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BA (Hons) Sound Arts — Overview
Launching Sept 2021

*Subject to validation

We are excited to launch this new course for 2021 as we enhance our well-established undergraduate curriculum. Degrees listed as subject to validation are in the final stage of our rigorous approval process, designed to ensure they accurately reflect course content and employment opportunities for students. Through close consultation with industry professionals, academics, students and alumni we can ensure that your learning prepares you for a dynamic and ever-changing future job market.


BA (Hons) Sound Arts is a dynamic studio course where you’ll explore sound in all its forms as a creative artistic expression within a critical and historical context. You’ll be immersed in the cultural evolution of sound and its use as a creative medium while developing an understanding of the objects, software and live aspects of making and performing.

Students capture ambient sound at London's Tate Modern, as part of Tate Exchange.

Situated within an arts and media practice with natural affinities to fine art and film, this course places a strong emphasis on experimentation, where you can immerse yourself in all aspects of sound; including listening, field recording, editing, playing, exhibiting, composing and performing.  

Independently and in collaboration with peers, you will study a wide range of topics, from sound synthesis and acoustics to music composition and creating instruments. You’ll also analyse music, musical interfaces and audio manipulation. This course is mainly practice-based, however, you’ll also learn the theory and history of sound and alternative forms of music and scoring through a reflective learning process that includes critical writing.

To support a wide range of possible approaches to sound art, the course offers a number of specialist areas of study, where you’ll be supported in focusing your development and experience, including site-specific and environmental sound, multimedia and applied sound and live performance. To give you hands-on learning, the course will make extensive use of our Multimedia Lab, Digital Fabrication Lab, and the Materials Lab for testing the possibilities and limits of noise, sound, and experimental music.

Engagement with industry is fundamental to all our undergraduate programmes, with students regularly creating original works as part of London's Tate Exchange, engaging with filmmakers on projects led by the BFI, designing sound scores for Illuminate Light Festival and taking part in residencies at the iconic Venice Biennale.

You will have the opportunity to develop your understanding of sound as a medium of expression and develop the skills necessary to work professionally in the film, arts, design, and other creative sectors. 

Graduates can become:

  • Sound Artists
  • Media Artists
  • Filmmakers
  • Musicians
  • Sound Designers
  • Sound Producers
  • Fine Artists
  • Video Artists
  • Music Critics
  • Gallery and Museum Professionals

Thinking & making

Study with us and you’ll expand your critical approach alongside developing skills in research and analysis. Our academically robust and intellectually stimulating degree programmes are delivered by our team of academics, technical demonstrators and invited experts who together deliver excellence in learning, teaching and assessment. Our programmes encourage diversity in thinking and making - from practical applications through to reflective, analytical writing.

We provide a dynamic, stimulating learning environment from which to test new models of practice while investing in the rich relationship between practice and theory - based on the potential in material and visual exploration, collaborative working, cross-fertilisation of ideas, and the exploration of histories and contemporary contexts.  

Opportunities for studying abroad are available at our partner institutions, click here for more.


Interested in finding out more? Fill out our enquiry form below:

BA (Hons) Sound Arts — Modules

Launching Sept 2021

Our unit structure applies to all of our undergraduate courses and creates a culture that promotes curiosity and creative thinking that extends beyond subject boundaries. Thematic approaches encourage an environment of free-flowing creative learning and opportunities for collaboration. Each unit will be contextualised by the subject specialism, and delivery will manifest uniquely through the specialist lens of each course. 

Applying to a four-year Extended BA degree?

If you choose to study an Extended BA, this will provide you with a preparatory year that will support your creative development through a broad range of art, design and media skills, as the basis for continued undergraduate study in your chosen specialist degree. In Year 0 you will learn through experimentation, exploration and discovery. Successful completion of this year allows automatic progression to Year 1 of your chosen three year BA at Plymouth College of Art. 


Year 1

Unit 1: Methods & Materials

Develop and extend your existing knowledge of processes and technologies associated with your field of study, through the exploration of associated methods and materials. You will be introduced to a range of practical methods, processes and techniques, and encouraged to think critically about your subject. 

Unit 2: Encountering place

Focusing on the geographical offerings and potential of Plymouth and its surroundings, you will orientate your practice through considering immediate geographies and the relationship of the local to the global. You will develop ways for generating creative ideas in response to a brief, with a primary focus on creative problem solving, methods and materials.

Unit 3: Exploring subject

Engage with subject-specific ideas and applications, encouraging critical reflection on your individual creative practice and subject within the larger creative arts domain. You will be supported to undertake an imaginative approach to your subject that challenges historical and cultural assumptions.

Unit 4: Platforms of exchange

Focus on collaboration as a practice, way of working and experience. Share your skills in pursuit of creative problem solving through mutual interest and cooperative approaches, while being introduced to methodologies from other disciplines.

Year 2

Unit 1: Speculative Strategies

Enhance your awareness of research-informed practice, the role of risk and failure, and the adoption of new or unfamiliar methodologies in developing creative practice. You will focus on the critical and practical processes used for ideas generation, propositional and hypothetical creative outputs, rather than finished outcomes.

Unit 2: Global Challenges

Think deeper about how creative solutions might help solve real-world challenges. Draw on expertise and ideas from the arts and sciences to provide alternative propositions for solution-focussed practical enquiry. 

Unit 3: Ideas & Audience

Through the use of real-world scenarios (live or simulated), you will be encouraged to use the methods, knowledge and understanding gained in previous study to place your work in relevant professional and creative contexts in order to facilitate knowledge transfer into the public domain.                         

Unit 4: Emergent practice

Develop individual authorship in your creative practice, and ownership of your learning through a self-initiated project. You will be introduced to methods for managing and producing an independent creative project, developing skills in project articulation and management to include consideration for project scope, time and resources management.  

Year 3

Unit 1: Research & Development 

You will be encouraged to further refine your aims and ambitions for your final year of study, by formulating and testing out ideas for your Final Project. You will present a creative pitch that outlines the key concepts and methods behind your project and demonstrates knowledge and understanding of appropriate contextual and professional frameworks.

Unit 2: Publication 

You will produce a research-informed critical text that contextualises your research interests and demonstrates sustained critical engagement with your subject. This could be an extended critical essay or industry report; or an original publication (text & image) and accompanying critical essay.

Unit 3: Positioning practice

This unit will extend your understanding and consideration of appropriate audiences, end-users and markets for your work, and raise your awareness of industry-relevant technologies, techniques and innovations. Your learning will support the articulation of your personal career ambitions, informed by an awareness of professional contexts and graduate opportunities for creative practice. 

Unit 4: Final project

The culmination of your undergraduate study providing a focussed period of consolidation and creativity, you will have the opportunity to realise a final major project to demonstrate your specialist knowledge and skills. At the end of the unit, you will have the opportunity to present this project to the public within the context of the annual PCA Summer Shows.


Please note unit details listed above are correct at time of publication and indicative content only. If you have any questions about course content and structure please email liaison@pca.ac.uk 

BA (Hons) Sound Arts — Staff

Launching Sept 2021

Dominic Deane

Dominic Deane

Dominic Deane is a media and sound artist with over 15 years of practical and academic experience working both in the education and multimedia industry. He graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2005 with an MSc in Creative Technology and since worked for several media companies in the Yorkshire area mostly notably, DS Emotion and Label Media. He as previously taught degree and master courses at the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University and Spirit Studios in Manchester.

He is also currently a final year PhD student at the University of Manchester, where he began work on a thesis about DIY and independent music making in West Yorkshire post-2000. He also wrote his first research article about DIY music making in Devon for the Punk and Post Punk Journal (Volume 7, Number 3, October 2018) He also contributed an article about Yorkshire based noise artists ‘Nurturing the Noise’ for the Riffs Journal (Volume 3, Issue 1, April 2019) and has also presented conference papers on DIY and independent music making in Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, and Portugal.

In addition to his academic pursuits, he is a musician, multi-instrumentalist and sound ecologist who has been recording, performing and touring around the world for over the last 15 years. He also continues to perform in several bands and previously promoted gigs and ran a DIY label in the Leeds and Bradford area. His professional work has been featured on the BBC, Channel 4, E4, The Guardian, The Independent, and Electronic Sounds magazine. While his film credits include the Leeds International film festival, Darkrooms film festival in London and collaborating with members of the New York filmmakers coop group.

Neil Rose

Neil Rose

Neil Rose is a sonic artist and academic who specialises in electroacoustic/acousmatic music, live performance, film, animation and design. He studied sonic arts at Middlesex University, and lectures in sonic arts here at the college.

Neil undertakes frequent collaborations with film and performance/live artists as well as being a successful recording artist, publishing on One C, Café Concrete and Prima Rosa records, and has had work internationally distributed and reviewed by The Wire magazine.

Selected Works:

Sound recording, editing for Melanie Manchot’s film ‘The Hall’
Sound recording, editing and composition for Erika Tan’s film ‘Sensing Obscurity’
Sound recording, editing and composition for Abigail Reynolds film work ‘Double Brass’
Production of digital audio system for install in Bath ICIA for Low Profile ‘Impromptu’
Design of performance interface for Mark Leahy ‘The Answering Machine’
Sound editing and composing for  Tom Marshman on LGBT projects delivered around the country (ongoing) ‘Move Over Darling’

Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey is a filmmaker, creative entrepreneur and lecturer. After studying for a BA (Hons) in Writing For the Media at Exeter University, he went on to do an MA in Film at the University of Reading, with a focus on collaborative arts and participatory video. Alongside his strong academic background, Chris has a great deal of experience in the commercial side of the industry, as he runs his own production business, OPENhand Creative. He has been lecturing in FE and HE since 2014. His experience covers practical filmmaking, script writing, writing copy, PR and promotional activity.

With a passion for all things film and TV, Chris is a committee member of the Royal Television Society (SW) and has had one of his short films selected as part of a BAFTA showcase. Chris is also a founding member of Imperfect Orchestra, which works with emerging film and video artist filmmakers, as well as with established films, to create 'live soundtrack events'. Chris also works with Plymouth Music Education Hub and has run a host of community film and video workshops over the years.

Andrew James

Andrew James

Andrew James is a successful filmmaker, performer and artist with over twenty years experience working freelance both in the UK and internationally. His practice combines choreography, shooting film, installations and working with sonic artists, with a focus on cross-disciplinary collaboration. He has extensive experience working in the art departments for TV, adverts, animation and theatre.

Andrew studied for a BA (Hons) in Photography, Film and Video at London College of Communication and also has an MA in Contemporary Film Practice from the University of Plymouth. Andrew has written for The International Journal of Screendance and has been lecturing in film since 2009. He is also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a British professional institution promoting excellence in higher education that awards fellowships as a method of professional recognition for university teachers.

In his role as a lecturer, Andrew has developed a range of skills and approaches to supporting students’ creative development, including innovative practical workshops where the creative, technical and conceptual aspects of the art form can be experienced, comprehended and applied.

Alongside being actively involved in performance art projects such as Claudia Kappenberg’s ‘Slow Race’, Andrew’s professional experience includes shooting commercials for some of the biggest brands in the world, including directing the drone unit for an Oakley advert, featuring the brand’s world class surfers riding waves on location in Costa Rica.   

The staff listed on this programme are correct at the time of writing. Students will be notified if there are any changes to key staff (i.e. Programme Leaders and Lecturers).

BA (Hons) Sound Arts — Student Work

Launching Sept 2021

BA (Hons) Sound Arts — Students Say

Launching Sept 2021

BA (Hons) Sound Arts — Careers & Alumni

Launching Sept 2021

Professional practice is embedded within all of our programmes. Throughout your studies, you will have the opportunity to develop the key professional, transferable skills for employability in the creative industries and potentially work in partnership with other sectors locally, regionally, nationally or internationally. From writing and making the most of your CV to gaining industry experience, the acquisition of professional skills has been written into the programmes of study by our staff teams, who have ‘real world’ experience. They are also supported by our Industry Liaison Groups, who help inform the development of the higher education curriculum.

You will have the opportunity to develop your understanding of sound as a medium of expression and develop the skills necessary to work professionally in the film, arts, design, and other creative sectors. 

Graduates can become:

  • Sound Artists
  • Media Artists
  • Filmmakers
  • Musicians
  • Sound Designers
  • Sound Producers
  • Fine Artists
  • Video Artists
  • Music Critics
  • Gallery and Museum Professionals

BA (Hons) Sound Arts — Entry Requirements

Launching Sept 2021

BA (Hons) Sound Arts — Resources

Launching Sept 2021

Our outstanding facilities include sound recording and post-production studios, vocal recording booths and Foley studio space, alongside state-of-the-art film studios and green screen. Our Equipment Resource Centre is comprehensively stocked with a wide range of professional sound design apparatus and extensive support equipment. Our professional post-production editing facilities utilise current professional software packages including Adobe Creative Suite (Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop), Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer and ProTools.

We have a team of enthusiastic and highly experienced lecturers and technicians, and we offer a visiting lecturer programme of internationally recognised experts from diverse sound art, film and media contexts, including writers, production designers, cinematographers, producers and editors from TV and film.
 

Facilities at the college include:

Animation, Film and Photography Studios

Our students make full use of our industry-standard dedicated studio spaces – including our infinity cove, green screen, and specialist sound studio (with Foley pit and vocal recording booth) – plus our stop-motion suite, our darkrooms, and plenty of individual edit suites, all up-to-date with the latest industry-standard software.

Drawing Studios

With north-facing windows, a ‘methods and process’ area, individual studio space and a specialist life-drawing studio, our impressive, open-plan, triple-height Drawing Studio is a huge space, perfect for many different activities and specialisms.

Fab Lab

Our ‘fabrication laboratory’ is kitted-out with the latest in digital design technologies – from 3D printers to 3D scanners, a vinyl cutter, CNC milling machine, CNC router and laser cutter. It adds a whole new level of opportunity for students across all creative walks of life.

Fine Art Printmaking Studios

A fantastic facility supporting fine art printmaking, our dedicated space caters for a wide range of programmes and processes. You’ll get access to a 150-year-old Columbian press, an Albion press, an historic and rare wallpaper press, and an automatic FAG proofing press, plus a broad selection of metal and wood type, vacuum screen-printing beds, and four etching presses.

Create your own film poster in our fully-equipped printmaking studios.

Jewellery Design Studio

Housed in our fantastic new Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops, this stunning space provides everything for contemporary and traditional techniques in jewellery design, including benches supplied with gas and oxygen, in-house metal casting resources, hand and machine-forming tools, facilities for vitreous enamelling, and a separate chemical room for etching, anodising and patternation. We also have larger metalwork equipment for welding, brazing, cutting and grinding.

Digital Print Bureau and Equipment Resource Centre

Our Digital Print Bureau offers affordable and quick print services for all our students who are looking for anything from large-format or solvent printing, to photo printing, scanning or vinyl cutting, and a wide range of finishing services. Our highly experienced Equipment Resource Centre staff can advise you on which of our 6,000 pieces of industry-standard kit – from underwater cameras to traditional large format cameras and all free to hire – will best meet your needs.

Textile Studios

With views out to sea and 35 metres of print tables to encourage experimentation, our Printed Textile Design Studios also boast a fantastic Mimaki fabric printer, digital embroidery resources, industrial sewing machines, sublimation printers, a dye lab, heat presses, a tufting gun and a Mac suite. It’s got to be one of the best printed textile workshops in the UK.

Woods and Plastics Workshop

Alongside the latest in new technology, we value the long-standing traditions of making in wood and plastics – and have developed an excellently-resourced workshop that is open to all our students. It boasts a wide range of kit, including an impressive CNC router, plenty of saws and lathes, and strip-heaters, as well as greenwood-working facilities.

Our FabLab.

Our Photographic cove.

BA (Hons) Sound Arts — Interview

Launching Sept 2021
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