OCA news: New course - Painting 2: Exploring Media | The Open College of the Arts
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OCA news: New course – Painting 2: Exploring Media

Exploring Media is the long-awaited new stage two painting course for all students on the painting pathway. The majority of the course was developed by lead author Hayley Lock, but this course is unique in that it was also shaped by current stage two students through our bi-monthly studio meetings last year. 

In discussion with students, I learned more about how it feels to be a stage two student. As a tutor I have always had the sense that stage two is the most challenging part of our degrees in some ways. It asks you to do to almost opposing things. It asks you to look around you and open yourself up as widely as possible to new ideas and process with quite some degree of depth. It also asks you to evaluate and analysis all that new and exciting stuff and extracts useful bits to develop a personal practice. The seesawing between those two has historically been hard to manage and get the balance exactly right.

This course has a new way of dealing with that issue which is to support the student and their tutor to make those decisions. I have been really explicit about the Janus element of stage two by literally splitting the course down the middle. For half your time you will be in a playground of ideas – or an ‘Ideas Lab’ as Hayley has framed it – and for the rest of the time you will be reflecting, experimenting and letting the new stuff connect and form a personal studio practice.

For the Ideas Lab, there is an innovative set of options rather than the usual assignments. This means you have an element of choice as to what you study and you can select options more likely to suit your emerging practice. The great thing about that is that our studio meetings can continue to contribute ideas for new options which could be commissioned in future years so the course can be co-designed with students. It will also mean that tutors with a specific exciting idea or research field can be commissioned to add another option to the Ideas Lab.

The course covers lots of exciting contemporary theory and practice and will be both a stimulus and a provocation but also a space to find out who you are and grow in confidence as a painter. 

Exploring Media is open to enrolments to all students on the painting pathway.


Image: BES by Pippa Gatty oil on linen

Find out more about Painting at OCA here.

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Posted by author: Emma Drye
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7 thoughts on “OCA news: New course – Painting 2: Exploring Media

  • I am so excited about starting this course in November. Not only do I get to experiment with new media but I can start my practice (ready for Level 3) rather than squeezing in the odd painting between projects. And, as a bonus, I get a timetable where I can stick to 600 hours instead of racking up nearer a 1000… wonderful though it’s been to be challenged at every turn, try out new things, and have my whole world view upended it will be nice to see a clear way forward to level 3.

    • This is wonderful to hear, Paul. I hope you enjoy the course unit. I’ve had a sneaky peak at the materials and they look excellent! It’s thrilling to hear that your studies at OCA are challenging you and upending your whole world view!! Onwards and upwards eh.

    • I totally agree, Paul – exciting way forward, energising. I’ve just gone through deep-thinking, reading around stuff that’s been percolating as a result of Studio Practice… Painting 2 sounds wonderfully open and challenging!

    • Hi Jac, I think Fine Art has its own great ideas for course development in the pipeline so this is just a painting course but I’ll check in case I’m wrong.

    • Hello Jac
      Thanks for enquiring about Exploring Media, which , as Emma has indicated, is only open to students on the Painting pathway. We are busy preparing the level three courses for Fine Art, which are due to be launched very soon and we are very excited at the opportunities they will offer to students to develop their independent exploration and investigations across any media. In 2021 Fine Art will undergo Periodic Review and we will be working closely with students to shape and plan how the Fine Art pathway is shaped into the future. Do keep an eye out for forum messages/emails asking for Fine Art students to get involved, I would love to hear your views!

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