module specification

DN4001 - Visual Research and Communication (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Visual Research and Communication
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 300
150 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
150 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Portfolio
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Thursday Afternoon
Year City Monday Morning
Year City Monday Afternoon
Year City Thursday Morning

Module summary

This module introduces and develops a range of knowledge, skills and approaches in the research, sketching and communication of information and ideas in visual form.

You will take part in a range of studios, workshops and lectures that introduce a wide range of traditional and contemporary drawing, visual research and communication media, methods and practices to help you explore, record, select from, analyse and interpret your environment and the world of images, spaces and artefacts for a range of purposes.

Through the regular practice of a wide range of drawing methods, whether for the recording and communication of information, the generation of concepts and design or the expression of ideas, you will develop confidence and a key resource to support your practice.

Discipline specific projects will explore the recording and expression of line, colour, form, structure, light, space and perspective, texture, detail and context appropriate to the requirements of your field in a range of media and formats.

Module aims

The module seeks to enable you to:

• Study and practice a range of techniques and approaches in the research and recording of objects, spaces, material culture and the environment as appropriate to your discipline

• Gain increasing fluency in a range of formal techniques in the generation and communication of ideas and information in visual form

• Begin to develop a personal approach to and a regular practice of drawing and visual research

• Begin to demonstrate critical interpretation of what you record and produce through your visual research and communication practice


Through structured learning and individual projects, you will develop knowledge and experience of:

• Observation techniques
• Techniques of visual recording
• Case study analysis incorporating visual techniques
• Visual experimentation to generate concepts and proposals
• Discipline-specific skills in visual communication
• Sector-specific skills and techniques in traditional (hand) and modern (digital) media
• Drawing practices for description of material, construction and surface
• How to begin forming a personal approach to visual research and communication

Learning and teaching

The module is delivered through lectures, practical workshops, demonstrations, inductions and studio-based activities supported by external visits where necessary. Group seminars, tutorials and informal feedback during workshop sessions offer the opportunity to reflect upon learning-in-progress, and to discuss and progress strategies for developing skills and practice. Students will engage in ongoing self-directed study to enable them to complete the required assessment components. Blended learning will support students in individual and group assignments.

Successful learning in this module is dependent upon regular attendance and engagement in the scheduled teaching and the level of self-managed study undertaken. In order to make the most of all the opportunities available, students will be encouraged and supported to organise and plan their learning activities effectively. The level of self-managed learning will be monitored. Self-directed study may include individual and/or group tasks, for example, research, site visits, drawing tasks, digital skills, or collecting and collating materials in preparation for the following week's session. The construction of a portfolio of personally produced and assembled work is vital to success in the module and the progress of this will be monitored in tutorials and seminars.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module you will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding
• Research, analyse and record chosen objects of study through a range of visual techniques relevant to your discipline

Cognitive Intellectual Skills
• Use visual research and communication techniques and approaches to produce and support critical interpretation

Transferable Skills
• Express and communicate to others concepts, ideas or proposals employing an appropriate range of visual techniques and media

Subject Specific Practical Skills
• Demonstrate confidence in regular use of visual research and communication techniques as fundamental tools of your critical and creative practice


Assessment strategy

In ‘end of project’ critiques, students are expected to produce a coherent presentation of the development of their visual research, together with a critical evaluation of relative successes and failures, communicating and debating this with others. Formative feedback will be provided throughout in tutorials, group discussions and during workshop sessions. Formative feedback encourages students to reflect on progress and discuss strategies for further development of skills and practice.

Structured activities and independent learning within the portfolio will be formatively assessed.  The satisfactory completion of relevant technical/ workshop activities and continuing independent practice (and associated health and safety procedures) will be monitored.

The final mark will be awarded in relation to a portfolio of a carefully presented and organised body of work, including projects undertaken, evidencing engagement and development of drawing technique and visual research, produced under guidance and independently. Work submitted shall be clearly labelled reflecting the learning hours allocated to the projects and module overall.

Students must attend timetabled studio and workshop sessions.


Berger, J. (2003) Ways of Seeing, Penguin (first published 1972).
Drpic, I. (1988) Sketching and Rendering Interior Spaces, Phaidon.
Edwards, B. (2001) Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Fontana.
Fletcher, A. (2001) The Art of Looking Sideways, Phaidon.
Harrison, H. (2009) The Encyclopaedia of Drawing Techniques, Search Press
Hoptman (2002) Drawing Now: Eight Propositions, New York Museum of Modern Art
Jarman, D. (1995) Chroma: A Book of Colour, Vintage.
Jones, O. (2001) The Grammar of Ornament, London: Dorling Kindersley
Nicolaides, K. (1990) The Natural Way to Draw, Houghton Mifflin
Porter, T. (1992) Drawing Techniques: For Architects, Graphic Designers and Art, Butterworth Architecture.
Spencer, H. (1969)  Pioneers of Modern Typography, Lund Humphries.
Vitamin, D. (2005) New Perspectives in Drawing, Phaidon.
Wright, L. (1983) Perspective in Perspective, Routledge & Keegan Paul.

Web sites:
Campaign for Drawing -
Drawing Research Network -
Tracey - Contemporary Drawing Research -