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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2014/2015

Term: 1

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Judy Major-Girardin


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 430

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27287


Office Hours: Thursdays 10:30 - 12:30

Course Objectives:

Art 3TS3 is designed to assist students in understanding research strategies that will fuel independent studio production. The course will support students in identifying their individual interests and personal strengths and help them to assemble an individual bank of resources, and work through preliminary ideas towards more resolved and complex production. Readings and reflection exercises are designed to develop the critical skills necessary to evaluate achievements and adjust and refine the research trajectory accordingly. Students will generate personal goals and fulfill them through the production of studio-based work that is shared with peers in critique sessions. 

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Text: The Critique Handbook by K. Buster & P. Crawford           

Studio Fees

A studio fee of $25 is required for this course. Your studio fee will provide you with some expendable materials such as oversized canvas, printing inks, newsprint, etc. and will also provide you with a logbook. Please use this log only for ART 3TS3 and 3D03 in term 1 as it will be collected for grading and will not be returned for use in other courses. Remember to label and date your entries.

Tuition covers instruction, technical and administrative support, equipment, tools, facilities/utility costs, models, visiting artists, and resources such as McMaster Museum of Art, Library, Anatomy Lab, etc.

Method of Assessment:

The course includes required readings, research, visiting artist lectures, a body of completed studio work presented at critique session, reflections, and a logbook submission.

  1. ANNOTATED LIST OF RESEARCH INFO. (Due in hard copy on September 11 for submission @ 10%)
  • An annotated list of websites, library publications, Museum/gallery holdings that relate to your studio practice (minimum 10 entries). Please see Avenue to Learn resources for examples of how to list these items.
  • Visual documentation of people, places or things that inspire or influence your work (minimum 10 entries represented by thumb nail sized images with a short description of their significance to you).
  1. INITIAL STUDIO INVESTIGATIONS due on your first critique Sept 18 @ 25%.
  • A series (minimum 3) of studio work in any media that explores your interests. These should be works that allow you to develop ideas at a fairly fast pace so that you can present a range of investigations at your first critique.
  • Remember these are initial experiments to test out potential directions. More sustained and resolved works will grow out of these initial explorations. The more you present at this opportunity, the more feedback you can receive.
  1. GOAL AND RESPONDING INDEPENDENT WORK due on your 2nd critique October 16 (Group A) & October 23 (Group B) @ 25%.
  • Each student will write at least one specific goal that they propose to guide the next body of independent work. Consider the feedback on your initial investigations to assist you in determining a goal to direct your next work(s).
  • The goal should address:

                   WHY  -your personal motivations for selecting this direction

                  WHAT -measureable objective(s) clearly and concisely stated

                  HOW -your approach including anticipated media, size, amount that you                             

                  propose to produce.

  • RESPONSE TO TEXT READINGS (Questions guiding textbook reading can be found on Avenue to Learn) 10%
  • ONGOING EVIDENCE OF RESEARCH, CRITIQUE REFLECTIONS AND PARTICIPATION IN ALL ACTIVITIES OF THE COURSE (research, written goal(s), and critique reflections will be reported on at Critique and recorded in your log. Please date notes for each critique that you attend) 10%
  • It is your responsibility to come to all classes on time and prepared to participate in the activities of the day. This includes demonstrating your critical skills through participation in critique discussions.
  • VISITING ARTIST RESPONSE (List of Visiting Artist events attended with a brief summary and a couple of sentences recording your response. Minimum 6 events required.) 10%. Visiting Artist Schedule is posted on Avenue to Learn and is on your course calendar. It is also available as a printed poster.
  1. FINAL CRITIQUE @ 10% NOV. 27
  • Final Critique on Nov. 27 will take the place of a salon style showcase for both groups.



MIDTERM = 35% comprised of Annotated Research List (10%), 1st Critique Exploratory Series (25%). This assessment will be provided by NOV. 6.

FINAL  = midterm (35%) + goal and studio work presented at 2nd critique (25%) + studio work showcased at last critique (10%) + LOG (30%)

*Log Includes 10% response to text readings, 10% critique reflections & engagement, and 10% visiting artist response.


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



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)



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



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)



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



F = 0–49

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 all 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 log/sketchbook.


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF online at Please note the following stipulations.

• MSAF is a self-reporting tool for Undergraduate Students to report absences due to   minor medical situations that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period.

• You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is your responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (normally within two working days) regarding the nature of the accommodation.

• If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term you must visit your Associate Dean's Office (Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation.

• The online form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Late Work 

Projects that are not presented by the student during their scheduled critique or on the deadline day will result in an automatic 0. In cases where a MSAF has been submitted, late assignments will be graded but not discussed at an alternative critique session and no assignment will be accepted beyond one week past the deadline without communication from the Dean of Humanities office. 

Extensions or other accommodations will be determined by the instructor and will only be considered if supported by appropriate documentation. There are NO automatic extensions or accommodations.   

Office Hours

Office hours are intended to provide additional assistance and you are welcome to visit often to discuss course projects or seek assistance on difficulties you may be experiencing. It is always better to deal with an issue while there is still time remaining in the term to seek solutions. Office hours are not a replacement class for those opting to miss class time without valid excuse. Office hours will not provide feedback sessions if you miss a critique deadline. It is important that you learn to manage your time. Of course, extenuating circumstances can sometimes occur and requests for accommodation should be discussed with the instructor a.s.a.p.

I am happy to review drafts of any documents the week prior to submission. This can be done either electronically or during office hours.

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:



Thursday, September 4          -meet in TSH 114 for orientation

                                                -course outline review and calendar


Homework                               -compile research resources for submission next class (hard copy).


Thursday, September 11        -Visiting Artist Ian Johnston (sculptor) in MMA

                                                -Attend 4th year proposal presentations in 114

                                                -submit annotated research list and images in hard copy


Homework                               - develop a series of initial investigations


                                                McMaster Museum Exhibition Reception 6 pm


Thursday September 18         -Visiting Critic, Leo Kamen in TSH 114

                                                -3rd year presentation of Annotated List and initial investigations in 114

                                                -Baskin Talk at MMA 6 pm


Monday September 22            Sally McKay, Considering Art and the Brain: Problems & Possibilities, 7:30 pm (location TBA)


Thursday, September 25        4th yr. Group A Critique T32


Thursday, October 2               - Artist Talk with Daniel Hutchinson in TSH 114

                                                4th yr. Group B Critique T32


Homework                               -specific goal & responding body of work for next critique


Thursday, October 9               - 4th Year Group C Critique T32

Homework                               -continue with body of work responding to a specific goal

                                                -readings & reflection “The Critique Handbook”


Thursday, October 16             -3rd Year Critique Group A TSH 114

                                                -presentation of goal and responding studio work


Homework                               -continue with independent studio production


Friday, October 17                  Reinhard Reitzenstein talk on Graham Todd 12:30, MMA


Monday, October 20               Sean Caulfield Printmaking Presentation, 8:30 TSH 101

                                                You must register if you are not enrolled in ART 3CI3


Thursday, October 23             -3rd Year Critique Group B TSH 114

                                                 Presentation of goal & responding studio work


 Homework                              -continue with independent studio production


Thursday, October 30             Holiday


Thursday, Nov. 6                    4thYear Critique Group A T32                                                                                               

                                              Exhibition Reception at MMA, 6 pm


Homework                               prepare for final Review/Showcase


Thursday, Nov. 13                  Shawn Serfas Visiting Artist Talk, 12:30 TSH 114

                                                4th Year Critique Group B T32


Thursday, Nov 20                   4th Year Critique Group C T32

                                                Response to text readings, visiting artist /crit notes and critique reflection due in Log


Thursday, Nov 27                   -Review of all 3rd year work since Oct. 23, TSH 114

                                                -Salon style showcase (set up 12:30, opening 3-4:30 pm)

                                                -Museum Panel Discussion, 1:30 – 3:00


Other Course Information:

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

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.


Advice for Success

Learn to embrace the “Three R’s” necessary to be an artist:





During your time in Studio Art, McMaster University, your faculty will strongly encourage you to:


  • Be self-possessed (develops over time by being prepared to perform when called upon)
  • Be self-confident (grows as a result of accepting and overcoming challenges)
  • Be self-reliant (learn by example and encouragement of faculty, then take initiative to self-realize)
  • In a healthy and constructive way, compete with yourself, your peers and the best art ever made
  • Develop a strong work ethic, and practice as if your life depended on it (it may, and probably does)
  • Develop ambitions that go beyond the ordinary — do not hesitate to be extraordinary
  • Aspire to the loftiest goals you can imagine, and let imagination and hard work take you there
  • Be curious, understanding that knowledge must be sought, and in art, experienced
  • Be highly self-motivated, and learn to accept knowledge you weren’t expecting
  • Learn to embrace fear and uncertainty as your closest allies for personal and professional growth
  • Grow in wisdom and maturity (both artistic and human)
  • Leave here thinking about things in different ways than you did when you began
  • Make a difference for yourself and others when you leave



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 there is 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