PC 1.2 Professional Context Unit Overview

Unit Descriptor
Unit Title Professional Context
Unit Code MA 1.2
Location N/A
Level & Credit M 15 credits
When taught Year 1
Duration One year P/T
Learning hours 150 hours
Date first approved 01/07/10
Date of this version 10/11/10

Content and Syllabus

The aim of this unit is to enable you to consider your work and its presentation within a wider context and to understand how to position your work within the art world today. You will develop your understanding of current professional practice through study of the creative industries and consideration of relevant theories around professionalism, contemporary artistic practice and cultural and political landscapes.

You are required to critically reflect upon and question the processes inherent within your work, and considerations around placing work into the public domain. In so doing, you are required to think about the reading of and concepts relevant to your work and to what might constitute a professional practice.

You will be encouraged to seek opportunities for exposition and to explore how your work might develop within the different possibilities available to you, considering both historical and contemporary practices, as well as the practice of your peers.

You will evaluate influences on the profession and develop skills for the next stage of your career, articulating and evaluating your practice and developing a career plan that demonstrates an understanding of the positioning of your work and its progression.

You will undertake a critical evaluation of a creative practitioner or creative enterprise by completing an in-depth case study assignment. As part of this assignment you may opt to take on a placement and write this up, but this is not mandatory.

The syllabus will cover: Articulating practice, Contextual studies, Audience and public engagement, Navigating opportunities, Verbal, visual and written communication and Exposition.


The aims of the unit are to:

A1 recognise professionalism and the broad professional context within which creative  practitioners operate;

  • A2 evaluate the importance of external and internal professional practice influences gaining specific knowledge of a practitioner or context;
  • A3 support the initiation and development of a specialist personal practice plan


On completion of this Unit you will be able to:

LO1   conceptualise contemporary and emerging creative and professional practice;

LO2   implement advanced skills independently in the wider professional context

LO3   communicate effectively (in writing, orally and visually) to a specified audience including the use of ICT;

LO4   construct a sustainable programme of professional development

Teaching and Learning Methods

Teaching and Learning is through self-study with support from a tutor at a distance who will provide written and verbal feedback. You will be given unit materials, assigned a tutor, and learn through engagement with projects that lead up to assignments that consolidate learning undertaken in the unit. Tutors normally engage with you via phone and email and are sent work to review. You will work on a series of projects and reflect regularly on your work through keeping a learning log, as well as logging research findings and practical notes. You will be required to engage with your peers using OCA’s online forums.

This unit is delivered through a combination of seminars, tutorials, tutor/guest lectures and handouts with required reading material. Examples of current practice will be shown and discussed, illustrating the range of possibilities for display and dissemination of your work.


You are required to complete all of the following for assessment. An essay of 1500 to 2000 words on a subject relating to the unit as agreed with your unit tutor. A study of a creative practitioner or creative enterprise, to include visual and written material. A detailed plan and strategy for career development.  Notebooks, sketchbooks and research journals. Studio practice portfolio including evidence and documentation of exposition


You will be assessed on your;

Knowledge of contexts, concepts, and methods specifically knowledge and understanding of the nature and structure of the Creative Industries sector and your place within it (LO1).

Understanding through the application of knowledge, specifically your knowledge of the Creative Industries and presentation of a coherent strategy for career development (LO2).

Application of professional skills, specifically presentation and communication of the aims of your programme of work and its relevance to its intended audience (LO3).

Self management, independent learning and demonstration of use of transferable process (LO4)


Key Texts
Eraut, M.(1994) Developing Professional Knowledge and Competence Routledge

Thornton S, (2009) Seven Days in the Art World, Granta

Suggested Reading:
Breddles L, Braak L, van Teeseling S (2010), 6(0) Ways, Artistic Practice in Culturally Diverse Times, NAI Publishers

Buck, L (2007) Moving Targets 2: A User’s Guide to British Art Now, Tate

Frank, T and Waugh, M (2005) We Love You: On Audiences, Revolver

Obrist, H (2008) A Brief History of Curating (Documents), JRP Ringier

Rose, G (2001) Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to the Interpretation of Visual Materials, Sage

Thompson, D (2008) The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art, Aurum Press

Ward, O (2007) The Artists’ Yearbook 2008/9, Thames & Hudson, London

Web references
Unit Descriptor

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