This course is accredited

L3 Foundation in Art and Design

This is a one year Diploma course, grounded in studio practice and aimed at those considering Higher Education studies in art and design.
We are still accepting applications for this academic year.

Our Art Foundation offers the chance to gain a BTEC 540 Diploma in Art and Design Practice and focuses on critical awareness, creative abilities, and building practical and theoretical skills.
Your hours spent in our well equipped studios will give you the opportunity to experiment widely and take creative risks in order to develop a broad portfolio of work and professional behaviours required for progression. It also provides opportunities to develop art, design and media skills over the course of study through a process of self-direction, reflective practice and communication, which are key skills for progression to higher education and personal development as an artist. These requirements mean that learners develop the transferable and higher-order skills that are demanded by universities and employers.

A student loan is available for this course .

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Who is this course for

This accredited course (BTEC Level 3 National 540 Diploma) is aimed at those who are considering Further or Higher Education studies in art and design, those who are considering a career in the visual arts or those wishing to advance their art and design practice in a structured environment with professional guidance. You should have some experience of art and design already, and entry to the course is dependent on a short informal interview in which you will be expected to present a portfolio of work.
You will need a computer/ tablet and internet accessibility to be able to use Zoom for some classes, and attend tutorials and feedback sessions. Students will also need to be able to use digital technology for researching, responding to briefs, short essays, organising and presenting images for their portfolio and producing short videos. Some training can be provided to help you with this, but you will need some digital literacy.
Entry to the course is dependent on a short informal interview in which you will be expected to present a portfolio of work.

What does this course cover

The course is delivered over the full 3 terms.
In each term there will be 12 weeks of dedicated weekly Foundation class with the lead tutor in the studio on Thursday evening 17.30 - 21.30, in which students will cover the key aspects of the course. This will be followed by Online critical studies, gallery visits and guest lectures on Fridays (10.00 - 5.00). Students will also have 6 Saturdays of intensive studio practice each term (week 3 to week 8) and two online one to one tutorials with the lead tutor.
The year culminates with a final exhibition, giving students a chance to gain experience of curating and hanging exhibitions.
(Please note that this year, term 3 will be 8 weeks in length).

Key Subject areas will be research and critical studies, 2D visual skills, moving into 3D. Digital skills, performance, lens-based media (introduction to video art and animation).
All work will be delivered as part of project briefs and modules, which will include two short essays (Term 1,2) and Artist's Statement (Term 3)
In term 1 the focus will be on 2D skills development, digital knowledge and animation.
Term 2 will move into 3D, performance and video art, final presentation and assessment of work.
Term 3 is dedicated to personal projects, building portfolio and the final exhibition.

What students should be able to do by the end of the course.
I. Enter Further or Higher Education courses in Art & Design subjects, where applicable
II. Complete their own visual research
III. Develop their own visual language and creative practice
IV. Express an understanding of their position within the context of contemporary art and design
V. Reflect on their own progress and creative practice
VI. Create, manage and complete and individually chosen project

What will it be like

This is an accredited course: good attendance, completing all your set briefs, presenting your work and developing a digital portfolio are mandatory. Students will need to submit digital images of their course work, to develop their digital portfolio and fulfil the learning criteria. Students' progress will be tracked and marked by the tutor according to the Assessment Criteria of the qualification. Each unit has its own assessment criteria, which will be covered by projects set for all Foundation students. These projects will be completed in a combination of Foundation class time and during independent study time, giving all students an opportunity to achieve the best possible grade.
A variety of teaching and learning methods are used, including online teaching, practical workshops, seminars, individual and group tutorials.
Assessment is carried out by the course leader at the end of each term, and Students will be required to submit work for assessment at various points throughout the course.
At the beginning of term 2 you will receive an additional project brief which gives an opportunity to research a relevant topic and culminates in a timed element (where you will produce an art work in class time). At the end of the third term, Foundation students are supported to mount an exhibition of their final projects (and other chosen pieces), which takes place in the centre in July. This is a required part of the course, and will form part of the final assessment.
To ensure that assessment is fair a selection of the completed and graded portfolios will be inspected by the college internal moderator and the standards verifier assigned by BTEC.

What else do you need to buy or do

Some of the course content will be run via the zoom platform, please make sure you have installed it in advance of your first class on your computer or mobile device. You can sign up for free here:

You will need a microphone and camera and make sure you have a small space to work in during the session. By signing up to the course you are consenting to being on camera.
The content of the lesson / tutorial may be recorded by the tutor for internal education and training purposes.
This course delivery will move Online if Government guidelines require us to close the Mary Ward Centre.

You should expect to buy at least one A1 portfolio/folder and a selection of A5, A4 or A3 sketchbooks. You will also need a set of basic art materials - acrylic paints, brushes, colour pencils, pens, soft pastels etc which will vary according to your personal interests and development over the course.
This is a part time course, but it demands a significant time commitment outside of dedicated class time. Learners should expect to do a minimum of 6 hours of independent study per week, to include working on personal projects, sketchbook work, visual and academic research, visiting museums and galleries and teamwork in collaboration with other Foundation students.

What this course could lead to

The course will involve an exploration of options for further progression, with students guided individually according to their interests and skills as to their future possibilities. Students will be fully supported through the university application system where relevant. Students completing this course can expect to take the next step in their art & design career, with the following options being the most likely progression routes:
1. Progress to BA, MA or HND in art or design subjects
2. Self employment as an arts or design practitioner
3. Continue professional development with other specialised courses, for example Advanced Creative Practice at the MWC
4. Apply for arts related employment
There is detailed information in Reception about all our courses at the Mary Ward Centre.
Information about other learning opportunities can be obtained from Learn Direct: and from the following websites:;;;;


The Access into Art course provided me with the opportunity to fulfil my potential at a later stage in my life.



This course is accredited

Got a Question about this Course?

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Why choose Mary Ward?

Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening and weekends to suit your timetable. You can learn face to face at one of our centres (Bloomsbury or Waterloo) or take an online course

Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’