opportunity to work closely with industry on site-specific artwork, curating, and working to commission. All practice-based modules have contextual studies skills embedded that are specific to the specialist area of study and will require you to participate in cultural visits and projects at home and abroad.

If you wish to mix Art, Textiles or Ceramics with a wider range of subjects, including Visual Design, Creative Writing, Dance, Drama, Music, then please see the BA (Hons) Creative Arts course.

Visit Bath Spa University website page for application details

About the course

In Year 1 you will be encouraged to experiment in a number of disciplines, gaining extensive knowledge and skills as you progress. Specialist strands include: Ceramics and Sculpture, Drawing and Painting, Mixed Media Textiles, Printmaking, Photography and Moving Image. Contextual and theoretical components of the course are embedded into all practice-based modules and are supported by lectures and seminars introducing students to contemporary art practice.

In Years 2 and 3 you will have the opportunity to specialise in one discipline area, or maintain a broader portfolio through to graduation, taught by expert staff from all aspects of the visual arts. Running in parallel to your study you will take advantage of professional development exercises such as web-design, marketing and project management, gaining the necessary expertise to maximise your potential after graduation. You will also have access to an extensive weekly programme of visiting lectures from practising artists, curators, critics and gallery owners.

Graduates of Contemporary Arts Practice will have a broad portfolio of expertise to accompany specialist knowledge in a particular field.


The majority of our graduates will progress to art-related employment or self-employment, whether as a studio-based artist, public artist or through employment in the realm of arts management or arts administration. The course also attracts many students wishing to pursue a career in teaching.


Staff Profiles

  • Martin Thomas

    Course Leader
    BA Hons Contemporary Arts Practice
  • Mandy Bonnell

    Senior Lecturer
    BA Hons Creative Arts and BA Hons Contemporary Arts Practice
  • Private: Sue Bradley

    Subject Leader in Mixed Media Textiles
    BA Hons Creative Arts and BA Hons Contemporary Arts Practice
  • Private: Cedric Christie

    Research Fellow
  • Private: Angela Cockayne

    Senior Lecturer and Reader (Interdisciplinary Art Practice)
    BA Hons Creative Arts and BA Hons Contemporary Arts Practice
  • Prof Gavin Turk

    Professor of Art and Design

Frequently asked questions

How many hours will I be expected to study?

Each core 40 credit module should consist of 400 hours study time over an academic year. Approximately 96 of these are contact hours the rest (304) should be independent study and studio time. You will take 120 credits each year as a full time student – so the whole courses requires 1200 hours study per academic year.

Do I get a studio space?

In year 1 you will be taught predominantly in shared studios and workshops as a group. In years 2 and 3 if you are producing studio based work (painting or sculpture) you will be allocated an individual studio space.

Can I use the facilities at weekends and evenings?

Sion Hill and Dartmouth Ave Studios are currently open in the evenings and weekends. Times vary throughout the year so please check with your course leader. School workshops currently open between 9am and 5.30pm only.

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