Students commencing Fine Art or Photography degrees at the Queensland College of Art (QCA) in 2017 will be immersed in a new joint foundation year program that will foster skills and knowledge key to their artistic development throughout their degree and beyond.

Lecturer in Fine Art and convenor of the new Studio Foundations course, Dr Bill Platz, said the program will follow principles of best practice drawn from leading art and design schools internationally.

‘The course will begin by exploring fundamental notions – what does art do? how does image function? – and go on to examine the deep link between materiality and concept in visual art practice,’ Dr Platz said.

‘It will be a true foundation year, combining intensive studio work with a grounding in art theory and history, new technologies and insight into local and global art contexts.’

Each trimester of the Studio Foundations course will be structured via three four-week blocks focused on a particular thematic. Different aspects of each theme will be explored through weekly hour-long lectures presented by course leaders and guest artists and lecturers.

The thematics will cover ground such as ‘site and residue’, ‘subject and self’ and ‘distortion and mutation’. In addition, and unique to QCA’s foundation year nationally, each student will spend a four-week block with the college’s Contemporary Australian Indigenous Art (CAIA) program.

The thematic lectures will be followed by day-long studio intensives where students will make work in a range of different disciplines – from painting and sculpture to photography and print, paper and books. Studio work will be approached through the lens of the theme or area of focus currently being explored.

In the fourth week of each thematic block students will interact with a guest artist invited to present an overview of their practise and/or demonstrate a technique specific to their discipline. These professional seminars will also incorporate review and critique of student work, ensuring students develop the language and frameworks of reference needed to bring new perspectives and lines of enquiry to their own work and that of others.

Integration of new technologies is also a key aspect of the course. Partnering with lecturers from QCA’s Creative and Interactive Media degree, foundation-year students will be encouraged to hybridise media and processes through engaging with new technologies. They will create an e-portfolio or online journal relating to their work, learnings and influences – a valuable record and resource which can be added to throughout the course of their degree.

The Studio Foundations course has been in development by Dr Platz and a core teaching team for over eight months, and he is looking forward to the benefits it will offer Fine Art and Photography students.

‘Our aim is to lead students to a place of discovery and innovation in their work through studio-based problem solving and consideration of a range of conceptual concerns.’

‘Bringing previously segmented introductory courses together through the new Foundation year will encourage students to work together in their crucial first year, strengthening interpersonal and creative connections and contributing to the strong sense of community that is such an important part of the QCA experience,’ he said.