Higher Education Courses

BA (Hons) Artist Blacksmithing

Hereford College of Arts and Herefordshire & Ludlow College Validated by University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Key Facts

Level: 6

Attendance: Full-time

Duration: 3 years

Location: HLC’s Holme Lacy Campus – Rural Crafts Centre and Hereford College of Arts – College Road Campus

Application: UCAS course code W720

Course Intro

The course encourages applications from tenacious, motivated and creative individuals excited by the diverse and extensive possibilities of working with hot forged metal. The programme focus is about challenging norms and bringing contemporary ideas to the rich tradition of blacksmithing. Consequently, there is particular emphasis on innovative thinking and skilled making. It encompasses a breadth of practice from architectural design to interior product and sculpture, all made from hot forged metal. Supported by excellent lecturers and technical support staff, students have access to the largest training-based forge in Europe based at the HLC Holme Lacy Campus. A network of specialist workshops are available at HCA, where students extend their knowledge into such material areas as wood, ceramics, textiles and plastics.

We enable our students to understand the connection between theoretical concepts and the practical concerns that drive contemporary forged metal design. This constantly evolving course is informed by current academic scholarship and the demands of a vibrant industry. The result: our graduates are defining and redefining the cultural position of forged metal design.

You will develop your own personal vocabulary in hot forged metal by exploring and challenging the material and process. New and innovative ideas will be generated through critically reviewing personal research sources and an immersion in making work. A developing technical virtuosity in hot forging and metalworking technique will be central to resolving your quality designs into professionally produced and highly individual final outcomes. The BA (Hons) Artist Blacksmithing is recognised worldwide and is uniquely placed to be at the forefront of contemporary forged metalwork practice.

Course Content

Year One – Level 4: Investigative, Experimental and Analytical

In year one, emphasis is placed upon the development of appropriate drawing, design, materials manipulation and specialist blacksmithing skills. Students are introduced to the importance of a reflective, analytical and evaluative approach through personal practical and visual research supported by learning journals. Studio activity is underpinned by seminars and lectures in which issues of a broader cultural and contextual nature are explored.

Year Two – Level 5: Establishing Practice

Building upon the understandings and experiences of the first year, you will be encouraged to develop a creative risk-taking approach underpinned by thorough research and an independent analytical process allowing them to make informed choices that determine the direction of their individual creative practice.

Year Three – Level 6: Resolution of Practice

This final year provides the intellectual and creative space for you to realise their creative ambitions through the production of a body of work. Emphasis will be placed upon your ability to demonstrate professionalism and autonomous learning in the resolution of ideas. You will be required to produce a business plan and market strategy focusing on their projected career intent as well as an in-depth and critical analysis of an agreed area of study in the form of a dissertation.

Entry Requirements

  • Successful portfolio interview
  • 80 UCAS points new UCAS tariff system for 2017 (equates to 200 UCAS points previous tariff). For more details on the new tariff system please visit www.ucas.com/undergraduate/what-and-where-study/entry-requirements/ucas-tariff-points
  • Mature students can apply with related experience
  • Applicants whose first language is not English – proof of IELTS overall score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all sections (reading, writing, listening & speaking minimum age 18)


Artist Blacksmithing is enjoying a renaissance not only in the more usual arenas of domestic and architectural forge work but also within the gallery and public arts context, thus providing Artist Blacksmith graduates with clear opportunities to establish an innovative design-led creative practice.

The programme develops graduates who are independent, critically aware practitioners, who possess proficient business management skills. They are also well-informed about their practice and have the capacity to express their ideas through the medium of forged metal with clarity, imagination and confidence. Many graduates develop careers as self-employed practitioners: setting up design studios and workshops, and producing work ranging in scale and breadth from large-scale exterior forged metalwork to small gallery objects.

Graduates can choose to gain experiences by becoming journeymen working for smiths across the world or
can explore opportunities in the creative arts sector via consultancy, community arts, teaching, artist residencies and postgraduate study.

Course Fees

All new full-time students at Hereford College of Arts have a tuition fee of £9,000 per year. All fees are subject to change, please check with funding@hca.ac.uk.