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Contemporary Sculpture (10 credit points)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

Introducing the core concepts of 3D fine art, this course aims to develop an understanding of contemporary sculptural practices. Referencing sculptural techniques from the 1960’s to the present day, you will investigate the use of materials and examine ideas of form and space. You will be encouraged to explore relationships between a wide range of found, recycled or other materials to conceive, create and present a range of sculptural forms.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No previous experience of working with sculpture required. Some previous drawing experience desirable.

Special Information

Materials you will need to bring to the first class:

  • Sketchbook and pencils

  • Camera to document work, phone or tablet camera is suffice

In addition to the course fee, students are expected to provide the following list of indicative tools, materials and equipment:

  • Students will be encouraged to provide a range of their own materials for experimentation and/or for developing their personal project. These could include traditional art materials or found, recycled or improvised materials.

  • A small basic selection of hand tools can be useful depending on the materials students choose to bring. e.g. pliers, sharp knife, tape measure, sand paper, file etc.

Content of Course

Over the weeks the course will cover:

1. Introduction to key concepts within contemporary sculpture.

2. Introduction to basic materials, experimenting with paper, card and recycled sculptural ‘ingredients’

3. Considering form and space, introduction to plaster and clay techniques

4. Combines and assemblages. Working with found, ready-made and recovered objects;

5. Looking at place, in relation to the gallery.

6. Looking at place, in relation to the outdoor context.

7. Experimenting with personal ideas and materials.

8. Creating a personal project inc contextual ref

9. Looking at how to present work.

10.Individual project.

11. Concluding individual project.

Teaching method(s)

This course will be based and delivered in specialist art studios or workshops and will typically include a range of practical exercises, introductions to techniques, processes and concepts, and set projects which lead to more focused and personal exploration. Each week, students’ progress will be monitored and supported by the tutor who will negotiate and agree a ‘directed study plan’ for work to be undertaken out with the class hours each week. This will include researching a range of suggested artists or designers and their associated movements to engender a contextual awareness of the discipline being taught as well as how to annotate and evidence this within a sketchbook and practical outcomes. Teaching will include practical demonstrations, one to one tuition, group discussions and critiques.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, through attending classes and engaging in directed and independent study, students should be able to:

  • Experiment with a range of materials and explore form and space, through demonstrations, group discussion and individually.

  • Demonstrate an informed understanding of contemporary sculpture as a basis for creating a personal response.

  • Create a range of personal sculptural forms, with accompanying sketchbooks, photos and contextual relevance as a considered project.


Core Readings

  • HOBBS. R., 1982, Robert Smithson: a retrospective view. Ithica NY: Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art.

  • BARETTE, B., 1989, Eva Hesse sculpture: catalogue rasionné, New York: Timken Press

  • GROSENICK, U., 2002, Art now: 137 artists at the rise of the new millennium = 138 Keunstler zu Beginn des 21. Jahrhunderts = 138 artistes au commencement du 21eme siecle , Cologne: Taschen

Web Sources

Class Handouts

Course information will be provided on enrolment and hand-outs during the course.


Details of the Art and Design assessment requirements can be found on the short course website. Please click on the following link for more information: Submission and Assessment Information

Studying for Credit

If you choose to study for credit you will need to allocate significant time outwith classes for coursework and assessment preparation. Credit points gained from this course can count towards the Certificate of Higher Education.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.