module specification

AA3004 - Formats (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Formats
Module level Foundation (03)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
180 hours Guided independent study
120 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Formats - portfolio of projects
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

The Formats module is in a relatively objective position in relation to the Project and Techniques modules; whereas their focus is on aspects of an individual’s creative practice Formats addresses what is shared or common across creative practices, such as colour, composition, having and using ideas, collecting and categorising, curating, presenting and exhibiting. It is used to integrate the individual project-related work with knowledge, methods and formats from creative practice more widely.

Relations are explored between individual creative practice and other creative practices through producing work in different digital and analogue formats – including document, journal, process diary, book, album, brochure, instruction manual, worksheet, competition entry, exhibition, pop-up event, etc.

The different formats relate to ways of working and ways of thinking presented in different contexts; acting as multifunctional/responsive spaces that uses a range or combination of materials, methods and presentation environments, eg drawing, painting, photography, collage, transcribing, recording, notation, animation, film, commentary, diagram, on-line algorithm, collection and categorising, mind-maps, and ‘Thinking Hats’, etc.

There is an emphasis on the process of learning from self-evaluation and critical reflection towards propositions using both prescribed tasks and imaginative/conceptual interpretation eg colour theory – wheels/ swatches/ assemblage; reflection/ illustrated journal; composition/ narrative; exhibition/ publication; teamwork/ peer review; collecting/ curating, etc.

The module develops evidence of independent and discriminating thought and action in the research, approach and development of creative work using existing knowledge alongside diverse experience, self-reflection and critical reflection to learn about, understand and develop creative practice.

It introduces practical strategies for the formation and growth of nascent creative work and ideas; and seeks to introduce methods of thinking, recording, collecting, documenting, reading, mapping, reworking, reflecting and evaluating to evolve creative habits. It aims to evidence increasing subject-area knowledge and to develop understanding of the relationship between practical, conceptual and intellectual methods associated with different creative practices.

It encourages self-assessment of skills and knowledge to contribute to and participate in team-work and collaborative outcomes. It guides navigation between the rigorous/professional (criteria, formats and deadlines) and the imaginative/innovative (novelty, diversity and questioning).


At the beginning of the module, its aims and key concepts will be outlined to all students. Sessions will then be organised in three stages across the year; passing student groups through a programme of class-based tasks, team-work based projects and individual projects.  The syllabus covers a range of methods and approaches from across and within creative practices in various subject-areas.

having and recording ideas using text, image, diagram LO1;
approaches to selecting, categorising and arranging LO1;
collection, curation and presentation – portfolio/ exhibition LO1, LO2, LO4;

questioning, self-reflection, critical judgments LO4;
brief/process/critical reflection/ proposition LO2, LO3;
learning approaches, styles and skills LO3;
working and presenting in teams LO4;

colour theory and practice; abstraction as process not style LO3;
ways of thinking as artists and designers LO3, LO4;
idea/media development through method and design, chance, experimentation and play LO3;
student versus Google – using online algorithms LO2;
composition/ re-composition – experiments with photography LO2;
London: as a source of research potential and creative possibility LO2;
creative ideas in a diverse world for social good – start-ups and student enterprise LO2.

In stage 1 there are short, diverse and intensive knowledge and skill-based classes in relation to a range of different projects/ formats related to different subject area practices.

In stage 2 there are aligned with short introductory projects that use team – works to generate ideas and manage projects building on subject area practices or broadening experiences.

In stage 3 there is a focussed, longer, self-defined and managed project, (or elective to work in a team again) in the context of social-entrepreneurship/enterprise, or competition entry, or other ‘public’ platforms

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

Scheduled teaching ensures that independent study is effective and addresses the learning outcomes and assessment tasks. Students are expected to; and have the opportunity to continue with their studies outside of scheduled classes. There will be a range of learning strategies deployed and individual learning styles will be accommodated.

The module’s learning outcomes, its contents and delivery, have been scrutinised and will be regularly reviewed to ensure an inclusive approach to pedagogic practice. The module and course utilise the University’s blended learning platform to support and reinforce learning, to foster peer-to-peer communication and to facilitate tutorial support for students. Reflective learning is promoted through assessment items and interim formative feedback points that ask students to reflect on their progress, seek help where they identify the opportunity for improvement in learning strategies and outcomes, and make recommendations to themselves for future development.

Throughout the module, students build a body of work, including reflections on progress and achievement. The School’s programme of employability events and embedded work-related learning within the curriculum supports students’ personal development planning. Through these initiatives, students are increasingly able, as they progress through the year, to understand the professional environment of their disciplines, the various opportunities available to them, and how to shape their learning according to their ambitions.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module, students will be able to:

1. apply concepts, principles, methods and processes in formats related to creative practices and present these as a portfolio;

2. use a range of media, techniques and forms of publication/presentation in relation to different contexts, participants, viewers and audiences;

3. apply practical and theoretical methods to broaden their experience of creative practice in their own work and working with others including chance, experimentation and play;

4. develop self-awareness in relation to the work of others and working with others in different contexts including team work, collaboration and collective presentation.

Assessment strategy

Assessment for the Formats module involves the submission of one component as a Formats portfolio of projects (100%, week 27). Assessment reflects work undertaken across the module in response to teaching, learning and activities detailed within the module booklet. Learning outcomes are assessed within the Formats portfolio. Students must receive a pass overall.

The focus of the module is the development of knowledge and application of methods for, and associated with, creativity in different contexts using a range of presentation formats.  The Formats portfolio includes: creative work from individual and team-work processes; self-reflection, peer group feedback, critical evaluation and proposed improvement commentary on coursework related to ideas and production; colour theory applied to making art or design artefacts for exhibition;  use of creative thinking methods to gather and curate an ‘exhibition’; use on-line algorithms to initiate and evaluate image making; manipulate photo-images using collage or montage in relation to narrative; gather and edit material for a brochure. 

Formative feedback is given during set activities and group discussions and for presentations and tutorials. These provide opportunities to reflect on progress and discuss strategies for developing skills and discipline knowledge. The formative feedback is advice and guidance; specifying developmental action to improve quality and/or quantity of coursework.

Summative assessment reflects engagement with the module throughout; ongoing individual studentship is formatively reviewed and structured support for self-directed study given. The Formats portfolio for assessment consists of the projects presented in a range of documents/ formats that include a reflective commentary.


Introductory projects aim to cover as broad a range of subject practice as possible. Project handouts include additional research and reference material for students to follow up. Later projects become increasingly subject specific and students will be directed through such reading in taught sessions and through Weblearn.

Core Texts:
Lawson, B. (2006) How Designers Think: the design process demystified, Architectural Press
Tharp, T. (2003) The Creative Habit, Simon and Schuster
deBono, E. (1999) Six thinking hats, Little, Brown
Chandra, S. (2017) Organizing for Creative People, Watkins
Judkins, R. (2015)  The Art of Creative Thinking, Sceptre
Itten, J. (1977) The elements of colour: a treatise on the colour theory, E. Chapman and Hall
Kandinsky, W. (ed. Fischer, H.) (2006) Kandinsky: the path to abstraction, Tate Publishing

Other Texts:
Dweck, C. (2012) Mindset, Robinson, [e-book]
Cottrell, S. (2013) The study skills handbook, Palgrave
Ingledew, J. (2016) How to have great ideas, Laurence King
Selig, T. (2012)  Ingenius - a crashcourse on creativity, Hay House
Ghiselin, B. (1985) The Creative Process, a Symposium, University of California Press
de Bono, E. (2007) How to Have Creative Ideas, 62 exercises to develop the mind, Vermilion
Genders, C. (2009) Pattern, colour and form: new approaches to creativity, A. and C. Black
Itten, J. (1961) The Art of Color: the subjective experience and objective rationale of color, Reinhold

YouTube – direction from taught sessions and through Weblearn
Vimeo – direction from taught sessions and through Weblearn
Eno, B. and Schmidt, P. Oblique strategies (1975) Oblique strategies, -
The Design Council -
The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce -
Londone Metropolitan University - Accelerator

Electronic Databases:
Recommended through library inductions and include Art Full Text, Oxford Art Online, BFI Screenonline, DAAI Design and Applied Art Index, Academic Search Primer, JSTOR, Nexis UK, Bridgeman Education, VADS Visual Arts Data Service.

References and examples of relevant creative practice are available through the Weblearn online course materials platform.

Social Media Sources:
Cass Foundation Course Twitter @foundation_cass & Instagram @cassfoundation