Open Foundations : Drawing from the past

Approx. Duration: 12 months at 8hrs/week


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The Open College of the Arts is the distance learning college of the University for the Creative Arts – one of the UK’s leading specialist art and design universities.

This foundation course is designed to provide students with a new way of looking at and thinking about works of art and art history. The foundation places the experience of making at the heart of research activity. We intend to encourage you to use drawing as a way of understanding artworks and the ideas that led to them. The research and making strategies you will discover in the course should help you build a first-hand, personal relationship with works of art and give you some understanding of what the artists who made them were thinking. These strategies should allow you to discover and generate knowledge on your terms.

The foundation encourages active looking at works of art, by making drawings, tracings, maps, diagrams, you will be invited to slow down and look carefully at artworks and to experience what it means to develop an understanding of the world and art through looking and making. This course is designed to be an entry point for studying art history, drawing, painting and fine art.


  • Introduce you to art historical themes for interpretation
  • Learn drawing methods for interpreting artworks
  • Introduced you to methods for art historical research
  • Reflect on the engagement between making and historical context


  • Understand key art historical themes and how to apply them practically
  • Apply methods for drawing acquired from looking at artworks
  • Demonstrate skills in researching art history
  • Demonstrate reflective writing skills