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NSCAD Media Arts

Art School Taps Inquiring Minds and Creative Skills

 By Ylva Van Buuren, as published in The Metro
Media workshops
NSCAD Media Arts Students

If you’re serious about pursuing a career in photography, film making, or another creative arts vocation, take a closer look at the degree program at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design (NSCAD) – it’s an exciting and practical step into the media arts world.

NSCAD, which is Canada’s oldest independent arts university, offers a four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Media Arts – “and it’s one of the best degrees a creative person can have,’ said Adrian Fish, chair of the Media Arts division.

“A BFA has the credibility of any Bachelor’s degree but NSCAD graduates also have all the technical skills required in an industry.”

The programs in the Media Arts Division are Photography, Film, and Expanded Media. Students can also do a minor in Animation.

‘Students don’t have to pick a major right away and the first year is always a foundation year in order to expose students to a wide variety of media’, said Fish. ‘A student who has a personal interest in photography, for example, would take classes in photography but also in painting, expanded media programs, sculpture, and others, in the first year.’

NSCAD is unique in that students can major in Interdisciplinary Arts, which allows them to customize their degree with programs from across the entire university such as ceramics, painting, and installation.

NSCAD credit courses
NSCAD credit courses

In terms of course content, Fish explained that all Media Arts courses are a balance of cutting edge technology and technique, artistic expression and vision, and challenging conceptual ideas.

Photography students learn the how-to of photography with courses in technical skills development and equipment as well as history, and philosophy. Digital photography is the main focus but students work with film in the darkroom as well.

Film students explore dramatic, documentary and experimental film making as well as all the different roles in productions including writing, editing, and sound design.

Expanded Media is a more diverse program with students learning various media-based methods and materials including sound, performance, virtual reality, physical computing, artificial life, 3D printing, and interactive installations.

In the third and fourth year of programs, students are challenged with thematic seminar and workshop courses that refine technical skills and conceptual development.

After completing a degree, graduates of NSCAD go on to work in their chosen fields whether it’s in the commercial world as photographers, filmmakers, or animators, or in the cultural industry as professional artists or curators working in galleries or museums. Many students choose to continue their education and follow a PhD or Master’s program.