Year 1

In the first year you will explore a range of creative subject areas including 3D Design, Textiles, Fine Art, Graphics and Illustration, Photography and Moving image supported by Life drawing and Visual studies.

Project 1

Theme - People and Places

Introduction to visual language (2 weeks)

This short introductory project is designed to enable you to explore the visual elements in art and design. You will be outside drawing and taking photographs of people and architecture in the historic city of Cambridge. Then during the second week you will develop these drawings through 3D, Fine Art, Textiles, Graphics, Photography and Moving Image. Alongside this you will learn about Medieval Art and Architecture and the Renaissance period in art and design. Further drawing tasks will enable you to understand a wider variety of mark making techniques.

Project 2

Theme - Contrasts

Workshop/Methods and Materials (7 weeks)

This second project will introduce you to a wide variety of materials and techniques. You will take part in workshop activities in 3D, Textiles, Fine Art, Graphics, Photography and Moving Image.

3D may include: working with clay, wire, wood, glass, mod rock and recyclable material.

Fine Art may include: painting and print making, drawing techniques, colour theory and sculpture

Textiles may include: sewing both machine and hand techniques, heat moulding fabric, heat transfer, dying and printing, felt making and weave

Graphics may include: typography, communication techniques, creative collage, Photoshop, Illustrator

Photography may include: shutter speed and aperture, using film cameras, working in the darkroom and studio lighting

Moving Image may include: developing ideas for storyboard, narrative structure, film style, stop motion, character design and live action

Throughout the year you will apply your skills, knowledge and understanding to a series of more complex and demanding assignments. In the final term your Final Major Project will require you to make use of the knowledge, skills and understanding developed over the year to complete an art and design project. You will also be able to explore one subject in greater depth. the work that you produce for this unit will culminate in an end-of-year exhibition, and be internally assessed and externally moderated by University Arts London Awarding Body.

Year 2

In your second year, you will select your specialism subject; your creative process will be recorded in a blog as a reflection and evaluation of your work. You will commence your university application and portfolio with the guidance and support of lecturers.

In the second term, you will continue to focus on your chosen subject and develop a portfolio for university interviews. Fashion students will stage a fashion show.

In the final term all students will undertake a research week when trips to relevant creative sources are arranged and industry professionals are invited into college to inspire and inform your self-directed project. This will be showcased at the end of term.

Our Subjects

Use the links below to explore the subjects available at CSVPA. (* denotes a compulsory subject)


Experimental Studies

This all encompassing subject ensures you have a solid understanding of drawing-based theory including mark making, colour theory and perspective theory that takes into account how work is produced. Over the year you will cover off the following areas:

  • Elements of composition, tone, colour, texture, form and structure
  • Observational analysis
  • Visual interpretation
  • Improvisation techniques
  • Rendering the abstract
  • Experimental drawing

Contextual Studies

This area is all about developing you as a student, enabling you to present yourself as better student for university applications and interviews. Through group and individual presentations and essay writing you will build your confidence and improve your writing skills. Two basic areas are covered; the history of art and design and the teachings of the contemporary world. You will be encouraged to question the context of your projects so you appreciate how the work has evolved and what will happen to it next.


English Training

Through a variety of teaching styles, we focus on four key skills you need to pass your IELTS exam; listening, reading, writing and spoken English. This subject is linked with your Contextual Studies lectures so you are better equipped with vocabulary to explain your workings and promote your final pieces.


Fashion Design

Key to Foundation is idea development through research and knowledge of fashion in context. Critical thinking is encouraged so you can assess what is good and bad in order for further progression. You will learn how to take your ideas from sketch to catwalk, and how to learn the physical making of a garment, from choosing the correct material to pinning and draping materials on a dummy and sewing the final pattern.

Example skills learned | Fashion Illustration, Customisation, Translating Designs from 2D Drawings to 3D Garments, Garment Making, Research and Sketch Book Development

Preparation for | Fashion Design, Fashion Styling and Production, Fashion Design & Development, Creative Direction for Fashion, Fashion Retail Management, Footwear Design, Textile Design, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Promotion and Imaging, Fashion: Media and Marketing, Cordwainers: Footwear, Product Design and Development


Fashion Communication

This combines all of the creative elements of the fashion industry without creating garments; it's the styling, marketing and promotion. You are not only exposed to the graphic design components of fashion, such as the design of a fashion label or fashion magazine page layout, but you will also learn the business fundamentals of selling a fashion product. A passion for the industry and an eye for creativity are must-haves if you are to excel in the world of fashion promotion.

Example skills learned | Fashion Marketing, Trend Reporting and Prediction, Portfolio Development

Preparation for | Fashion Styling and Production, Creative Direction for Fashion, Fashion Styling, Fashion Retail Management, Fashion Promotion, Fashion Journalism


Fine Art

Fine Art is based around ideas and concepts behind the subject. It asks questions, evokes emotion and tells a story. Foundation level focuses on experimental creativity where you will create works of interest using taught skills tailored around idea development and realisation. From Conceptual Art to Contemporary Fine Art, you are taught how to present your finished pieces using a mixed range of media.

Example skills learned | Painting and Drawing, Sculpture, Printmaking, Fine Art Film

Preparation for | Fine Art Degree


Graphics & Illustration

Graphic Design is a highly creative methodology of organising typography and images for reproduction both on and offline. There are numerous sub cultures within graphic design, which lead to specialist careers such as game design, so you are taught the fundamentals which facilitate transition into these areas. Professional Graphic Designers adapt to designing for web, mobile, TV and the more traditional publishing routes.

Example skills learned | Page Design, Photography, Advertising and Promotion

Illustration is about creating an image, not just drawing it, using a range of techniques such as print making, photography and digital manipulation. Image creation is required for TV and web reproduction and, with skills in illustration, you can find careers in animation.

Example skills learned | 3D Illustration, Colour Technique, Drawing and Mark Making

Preparation for | Graphic Communication Design, Illustration Animation, Graphic and Media Design, Communication Design, 3D Game Design, Media Communications, Web Design, Children's Book  Illustration


3D Design Craft

Applied Craft is concerned with the creation of handmade, one-off objects in a variety of materials including metal, wood, plastic, ceramic and glass. You will be introduced to a range of techniques and design restraints so you can select the correct materials for the design purpose. Idea development is key because you can choose to specialise with a material or continue to do general Applied Craft at university.

Example skills learned | Glass: Fusing, Slumping and Lost Wax Mould Making   Ceramics: Glazing, Slip Casting and Resin Casting   Metal Craft: Jewellery Making, Soldering and Texturing

Preparation for | Jewellery and Silversmithing, Contemporary Crafts, Fashion Jewellery, Ceramics, 3D Design, Design Crafts


Animation & Film

You will be introduced to the world of digital short film production and 3D animation. Many use this as a stepping-stone towards advertising, feature films, TV or cameramen and even directorship. Group work is the predominant teaching format due to the collaborative nature of project work but for your final project, you will work independently.

Example skills learned | Pixilation, Green Screen, SFX using Adobe After Effects, Motion Tracking, Drawn Animation and Stop Motion, Video Editing and DV Authoring, Rotoscoping

Preparation for | Media and Communications, Animation, Graphic Design, Film Practice, Visual Effects, 3D Game Design, Computer Visualisation and Animation, Film and Television Production, Digital Film Production, Interactive Media Design


Architecture & Interior Design

Spatial Design is the practise of creating and managing space. You will learn how to be set a problem, research it, push the idea through development and create a computer model. Interior design and architecture have similar design condepts so they share the same project brief, which not only encourages creativity but gives you the opportunity to experiment before deciding which area to specialise in for your final year project.

Example skills learned | Site Surveying, Plan and Elevation Drawing to Scale, Casting and Model Making, Research, Presentation and Portfolio Preparation

Preparation for | Spatial Design, Interior Design, Interior Architecture, Interior Design Environment Architectures, Landscape Design, Architecture

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