Foundation – About the course

To nurture and encourage individual’s  creativity – through the freedom of experimentation of their personal experiences, expression and voice. 

The University of Bolton dates back to 1825, with a long and distinguished history of providing quality education. Ranked 11th for student satisfaction in the North West 2021 (Complete University Guide), its modern friendly campus, near the centre of Bolton is home to 6,000 students. Many undergraduate courses are professionally accredited, and with learning provided in modern, industry-standard facilities, they offer the perfect springboard into employment.

Please visit our 360 recording of our Art Foundation Degree Show 2022 Click here


2. Guest lectures with industry professionals

3. 4th in the UK for teaching quality 

4. 11th in the UK for student satisfaction 

Our experienced Art and Design staff will help you explore and develop your creative potential before you choose to specialise in one or two disciplines:

Fine art, photography, graphic design, animation, illustration, fashion, textiles and surface design, Media and Special Make up Effects for film and TV. With purpose-built facilities, our exceptional learning environment supports your development as a multi-skilled practitioner and offers you a distinctive and unique combination of specialisms and modules. The BA (Hons) in Art and Design with foundation year offers you the opportunity to develop a personalised study programme based on your learning needs and expectations.

Starting with foundation studies that offer a structured introduction to a wide range of materials, processes and techniques, we’ll support you as you develop your own line of visual enquiry, explore different areas of art and design, and develop a sound portfolio of creative work. 

Module Options

Specialist Project (40 credits) – Core

In this module, you will undertake a project in line with your progression to the next stage of your programme. You will extend your understanding and abilities within your chosen specialist area(s). Workshop sessions will introduce you to a broader range of techniques and processes, which will inform the development and realisation of your specialist project. The module will introduce you to project management skills, including the setting of project aims, objectives and milestones. The module culminates in an open exhibition, allowing you to prepare and showcase your final outcomes in line with industry expectations. Graduate Attributes: Resilient, Problem Solver, Collaborative, Lifelong Learning.

Preparation and Progression (20 credits) – Core

Building on the knowledge gained, you will explore and develop technical skills within a more focused context with greater emphasis upon research, experimentation, analysis and evaluation within two specialist areas of Art and Design and/or Media. Workshops at this stage will develop your own personal methodology enabling you to work with an increased level of creativity and independence. The evolution of a portfolio of artwork and written proposal is an essential feature of this stage. This module also serves as a precursor to your final project and will provide you with an opportunity to enter a more personal interrogation and diagnosis to identify ambitions within a specific field. In doing so, you will begin to develop the requisite professional skills necessary for progression within your chosen specialist practice. Graduate Attributes: Collaborative, Lifelong Learning.

Creative Responses (40 credits) – Core

This module will develop practical and drawing skills, technical files, sketchbooks and a portfolio of art, design and media work that reflects your personal strengths, through short process led projects in specialist areas: Textiles/Fashion, Fine Art/2D & 3D, Visual Communication : Graphics/Animation and Illustration; Media/ Photography. You will develop an awareness of the importance of drawing in the creative process with the need to experiment with a variety of media. It is characterised by breadth of research, recording and observation of information, and focus on the building of skills and personal response. This will include the creative use of colour, drawing and sketching, sketchbook development, 2D Design, and 3D Design. When working with different media, you will gain knowledge of how to use specialist workshops and should learn about relevant health and safety procedures. You will also learn about technical information on media, techniques and processes. Graduate Attributes: Problem Solver, Effective Communicator, Adaptable, Confident.

Information and Interpretation (20 credits) – Core

This module will develop your understanding of the key concepts which influence the creative intentions and practices of contemporary artists and designers. It will also encourage an awareness of global, social and political references which impact upon and can affect developments in areas of art and design and/or media practice. It will give you skills and knowledge which you can apply, and further develop, during the practical element of the programme. You will be introduced to the research process and will develop essential study and academic skills to help you be able to manage your assignments. You will learn how to communicate your ideas effectively, through reflection and evaluation, a process of learning which generates knowledge specific to oneself and is a form of evidence upon which to analyse and change one?s practice. You will be introduced to relevant software applications and essential ICT skills. Graduate Attributes: Effective Communicator, Global Citizen.

A Year in View

The BA (Hons) Art and Design with Foundation has seen yet another year of exciting events for its students. This year’s cohort have had experience a blended learning experience, with both on campus and online learning.

Projects have included:

Form Storming 
Zoom Portraits

Archive Textiles Project Peel Pattern Book Bolton Museum 

Photograms in the darkroom
Painting with light


Studio Photographs

Research Project_ The History of art, design & media – Looking at the history of art, design and media  over 150 years 

Sam Owen Hull 

Sam Owen Hull is a contemporary artist working in Manchester.

Her work is an intuitive response to her world view and the increasing polarisation of society, examining the edges where opposing ideas meet. She uses the areas between surface and space, working at the intersection of painting and sculpture, fine art and craft. The speed of gestural painterly marks contrast with the slow precision of hand embroidery.

The construction of her work reflects the contradictions of our needs and desires from a macro to micro level – our incessant construction of borders and systems against a desire for freedom. Our contradictory relationship with nature. Presence and absence. Growth and decay.  She is particularly interested in the edges where the urban meets the natural. Shifting colour and light are brought into the surfaces she constructs by the use of matte, satin and metallic thread. 

Warren Craghead – 

Warrens work explores the absurd idea of how to be everywhere; It insists that art can be accessible, cryptic, and beautiful all at the same time. My drawings, collages, paintings, book and mail art are inspired by my experience in the ordinary world. They contain spontaneous “without thinking” narratives that process and encode everyday life and the written word into discrete, pictographic, nonlinear stories that can be encountered everywhere: a sticker on a pole, a booklet in a newspaper, a postcard in the mail, an image on a website, a collage in a gallery.

In my process, I mix and transpose images and words, pictures and poetry, constantly sketching as a way of mapping what happens to me in a given day. Cubist and cartoony collage elements or texts from poets or myself are translated into multi-valent diagrams, whose glyphs, sentence fragments, and miniature imagery beg to be deciphered. I make numerous series of small drawings and arrange them sequentially, placing them in literary journals, comics magazines, or self-published books that I sell or give away on the web.

I also am interested in the idea of 3D drawing, folding, cutting, and gluing to build origami books or free-standing paper sculptures, as well as unconventional art modes, such as mailing out thousands of small drawings on found postcards. In all my work there are additional levels of translation and evolution, where past pieces are scanned and digitally remixed into new web-based or filmic works.

In the end, I am fascinated by the notion of a “seed toss:” by the cycle of exchange between artist, object, and the person who holds a small strange book in their hand.

Frank Santoro

Pittsburgh-based comic artist Frank Santoro is best known for the successful comic books ‘Storeyville’ (2007) and ‘Cold Heat’ with Ben Jones (2006). Santoro’s other comics include ‘Chimera’ (2005) and ‘Incanto’ (2006), all characterized by the artist’s sketchy style, visionary colors and evocative sense of place. Santoro is also a writer about comics for Comics Comics, the site and occasional print magazine he runs with Dan Nadel and Tim Hodler.

Micah Purnell

Award winning freelance artist, designer, curator and author, with a taste for Norwegian sweaters. I’m based in Manchester city centre, England. 

In all my projects I use Design Thinking to find new ways to create “AHHH” moments. These always bring positive, memorable experiences.

Laura Slater

Printed objects for the every day.

Informed by the interaction of colour and shape, our design focuses on the translation of drawing and surface through hand printed processes.

Our specific interests lie in engagement with pattern and it’s ability to connect us to the environments and objects we surround ourselves with. This is explored through approaches to drawing, image making, process, materials and product.

Established in 2007 since graduating from the Royal College of Art Laura Slater’s design studio and print workshop is based in West Yorkshire.

Liss Cooke

As an experienced Embroidery & Embellishment designer, I have a demonstrated history of working in the design industry; managing embroidery design departments for luxury fashion brands & swatch studios.

I have recently taken on an exciting role with Hand & Lock as their new Digital Embroidery Production Coordinator! In this role, I hope to transform the machine department to become a multi faceted operation, offering large scale, highly complex and highly innovative digital embroidery designs. 

Skilled within textile design, I specialise in both digital machine embroidery, (Wilcom/ PE Design/ Ethos trained) and couture level hand embellishment & beading. My personal practice is highly process led, focusing on the creation of new embellishment techniques and unique embroideries using a wealth of materials from feathers to plastics and Swarovski crystals. I also love to use digital embroidery as a means to generate ‘components’ to create 3-dimensional appliqués. I love the concept of creating my own ‘sequins’ and pushing the boundaries of what a ‘sequin’ can be! 


Patricia Niland is a Commercial Photographer based in Liverpool, Merseyside and work across the UK, her photographic shoots are based around food and drink, interiors, portraits and product photography.  


I am a Commercial photographer based in Liverpool, Merseyside and working across the UK. I  shoot food and drink, interiors, portraits and products.

I grew up loving photography, as my father was an avid photography with his own darkroom.

Previously I worked in London for two decades for the large design agencies as a brand designer, where I  helped create the branding for many well known, blue chip brands, such as SEAT, Toyota, Tarmac, Corus and The Post Office. I still work as a brand consultant/graphic designer at Dune Design, where I nowcombine my passion for photography, with my vast branding experience, to help market and promote businesses.

I always aim to produce stunning photography, whether it be for a website, print, social media or a marketing campaign.

Get In Touch

Rachel Dawson

Drop By

University of Bolton, Deane Road, Bolton. BL3 5AB

+44 (0)1204 900600 

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