Bachelor of Fine Arts - Fine Arts

The Fine Arts programme focuses on contemporary arts practice, current theoretical concerns, and formal visual languages.

Our focus is on encouraging the emergence and development of a meaningful artistic practice through experimentation with a range of creative media and processes. This is underpinned and supported by teaching the necessary skills, techniques, and research methodologies to foster your creative, practical, and contextual development. You will be taught by lecturers who are practising artists themselves with established local, national, and international reputations.

Key dates

February 2022 Intake 14 • 02 • 22

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Duration

3 years full-time in Auckland

Qualification

Bachelor's Degree (Level 7) 360 credits

Costs

2021 Domestic $9,051 + $300 Student Services Levy
2021 International $27,000 + $300 Student Services Levy
Fees free applies
All 2021 fees are subject to change and regulatory approval

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Bachelor of Fine Arts - Fine Arts Course Outline

The Fine Arts programme explores traditional and contemporary materials, techniques, and approaches in relation to your own ideas and creativity. Learning takes place within an integrated programme of studio-based and contextual courses that will prepare you for a range of creative professions. Whitecliffe provides you with studio space, which can be accessed seven days a week. At the end of each Semester, you will get to stage formal assessment exhibitions within your studio space. These displays provide opportunities for showcasing work to the public and are essential for resolving existing ideas and considering new directions.

The Whitecliffe Form Gallery provides an excellent site for students, alumni, faculty, and visiting artists to exhibit. These exhibitions provide insight into professional contemporary practice and will help you to engage with the wider arts community. Exciting and fulfilling career opportunities await the successful Whitecliffe Fine Arts graduate in all areas of the creative industry.

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Why choose Fine Arts at Whitecliffe?

  • As the consistent winner of the Eden Arts Schools Awards since its inception in 2011, Whitecliffe is firmly positioned as the art school leading Fine Arts education in Auckland.
  • The Whitecliffe Fine Arts department delivers a contemporary and internationally-relevant programme that positions Whitecliffe graduates for a life-long contribution to visual arts and the ever-expanding fields within the creative industries.
  • Students and graduates have consistently won awards of note and have the opportunity to engage with the wider arts community while they are studying, building their professional arts practice from the outset.
  • The award-winning faculty and high calibre of visiting artists ensure that Whitecliffe Fine Arts students are informed, connected, and current.
  • The primary focus of the Whitecliffe Fine Arts department is studio-based learning; that's why Whitecliffe provides students with quality studio space and a programme that ensures that they get regular contact with lecturers who are practising artists.
  • The Fine Arts Studios, along with the Form Gallery, is a hub for like-minded artists and an opportunity for students to see and discuss the work of their peers, their lecturers, and visiting artists.
  • Students can access their studio spaces seven days a week and are encouraged to use the studio as a making and thinking space but also as an installation site. In this way, the studios are an opportunity for the presentation of work to be trialled and tested.
  • End-of-semester exhibitions are a time for the formal assessment of work, but also a time to open the studios to the public, reinforcing the cycle of developing, presenting, and reflecting on work essential to contemporary arts practice.
  • Fine Arts students are trained to digitally document their studio projects and these images are combined with written research to form a contextual portfolio that accompanies each student's end-of-year assessment. This highlights the ability each student possesses to discuss all aspects of their work and the way that it might be considered in relation to historical and contemporary modes of art practice.
Freya Burnett

The Whitecliffe BFA

The Whitecliffe BFA has evolved significantly over the past two decades, with content and delivery modes shifting and changing with developing technologies and the changing needs of students, creative sector demands, and future employability.

In response to these shifts, Whitecliffe is remodelling the Bachelor of Fine Arts qualification to specifically align with the subjects of Fine Arts and Photo Media. We aim to offer this combined suite of products that continue to honour the Whitecliffe Art and Design reputation, while also being relevant and innovative in the current industry market and arts community. Our suite of Photo Media specific courses are increasingly valuable in a changing digital world, so much so that we aim to offer core learning in this area to every Whitecliffe BFA Year 1 student. The proposed changes to the programme as a whole, aim to strike a balance between traditional art making methodologies, contexts, and histories with the embracement of new media, technologies, and contemporary relevance.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts programme is life-long career-focused and builds desirable supplementary soft skills, encouraging independent thinking and creative entrepreneurship where students from different social and economic backgrounds develop and apply the confidence, adaptability, and ethical sensibilities necessary to make a significant contribution to our society.

The Whitecliffe BFA continues to produce high-quality graduates that are creative, critical, and connected thinkers. By providing life-transforming educational experiences through a combination of practice and critical study, we educate students to shape culture and become leaders in their fields.

Whitecliffe is now based in a newly renovated flagship campus. This campus provides a wide variety of high-quality spaces, classrooms, and other learning facilities, including a library; studio spaces; a darkroom; lighting studios; screen printing facilities; projection spaces; a range of different computer suites to support specific student and programme needs and a dedicated onsite gallery.

Students are encouraged to engage with the various aspects of digital media, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, installation, and video. Learning takes place within an integrated programme of studio-based and contextual courses that prepare students for a range of creative professions.

Mā te huruhuru ka rere te manu -
Adorn the bird with feathers so it may soar.

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Fine Arts Year One

Students wishing to specialise in Fine Arts will be required to complete 5200 Studio Practice: Fine Arts in the second semester of their first year of the BFA. This course is considered fundamental to contemporary art practice and will include a balance of contemporary and traditional skills, knowledge, and research practice.

The course content may include the following:

  • Principles and practices in the production of art: drawing, painting, video, sculpture, and installation
  • Issues in contemporary art: concepts, contexts, and methodologies
  • Visual research and exploration of materiality
  • The critical evaluation of work within a cultural framework
  • Presentation and installation strategies for public exhibition
Fine Arts Studios

Fine Arts Year Two

Year Two Fine Arts students develop a broad learning base utilising a variety of media. In Terms 1 - 3, students participate in a series of set assignments, tutorials, and workshops that assist them to evaluate complex issues and discuss critical frameworks relevant to contemporary art practice. In Term Four, students focus on the transition from working with set assignments to work on a self-directed project that extends studio-based visual and theoretical research. Intensive individual supervision from the faculty supports their creative, practical, and contextual development.

At the end of each semester, students stage formal assessment exhibitions within their studio spaces, which provide opportunities for showcasing work, resolving ideas, and considering new directions.

Fine Arts Studios

Fine Arts Year Three

By undertaking a negotiated studio research project in Year Three, students will creatively engage in a largely self-directed course of study to produce practical work, which is evaluated within a critical framework. Year Three students accumulate a contextual portfolio, which contains photographic documentation of their studio work as it has developed throughout the year alongside an annotated bibliography of relevant reading material.

By the end of Year Three, students will resolve a professional body of work that represents an original area of inquiry which is then presented together with the rest of their cohort at the Whitecliffe Graduate Exhibition. This exhibition is well attended by industry professionals and is an important opportunity to showcase student work whilst focusing on the development of a body of work. This allows students to graduate with momentum, to have confidence and to be an effective leader in, and contributor to, their chosen discipline and the wider arts community.

Freya Burnett

Life After BFA Fine Arts

Many of our graduates have gone on to be successful exhibiting artists, both in New Zealand and overseas. However, a Fine Arts degree also prepares graduates for a wide range of careers, giving them essential skills for the modern job market: the ability to think creatively and flexibly; to work independently or collaboratively; to respond constructively to criticism, and to participate in intelligent debate. Our emphasis on business skills - such as budgeting, marketing, career management, and public relations - also prepares graduates for self-employment or to engage in a range of creative industries.

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Key Information for Students

NZ Government key information link for students, that provides more information to support your decision making for this programme

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Admission Requirements

Domestic Student Entry Requirements:

  • Completed application form
  • Minimum age: Domestic students must be at least 18 years of age at the commencement of their study.
  • NCEA University Entrance or equivalent CIE/IB award.
  • Discretionary Entrance is available to students who have gained exceptional marks in accomplishing NCEA Level 2, including UE literacy requirements (5 credits in reading and 5 credits in writing at level 2).
  • Discretionary Entrance is available to students who have gained a Level 4 Arts and Design certificate of at least 60 credits.
  • Discretionary Entrance is available to students who are over 20 years of age.
  • Interview: All applicants for this programme are interviewed.
  • Portfolio: This is brought to the interview and should include between 12-24 examples of original work showing breadth of ability.
  • Letter of Intent: A 250-word letter of intent outlining reasons for wanting to study the BFA programme and desired pathway

International Student Entry Requirements:

  • Completed application form
  • Passport copy
  • Minimum age: International students must be at least 18 years of age during their first semester of study. Where the student is under 18 years of age for part of their first year of study they must have evidence of a guardian domiciled in Auckland.
  • IELTS Academic overall score of 6.0 with no band less than 5.5 or equivalent
  • Academic Transcripts: School or previous tertiary results
  • Interview: All applicants for this programme are interviewed. International student interviews are conducted via telephone or online
  • Portfolio: This is brought to the interview and should include between 12-24 examples of original work showing breadth of ability. International Students may submit their portfolio digitally
  • Letter of Intent: A 250-word letter of intent outlining reasons for wanting to study the BFA programme and desired pathway
  • Full-time study: International students enrolled into a degree or higher-level programme, including low residence and/or online or blended learning delivery, will be required to enrol into 60 credits per semester and meet the attendance requirements of the programme.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Requirements:

  • Intel i3 dual-core or equivalent processor, 4GB RAM, 320GB or higher hard drive with 50GB free space minimum, wireless capability 802.11n dual-band and up-to-date antivirus software
  • Operating System: Windows 10 or Apple Mac OS 10.6 (Leopard) or higher, preferably 10.x Yosemite or higher or Apple MacBook Air with M1 Chip (base model)
  • Internet and Data Plan
  • No: Chromebooks, Windows X, or Windows S, OS, Tablets (except Windows Surface Pro)
  • MacBook Pro (preferred)
    AND: dedicated GPU (Graphics Card) OR Windows with 16GB RAM (minimum 8) with at least 500GB of storage intel i5 or equivalent or above AMD Ryzen5 or equivalent processor. May use Apple iPad Pro for drawing
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Where could this programme take you?

Many of our graduates have gone on to be successful exhibiting artists, both in New Zealand and overseas. However, a Fine Arts degree also prepares graduates for a wide range of careers, giving them essential skills for the modern job market: the ability to think creatively and flexibly; to work independently or collaboratively; to respond constructively to criticism, and to participate in intelligent debate. Our emphasis on business skills - such as budgeting, marketing, career management, and public relations - also prepares graduates for self-employment or to engage in a range of creative industries.

Jobs related to this programme

Exhibiting Artist

Gallery Manager

Tertiary Teacher

Art Consultant

Conservator

Art Magazine Editor

Curatorial Assistant

Secondary School Teacher

Arts Administrator

Set Design and Construction

Art Project Manager

Find out more about career opportunities

Talk to our team

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If you would like to ask us a question or request more information, please detail your enquiry using the form below. If you would like you can contact us directly on 0800 800 300, email us or use the contact us form.

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