BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design: IMO

BA (Hons) Three Dimensional Design: Idea Material Object, (IMO) is an experimental design course that seeks to explore ideas through objects, spaces and experiences.

Creativity comes in many different forms and is often separated into categories such as ‘art’, ‘design’, or ‘craft’. IMO looks at all of these areas [and many others] as sources of inspiration – intentionally interlinking and overlapping them. Over the three-year course students develop their making skills and hone their design ability to turn abstract ideas into physical products. IMO is a course for students who have the ambition and curiosity to question the world around them, driven to experiment, explore and reinvent.

Why choose this course?

The course develops each student’s personal design process with an emphasis on the act of making as a means to realise ideas.

Design projects cover a range of materials and scales – work may be made by hand in the studio, constructed in the workshops with the help of skilled technical staff or rendered on a computer and produced on a 3D printer.

Visit Bath Spa University website page for application details

About the course

A strong professional grounding underpins the course with opportunities for public exhibitions and ‘live’ collaborative projects. Tutors are generally practicing designers providing valuable inspiration and insight into ‘real world’ experience and the opportunity to start to build your own professional network from a very early stage in your career.

Visiting tutors cover a wide range of expertise. They include furniture designers Andre Klauser, whose company Very Good and Proper has designed the now familiar Utility range for Canteen restaurants and Facebook HQ, and Fabien Cappello who designs more experimental pieces. There are also those who belong to a new generation of specialists like metalsmith John Grayson, an expert in metal forming and decorating processes and Attua Aparicio of Silo Studio recently awarded a Jerwood Maker prize for their hand-made high tech work in “defining or challenging the boundaries of what has traditionally been described as applied arts”.

Working with external collaborators is an important element of students’ learning. Each summer we run a project with an external client [last year we designed clothes rails for ASOS new head quarters], Year 2 of the course includes a short period of work experience and Year 3 offers the opportunity to design, organise and build an exhibition. Our students graduate with a CV that includes a list of exhibitions, professional skills and a personal network that has helped most of them secure work in the design field.

Projects in the first year are intended to help students familiarise themselves with the range of materials-based School workshops [see resources section for more details] in order to develop their confidence and knowledge with as many making techniques as possible. Technical demonstrators support teaching in all workshop areas and specialists (Jonathan Sturgess) support the use of design software. Members of the permanent academic staff including the Head of Department Kerry Curtis and the Course Leader Shai Akram teach regularly and contribute a breadth of professional experience.

Course Structure and Content

Year 1 is a broad experimental year, you will be introduced to the schools workshops and encouraged to develop your making skills. We cover drawing techniques and model making, as well as an introduction to digital programmes such as Illustrator and Photoshop. During the first year you will also be introduced to design thinking, concept generation and how to translate your abstract thoughts into physical outputs.

Year 2 builds upon your making skills as you begin to focus more deeply on the areas that naturally appeal to your design approach. This year further defines your interests and identifies potential career paths while you gain an understanding of where you sit in this enormous world of creative industries. You will work with live clients and undertake a work experience relevant to your ambitions. The year ends with a personal project that prepares you for your final year.

Year 3 is focused on your professional future. You will learn to write project briefs that allow you to explore ideas in a way that strengthens your own interests. The year develops your professional profile through an external exhibition, preparing you for the degree show and graduation. You will have portfolio sessions as well as talks about life after University; covering subjects such as how to write press releases, approach companies, present concepts and research opportunities that fit your particular design approach.

Course assessment

The module assessments demonstrate how well students have performed in tackling the intended learning outcomes, and is measured against grade criteria.

Throughout the module students will receive formative feedback through individual and/or group tutorials, peer seminar sessions and group critiques.  In many cases this feedback is received both verbally and in a written format.

Students are informed about the ways that marks/grades and feedback are provided by the marking tutor(s), and they receive written feedback on learning achievements against the assessment criteria for a module assignment.

The feedback aims to enable students to see how to improve or develop particular aspects of their work, and students receive the summative feedback along with the marks within three weeks of the completed module submission date.


We expect our graduates to shape their individual career paths as they enter the ever changing future of interdisciplinary design, with some graduates becoming designer-makers, artists, in-house designers, gallery owners, curators, entrepreneurs, critics and equipped to create new and as yet undefined possibilities. We have strong contacts with both the Crafts Council, Design Council and design professionals working in fields as broad as food design, art direction, product development and small batch production.

As well as continuing to exhibit work throughout their studies, our students have also been very successful at the graduate design show, New Designers.

Staff/students/alumni exhibit at contemporary galleries such as The Aram Gallery for Emerging and Experimental Design, alongside having a presence at the best international design and craft shows including 100% Design, Origin, Tent, Dutch Design Week.

Staff Profiles

  • Private: Hilary French

    Course Leader
    BA Hons Three Dimensional Design: Idea Material Object
  • Private: Shai Akram

    Course Leader
    BA Hons Three Dimensional Design: Idea Material Object
  • Kerry Curtis

    Head of Design
  • Bernadette Deddens

    Associate Lecturer
    BA Hons Three Dimensional Design: Idea Material Object
  • Prof Keith Harrison

    Senior Lecturer
    MA Design: Ceramics
  • Sonny-Lee Lightfoot

    Technical Demonstrator: 3D Digital Design
  • Private: Oscar Narud

    Associate Lecturer
    BA Hons Three Dimensional Design: Idea Material Object
  • Jonathan Sturgess

    Associate Lecturer
    BA Hons Three Dimensional Design: Idea Material Object
  • Tim Wright

    Technical Demonstrator Three Dimensional Design: Plastics

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