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Visual Arts

The Bachelor of Visual Arts Honours (BVA Hons)

Bachelor of Visual Arts Honours        BVA Hons                    Qualification Code: 11050

 

What is the nature of the BVA Hons?

Primarily the Bachelor of Visual Arts Honours programme is intended to encourage advanced levels of creative and professional practice in the visual and design arts, whilst simultaneously emphasising academic integrity by building research engagement. The BVA Hons acknowledges the existence of the individual disciplinary streams of fashion and textiles, fine art, graphic design and photography, but also develops the possible synergies between them.

As researchers, students in the programme will be encouraged to explore the Faculty of Arts’ research theme of Social Cohesion. Transculturality and Creative Practice, the sub-themes in the School of Music, Art and Design will question the role that the visual arts and design disciplines have in South African society and comment on how they engage with social, cultural, economic, environmental, and political contexts.

The BVA Hons acknowledges the growth of hybrid industries within the visual and design arts, where boundaries between the disciplines are blurred, where technological developments spur innovative developments, and where collaborative projects are commonplace, and questions the very narrowly defined parameters and obvious skills needs formerly required of these disciplines. Consequently, it will prepare graduates to operate on three levels:

  • Achieve sufficiently advanced knowledge and vocational skills to function in competitive and challenging cultural and industrial environments
  • Understand the importance of practising entrepreneurship through the development of advanced skills in communication and business practice, and the application of personal initiative and innovation
  • Apply advanced critical thinking, problem solving and research skills in pursuit of knowledge application.

 

How is teaching and learning in the BVA Hons conducted?

The theoretical component comprises two modules that are compulsory for all streams:

KVS410 Art, Design and Culture

KRA410 Research Methodology: Art and Design

Theoretical modules are presented in a series of face-to-face lecturing sessions. Teaching and learning strategies appropriate to understanding of theoretical knowledge is applied. Engagement in critical thinking and the ability to understand and interrogate theoretical or philosophical positions in an objective manner is inculcated and encouraged.

As emerging researchers, the above serves to inform the understanding of the practice of research, the development of appropriate research proposals and the assignments or papers that are extant thereof. The importance underlying the theoretical framework supporting the research and the methodology structuring the research design and methods is emphasised.

Supervisors are appointed according to project or discipline specificity and the specialisation knowledge appropriate to working with the student. They work in conjunction with lecturers presenting the theoretical content to develop the student’s proposal, studio practice and research and guide the writing of papers and assignments.

 

How does the research component of the BVA Hons work?

Research proposals are produced according to a predefined Faculty of Arts format. Progressive draft proposals are submitted to appointed supervisors, who evaluate the submissions and guide the student’s thinking. Once the proposal is of a suitable academic standard, a final draft is submitted to the supervisor. The student then does an audio-visual presentation of the research proposal to an audience of peers and supervisors for comment and/or debate. The supervisor then evaluates the proposal according to a rigorous rubric to assess its academic merit, whether it conforms to an acceptable structure and has a workable methodology. The proposal is then approved.

Two research essays, of between 5000 and 10000 words, are required in support of the studio-based research undertaken by the student. One essay addresses the research proposition presented in the Studio Practice module and the other addresses contemporary art and design historical or theoretical themes in the Studio Research module. Before the student may proceed with either essay, the topic, literature and argument must be discussed with and approved by the supervisor. Progressive drafts are submitted to the supervisor for evaluation and comment. The final drafts may only be submitted for assessment once the supervisor is satisfied that the essay is of an acceptable academic standard.

An important consideration regarding the research outputs of this qualification is that the research is based both in the written/theoretical outputs and in the studio-based outputs. Thus, the compulsory research requirement for an Honours qualification resides, not only in the Research Methodology: Art and Design IV (12 credits) module, but also in the outputs resultant of the Studio Research IV (48 credits) module. The research essays therefore validate and support the studio outputs. Consequently 60 credits are allocated to research and the remainder to coursework.

 

The practical component comprises discipline-specific modules in Studio Practice and Studio Research (see the curriculum table for details):

Teaching and learning in practical modules takes place in a studio setting, 3-5 sessions per week. Duration and frequency of studio work varies across disciplines. Teaching is typically one-to-one, but group teaching is applied where appropriate or necessary. The appointed discipline specific supervisor is largely responsible for guiding the studio practice and studio research.

In this setting critical thinking, concepts and innovative idea generation is as important as mastery of the production technique and/or technologies. The link between theory and practice is reinforced through practices such as reflective journaling, discussion, critique or debate.

 

An integrated learning module is compulsory for all streams:

KIS410 Visual Arts Professional Practice

This module brings together professional practice, entrepreneurship and production technologies. This module is presented in both theoretical and practical settings.

Production technology related teaching typically takes place in a studio setting and involves practical demonstration and/or competency testing. ICT and software related modules are delivered in dedicated computer labs.

A large portion of the learning and understanding of production processes takes place within practical modules in studios in the production of artefacts. Attention is paid to production in the context of producing a portfolio of work and/or presentation of work in the form of an exhibition or public display.

Professional practice and entrepreneurial theory is carried through to practical modules where theory and practice meet. Students are guided through the process of writing and presenting of all facets of business planning.

 

Admission requirements:

Bachelor of Visual Arts Degree or equivalent qualification or proof of attainment of an adequate level of competence via the rules relating to Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy.

 

Selection criteria:

The final placement procedure for entrance takes place at the end of the academic year and is based on the following criteria:

  • The student must attend an interview and submit a portfolio of relevant, or required work, appropriate to their discipline
  • The student must pass all modules in the Bachelor of Visual Arts Degree.
  • At least 65% in Visual Studies III (KVS310) and at least 65% in each Studio Major III module in the Fashion and Textiles, Fine Art, Graphic Design or Photography streams, is mandatory.
  • In addition, students who have majored in Fine Arts must attain a 65% pass mark in Drawing III (KDR310).
  • Students may be required to complete a challenge test in order to finalise the selection process.

Upon acceptance students may only register for the discipline stream that is a continuation of their first degree.

 

Duration of study:

The qualification shall extend over at least one year of full time study.

 

Class attendance and minimum requirements for test and project submission:

80% attendance is compulsory and non-negotiable. Students must write a minimum of 80% of all theory tests and submit at least 80% of all practical assignments/projects (medical certificates will only be taken into account for the other 20%). 

 

Re-admission:

As per NMMU re-admission policy.

Module name

Module Code

When presented

Credits

NQF Level

 

 

 

 

 

Fundamental: None

 

 

 

 

Core:

 

 

 

 

Visual Arts Professional Practice

KIS410

Year

12

8

Art, Design and Culture

KVS410

Year

18

8

Research Methodology: Art and Design

KRM401

Year

12

8

 

 

 

 

 

Select one of the following four streams of major modules based on the undergraduate specialist discipline:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stream 1: Fashion and Textiles

 

 

 

 

One of:

 

 

 

 

Fashion Design: Studio Practice   

KFD410

Year

30

8

Textile Design: Studio Practice

KTD410

Year

30

8

Fashion and Textile Design: Studio Practice

KFT410

Year

30

8

And

 

 

 

 

One of:

 

 

 

 

Fashion Design: Studio Research

KFD420

Year

48

8

Textile Design: Studio Research

KTD420

Year

48

8

Fashion and Textile Design: Studio Research

KFT420

Year

48

8

 

 

 

 

 

Stream 2: Fine Art

 

 

 

 

One of:

 

 

 

 

Ceramics: Studio Practice

KCC410

Year

30

8

Drawing: Studio Practice

KDR410

Year

30

8

Glass: Studio Practice

KGG410

Year

30

8

Painting: Studio Practice

KAP410

Year

30

8

Printmaking: Studio Practice

KAL410

Year

30

8

Sculpture: Studio Practice

KAJ410

Year

30

8

And

 

 

 

 

One of:

 

 

 

 

Ceramics: Studio Research

KCC420

Year

48

8

Drawing: Studio Research

KDR420

Year

48

8

Glass: Studio Research

KGG420

Year

48

8

Painting: Studio Research

KAP420

Year

48

8

Printmaking: Studio Research

KAL420

Year

48

8

Sculpture: Studio Research

KAJ420

Year

48

8

 

 

 

 

 

Stream 3: Graphic Design

 

 

 

 

Communication Design: Studio Practice

KCD410

Year

30

8

And

 

 

 

 

Communication Design: Studio Research

KCD420

Year

48

8

 

 

 

 

 

Stream 4: Photography

 

 

 

 

Photography: Studio Practice

KPP410

Year

30

8

And

 

 

 

 

Photography: Studio Research

KPP420

Year

48

8

Electives: None

 

 

 

 

Total credits

 

 

120

 

 

Contact information
Mr Bruce Cadle
Principal Lecturer & Programme Co-ordinator Postgraduate Studies
Tel: +27 41 504 3254
bruce.cadle@mandela.ac.za

Ms Nomsa Xubane
Admin Assistant To departmental HOD
Tel: 041 504 3247
nomsa.xubane@mandela.ac.za