Contemporary Conversations: Making Art/Making Work – Spring Term 2013

Led by Associate Artist Chris Lewis-Jones, the course aims to enhance learners’ ability to engage in the practice of contemporary visual art (and associated creative discourses) as either a professional or an informed amateur. Using the exciting exhibitions programme at Nottingham Contemporary as a primary source and inspiration,  the course is ideal for students, artists, aspiring artists,  community artists, artist-facilitators and art educators, though keen amateurs will also find it both stimulating and useful. Learners do not need to have any formal qualifications in visual art, but a genuine interest in the discourse is essential. Precise course content will be dictated by the evolving aspirations of the learning group as a whole, but it will certainly include: research into art and artists, research into markets and marketing, presentation values, design and evaluation models, writing interpretive texts, collaborative working, exhibitions, curating, basic book-keeping and related activities. Nottingham Contemporary will provide all of the materials and most of the resources needed, though learners will be free to bring their own materials, tools/media if they wish. Sessions will take place in the studio, but will make extensive use of the gallery (and other spaces within the building) too. Field trips to local venues (such as studio groups, community arts centres, colleges or galleries) will be arranged when and if appropriate. The course will culminate in some sort of sharing event/opportunity.
Tutor:Chris LewisJones
Venue: Nottingham Contemporary, Weekday Cross, Nottingham, NG1 2GB
Date: Friday 8th February 2013
:9.30am -12.30pm         Duration:12 Sessions
Fee: £126.00 (£113.40 Concessions) Fee Waived for those on income related benefits or low income

Course AIms

Enhance learners’ ability to research, market, design and evaluate exhibitions and related activities (performance, fairs, seminars…)

  • Enhance learners’ ability to engage in contemporary visual art practice
  • Enhance learners’ knowledge and understanding of marketing
  • Enhance learners’ ability to engage with a variety of contemporary art related theoretical/philosophical discourse/s
  • Enhance learners’ knowledge, and experience of basic business skills, including: Fund raising, book-keeping, networking, marketing…

Topics to be covered
Topics and content will be dictated by evolving vocational and educational aspirations and needs of the learning group, as a whole, and of each individual learner. However, they will certainly include:

research into art and artists, contemporary theory and practice, visual language, semiotics, dialogue as practice, hermeneutics, plus professional practice and, if appropriate,  critique/s of  professional practice

Learning outcomes
As a result of attending this course it may be possible for you to:

  • Design, install, market, document and evaluate an exhibition(1)
  • Write an artist’s statement
  • Analyse an exhibition (or aspect of an exhibition)
  • Design and distribute appropriate marketing materials (cards, flyers, web site…)
  • Define the words: exhibition, gallery, context, curate, hermeneutics, practice, discourse, fine art, applied art, modernism, post modernism and alter modernism, and feel confident using them in appropriate contexts
  • Identify appropriate career goals and aspirations

 (1) the course will culminate in an exhibition

Teaching methods, learning activities
Teaching & learning activities: generally: tutor-lead discussions and practical exercises followed by learner-lead discussions, workshops and personal exploration leading to summative plenary. Field trips to be arranged as and when appropriate

Assessment methods
Through a combination of discussions, learner presentations and a variety of set assignments, the tutor will ensure that learners are making progress. Most assessment will be informal, though written feedback will be provided at the end of the course and whenever might be appropriate during the course. 

Previous learning required
No previous qualifications are essential, though a genuine interest in the practice and theory of art and exhibiting  (and associated discourses) is essential

Essential materials or equipment
Pen, soft pencil, sketch pad/journal, Stanley knife, gaffa tape, masking tape

Where the course may lead
The tutor can provide you with information about what you can do next with the WEA and other local providers. What Next? leaflets are available from your tutor or programme organiser to help you with your choices. If you would like to discuss what options are available or how to obtain guidance, please contact your programme organiser.

Books/sites/learning resources to be recommended/shared as and when appropriate

Financial help
If you need help with paying for fees or childcare, you may be entitled to financial support. Ask your tutor or programme organiser for more information. We will treat all requests confidentially and with respect in accordance with our Learner Support Policy (see Services for Learners leaflet).

Help with learning
If you have a disability or learning difficulty, let us know as early as possible so that we can make arrangements to provide you with support. We will treat requests for help confidentially and with respect. Ask your tutor for more information. If you prefer, contact your Regional Office and ask to speak to someone about learning support (see Services for Learners leaflet).

Help with English, Maths or Study Skills
You are also entitled to extra help and support with English, Maths or Study Skills. Ask your tutor for more information. If you prefer, contact your Regional Office and ask to speak to someone about help with English, Maths or Study Skills.

Sound interesting?
Please contact Caroline on 0115 985 8203 or email

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