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Creative Arts Department: A year in review - The Open College of the Arts

To find out more details about the transfer to The Open University see A New Chapter for OCA.

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Creative Arts Department: A year in review

Creative Arts Department Showcase 22, available here: https://sites.google.com/oca.ac.uk/creative-arts-showcase-22/home

The 2021/22 academic year has created many opportunities to enhance our Creative Arts Department and build on our strengths. The Skills Hub has taken the form of the holding place for our creative development. Here students learn how to apply their creativity to meet the expectations of their imagination. I’m pleased to inform you that the first phase of the Skills Hub is complete, and over the next academic year, we expect nearly half of the 120 micro-courses to be available to all OCA students. Creative Arts students engage with the skills hub within their learning environment, but it provides an additional resource for students to access across the OCA.

With the dedication of our interdisciplinary tutor team, our new units are in full swing. Starting with 1.1 Experience Creative Arts, students explore the fundamentals of the degree, acquiring the critical academic skills to progress their learning in HE and testing various creative skills. The next unit, 1.2 Creative Arts Skills, opens up the flexibility and choice of discipline content and will soon be joined by the final unit of stage one, 1.3 Creative Arts Dimensions.

I asked Creative Arts programme tutor Rachel Smith for her highlights of developing and tutoring these units:

Stage One of the Creative Arts degree is all about opening students up to the diverse range of ideas and possibilities that Interdisciplinary practice offers. Experience Creative Arts 1.1 gives a broad introduction to the themes of time, place and creative archives. It offers students a range of research, analytical, and practical activities to build their knowledge and understanding of contemporary theories and how these can influence and connect to their practical work. Creative Arts Skills 1.2 enables students to explore their practical skills in more depth utilising the skills hub micro-courses and then applying their developing skills in the unit to explore the themes of Identity in relation to time and place. Creative Arts Dimensions 1.3 focuses on exploring interdisciplinary methods as the students use the skills hub to build their own approach to their hybrid practices.

The highlights are working with the students as they expand their thinking and develop their creative voices. It is always great to see how students respond to the course materials in both innovative and imaginative ways.

The first stage two unit, 2.1 Creative Arts Relations, considers how you connect with the world and build your interdisciplinary practice. Themes of place, identity and cultural perspective are explored in 2.2 Creative Arts Perspectives and stage two will soon be joined by 2.3 Creative Arts Language.

Creative Arts programme tutor Adam Thompson shares his thoughts on developing stage two:

Throughout this stage in the degree, students build on the connections between their interdisciplinary practical work and the contexts and themes that motivate and inspire them. The three units at this stage balance instructive exercises, case studies, and thematic research, alongside the freedom students need to explore their own ideas and experiment to drive work in new directions, enabling the independence and self-direction required to expand and develop their creative voice in preparation for Stage 3 study.

Our stage three unit, 3.1 Practice and Research, has its first students progressing through this final stage. I’m pleased to see the open, self-directed structure here, with opportunities for students to engage across disciplines through creative conversations from a range of practitioners. In addition, we’re developing 3.2 External Project and 3.3 Major Project that will complete the course changes this year following the revalidation of the degree in 2020.

Finally, our end of year Showcase 22 is available for the public to view online. I’m grateful to all the students who agreed to participate and were willing to present their work, within a carefully controlled website, to a broader audience. Well done to you all, and I look forward to supporting your learning journeys in the coming year.

Please view Showcase 22 here: https://sites.google.com/oca.ac.uk/creative-arts-showcase-22/home

To learn more about the Creative Arts degree please visit: https://www.oca.ac.uk/courses/ba-creative-arts/

Doug Burton Programme Leader BA (Hons) Creative Arts
Rachel Smith Programme Tutor BA (Hons) Creative Arts
Adam Thompson Programme Tutor BA (Hons) Creative Arts

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Posted by author: Doug Burton

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