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Professional Objectives / Competencies

Graduation project 'Place to be' | Sanja Marusic, Bachelor Photography 2013, Nominee Department Award

Image: Graduation project 'Place to be' | Sanja Marusic, Bachelor Photography 2013, Nominee Department Award

Propaedeutic year

Exploration and visual development

Full-time / part-time: Semesters 1 and 2

The propaedeutic year concludes with an examination during which students are assessed according to their suitability for the discipline. Students present and substantiate their work and demonstrate its accents. The work prepared for theory courses is part of the examination. Other factors considered include the students’ study attitude, and particularly their commitment and level of independence in the work process. The vision and depth that students have demonstrated in both the process and the ultimate outcome are important in passing the exam, as well as for the selection of their specialisations. Students must be deemed capable of completing the programme within the specified period and subsequently working as independent photographers.

The following objectives are intended to ensure that students:

  • learn to study and organise the work and design process, including the acquisition of knowledge, understanding and skills related to the employment of substantive and formal visual means, and to apply the acquired knowledge, understanding and skills in order to improve assignments
  • develop an inquisitive, examining and self-critical attitude, taking initiative regarding the work, verbal and written communication skills and demonstrating reflective and analytical ability
  • acquire theoretical knowledge and insight regarding the study content of the project
  • acquire technical skills related to photographic tools and techniques, as well as 2D tools and techniques (e.g. drawing, painting and graphic techniques)
  • gain insight into the desired professional field (i.e. editorial, commercial or otherwise)

Competencies for the propaedeutic year

Students are expected to master the following competencies during this phase of the programme:

  • Students create work that explores new directions arising from the experiences and insights gained throughout the programme. 
  • Students are able to discuss their own work and review its effectiveness and quality. 
  • Students are willing to make new discoveries and able acquire new knowledge, insights and skills regarding visual and theoretical aspects, as well as in the photographic field.
  • Students are able to develop and implement their own working processes and to document and archive their work. 
  • Students are able to justify their choices to use and implement certain sources, materials and/or visual solutions. 
  • Students demonstrate broad interest in sociological and cultural developments, in addition to recognising different approaches in photography. 
  • Students are able to realise their own goals while adjusting to others. 
  • Students are able to substantiate their choice of specialisation.

Artistic technical domain

The development of a photographer/ image maker commences at the start of the programme. A professional photographer is not simply someone who takes pictures. Professional photographers share many characteristics with other visual artists. The general visual development of students therefore takes first priority in the curriculum. Attention is also paid to specific visual aspects related to the medium. The focal point is the work process, with the goal of developing concepts. The development of digital skills is the same importance as is the development of skills with regard to photographic tools and techniques.

Theoretical domain

In the propaedeutic year, all students are taught general art and cultural history and academic skills. Students also participate in a programme covering the history of and reflection on art and photography, thus acquiring an extensive frame of reference. They visit exhibitions and museums throughout the year, where they analyse and reflect on the work of others, both verbally and in writing. Debating skills on various topics are developed in the Career Orientation course. Students are expected to write reports in various courses.

Professional social domain

Professional development takes place throughout the year, primarily through self-study. Students are required to visit exhibitions on their own, creating and maintaining a personal archive of reviews, book reviews and general information relating to the profession. In the Career Orientation module, these activities are related to the attitudes needed in order to work in the field and to meet to the demands of the discipline. At least two project weeks each year are reserved for investigating the professional field. During one of these weeks, students visit photographers, editors, agencies and bureaus. In the other project week, students engage in fieldwork or visit a photo festival. Within the Academy, guest lectures are organised regularly, in relation to current events in the field. Students are encouraged to participate in lectures and workshops in the field.


Main Phase/Year 2

Proficiency and in-depth research

Full-time/Part-time: Semesters 3 and 4

The primary objective of the first part of the main phase is to provide students with a clear understanding of the field and the professional practice within the specialisation of Documentary or Fiction. To this end, the programme is expanded in both breadth and depth. At the end of the academic year, students are expected to apply their full professional competence to the creative process, demonstrating a command of the actual profession as well as of their own professional attitudes. The execution of assignments is therefore assessed according to the requirements of the field.

Competencies for Year 2

Students are expected to master the following competencies during this phase of the programme:

  • Students are able to research and develop their own ideas in a methodical and well-organised manner, drawing upon their artistic ambitions as photographers. 
  • Students are able to evaluate their own images and those of others with regard to content and to visual and communicative qualities, in addition to justifying their own photographic choices. 
  • Students know how to apply research in order to acquire new knowledge, skills and insights, using the criticism from others to continue developing their own work. 
  • Students employ an inspiring way of working, managing their working processes efficiently in terms of time and priorities.
  • Students are able to interpret assignments, debriefing them verbally and visually for specific goals and target groups. 
  • Students research social and cultural sources in order to develop and identify a clear set of inquiries in their own work; they are able to identify the goal and audience for their photography. 
  • Students are able to engage in collaborations, putting their talents to use within them.

Artistic technical domain

In the second year, the focal point of general visual development shifts to the replication and interpretation of methods. Students gain insight into the coherence of content and form by learning to control the creative process. Concept development is examined in several different courses in order to create understanding of the working methods (e.g. by analysing assignments, conducting substantive research, developing ideas and developing and implementing images). Students also have the opportunity to broaden their work areas with elective courses in Audio Visual Media and Interactive Media Design, which support research into the possibilities of the artistic process.

Theoretical domain

Art/Photography History and Reflection are taught throughout the year. In addition to the fixed course content, students are encouraged to extend the framework on their own by conducting research related to the practical course and/or projects. The building of a personal file is indispensable in this research process. Students are also asked to substantiate their opinions. Assessment is based on debates, an examination and a paper. In the courses Film Theory and Media Theory, which are chosen in conjunction with the electives Audio Visual Media and Interactive Media Design, the frame of reference is widened and compared to that of photography.

Professional social domain

Assignments in the curriculum proceed from the demands of functioning in and influencing the profession (i.e. the professional field), which also constitute guidelines for assessment. The criteria are specified according to the working methods used in the field. In addition, practical courses in the specialisations are supported by courses in communications and sociology, which focus on the start of the assignment, objectives, target audience and its consequences.


Main Phase/Year 3

Professionalisation and presentation

Full-time/Part-time: Semesters 5 and 6

The entire year is dedicated to career preparation. Students must now demonstrate their ability to meet the requirement of making unique contributions to the field, in addition to meeting the standards of the outside world. The objectives of this study year are for students to exhibit their own work and function within the professional field outside the academy. Over the course of the year, the internship is completed, after which the written professional profile is assessed and adjusted. The written report, with conclusions about the internship period, provides the starting point for the final year, in which students are expected to bring this final phase to a successful conclusion. At the end of the third year, the course reviews and collective assessment are merged into a single comprehensive assessment.

Competencies for Year 3

Students are expected to master the following competencies during this phase of the programme:

  • Students are able to formulate ideas and define their goals, in addition to engaging in research in order to develop and implement their visual concepts. 
  • Students are able to adopt a position and relate their own work to developments within the discipline that are relevant to the cultural and societal context. 
  • Students have developed an authentic vision on photography, to which they are able to add depth. 
  • Students are able to find the proper balance between their journalistic and market-oriented activities and those of a more logistical, general and technical nature.
  • Students are able to present and explain their work and working methods convincingly, while keeping their goals and the target group clearly in view. 
  • Students are able to make connections between their own work and that of others, as well as between their work and particular audiences. They are also capable of using their work to react appropriately to their target audiences.
  • Students are able to operate in a goaloriented manner within working situations, taking different roles and with different responsibilities and interests, in addition to applying their individual talents to reach common goals.

Artistic technical domain

Students explore the medium and determine their own positions. Attention centres on the students’ individual projects and the distinguishing features of the execution of assignments. Authorship is evident in the breadth of the work and portfolio. Students demonstrate their ability to use the contexts and settings in which the creative work can manifest itself (e.g. exhibitions; magazines, books and other print media; interactively and on the web). Concept development is specifically aimed at the outside world. Whether working on job assignments or on individual projects, students are expected to demonstrate awareness of the outside world and the ability to take advantage of such insight.

Theoretical domain

In the course of the year, the student’s theoretical knowledge expands further. The history of and reflection on art and photography are specifically applied to further development in the critical review of the medium in relation to the students’ individual positions in the field. The visual art and cultural world continue to play an important role in this regard, and the courses in communication and sociology help students to determine their positions. Students are assessed according to debates, oral presentations and a written paper.

Professional social domain

Throughout the entire year, the curriculum is guided by the professional social domain. The outside world is brought into the Academy through assignments based on professional assignments. Students present work in professional settings, and they are assessed accordingly. The assembling of a portfolio is of great importance in preparation for the internship which offers students the opportunity to experience working in a professional environment. In addition, the completed assignments and projects are assessed according to project proposals and plans, budgets, funding and the ability to meet deadlines.


Main Phase + final phase

Profiling and positioning

Full-time/Part-time: Semesters 7 and 8

In the final phase, students prove their abilities by applying their professional skills to position themselves within the field. In this way, they demonstrate their views on the photographic visual language, in addition to their ability to provide an artistic interpretation of the work and to manifest themselves in such a way that they acquire a starting position within their chosen fields while influencing these fields as well. The examination project is presented in a professional manner, including descriptions, budget and funding. Students must also create support for their examination projects outside the Academy by publishing at least one part of the work or by finding a commissioning party or sponsors for their projects. Work on the examination is performed throughout the entire year. The competencies for the final phase correspond to the final qualifications of the programme.

Creative ability

  • Students are able to develop, implement and contextualise distinctive imagery in a meaningful way, drawing on their artistic ambitions and the results of their research. 
  • Students form their points of departure based on their personal artistic visions, placing them in a broader cultural and social perspective. 
  • Students use artistic and technical problems to develop comprehensive solutions, and they demonstrate their ability to use knowledge of and insight into the ways in which images, shapes, materials, proportions and colours evoke experiences and transfer meanings. Students also find relevant resources with which to photograph in an effective manner.
  • Students employ methods that question the concept (and/or process) on several occasions, and they use these findings to arrive at a better design
  • In their work, students demonstrate their ability to transfer meanings and cause experiences.

Capacity for critical reflection

  • Students are able to reflect on, analyse, interpret and judge their own work and that of others, thinking through the results in order to implement them positively in their own work.
  • Students evaluate results based on communicative effectiveness and artistic value, justifying and overseeing the implications of choices and decisions. 
  • Students demonstrate awareness of different views existing within the field. 
  • Students demonstrate the ability to investigate all matters that are important for a design.
  • Students extend their knowledge of traditions and theories related to the discipline and of various visions on and approaches to their chosen professions based on both historical and contemporary philosophical insights (especially ethics and aesthetics) that are of potential importance to photographers. 

Capacity for growth and innovation

  • Students are able to develop the depth and breadth of their visions, work and working methods through a continuing process of research, thereby contributing to the discipline and to society. 
  • Students demonstrate a desire to develop their personal artistic visions further. 
  • Students demonstrate the ambition to excel.
  • Students demonstrate a critical and inquiring attitude regarding their work. Each student is able to develop this further into a body of work and an individual position.
  • Students are able to acquire new knowledge, insights and skills concerning techniques, legislation, processing and application possibilities, as well as public and professional approaches. 
  • Students use criticism from others as a source of further development

Organisational ability

  • Students are able to arrange inspiring and functional working situations and organise their research, work and practice. 
  • Students develop their own work processes, and they are capable of seeing how various aspects of the medium are interconnected within the discipline. 
  • Students make business arrangements, with the ultimate goal of working independently as photographers. ++      Students are capable of managing the work process and finding a balance between substantive research, photography, logistics, facilitating and public activities.
  • Students know how to locate possible expertise through colleagues or specialists from other disciplines and how to collaborate with them.
  • Students know how to document and archive their work. 

Communicative ability

  • Students are able to present their visions, research and work convincingly, engaging in dialogue about it with clients and other interested parties.
  • Students are capable of obtaining and interpreting job assignments. 
  • Students demonstrate the ambition to publish and exhibit their work and proclaim their own opinions. 
  • Students have an overview of the market and the mass media. 
  • Students are capable of finding support for their work.
  • Students communicate about their work orally, visually and in writing. 
  • Students make and maintain contacts that are relevant to their own networks. 

External awareness

  • Students are capable of relating their authorship to the artistic and societal context. 
  • Students have a vision on the role and position of their discipline, and they are able to relate their work and convictions to those of others, as well as to developments in the cultural and social contexts.
  • In their work, students focus on the user and acquire knowledge necessary to adapt appropriately to particular groups of users. 
  • Students are able to research all aspects relevant to their work. 
  • Students study the work and visions of their peers, both nationally and internationally. 
  • Students place their own work in the perspective of traditions and theories related to the field.
  • Students recognise a wide range of views in relation to the profession of photographer from both the historical and the contemporary perspective.
  • Students are inspired by a range of cultural and social sources, and they are able to recognise and identify them in their own work.
  • Students reflect on the function of the discipline in society. 

Capacity for collaboration

  • Students are capable of making independent artistic contributions to communal products or processes. 
  • Students are capable of guiding collaborative efforts and providing content and quality. 
  • Students are able to achieve their goals while working with others. 
  • Students are capable of utilising their talents and abilities in collaborative efforts. 
  • Students are able to employ different roles, responsibilities and interests effectively and respectfully in the process of photographing. 

Artistic technical domain

After having engaged in extensive exploration of the professional field, students use the final phase to sharpen and specify their own visual signatures, proceeding from specialisation and profiling within the medium. Students consciously strive to locate the boundaries of the discipline, moving beyond them if possible. This is particularly important with regard to the presentation of their work. The experience of the work plays an important role in the development of the communication concepts.

Theoretical domain

The thesis is the culmination of the research conducted for the practical work. In the thesis, students establish their work and their position as makers within the broader context of the discipline. In the thesis, students demonstrate their ability to engage both the historical and current situations of the medium, in addition to the situation of culture in general. The determination of standpoints is crucial in this regard.

Professional social domain

The activities of the examination are placed in the context of professional practice and developed further. This means that special attention is paid to all matters related to the entrepreneurship of the photographer. One part of the examination includes a project in which students demonstrate their ability to place the work in the context of the discipline. In addition to the examination projects, students are expected to write business plans and generate publicity for their examination projects.

The content of the final stage of the part-time programme corresponds to that of the full-time programme. The projects are adapted to fit into three semesters. The objectives associated with the final phase of the programme are the same as the final qualifications and the associated competencies.


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Last updated: 2016-04-29


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