Contact a Humanities Office or Academic unit.
Find your course outlines.

ART 3FW3 Field Work:On-Site Exploring

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Carmela Laganse


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 430

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23926

Office Hours: Tues. 8:30-12:30

Course Objectives:


This course uses the local environment and resources to facilitate and explore the potential of place as it informs the production of site-based art practice.

Through a series of on and off-campus excursions, students will learn field research skills that support the creation of artworks. Site visits to diverse locations will incorporate the collection of multi-sensory data through sketching, note taking and other means to support the later creation finished works, as well as the production of finished artworks on location.

Assigned readings, independent research and class discussion will facilitate an understanding of contemporary issues in the practice and theory of on-site fieldwork for artists. Traditional and non-traditional methods will be explored, with a focus on drawing.

By the end of this course students will:

  • Develop and practice observation, drawing and descriptive skills
  • Develop an awareness and understanding of site- based art practice and associated methods of data collection and information
  • Develop a basic understanding of how to apply field research skills to an artistic practice


Course Expectations:

Students are expected to use Avenue to Learn to find information including: Project Outlines, deadline changes, general announcements, technical information etc. It is the student’s responsibility to check the A2L course site for this information.

Students taking this course will be expected to arrive on-time at the start of each class, and be sufficiently prepared to work on projects and participate in class activities. Each unexcused absence without proper medical documentation will be reflected in the evaluation.

Although a certain amount of time will be allotted for in-class project work, students will also be required to spend a minimum of 4 hours/week developing techniques and strategies introduced in the course, conducting independent research, completing assigned projects, and preparing for discussions and presentations.

The use of cellphones, text messaging, and/or social media sites during class time will not be tolerated.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:


A lab/studio fee of $75.00 must be paid to Sharon in the SOTA office as soon as possible. This studio fee will provide you with an access card to the studios as well as expendable materials needed for the course and studio facilities which can include paper specific to projects or materials to cumbersome for public transport , printing costs, primer etc. This studio fee subsidizes general costs related to the course. You are resposible for acquiring personal materials such as  brushes, drawing tools or materials specific to your individual projects.

Other tools and/ or materials you will need for class:

  • Sketchbook/file folder for idea generation, notes etc.
  • Basic studio tool box that should include: various drawing tools (pencils, graphite etc.)Tape, sissors, blades, exacto knives, coloured pencils, gum eraser, black or brown conté, pencil sharpener

All of your materials can be located and available at:

  • McMaster Bookstore
  • Curry’s
  • Mixed Media
  • Dollar store

Method of Assessment:


Your performance and evaluations will be based on the following:


In-class work, Due at the end of each class (total of 10 exercises), submitted to instructor in the Flex studio (TSH 104)

20%                 Assignment 1, Due: Sept. 20

                        Assignment 2, Due: Sept. 27

                        Assignment 3, Due: Oct. 4

                        Assignment 4, Due: Oct. 18

30%                 Final Project:  (15%)research, notes  (15%) work, Due: Dec. 6


Assignments are designed as frameworks for creative and technical investigation. These assignments will incorporate techniques and content learned and discussed in class. Students are encouraged to personalize, explore, and expand on the expressive and communicative potential of these skills.

All assignments, written components and the final project are to be submitted to instructor in the Flex studio (TSH 104) and the critique space (TSH 114) after the work has been presented. Studio work will be considered late and incomplete if not accompanied by required labeling and submitted in the student’s portfolio:

Students Name, 3FW3


Assignment name

*Please ensure that labeling is clear and legible. Labeling should be located on the back of the work, on the bottom right hand corner of the page.

Located on Avenue to Learn, each assignment and project will include a project description that will outline the educational objectives, considerations, expectations and deadlines.

Midterm progress grades will be submitted Oct. 18 and based on work evaluated to that date.


Each assignment has its own array of assessment criteria, and student performance will be evaluated in terms of:

  • Technical proficiency: how you demonstrate a command of technical skills to communicate visually
  • Conceptual development and focus: how you generate, put together and employ ideas/concepts which can be demonstrated through research and planning
  • Synthesis/presentation: how you bring all your skills together, how you choose to communicate your ideas/concepts and how you present and/or reflect these ideas. Synthesis also includes how you refine, resolve and choose to present your ideas/concept through visual language
  • Work ethic/ personal investment: how effectively you engage and work in your studio practice, using course content as a method of learning as well as a point of departure for creative exploration (includes experimentation and problem solving)


You will be expected to fully engage in all studio activity. This means arriving on time, and actively participating through the duration of the class. Participation requires the student’s attention and joining in discussion to provide constructive criticism for your peers. The success of the class is largely dependent on each student’s engagement with the course work, each other and our studio community.

You are expected to interact with each other collegially and with respect, mindful of how you will contribute to each other’s learning experience in a positive and challenging way. Because much of the course work is on various sites, you are expected to arrive to class on time and fully prepared. Failing to contribute positively to the group dynamic will impact your grade.

University grade scale or percent equivalences used to calculate final grades:

A+ = 90-100; A = 85-90; A- = 80-84; B+ = 77-79; B = 73-76; B- = 70-72; C+ = 67-69; C = 63-66; C- = 60-62; D+ =57-59; D = 53-56; D- = 50-52; F = 0-49

OUTSTANDING  (A+  = 90-100; A = 85-89; A- = 80-84) 

Work assessed at the A level consistently exceeds expectations and exhibits the following:
Conceptual rigour
Deep critical engagement
Complex, ambitious and prolific production
Meets deadlines with time for reflection before presentation
Advanced technical proficiency and risk taking 
Comprehensively researched responses linked to focused goals, personal interests and artistic vision
Independent and self-directed approaches
Highly professional presentations
Engagement with all aspects of the course (requires promptness and stellar attendance)

GOOD  (B+ = 77-79; B = 73-76; B- = 70-72) 

Work assessed at the B level consistently meets expectations and exhibits the following:
Good grasp of concepts
Evidence of developing critical skills
Meets deadlines
Technically sound demonstrating sensitivity to materials and their connection to ideas
Evolving research skills and good understanding of personal goals and interests
Some independence, self-motivation and risk taking evident
Satisfactory presentation
Engaged with most aspects of the course

ADEQUATE  (C+ = 67-69; C = 63-66; C- = 60-62) 

Work assessed at the C level fails to meet some expectations and exhibits some or all the following:
Inconsistent grasp of concepts
Little evidence of critical skills
Work is regularly late or presented in an undeveloped state
Struggling with technical skills and conservative approach to exploration and risk
Requires regular assistance to understand assignments
Unsatisfactory presentation (unprepared, late)
Minimal engagement with course (poor attendance, few contributions evident)

MARGINAL  (D+ = 57-59; D = 53-56; D- = 50-52) 

Work assessed at the D level consistently falls short of expectations and exhibits some or all of the following:
Significant struggle with concepts and objectives
No evidence of critical skills
Missed deadlines
Simplistic technical approach with little sensitivity to materials
Arbitrary or no research evidence
Unacceptable presentation (inappropriate or wastes the time of the group)
Unsatisfactory engagement with course

Work assessed at the F level fails to meet enough of the course requirements to obtain credit.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:


Assignments are designed as frameworks for creative investigation, and will incorporate the techniques and content learned and discussed in class. Students are encouraged to personalize, explore, and expand on the expressive and communicative potential of these skills.

A penalty of 5% per day will be deducted from assignments submitted late, or those not presented in the required format. You must make arrangements to submit late assignments with the instructor. Assignments will not be accepted after seven days without official documentation (see the MSAF section for details), and will receive a grade of zero. Studio work will be considered late and incomplete if not accompanied by required written work (i.e. project proposals, etc). Late studio and/or written work will not receive the benefit of detailed verbal/written feedback from the instructor or other members of the class.

Studio Art is a hands-on learning experience. Students who miss more than 3 classes or 25% of the course risk a failing grade due to the impact of this percentage on your ability to demonstrate your abilities during in-class activities.

Late submissions for in class assignments will not be accepted. 

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:


Readings, sources and links relevant to specific topics and projects will be provided on project outlines and/or Avenue to Learn.


Week/Day/ Date

Course Schedule: 3FW3 Field Work: On-Site Exploring  (Subject to Change)


Week 1 Sept. 13

  • Review of syllabus/ course (content, expectations, studio policy, evaluations etc)
  • Drawing review
  • Exercise, Assignment 1 due next class

Week 2

Sept. 20

  • Exercise
  • Assignment 2 due next class
  • Field Work:  Hamilton Aviary

Week 3

Sept. 27

  • Field work: TBA
  • Exercise
  • Assignment 3 due next class

Week 4

Oct. 4

  • Field work: Nuclear reactor
  • Exercise
  • Assignment 4 due next class

Week 5

Oct. 11


  • Midterm Break

Week 6

Oct. 18


  • Introduction of Final Projects
  • Lecture and exercise: Descriptive drawing
  • Midterm grades submitted

Week 7

Oct. 25

  • Lecture and exercise: On Site Mapping

Week 8

Nov. 1

  • Lecture and exercise: On Site Sound

Week 9


  • Lecture and exercise: On Site Visual Relationships

Week 10


  • Lecture and exercise: Taxonomy

Week 11


  • Taxonomy 2: McMaster Museum
  • Exercise


Week 12


  • Individual meetings/ in studio work
  • Exercise

Week 13


  • Presentation of final projects


Visiting Artist schedule Fall 2016




Sept.1- Dec. 3, 2016

McMaster Museum

Exhibition: Living, Building, Thinking: Art & Expressionism

Thurs. Sept. 15, 1:30pm


Visiting artist talk: Marlene Crates

Thurs. Sept. 22, 6:00-7:00pm

McMaster Museum

Curator’s Talk: Dr. Ihor Holubizsky, Living, Building, Thinking: Art & Expressionism

Wed. Sept. 28, 12:00-2:00 & 2:00- 4:00pm

McMaster Museum

Performance & Lecture: Mischa Kuball, Living, Building, Thinking: Art & Expressionism

Thurs. Oct. 6, 6:00-7:30pm

McMaster Museum

Artist talk: TH & B Collective, Artists’ Garden Project

Mon. & Tues. Oct. 17,18- 9:30-4:30

Sheridan College, Ceramic Dept.

Visiting artist workshop: Clint Neufeld

Thurs. Oct. 20, 1:30pm

TSH 114

Visiting artist talk: Clint Neufeld

Thurs. Nov. 2, 1:30pm

TSH 114

Visiting artist talk: Sam Shahsahabi

Thurs. Nov. 10, 6:00- 7:30pm

McMaster Museum

Guest Writier Talk: Robert Belton, UBC- Living, Building, Thinking: Art & Expressionism


Other Course Information:


Working in the studio:

Studios are accessible through access cards and are open from 7am -10pm, seven days a week.  Students are not permitted to work in the studios alone. Please arrange to work in the studio with a peer when working after hours.

Guests (people not enrolled in studio art courses) are not permitted in the studios unless proper permission and documentation is provided.

There is no food or drink permitted in the drawing studio. Please do not bring any chemicals or other materials into the studios with out the permission of the studio technologist or instructor.


University Lines – Ext. 88

Emergency Response

Fire, First Aid, Crimes in Progress
Personal Safety
Bomb Threats
Alarm Systems
Vehicle Accidents
Maintenance Emergencies (off hours)

905 522-4135 or

905 525-9140 Ext. 24281

Appointments must be made with the studio technologist in regards to consulting and/ or executing specific projects requiring the use of woodshop, print studios, metal and ceramics facilities. Please ensure appointments and arrangements are made well in advance of deadlines and critiques.

Incident reports:

If a student should have an accident in any of the studio, the incident, (no matter how minor) must be reported to a faculty member, or the studio technologist within 24 hours. If there is no faculty or technician available, and immediate attention is needed please call 88 for all emergencies. Do not hesitate to call 88 in any circumstance, please do not make medical judgments for yourself or others, let a medical professional make the assessment.

Note on Correspondence: The instructor will use Avenue to Learn as a communication forum for general  announcements, changes to the course schedule and relevent class news. For personal correspondence between instructor and student, you are required to use the McMaster email as listed above. Please do not communicate with instructor through the Avenue email.

Instructors emails are checked on weekdays only. Students will receive responses to relevant inquiries within 48 hours. A response not received within this timeframe indicates that the message was not received. It is the student’s responsibility to follow-up with subsequent attempts.