Art & Photography

Our Art and Photography courses can equip you for a career in the arts – as an artist, illustrator, photographer or in many other creative roles. Our graduates have gone on to be successful in a wide range of mediums including painting, sculpture, design, film and photography. 

By studying one of our Art and Photography degrees at Aberystwyth University, you will develop an ability to interpret the world around you and an aptitude for critical thinking. In addition to the benefits for health and wellbeing that the arts can bring, you will be studying an all-round subject that will prepare you for all aspects of your future life. 

As well as having many opportunities to exhibit their work during their course, our graduates have gone on to exhibit in galleries all over the world.

  • Top in the UK for Student Experience and Teaching Quality for the subject of Art & Design (Good University Guide, The Times and Sunday Times 2021)
  • We actively draw on original works of art in our teaching so that you can build a practical knowledge of art history.
  • The School of Art is a government-accredited art museum that runs its own galleries. There are only two such schools in the UK.

Why study Art & Photography at Aberystwyth University?

Here in the School of Art at Aberystwyth University, we are not just an academic institution but a caring community of staff and students from different backgrounds and nationalities. With that diversity in mind, we offer a range of stimulating, creatively challenging courses in Fine Art, Photography, Art History and/or Creative Arts - degree schemes that provide you with the opportunity to combine the practical, historical, theoretical and curatorial study of art. 

The study of photography promotes critical thinking and an expansive approach to the study of art. You will gain an applied knowledge and practical experience of the techniques of photographic image capture and reproduction, and you will graduate with the skills and attributes that you need to flourish in your chosen field.  

As a student with us, you will be joining one of the highest-ranking art departments in the UK for student satisfaction and employability success. The School of Art at Aberystwyth University is a government-accredited art museum that runs its own galleries, offering a hands-on study of art in a museum environment.You will be taught by staff who are actively engaged in research, and whose findings inform their teaching. Our team of experts include well-known art historians, practising curators and exhibiting artists.

The School of Art at Aberystwyth University is an Accredited Museum. The Museum and the Ceramic Collection houses over 20,000 examples of fine and decorative art: prints, photographs, drawings, watercolours, ceramics, paintings and sculpture as well as artefacts from the University’s former Art and Crafts Museum—including archaeological material, ethnographic artefacts, glass, coins and antique furniture. 

You will learn the techniques and contemporary practice for the curation of exhibitions to museum standard and will present an exhibition of your photographic work in the School of Art galleries as part of your degree scheme.  You will be taught by staff, photographers and curators who are very experienced in their respective fields. 

Here in the School of Art we can offer the opportunity for primary-source analysis through our fine collection of rare and original photographic prints which you will be able to explore and study at close hand. 

Employability

The study of Art and Photography is creatively and intellectually stimulating. Aside from being personally rewarding, it also has many practical benefits. It promotes problem solving, develops interpersonal skills and improves your ability to respond to and succeed in a changing marketplace.

Highly sought after in today’s economy, transferable skills are actively promoted by us during your studies at the School of Art. These skills include the ability to conduct research and interpret information, communicate ideas, develop critical and interdisciplinary thinking, work independently or as part of a creative team, and to stay motivated and focused on your goals.

Guest curators, visiting artists, and former students will share their experience and introduce you to a wide range of career possibilities. Exhibition openings and visiting days provide volunteer roles and paid ambassador opportunities. They give you the chance to interact with the public and communicate your knowledge and expertise.

Evidence shows that the majority of our graduates build careers in their chosen field. They establish themselves as professional artists, art historians, curators and administrators. Our graduates are professional painters, book illustrators, photographers, university educators, secondary school teachers, art gallery managers, exhibition curators, and conservators of easel painting, ceramics and works on paper. Their employers include the Arts Council, Royal Academy of Arts, Tate, Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Royal Collections Trust.

Facilities

At the School of Art, you will have access to state-of-the-art teaching facilities. The School has spacious, well-lit studios, darkrooms, print workshops, a Mac suite, as well as lecture theatres and seminar rooms. We also have a museum, modern galleries, and extensive art archives.

Within easy reach and used extensively in our teaching, these resources set the School of Art apart from most Fine Art and Art History programmes in Britain. You will be studying art and/or its histories surrounded by works of art from our internationally renowned museum collection.

Unique in Wales, and of international importance, our collections offer primary research material for staff, students and external scholars. The School of Art collections include European prints from the fifteenth century to the present day, as well as drawings, watercolours and photographs. A major strength of the collection is its representative holdings of early twentieth-century British Pioneer Studio Pottery.

Research

Our teaching staff are exhibiting artists, publishing scholars and curators whose work provides a stimulating learning environment. 

Staff research informs our teaching and ensures that the skills you learn and the knowledge we impart are practice orientated and current. Our researchers regularly collaborate with museums, galleries and professional associations to exhibit artworks and publish research of national and international significance that has impact, scope and relevance. 

Our research on the twentieth-century artist-collector Hugh Blaker and the paintings at one time in his possession, for example, has led to the positive identification of a previously disputed portrait by Amadeo Modigliani as well as new insights on a canvas recently discovered by the Louvre Museum to be St Joseph the Carpenter – a master work by French Baroque painter Georges de La Tour – and provenance on an earlier version of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. 

A significant aspect of our research in art history is concerned with the reassessment of artistic careers and the recuperation of traditional practices, especially those that have been marginalized or neglected: our staff have published on the French nineteenth-century painter, collector and horticulturist Gustave Caillebotte, the twentieth-century German photographer Erich Retzlaff, once renowned for depicting the land and people of Germany, and now lesser known Royal Academicians. More than a record of the past exhibitions, our catalogues raisonné on painter-printmakers such as Sydney Lee, Stanley Anderson and Charles Tunnicliffe now serve as standard references. 

Not restricted to visual and material culture, our interdisciplinary research also concerns music, spoken word, and sound.