Higher National Certificate in Fine Art

Key Course Information

The HNC Fine Art course is an intensive and exciting 3 days per week, nationally recognised one year course which is equivalent to the 1st year of an art school degree. We also offer a part time pathway of 1 day (plus evening) per week. The part time pathway extends over 2 years.

  • The HNC specialises in Fine Art and works to develop each student’s individual practice. Students can pursue their ideas in drawing, painting, sculpture, mixed media, video and printmaking. Students often access other courses within the college e.g. photography and life drawing.
  • Tutors are practising artists and include: Greg Rook, Erika Winstone, Jane Eyton, Sara Knowland, Matthew Kolakowski, and others. Specialist tutors within the college also contribute to the course.
  • Underpinning the course are units in Contextual Studies (contemporary art context) and Professional Practice.
  • Emphasis throughout is on acquiring and developing creative and technical skills through research and studio projects.
  • There is an opportunity to show work in two exhibitions during the course.
  • Good sized personal workspace and lots of tutor contact.
  • All students have a personal tutor who will offer advice, guidance and feedback and steer you through the processes of applying to HE or progressing further.
  • The course consists of 8 units, 4 are practical, 2 are written, and 2 are skills based.

“The programme is contemporary in feeling, fostering high achievement and strong individuality amongst students, the highest achieving students producing ambitious, conceptually and formally rigorous work”, Christ Hunt, External Evaluator.

What background and qualifications do you need to join? (Entry Requirements)  
This course is equivalent to the 1st year of a university degree. Applicants are expected to have successfully completed a Foundation course in Art & Design (or have equivalent proven experience) and have a strong interest in contemporary art. You also need good levels of writing skills in English and basic computer skills.

What does the course lead to?  
Many of our students successfully apply to Fine Art degree study; some successfully apply direct to post-graduate study. Progression into employment: as technicians, studio artists or gallery assistants. Further study at KCC leads to the Higher National Diploma in Fine Art and then the Fine Art BA top up – a full Fine Art BA (Hons). Our students have progressed to all the London art schools including the Slade, Goldsmiths, Chelsea, Central St. Martins, Camberwell, Wimbledon, London Metropolitan, Middlesex, Kingston, Courtauld Institute, along with other prestigious colleges within the UK.

Where will I study?  
In the Carlyle studios on the top floor of the Carlyle building on Hortensia Road. Some sessions will take place in the main (new) building next door.

What are the facilities and equipment like?  
The studios contain personal work spaces, a small range of tools and equipment. Mac computers, a scanner, digital video and still cameras are available. Students have free internet access through the library.

How much should I study outside class?  
You will need to carry out independent research at home and visit galleries; plus some written work will need to be produced outside of course hours (approximately 6 hours per week).

How is the course assessed?  
Projects have deadlines and assessments take place throughout the year. Your grades will be discussed with you and written feedback is given. A range of assessment methods are used including group critiques, individual tutorials, marking of written assignments, student exhibitions, etc.

Are any course materials online?  
Project briefs and course documents are placed on the student intranet for students to access throughout the year.

What books and equipment do I need?  
You will need to buy your own materials and equipment. At the start you will need an A4 or A3 sketchbook and 2 ‘research’ folders. Further information will be given at the start of the course. A camera is useful but not essential.

What else do I need to buy? / What extra costs are there?  
All students make a contribution to the collective costs of mounting the 2 course exhibitions.

What do I need to bring to the interview?  
You will need to bring a substantial portfolio of work containing recent examples of your work. You will also need to bring any sketchbooks and a selection of drawings from observation. In addition you will be asked to bring along a recent essay or other example of your written English e.g. an exhibition review.


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