Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2012-2013 (archived)

Module EDUC3311: The Work of Art: Professional Skills and Work Placement in the Visual Arts

Department: Education

EDUC3311: The Work of Art: Professional Skills and Work Placement in the Visual Arts

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2012/13 Module Cap 30 Location Durham


  • Students must have taken at least two of the following modules: EDUC 1101; EDUC 1441; EDUC 2331; EDUC 2371 if not taken as a co-requisite


  • Either EDUC 2331; EDUC 2371; EDUC 3261; EDUC 3301 or EDUC 3302

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Non


  • to enhance students' transferable, intellectual and practical skills
  • to provide students with meaningful work experience in the field
  • to enhance students' employability potential through problem-based learning and the use of I.T.


  • 'The Work of Art' is in two parts. The first part of the module involves a series of workshops with staff at the Oriental Museum in Durham. Students will handle and interrogate museum objects while developing their understanding of their safety and wellbeing. The second part of the module wil provide valuable work experience in a museum or gallery. The Department has developed close links with a number of institutions including the Oriental Museum, Durham World Heritage Site, MIMA, BALTIC, the Hatton Gallery and the Globe gallery in Newcastle, who have agreed, in principle, to take students on this programme. Students will engage in a project-based work placement, where they can explore a possible career, while meeting professional practitioners and developing skills and acquiring experience. Tutors will guide students towards their Pacement and the project will be agreed between the host institution, the student and the programme co-ordinator. Projects may involve archival, curatorial, presentation, learning, educational work as well as arts administration experience. Considerable emphasis will be placed on practical skills. A short contract will be required for each Placement, and the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre has suggested that the Placement Agreement drawn up by the University will be adequate for our purposes.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Fluency in using subject specific-terminology
  • Understanding of the relationship between theory and practice
  • Knowledge of the work of specific arts professionals
  • Familiarity with the environment that shapes professional practice in the field
  • Understanding the importance of insurance, security, conservation, advertising/publicity & public relations
  • Detailed knowledge of Health and Safety issues in the field
  • Awareness of how skills relate to job opportunities
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students should be able to:
  • Undertake a practical project in the field
  • Develop analytical and problem solving responses
  • Think critically about the culture of display
  • Gain experience in the correct handling of art objects
  • Support ideas with appropriate use of exposition and activity
  • Negotiate and assess a variety of theoretical and practical approaches
Key Skills:
  • Use relevant professional terminology
  • Enhance written and verbal communication skills
  • Develop listening skills
  • Develop practical museum/gallery skills
  • Practise problem solving skills
  • Promote skillls effectively to prospective employers
  • Develop a sense of personal responsibility

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module is taught through a series of workshops in which practical and professional skills are developed. The curriculum is developed through group-work activities in which the students examine themes and issues . The classes use a variety of teaching materials: practical exercises, digital projection, web-based resources, Discussion Board and Directed Study. The Work Placement is supervised, but students will be required to work independently for the most part.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshops 2 weekly 2 hours 4
Tutorials 6 monthly 1 hour 6
Preparation and Reading 30
Work placement 1 4 weeks 160
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Portfolio Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Reflective journal 70%
C.V. 20%
Short report from host institution 10%

Formative Assessment:

i) Informal formative assessment regarding practical handling skills is offered in the context of the two preliminary workshops operated at the Oriental Museum. ii) Tutorials provide opportunities for informal assessment and feedback on progress as the placement evolves. iii) Tutorial sessions provide opportunities for discussion of plans for project / summative assessment iv) Informal formative assessment will be offered by host-institution staff involved with the placement.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University