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BACostume Design and Making

Nottingham Trent University
United Kingdom, Nottingham
Tuition fee To be confirmed
More information

Expenses, accommodation, working etc.



Key features
Focus equally on both your design and making skills.
Develop skills in areas such as corsetry, pattern cutting, tailoring, millinery and wigs, tutus, costume props, puppets, fabric knowledge, and print and dye.
Work with a staff team of teaching professionals all with industry experience.
Work in a dedicated studio equipped with industrial sewing and garment construction machinery.
Be supported to undertake work experience placements, getting first-hand industry experience with companies such as Scottish Opera, Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Manchester International Festival .
Take part in live industry projects which have recently included designing and making costumes for The Woodland Trust and Rhubarb Theatre.
Visit national and international design exhibitions such as the Hollywood Costume exhibition at the V&A museum in London and the National Theatre Costume Department.
Take trips to see opera, ballet, theatre and dance performances to stay informed on the latest productions by companies such as Opera North, National Theatre, Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).
Enter national and international design competitions such as The Costume Society’s Patterns of Fashion Award.
Apply to go on an overseas exchange in Year Two to a partner university in Europe through the Erasmus scheme.
Exhibit your work in your final year at our Degree Show in Nottingham and potentially at New Designers , London.

Programme structure

What you study
Year One: both these modules run for the whole year.

Costume Design and Making: Introductions (100 credit points)
This module will provide you with the practical skills needed to construct garments, puppets and accessories and to master the practical challenges of pattern cutting and costume construction. You will complete a speculative costume design project that will include analytical research, concept design development and costume drawing. You will explore the use of text and narrative in relation to the design of costume schemes. You will also be introduced to the wider context of the visual world of costume, to encourage the development of your critical thinking skills, covering themes such as costume and theatre history, film and production analysis.

Visual Communication 1 (20 credit points)
This module will support and develop your ability to communicate your design ideas through a range of 2D drawing and rendering techniques. Projects will help you to acquire and use visual communication tools, enabling you to communicate your ideas and feelings through your designs. You will focus on the importance of your sketchbook for valuable observational and drawing practice, and introduced to the preparation of costume technical sheets and storyboarding. You will also be introduced to the digital tools and technologies, such as Photoshop, that will help you to start building your own digital portfolio of work.

Year Two: both these modules run for the whole year.

Costume Design and Making: Explorations (100 credit points)
During this module you will respond to large scale speculative costume challenges, applying a wide range of advanced costume design techniques and construction skills to your work. You will practice the construction of period garments and gain a thorough technical understanding of fabric, cut and costume finishing. You will be encouraged to experiment and explore methods, principles and techniques used in costume making, including period pattern cutting and historical interpretation. Creative workshops will help you to develop your skills in tailoring, corsetry, millinery, wigs and puppet techniques. You will also focus on professional design practice and gain experience through team working activities and the opportunity to undertake a period of work experience.

Visual Communication 2 (20 credit points)
This module will continue to develop your skills and knowledge in 2D drawing and rendering techniques, and you’ll develop an awareness of ideas, contexts and frameworks using both physical and digital visual media. Through drawing exercises you will develop your ability to analyse information, and compare alternative methods and techniques in the visual communication and presentation of costume design ideas. You will continue to develop the digital tools and technologies learnt in Year One, building and refining your digital portfolio of work.

Final Year

Costume Design and Making: Exposition (120 credit points)
This year-long module will focus on two elements. The first is Costume Design and Making Independent Projects which makes up 85% of your grade for the year. You will negotiate two costume design and making project briefs, informed by research and professional context. You’ll evidence design development, supporting research, progression from 2D to 3D and the completion of a design portfolio and realised outfit. You will have the opportunity to incorporate live projects, competitions and industry collaborations into your briefs, and you’ll be encouraged to select design options which support your career aspirations. This work will be exhibited as part of the University’s Degree Shows.

The second element is Costume Research Project, which makes up 15% of your grade for the year. Using the skills you have developed in Years One and Two you will produce an independent research project relevant to Costume Design and Making, allowing you to develop in-depth historical and theoretical knowledge. You will produce a substantial body of research in the form of either an illustrated essay or a design rationale.

How you learn
You will be taught through a variety of teaching and learning experiences which will include:

lectures and briefings
independent studio practice
feedback tutorials
studio seminars
individual and group presentations
practical creative workshops
projects and critiques
study visits
workshop inductions
technical demonstrations
self and peer evaluations.
You will also be involved in self-directed project work where you will have the support of NOW, our virtual learning environment.

How you are assessed
Assessment for this course is 100% through coursework.

You will be assessed at the end of each module and awarded a grade band (1st, 2.1. 2,2. etc.). You will receive feedback throughout the module so you know what level you are working at.

How you are assessed will depend on the individual module, but may take the form of:

2D visual research
design development work
3D development work
toiles and final product
portfolio work
reports and evaluations
costume research projects or rationales
visual and verbal presentations.
To progress through the course you must achieve 120 credits each year. Your final degree mark will be based 100% on your final year work.

Degree Show
In your final year you will exhibit your work as part of our Degree Show. This event includes all final-year students across NTU’s Art and Design courses, and is a great platform for you to celebrate your studies and showcase your work to members of the creative industries.

Links with industry and practice
Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to get involved with various industry and cultural activities to develop your understanding and provide you with links to the industry.

Live projects and competitions will give you the opportunity to develop your skills and help you to gain experience and make contacts. Recent organisations our students have worked with include:

BBC Design Trainee Scheme (costume)
The Patterns of Fashion Costume Award
MAD (Make and Design) UK Performance Costume: an innovative sculptural costume design competition
The Costume Society’s Museum Placement Award
The Woodland Trust
Rhubarb Theatre Company
Magenta Star.
You will be actively encouraged and supported to undertake work experience placements, which usually take place during holiday times, outside of term time.

In the Final Year there is also the opportunity to work with local cultural centres (theatres, museums, events, heritage centres and festivals). You will also be encouraged to participate in national competition and costume events.

You will also benefit from industry experts who come to share their knowledge and experience. Those who have recently taught on this course include:

professional designer, Ruari Murchison
tailor, Mervyn Wallace
pattern cutter and maker, Sarah Turner
tutu costumiers, Jane Cowood and Pauline Parker
directors, Ian Wooldridge, Theo Clinkard, and Hugh Hodgart
wig makers, Shepperton Wig Company, Joanne Foster, and Linda Cooley
crafts people, Anna Kesteven and Liz Johnson.
Trips and study visits
Recent trips have included a backstage tour of the National Theatre and the Hollywood costume exhibition at the V&A museum in London. Students have also been to watch the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Cinderella designed by John Macfarlane.

Exchange opportunities
The University is part of the Erasmus programme and has agreements with a number of partner institutions throughout Europe. If you’re thinking about studying part of your degree abroad, Erasmus is a great way of experiencing a new culture, meeting new people, learning a new language and gaining a study experience which will enhance your CV.

Career opportunities

Employability for this course is excellent, with 92% of students going on to employment or further study within six months of graduating. (DLHE survey 2012/13)

All modules include initiatives to help enhance your career prospects, including:

live projects
guest lectures
industry competitions and awards
work experience placements.
A wide variety of graduate career opportunities exist in the live and recorded performing arts, as well as more widely related employment in the areas of film, television, theatre, opera, dance, music and live performance.

Additional opportunities are available in advertising campaigns, heritage projects, commercials, events, festivals, circus, pageants, concerts and light entertainment.

YouFirst – working with our Employability Team
Our friendly, experience careers consultants will work closely with you at every stage of your career planning, providing personal support and advice you won’t find in a book or on the internet. You can benefit from this at any time during your studies and up to three years after completing your course.

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
This intake is not applicable

We are currently NOT ACCEPTING applications from NON-EU countries, except Georgia and Serbia.

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States

Apply now! Fall semester 2021/22
This intake is not applicable

We are currently NOT ACCEPTING applications from NON-EU countries, except Georgia and Serbia.

Application deadlines apply to citizens of: United States