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Art and Design (Critical and Contextual Studies) AS Level at Richard Taunton Sixth Form College

Course description

This course is aimed at improving your understanding of art through critical analysis of artists’ work. You will study art in galleries and museums as well as from books, journals, art films and the internet. A Level Critical and Contextual Studies is one of the first qualifications to change to the new A Level from September 2015. The majority of students will now follow a one year programme with their work being assessed in the first year. The course structure means that 100% of the marks for the subject are given in a research and practical exam, based on a theme set by the OCR exam board.



Course content

You will study 1 unit over 1 year for the AS Level. This A Level is an opportunity for creative students, with guidance, to undertake an additional AS qualification in their first year of their A Level programme. Students in related subjects will need to work continuously throughout the course to develop the creative, analytical and written skills necessary to achieve in these subjects.

Further features of the new A Level:

  • There is a greater emphasis on practical and drawing skills in response to selected academic arts research
  • There is a greater emphasis on independent work
  • 100% of the marks are awarded in the examination (preparatory work and a timed exam)

Unit 1: Externally set controlled assignment - assessed by preparatory work and an external timed exam

You must produce a personal study using an externally set paper as the starting point. During the preparatory period you will be expected to investigate a wide range of work and sources, and must include first-hand experience and observation in galleries, museums and design objects. This research and investigation must be documented and kept in a work journal to demonstrate your understanding of the theme. The preparatory period may also be used to produce artwork or artefacts which may be incorporated in the work produced during the ten hour examination period. During this time, you must complete a personal study with a written content of 1,000 - 3,000 words, in any format ranging from illustrated booklets to a video or website, presented alongside practical responses.

Entry requirements

At least five GCSEs at grade C or above to include English Language and Art.

Future opportunities

Our students progress onto a wide range of prestigious Arts universities nationwide, studying subjects such as Fine Art, Fashion and Textile Design, Photography, Animation and Graphic Design. After university, students gain employment as freelance artists, photographers, art critics and graphic designers.

Further information

You should have a real interest in the visual arts and an open-minded approach to critical discussion, as well as an ability to organise and work independently on personal studies. Good written presentation and organisational skills for the display of personal work are very important.

Your work will be based on discussions and individual research, where analysis and the evaluation of critical art and design practice are evident. Essay writing, visits to galleries and exhibitions, first hand criticism through the study of artists' work journals and collected and presented visual material will form the backbone of your course. The course is taught from a specialist seminar room and library, equipped with a comprehensive slide and video collection, an extensive library of art books and access to the college IT network facilities.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Richard Taunton Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 19 October 2016

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