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The Fine Art program is designed to ensure that each student is able to gain basic knowledge across a range of fine art disciplines, encountering ongoing studio-based experience. The art history and theory courses introduce students to current fine art theory and research methods. Thus, students are allowed to develop their own expression within an art-making context and gain critical skills in examining and interpreting contemporary and historical art.
In the studio program, students will engage in the myriad forms of two- and three-dimensional art, as well as photomedia. Study within these fields may lead to ongoing work and study in the arts, including work as a practicing artist or craftsperson. Graduates are multi-skilled and may also gain employment in arts-related organisations like galleries and museums, art schools and colleges, design studios and community arts organisations. Skills in digital imaging may lead to a range of occupations in commercial art fields such as web design, film/video production, graphic design and the medial. Art has also become of interest in health settings, especially in counselling. Further experience or study may be required to enter into specialist fields, such as that of artists, curators, teachers and therapists.
Direct experience is gained practicing art within the studio courses. Students have the opportunity to participate in the activities of the autonomous student exhibition venue, Watt Space. An elective course is also available, allowing students to practice in a professional studio of a practicing artist or approach external bodies such as private and public galleries to gain experience in curatorial practice.
View examples of students' work on the online gallery.
For more information about Fine Art, visit the School of Drama, Fine Art and Music site.
Further Study Options
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of Honours, Research Higher Degrees (RHD), Postgraduate Coursework programs and additional study options available. These options may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the future options following a degree in Fine Art include:
Honours: Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours)
Masters by Research
As the global job sector can be competitive, it is of great advantage to complete a postgraduate qualification, particularly by independent research (such as Masters by Research, or PhD). See examples of research areas within this discipline here.
After completing a degree there are a broad range of postgraduate options available in a variety of fields which can allow you to specialise in a particular area of interest or build upon your existing knowledge base. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook at http://www.newcastle.edu.au/campaigns/postgrad/.
Not everyone uses their degree in the same way and the transferable skills gained through university study may allow graduates to pursue a range of careers that might not be directly linked to their study. Below is a sample list of job titles that might be suitable for graduates with the skills gained upon completion of the Bachelor of Fine Art.
Some of these jobs will depend upon the amount and level of study undertaken, level of experience, and the combination of other majors and electives studied, for example some may require further study.
- Aboriginal Cultural Educational Officer
- Community Project Officer
- Cultural Development Officer
- Education Officer
- Events Manager
- Exhibitions Officer
- Film/Television Production Assistant
- Graduate Programs - Public and Private Sectors
- International Aid/Development Worker
- Lighting Designer
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Many Fine Art graduates set up their own creative businesses, seek funding from arts grants, scholarships and fellowships, or juggle several casual or part time jobs to sustain their art making. Furthermore, non-art related roles may lead to roles in a variety of small, medim or large organisations.
The jobs within the larger organisations listed below will depend on the amount and level of study undertaken, level of experience, the combination of other majors and electives studied, while some may require further study.
- Artists in School (NSW Department of Education and Communities) (Australia)
- Regional Galleries - Australia (Australia)
- Commercial Galleries Australia (Australia)
- Fairfax Media (Australia)
- Mission Australia (Australia)
- Museum of Contemporary Art (Australia)
- National Archives of Australia (Australia)
- National Museum of Australia (Australia)
- NSW Department of Education (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
- Arts Law Centre of Australia Online (Australia)
- Arts NSW (Australia)
- The Australian Ceramics Association (Australia)
- Australian Commercial Galleries Association (Australia)
- Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (Australia)
- Australian Photographic Society (Australia)
- Australian Print Workshop (Australia)
- Collections Australia Network (Australia)
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Sample Job Ads and Tips for Applying
Bachelor of Fine Arts graduates will have the skills, abilities and knowledge sought after by a broad range of employers. On completion of the degree, graduates can expect to have developed:
- The ability to create; produce artwork to a professional standard in a variety of contexts.
- The ability to problem-solve and have critical insights within the relevant artistic situation.
- The ability to act independently and/or competently curate exhibitions and art events.
- The capacity to converse effectively in a variety of fine art contexts using a range of communication strategies and technologies.
- The ability to demonstrate a critical and scholarly appreciation of fine art and its many aesthetics from an historical and socio-cultural perspective.
- The ability to liaise and operate within the art organisations and industry.
- The ability to act as an advocate for art communities and professional bodies.