Bachelor of Fine Arts Course Outline
Fine Arts explores traditional and contemporary materials, techniques, and approaches in relation to students' own ideas and creativity. Learning takes place within an integrated programme of studio-based and contextual courses that prepare students for a range of creative professions. Whitecliffe provides individual studio space, which can be accessed seven days a week. Students are further supported by technical equipment and support. At the end of each Semester, students stage formal assessment exhibitions within their studio space. These displays provide opportunities for showcasing work to the public and are essential for resolving existing ideas and considering new directions.
The uniqueness of the Whitecliffe Bachelor of Fine Arts qualification is that it begins by aligning the subjects of Fine Arts and Photo Media (Photography and the Media Arts) together, allowing students to experiment with all forms of working before choosing to focus on a specialism for further study. This means Whitecliffe graduates are better prepared to work across new and traditional fields of contemporary arts practice utilising these highly sought-after transferable skills in an increasingly wide range of industries after graduating.
Whitecliffe's Form Gallery provides an excellent site for students, alumni, faculty, and visiting artists to exhibit. These exhibitions provide insight into professional contemporary practice and help students to connect with the wider arts community.
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.
Bachelor of Fine Arts: Fine Arts Year One
All Bachelor of Fine Arts students will be required to complete the following four compulsory 15 credit courses in the first semester.
- FA7501 Critical and Contextual IA
Critical and contextual Introduction offers students the essential tools to confidently approach the development of their critical and contextual research and its application to studio practice.
- FA7502 Materials and Processes
A practical study into a range of art making processes and application including drawing, painting, screen printing, and 3D object making.
- FA7512 Photography and the Media Arts
A practical study into a range of lens-based processes, methodologies, and technologies. The course introduces students to camera and lighting, moving image, and sound recording.
- FA7522 Visual Thinking
An introduction to methods of visual research. Facilitates an introductory understanding of the fundamental research processes supporting the development of a studio-based practice.
After completing Semester One in their first year, students will then enrol in 7504 Studio I (45 credits), and 7503 Critical and Contextual (15 credits). These two courses interrelate with each other and provide the basis for students to create and develop their own ideas and creative outcomes and allow them to choose their specialism in Year Two.
Years 2 + 3 follow the same format (45 credit Studio and 15 credit Critical and Contextual courses) per Semester. Students select either Fine Arts or Photo Media as their specialism for the remainder of the degree.
Bachelor of Fine Arts: 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 experiment with a range of media and techniques, evaluate complex issues and discuss critical frameworks relevant to contemporary art practice. Students in Photo Media will consider the formal and technical aspects of photography and video, including making work for exhibition and publication, as well as best practice
industry expectations surrounding lens-based image-making today. In Term Four, all students focus on the transition from working with set assignments to working on a self-directed project that extends studio-based visual and theoretical research. Intensive supervision from the faculty supports their creative, practical, and contextual development.
Bachelor of Fine Arts: 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. Students also complete 40 hours in an internship component that connects them to the industry.
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, supporting them to graduate with momentum, to have confidence and make a contribution to their chosen discipline and the wider arts community.
Life After a Bachelor of Fine Arts: 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 graduates are proven self-starters, many of whom become self-employed or owners of successful small businesses within the creative fields.
Key Information for Students
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:
This programme has Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) requirements, the following specifications will support you to be successful in your studies.
Required IT Specifications:
Minimum Hardware requirements
- Mac - Intel processor with 64-bit support; 2 GHz or faster processor with SSE 4.2 or later
- MacBook Air with M1 Chip
- Intel® or AMD processor with 64-bit support; 2 GHz or faster processor with SSE 4.2 or later
- 8 GB RAM (Recommended 16 GB)
- 250 GB SSD or higher hard drive with 10GB free space minimum
- Wireless capability 802.11n dual-band
- Up-to-date antivirus software
Minimum Operating System
- Windows 10 (64-bit) version 1809 or later; LTSC versions are not supported
- Apple macOS Mojave (version 10.14) or later
- Internet and data plan.
- Windows X or Windows S OS
- Tablets (except Windows Surface Pro or iPad Pro)
Macbook Pro (preferred)
AND dedicated GPU (Graphics card)
May use Apple iPad Pro for drawing.
Matt EllwoodHead of School, Fine Arts
Matt Ellwood completed his undergraduate studies at Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts and has a PGDip in Teaching from Auckland College of Education.Continue reading
Dr Yolunda HickmanProgramme Leader, Fine Arts Postgraduate Programmes
Yolunda Hickman completed her MFA at Elam in 2013 and is a current Doctoral candidate there with a focus on the visual semiotics and limitations of communication systems.Continue reading
David CowlardProgramme Leader, BFA Photo Media
David is a documentary and editorial photographer, digital producer, writer and field recordist.Continue reading
Richard MaloyProgramme Leader, BFA Fine Arts
Richard completed his MFA from the University of Auckland in 2001. He employs a multi-disciplinary practice including; sculpture, photography, installation plus more.Continue reading
Lynnemaree PattersonProgramme Leader, Certificate in Arts + Design
Lynnemaree received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Whitecliffe College in 2005. Prior to that she taught Expressive Arts in Papua New Guinea.Continue reading
Henry SymondsSenior Lecturer, School of Fine Arts
Henry Symonds completed his undergraduate studies at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town.Continue reading
Christina ReadSenior Lecturer, School of Fine Arts
Christina Read emigrated from the United Kingdom in 2003. She has an MFA from Elam School of Fine Art, University of Auckland.Continue reading
Noel IvanoffSenior Lecturer, School of Fine Arts
Noel completed his undergraduate studies at the School of Art, Otago Polytechnic before completing a certificate in advanced studies at St Martins School of Art in London.Continue reading
Leon MitchellProgramme Delivery Coordinator, BFA
Leon graduated from Whitecliffe College in 2006 with a BFA majoring in Photography.Continue reading
Caryline BorehamLecturer, School of Fine Arts
Caryline holds an MFA from the University of Auckland and was the recipient of the 2010 Elam School of Fine Arts Post Graduate Photography Prize. Working predominantly in the mediums of photography, video and sound, her practice is concerned with an ongoing exploration of the built environment with a particular interest in how people inhabit and interpret their surroundings. Caryline’s work has been exhibited and published in New Zealand, Australia, North America and Europe. Internationally she has received nominations for the Prix Pictet Photography Prize in 2013 and 2016; with her work being featured in the 2017 Prix Pictet ‘Space’ publication. Her work is held in public and private collections including the Wallace Arts Trust Collection.Continue reading
Dr Julia TealeLecturer, School of Fine Arts
Dr Julia Teale gained her PhD from the University of Auckland and her MFA at the University of Cape Town, Higher Dip Fine Art, Technikon Natal.Continue reading
Matt DowmanLecturer, School of Fine Arts
Matt Dowman received his BFA from Whitecliffe in 2002, and a MFA with honours from Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts in 2004.Continue reading
Rose MeyerLecturer, School of Fine Arts
Rose Meyer gained a Master of Fine Art with First Class Honours in 2015 and a Post Graduate Diploma of Arts Management with Distinction in 2017 at Whitecliffe College.Continue reading
Jill SorensenLecturer, School of Fine Arts
Jill completed her undergraduate studies in 1991 at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Australia and gained an MFA with First Class Honours.Continue reading
Glen SnowLecturer, School of Fine Arts
Glen gained his Master of Fine Arts at the Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University, in 2012.Continue reading
Giles PetersonLecturer, School of Fashion + Sustainability
Giles lectures in contextual studies in New Zealand / Pacific art and design history; Contemporary art and design history, Fashion theory and more.Continue reading
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
Art Magazine Editor
Secondary School Teacher
Set Design and Construction
Art Project Manager
Talk to our team
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.