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ART 3GS3 Guided Studio Practice

Academic Year: Winter 2016

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Carmela Laganse


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 430

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23926

Office Hours: Wed. 12:30-4:30p.m.

Course Objectives:

Art 3GS3 is designed to assist students in producing a body of independent studio work building on the foundation of research and production explored in ART 3TS3. Students in this course will synthesize individual research interests, investigations, applied media practices as well as conceptual, spatial and visual processes into a body of work.

Critiques and individual consultation will support students in the presentation, critical thought processes and discussion of their work. They will be encouraged to seek out and value diverse perspectives in feedback. The course involves active participation with visiting artists, lectures, workshops, critiques and a consistent commitment to studio engagement resulting in a body of studio work.

The course focuses on self-directed research and practice culminating in work for presentation at regularly scheduled critique sessions. In order to succeed in this studio course students must develop an intensive exploration of research and making.  This means broad experimentation, and integrated exploration of processes, material and concept.

Attendance at in-class visiting artist sessions is mandatory and attendance at any lecture hosted by a number of creative institutions, museums and galleries are strongly encouraged. Attendance beyond the minimum requirements is important as it supports and accelerates learning and progress in the program as well as supports and infuses energy into our larger creative community in Hamilton. This course fosters the relationship between students and their larger creative community so that they directly become aware of their resource, context and place within this community.

By the end of this course students will:

  • Have a basic awareness and understanding of how to develop their artistic practice based on individual research interests, critical processes, experimentation and exploration
  • Develop a body of work that synthesizes the visual, technical and conceptual facets of the students’ creative practice.
  • Have consistently experienced thinking and talking about their work formally and informally through discussion, presentation and critiques.
  • Be able to think about their artistic practice in a broader context beyond the classroom/ McMaster studios


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

Although a certain amount of time will be allotted for in-class project work, students will also be required to spend a minimum of 5 hours/week developing techniques and strategies introduced in the course, conducting independent research, completing assigned projects, and preparing for discussions and presentations.

Class Discussions and Critiques empower individuals to take risks in their art practice and learn from each other. The atmosphere of the studio should facilitate a genuine support of every student’s best creative practice through: active dialogue, critical constructive feedback and mutual respect. Participating in the 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. In addition to noted participation during critiques, evidence of participation must be in the log/sketchbook.

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


Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

A studio material fee of $25.00 must be paid to the School of the Arts office in TSH 414 within the first two weeks of classes. This fee enables SOTA to supply some of the basic communal materials in a cost effective and convenient manner to our students as well as covers the costs of studio expendables such as paint, spackle and associated materials for your exhibitions and critique spaces. These materials are available to you to facilitate your work for presentation and critique.

While we attempt to cover most basics students will be required to augment this list by purchasing certain items according to individual choices pertinent to the resolution of particular assignments.

You are required to have your own safety gear for the duration of your program. In the event you are not prepared for class or work in the studio, communal steel toe foot ware is available for students and located in the lobby area of the TSH studios. They are available on a first come first serve basis and can be used during your class. They may not be taken from they studios. 

Method of Assessment:

Your performance and evaluations will be based on the following:    

Work presented for critique:


  • 30%- Artwork, Source Presentation and written proposal.

                                    Group A, Due: Jan. 21

                                    Group B, Due: Jan. 28

                                    Group C, Due: Feb. 4


  • 40%- Body of work. Student must submit demonstrated research that can include but not limited to: preliminary sketches, drawings, bibliographies, image collection etc.

                                    Group A, Due: Mar. 10

                                    Group B, Due: Mar. 17

                                    Group C, Due: Mar. 24


30%                 Participation:

  • Professionalism in studio environment, critiques. Positive investment and engagement with studio community and peers
  • Organization and participation in showcase exhibition
  • Sketch/log book with entries that include: visiting artist lectures, critique notes on each student critique

                                    Sketch/ log books, Due: Apr. 7

                                    Showcase Exhibition: Apr.7

*Each assignment and project will include a detailed project description that will outline the educational objectives, considerations, sources, technical information and deadlines.

A midterm progress grade will be submitted  Feb.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)



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.


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.

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 professionalism and contribute during critiques and overall studio environment.

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:


COURSE SCHEDULE: 3GS3 Guided Studio Practice (Subject to Change)


Week 1, Jan. 7

Review of syllabus/ course (content, expectations, studio policy, evaluations etc)
Establish groups
Visiting artist responsibilities

Week 2, Jan.14

Small group discussions

Week 3 ,Jan. 21

Source presentations and critiques: Group A

Week 4 ,Jan.28

Source presentations and critiques: Group B

Week 5 ,Feb.4

Source presentations and critiques: Group C

Week 6 ,Feb.11

In progress studio visits: Group A
Work period

Week 7 ,Feb.18

Midterm break

Week 8 ,Feb.25

In progress studio visits: Group B
Work period

Week 9 ,Mar.3

In progress studio visits: Group C
Work period

Week 10 ,Mar. 10

Critiques: Group A

Week 11 ,Mar.17

Critiques: Group B

Week 12 ,Mar. 24

Critiques: Group C

Week 13 ,Mar.31

Preparation for showcase and exhibition

Week 14 ,Apr.7

Showcase and Exhibition

Other Course Information:

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.


Working in the studio:

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 towards Michael Syms, Studio Technologist for the Studio Arts program or the course Instructor. You are required to wear your steel-toed boots in all of the The instructor will determine the student’s grade by evaluating projects, which should be indicative of the student’s creative sensibility (visually, technically and conceptually), investment and a willingness to explore, innovate and problem solve. Students will be evaluated on the degree of rigor to which efforts have been made to personalize, explore, and expand on the expressive and communicative potential of these skills. The instructor will take into consideration the students’ active participation in the discussion and critique sessions, their commitment to the collective project and their willingness to exceed the basic requirements of the course.

Appointments must be made with the studio technologist in regards to consulting and/ or executing specific projects requiring the use of woodshop, metal and 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 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 studios. Please do not bring any chemicals or other materials into the studios with out the permission of the studio technologist or instructor.

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.          


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