module specification

FA4007 - Visual Intelligence (2021/22)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2021/22
Module title Visual Intelligence
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Art, Architecture and Design
Total study hours 300
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 100%   Methods and Enquiry (3 presentations, collective folder and time management plan)
Running in 2021/22
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

In the module FA4007 Visual Intelligence, processes and methods of enquiry are explored in art and photography. Students are supported to undertake a range of exercises and short experimentation projects, following tutorial guidance and on-going discussion.

The module enables students to explore and test a range of approaches, for example close observation; data collection; recording; analysis and communication. Work on the module is informed by lectures, practical workshops, group critique and individual tutorials that consider the role of materials, techniques and cultural contexts in the development of a visual intelligence and visual language.

The FA4007 Visual Intelligence module is delivered holistically in Level 4 with the FA4P01 Project Work 1 module. The module is shared by, serves and sustains the awards in the BA Fine Art, BA Fashion Photography, BA Painting and BA Photography courses, delivered in a seamless and integral relationship with the work of other core modules in the level, including the Critical and Contextual Studies modules.

The FA4007 Visual Intelligence module aims to enable students to develop, test and evaluate key skills and knowledge in critical thinking in the concepts, principles and methods of enquiry in art or photography, particularly in context for practice. A key objective is to allow students first to set out and then to describe to an audience of their peers the context and the parameters of a method of enquiry for making in art or photography. Practical skills, techniques and processes will be linked to key concepts that constitute the language of art, drawing, photography and other lens-based media in relation to critical research and applied experimentation through development of project work. Critical debate around ways of seeing and making in the module aims to equip students with the visual intelligence that will support them in development and positioning of their own work. Crucially, the module aims to introduce students to effective planning for all study in the level.


At the beginning of the module, its aims and key concepts will be outlined to all students. There will be two sessions, one at the beginning of the module and the other halfway through the module in which students will be prompted to set out study, leisure and work time in a time-management plan to manage studio practice and critical and contextual learning successfully (LO5).

Afterwards, there will be sessions, tutorials and guided independent study in a series of three blocks on how art or photography practitioners use context and evaluate method of enquiry, approach and research to make, act and take decisions in their practice (LO1, LO2 and LO3).

This teaching will be accompanied by a series of independent study tasks related to a programme of project briefs in three blocks across all this level's modules. A number of sessions will be dedicated to the definition and description of a set of critical parameters for making art or photographs in projects (LO4).

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 (and to 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 from year to 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

On completing the module, students should be able to:

1. describe to an audience a contemporary cultural, political or economic context for the construction and assembly of photographs or artworks;
2. test methods of enquiry by applying them effectively via art or photography;
3. appraise and evaluate methods of enquiry in art or photography using presentation of work, subject to group critique;
4. describe a set of critical parameters for making art or photographs;
5. set out study, leisure and work time in a prompted time-management plan to manage studio practice and critical and contextual learning successfully.

Assessment strategy

The FA4007 Visual Intelligence module’s single assessment item is a Methods and Enquiry coursework, in which the methods and enquiry elements of 3 studio practice projects undertaken and handed-in at 3 hand-in points over the year are collated and assembled in one projects folder for summative assessment in May. At the end of each project each student will present their work to an audience of peers for a formative assessment, to be grouped in one collective, summative assessment in May.

The assessment strategy includes formative assessments throughout the Level, with tutorial feedback designed to encourage and help students to develop and improve their work. These will inform the student of their progress through the course. An interim review offers a specific opportunity to reflect on the work in relation to the module’s learning outcomes and this together with finished project work and all supporting material will inform the assessment panel at the summative assessment at the end of the Level.

Students will evaluate their own learning on the module using the criteria given and write a short critical appraisal (summary statement) of their work. This will provide the basis for discussion at the assessment feedback session after the formal coursework assessment has taken place.

Summative assessment takes place at the end of the module. Written feedback addresses the strengths and weaknesses of individual presentations in relation to the grading criteria.

Work will be assessed against the learning outcomes in relation to the following criteria:

• Appropriate use of research methods and enquiry
• Quality of analysis and interpretation
• Knowledge of and relevance to Fine Art or Photography
• Quality of communication and presentation
• Appropriate use of problem solving, testing and experimentation
• Management of own learning and personal professional development


Core Textbooks:
Kovats, T. (2007) The Drawing Book, London: Blackdog Publishing
Treib, M. (2008) Drawing / Thinking, Abingdon: Routledge
Warner Marien, M. (2014) Photography: A Cultural History, London: Laurence King Publishing
Wells, L. (2015) Photography: A Critical Introduction, Abingdon: Routledge

Additional Textbooks:
Berger, J. (2013) Understanding a Photograph, London: Penguin
Berger, J. (2008) Ways of Seeing, London: Penguin Classics
Cotton, C. (2015) Photography is Magic, New York: Aperture Foundation
Butler, C. H. (2010) On Line: Drawing through the Twentieth Century, New York: MoMA
Simpson, I. (2003) Drawing, Seeing and Observation, London: A & C Black

Source Photographic Review, Belfast: Source
Afterall, London: UAL

Photomonitor: magazine for photography in the UK and Ireland.
Third Text: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Art and Culture

Electronic Databases:
Art Full Text, EBSCO

Social Media Sources: – Visual Arts, Design and Architecture instagram
@mousemagazine – contemporary art magazine and publishing house