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ART 4AS6A Adv Studio Prod&Crit. Discours

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. John Ford


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 429A

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23931

Office Hours: Thursdays 12:30 - 1:30, or by appointment (please arrange appointment if possible)

Course Objectives:

This advanced course combines self-directed studio production with critical discourse, under the guidance of a team of studio faculty.  Open critique sessions attended by faculty, students, alumni, visiting artists, and community guests provide feedback.  A written thesis is required, connected to a cohesive body of work by end of Term 2, deadline to be announced in January.

Course Components: 

Critique sessions (see calendar for deadlines) must be attended each and every week in order to:

  • present your proposal orally (submit digital copy on line by midnight, Sept. 13, present in class Sept.15)
  • present your ongoing self-directed work to receive regular feedback from faculty and peers (as scheduled)
  • provide constructive feedback for your peers, including attending and contributing to all Level III critiques (this will include a written critique of Level III work that will be presented in a salon on October 27th)
  • practice skills in articulating your ideas and perceptions

Logbook (due as part of Term 1 portfolio submission) will be divided into four clear sections as follows:

  • Visiting Artists (a minimum of 8 visiting artist talks, events, or gallery visits per term)
  • Active Research (preliminary idea development, sketches, resources and inspiration)
  • Critique Notes and Reflection (evidence of attendance at all critiques and a summary of recorded comments)

Final Thesis (due date announced in January 2017) is a 2000-word summative paper referencing influences, concepts, context, and critical reflection that are linked to your initial proposal.  This paper should provide visual documentation of all work presented at critique and include images of any significant influences you cite.  Electronic submissions may only be submitted through Dropbox on Avenue to Learn, where they will be dated when received.  You may also submit standard paper, or a one-of-a-kind alternative format, by the end of classes in Term 2.

Summa Exhibition is a showcase of achievements held in the McMaster Museum of Art in April, 2015.  Curator for the SUMMA Exhibition will be Svava Thordis Juliusson, Hamilton-based artist, past director of the Hamilton Artists Inc. Board of Directors (

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

As such there is no assigned textbook for this course.  As necessary, readings will be based on assignment and student research needs.

Studio Fees

Studio fees of $25 cover your use of expendables in the studio such as newsprint and select common studio supplies.  Tuition covers instruction, technical and administrative support, equipment, tools, facilities/utility costs, models, visiting artists, and resources such as McMaster Museum, Library, and Anatomy Lab.

Method of Assessment:

MIDYEAR MARK (end of Term 1) = 45%

5% written proposal & oral presentation (written proposal due Sept. 13 midnight, presentation Sept. 15 beginning of class)

5% written critique of Level III student work in mid-term salon (written comments due in Dropbox by midnight, Nov. 2)

30% quality of your work, critique presentation/participation (as scheduled)

5% logbook (due as part of final portfolio submission at end of term)

SECOND-TERM MARK (end of Term 2) = 55%

40% critique presentation/participation

5% logbook

10% thesis

FINAL MARK = 45% midyear mark + 55% second-term mark

The following scale of percent equivalences is used for calculating final grades:

A+  = 90–100; A = 85–89; 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

Achievement Levels

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. 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 their ability to demonstrate abilities during in-class activities.

The success of studio courses is dependent on the active engagement of all participants. Learning is accelerated in a hands-on environment where work and ideas can be discussed as they evolve, and challenges and successes can be shared.

Important health and safety information and safe operating procedures are communicated during class time. You must receive this information to work independently in the studio, and you may not operate any equipment or use any process that you have not received safety training for.

Class discussions and critiques empower individuals to take risks in their art practice and learn from each other. It is of utmost importance that all students participate fully by attending all classes and remaining welcoming and open to divergent points of view.

The atmosphere of the studio should be characterized by courtesy and mutual respect. Participating in group critiques is an important part of providing constructive feedback for your peers. Active questioning and differences of opinion, respectfully expressed in a spirit of collaboration and mutual exchange, contribute to a positive and supportive group dynamic. It is your responsibility to contribute positively in this shared space and come to class prepared, on time, and ready to contribute to the activities of the day. Attendance at Visiting Artist talks represents a component of this category. Evidence of participation must be in the logbook.

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.

Additionally, since the studio production of your independent work is the primary consideration of this course, it is your responsibility to fully present on the day you are scheduled to present.  There is no formal arrangement to present your work on another date, owning to the needs of your peers for presentation time/space on subsequent dates.  It is at the discretion of the instructor to review the late work for feedback.

No work will be accepted for assessment beyond the designated day for 4th year studio set up, Thursday December 8th, 2016.

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:

As necessary, readings will be based on assignment and student research needs.

Other Course Information:


Working in the Studios

All new studio art students are required to complete an online WHMIS test to access all studio equipment and facility. This test must be completed within the first 4 weeks of the fall semester. All students must familiarize themselves with the Studio Art Safety Manual for Students. Be aware of the rules and regulations for studio and equipment usage. Any questions regarding these issues should be directed to Michael Syms, Studio Technologist for the Studio Art program, or the course Instructor. You are required to wear your steel-toed boots in all of the studios and workshops. Failure to do so will result in the removal of your studio access and privileges.

Appointments must be made with the Studio Technologist in regards to consulting and/or executing specific projects requiring the use of wood shop, metal, or ceramics facilities. Please ensure appointments and arrangements are made well in advance of deadlines and critiques.

Studios are accessible through access cards and are open from 7 am to 10 pm, 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 are provided.

There is no food or drink permitted in the studios. Please do not bring any chemicals or other materials into the studio without the permission of the Studio Technologist or instructor.

Incident Reports

If a student should have an accident in any of the studios, the incident (no matter how minor) must be reported to a faculty member, or the Studio Technologist within 24 hours. If no faculty or technician is 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 medical professionals make the necessary assessments.

Emergency Response

University line: ext 88

905 522-4135; or 905 525-9140, ext 24281

Student Walk Home Attendant Team (SWHAT)

Ext 27500

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday: 7 pm – 1 am

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: 7 pm – 2 am

Avenue to Learn: In this course we will be using Avenue to Learn.  Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course.  The available information is dependent on the technology used.  Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure.  If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.

Additional e.mail note

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

Support Services: The University provides a variety of support services to help students manage their many demands. Reference librarians can provide invaluable research assistance. The Student Accessibility Services Centre (SAS) provides assistance with personal as well as academic matters. MUSC B107 and

Academic and writing skills support is offered by the Student Success Centre located in Gilmour Hall, room 110. For more information on the Student Success Centre please call (905) 525-9140 [ext. 24254], email or visit

4AS6 Calendar, Fall 2016



Thursday Sept. 8


First day course intro

Tuesday Sept. 13


Submit digital copy of your proposal to Dropbox by midnight, Sept. 13

Thursday Sept. 15


4th year proposal presentations

Thursday Sept. 22


3rd year proposal presentations

Thursday Sept. 29


4th year critique Group 1

Thursday Oct. 6


4th year critique Group 2

Thursday Oct. 13


Fall Recess, no classes

Thursday Oct. 20


4th year critique Group 3

Thursday Oct. 27


3rd year Salon style critique, informal dialog, with 4th year conducting interviews and writing critique comments to assist 3rd years (written comments in digital form are due by midnight, November 2)

Wednesday Nov. 2


Submit written comments for 3rd year peers to Dropbox by midnight, November 2

Thursday Nov. 3


4th year critique Group 1a

Thursday Nov. 10


4th year critique Group 2a

Thursday Nov. 17


4th year critique Group 3a

Thursday Nov. 24


3rd year critique Group 1

Thursday Dec. 1


3rd year critique Group 2