module specification

FA5006 - Methods and Enquiry 1 (2020/21)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2020/21
Module title Methods and Enquiry 1
Module level Intermediate (05)
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 70%   Methods and Enquiry
Coursework 30%   Reflection and Evaluation
Running in 2020/21
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year City Monday Morning

Module summary

The FA5006 Methods and Enquiry 1 studio practice module consists of thematic workshops and group-initiated projects in an art or photography studio practice setting. These provide an opportunity for group work, research and collaboration, including work with outside agencies where appropriate, as well as for individual art or photographic practice.  In investigating method and enquiry in practice, the module will reflect upon trends in current practice as well as historical models. Case studies and seminar sessions with practitioners are intended to encourage engagement with and understanding of the character, institutional and professional practices of art or photography.

The FA5006 Methods and Enquiry 1 module is delivered holistically in Level 5 with the FA5P01 Project Work 2 module. The module is shared by, serves and sustains the Honours 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. Allied to Critical and Contextual Studies modules, the intention is for FA5006 Methods and Enquiry 1 to inform approaches to the Dissertation in the later (Honours) Level 6.

The module aims to enable students to develop key skills and knowledge in critical thinking as well as in the concepts and principles of art and photography. Through experiment with or testing of new abstract concepts or approaches or methods of enquiry in new situations in an unprompted way, this module’s objectives are to enable students to develop the skill of applying what was learned in the studio to novel situations in a work environment. The module also aims to provide students with information about method and enquiry for later recall in the application of critical thinking for the building of the conceptual and contextual boundaries within which they then create and make their own work. This element of the curriculum also aims to develop the key Art & Design skill of making strong, decisive judgements about practice through regular reflection on and evaluation of learning, as well as the general transferable skill of collaborating well with others in a group on a collective objective.

Prior learning requirements

Completion and pass (120 credits) of previous level.


At the beginning of the module, its aims and key concepts will be outlined to all students. A series of teamwork sessions will then be used to solve problems in art or photography by applying method, approach, research and enquiry to a set brief using experimentation, trials and tests in group critique format (LO2, LO5).

Later in the module, sessions will be dedicated to each student positioning their own practice in a wider context,  and constructing and using a method or approach in enquiry, as applied to their own individual work (LO1, LO3).

At points throughout the module, students will be required to document learning successes and failures and to reflect on these (LO4), before a final evaluation at the end of the module.

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. position an individual art or photographic practice within a wider context by explaining that context in a presentation to peers;
2. apply different concepts and methods of enquiry and processes to new solve new problems by experiment and testing in the world of art or photographic work;
3. construct and deploy an individual set of critical parameters for making art or photographs;
4. connect learning experience to improvement of future performance by critical thinking in reflection and evaluation;
5. co-operate in teamwork on a group project.

Assessment strategy

The module is assessed first on the methods, approaches, research and enquiry used in the project work. Assessment will be of one oral presentation of project work, illustrated by slides, to a group project brief around studio theme in the autumn term, as well as one oral presentation of new project work (negotiated with student or to brief), illustrated by slides after Easter. The student submits both presentations in digital files on Weblearn by summative assessment deadline. The module is also assessed via documentation of, reflection on and evaluation of studio practice learning at 3 points between end of January and final submission.

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 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:
Bate, D. (2009) Photography (The Key Concepts), London: Berg
Grant, K. (2017) All about Process: The Theory and Discourse of Modern Artistic Labor, Pennsylvania: Penn State University Press

Additional Textbooks:
Elkins, J (ed.) (2012) What Do Artists Know?, (Vol 3,The Stone Art Theory Institutes), Pennsylvania: Penn State University Press
Philips, S. (2017) Artists Working from Life, London: Royal Academy of Arts
Shinkle, E. (2012) Fashion as Photograph: Viewing and Reviewing Images of Fashion, London: I B Tauris
Soutter, L. (2013) Why Art Photography?, London: Routledge
Stallabrass, J. (2013) Documentary, London: Whitechapel Books

Journal of Visual Art Practice, Taylor and Francis Group, Abingdon
Photography and Culture, Taylor and Francis Group, Abingdon

Electronic Databases:
Art Abstracts, EBSCO