Dance and Geography

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How to Apply

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Studying Dance at Bath Spa University provides you with an opportunity to immerse yourself in an exciting and challenging artistic environment. The course is focused on helping you build the skills you need to become a versatile, creative, and articulate dance professional.  

There are three undergraduate courses available:

BA (Hons) Dance. This is a specialised award and is suitable for students who want to study dance as a single subject.

BA (Hons) Combined Award. This course is suitable for students who want to study dance alongside another subject, for example: Education Studies, Film & Screen Studies, or Psychology.

BA (Hons) Creative Arts. This course is suitable for adventurous students who do not wish to be restricted by the boundaries of a single art discipline. You can study the subject with:

Dance at Bath Spa University is increasingly respected for its work in both live and screen-based performance practice. It is contemporary-based and will provide you with exciting artistic and professional experiences.

Why study Dance?

The course has a strong practical focus and will suit creative individuals who are looking for a dance training programme that is both physically and intellectually challenging.  You will have regular opportunities to present your work in a variety of different performance projects throughout the course and lots of chances to work alongside professional dance companies and artists.

"I could not be more proud to say that I was trained at Bath Spa, and I believe that I speak for all the dance students when I say that no matter where or what we do, the things we have learnt in the past three years have not only set us up for the 'real world' but have been invaluable in shaping our artistic thoughts and confidence."

- Sarah Dyke, dance graduate.



Course structure

Studying full time for your BA (Hons) in dance means you are with us for three years.  During this time you will take a wide range of exciting modules that will build your skills in choreography and performance.

Over the course of each year you take five modules totalling 120 credits.   At the heart of each year’s study is a 40 credit choreographic module.  This is where you develop your core practical skills as a creative practitioner/artist.  You will also develop a critical and analytical mindset that will help to support your creative enquiry.

Alongside this core study area there are modules that support and inform your performance practice as a creative dance artist. Technique forms an important part of this and you take classes in the studio on a regular basis. Limon and Cunningham-based work, somatic practice, and contact improvisation are all part of your training and give you the chance to develop into a strong and confident dancer.

BA Dance

 In each year there are also performance modules that build your skills as both a maker and performer of work.  These modules take you into the world of site-specific work, collaborating with composers and other artists, filmmaking and exploring the exciting world where different art forms intersect to make performance work.  Digital technology will play a significant role in the programme, both in its application to creative practice and in an e-learning context. Screendance, and the interface and integration of digital media in live performance work is one of the distinctive features of the course.

There are regular opportunities to work alongside professional dance artists and companies and in year 3 you will undertake a work placement with a professional organisation.  By the end of your three years you graduate with your video portfolio on your own website and we pledge to continue to support you as part of our graduate alumni scheme, no matter how long ago you graduated.



It is important to note that if you choose to study dance as a combined subject, you do not do all the available modules. You can choose to study a joint degree, with 60 credits in each module, or you can major or minor, placing a greater emphasis on one subject or the other.

Modules

If you study dance as a Specialised Award you take all modules below.
If you study dance as part of a Creative Arts programme or as a Combined Award subject, you will study all the modules in the Choreography strand * (Compulsory), and depending on the weighting of your route, have options on other modules marked **

Year 1

  • Choreography 1: Constructing the Body – An exploration of a range of choreographic principles, performance practice, research, analysis and study skills. *
  • Movement Techniques: Codified Practice Level 1 – Principally incorporating the techniques of Cunningham, Limon and Release, as well as other contemporary styles from guest tutors.
  • Movement Technique and Improvisation: Somatic Practice – An introduction to anatomy and body-mind techniques, such as Alexander Technique & Shin Somatics. **
  • New Media and Performance Practice – An introduction to a range of digital software and practical projects exploring their use in dance performance.
  • Collaborative Practice 1 – An investigation into collaboration and creativity in dance performance. **

Year 2

  • Choreography 2: Body as a Conscious Site – Developing choreography through cultural and experiential memory, creating group and solo work. *
  • Movement Techniques: Codified Practice Level 2 – Principally incorporating the techniques of Cunningham, Limon and Release. Other contemporary styles from guest tutors.
  • Movement Techniques: Contact Improvisation – An exploration through improvisation of dynamic and weight interchange between two or more practitioners. **
  • Dance on Camera: The practice of screendance – Exploring the relationship between dance and the lens.
  • Collaborative Practice 2: Sound and Site – Working with composers and musicians from the school of music, plus professional site specific performance making. **

Year 3

  • Choreography 3 – Your final independent project - practical or written. *
  • Movement Techniques: Codified Practice Level 3 – Principally incorporating the techniques of Cunningham, Limon and Release. Other contemporary styles from guest tutors.
  • Movement Technique & Improvisation: Somatic Research – Further development of somatic skills focusing on self enquiry, movement therapy and the creative and performing body. **
  • The Company – Formation of a company to work with a professional choreographer. **
  • Professional Portfolio: The Enterprising Artist – Work placement, and the construction of your professional portfolio. **

Course assessment

Tutors assess your work through practical projects, essays, portfolios and seminar presentations. In practical projects, assessment may focus on your creative process, on the final choreographic product or both. 

The dance department has the use of three fully equipped dance studios, the University Theatre, Mac editing suite and additional rehearsal spaces for independent study. In addition, site-specific work takes advantage of our outstanding campus and the architecture and history of the City of Bath. Our greatest resource is perhaps the professionalism and experience of the tutors who teach on the course and our professional partnerships.

BA Dance

Teaching methods

Lectures, workshops, seminars and choreographic laboratories are led by qualified staff, visiting choreographers and artists.  You work in our dance studios, which are fully equipped for choreography, performance and work with digital media, our Apple Mac edit suite, and in the University Theatre performance spaces.

Bath Spa regularly host professional performances and workshops from leading dance artists in the University Theatre.
 Previous guest artists/companies have included: 
Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company, Bedlam Dance Company, Earthfall (our Associate Company), Gill Clarke, Siobhan Davies and Company, Wendy Houston, Nigel Charnock, Precarious, Silesian Dance Theatre, Liam Steel (Stan Won’t Dance), Yael Flexer, Jessica Cohen, Sean King, Arthur Pita and Protein Dance, Helen Bagget, Stuart Lynch, Maresa von Stockert, Dan Watson (Richard Alston Company), Beth Powesland. Karla Shacklock (our associate dance artist) and Jean Abreu.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

For further information about the programme or other enquiries, please email us at admissions@bathspa.ac.uk.

Entry requirements

260–300 UCAS Tariff points, with minimum 80 points from Dance or Performing Arts preferred.

OR dance experience outside education.

We select eligible candidates to attend a practical auditions. Auditions are normally scheduled between December and April.

Overseas applicants may submit a video application. Details from Bath Spa University Admissions.

Career opportunities

The undergraduate programme prepares you for a range of careers in the creative industries by giving you the opportunity to develop the technical, creative and performance skills needed to become a confident and highly skilled individual.  On graduating, you may choose to study further at postgraduate level or to find work as a choreographer, performer, teacher, filmmaker, community dance practitioner, independent dance artist, dance administrator, starting your own company, or a combination of more than one area of interest.  

On graduating, you may choose to study further at postgraduate level or to find work as a choreographer, performer, teacher, filmmaker, community dance practitioner, independent dance artist, dance administrator, starting your own company, or a combination of more than one area of interest.  Bath Spa dance graduates have moved into a wide range of roles that include dance teachers in schools, lecturers in further and higher education, choreographers, dance company and solo performers, filmmaking, running a dance company/school, making and performing work as an independent dance artist, continuing in education, dance movement therapists, community dance practitioners, digital media specialists and events managers.

BA Dance

Our students say:

"I thought I would write to let you know that I have had loads of work since graduating. I just got the job as lead practitioner for the Youth Company at Theatre Royal. I also run a theatre company at Sterts Theatre Cornwall."

Lauren Davey; BA Hons Dance graduate.

"I can't thank you all enough for all of your help and support, since returning to Ireland I have got so much work:

  • Contemporary Dance Tutor in the Bray Institute of Further Education on their 3 year dance course (Fetac and BTEC HND qualification)
  • Teach Movement for the Actor module on a Performing Arts Course
  • Dance Theatre of Ireland on their DPOP programme
  • 'Remote Intermedia Dance Theatre Company' are still around and we hope to go to the Fringe Festival next year

I am so very very happy and love all of my jobs, this is thanks to the great training and education I received at Bath Spa."

Eimear Byrne; BA Hons Dance Dance graduate.

What students say...

Here are a selection of recent student comments:

"Through my time at Bath Spa I feel I have really developed as a dancer/choreographer but most importantly I have been able to do so in my own way. The course has been challenging but also very rewarding and has allowed me to believe in myself and realise I can achieve things that I want."

Emily Gibbs BA (Hons) Dance graduate

"I will be forever grateful to the highly encouraging, supportive and knowledgeable Dance Department at Bath Spa University. All aspects of the course have enabled me to become a diverse dancer with a wide skill set. In a forgiving and understanding environment, I was able to be myself and produce innovative work that challenged me creatively and technically. I couldn't have asked for more..."

Amy Osborne; BA Hons Dance graduate

"What a fantastic degree! It has made me the creative teacher and performer that I am today! After having graduated for a year, the support from all of the dance staff is still extremely strong. The staff are always at the other end of an email or the phone and genuinely still care about all we decide to do!"

Laura Polson; BA Hons Dance graduate.

'Throughout my time at Bath Spa University, working with the staff and other students, I have found a massive support system that enhanced my confidence and helped me with my creative practice.'

Sophie Taylor BA (Hons) Dance and Drama

"Thanks for the best 3 years of my life!"

Beth Townsend; BA Hons Dance graduate

BA Dance

Geography is about places and people. It is about understanding why 'here' differs from 'there', how people's lives vary in these different places, and how our own lives are dependent on people and places, near and far. 

Geography is the 'best of both worlds', as it combines the earth and social sciences through exploration of themes including sustainability, development, climate change and geomatics (GIS) methods.

 

 

Why study Geography?

Studying Geography expands your understanding of the interactions people have with the environment, both physical and human. An ability to link environmental processes and social and spatial behaviours is a defining feature of geographical practice. As a result, Geography is clearly important in understanding today’s pressing global and local issues from climate change to sustainable development. At Bath Spa you learn geographical concepts, theories and knowledge and also gain skills that can improve your career prospects. Geography graduates are valued by employers for this unique combination.

At Bath Spa, we take an integrated approach to Geography, so you will gain an understanding of both the human and physical aspects of the subject. However, a key feature of our course is that you can specialise more in the physical or in the human side as your interests, abilities and career plans evolve.

Course structure

The course allows you to do both physical and human Geography or to specialise in one or the other after Year 1.

Fieldwork is an integral part of your learning and underpins our commitment to a relevant, interesting and useful degree. There are various field days during modules, as well as residential fieldwork options in the UK and overseas in Years 2 and 3. You will visit places and landscapes such as Avebury, Mendip, the Somerset Levels, the Welsh National History Museum, the Royal Geographical Society in London, and the Jurassic Coast of Dorset. Residential courses currently go to Spain, the Lake District and Northern India. 

 

 

A special feature of our course is the opportunity to gain valuable experience, and academic credit, through volunteering in the local community. You can also study abroad for one term, either in a European university or further afield in Australia or the USA. 

 

Modules

Year 1

Your first year (level 4) is centred on a core double module (40 credits) Environment, People and Place. This deals with what makes Geography an exciting, varied and applied subject. The module offers an integrated approach to the study of the geo-social and earth sciences and what makes this module special lies in our attention to developing skills as well as knowledge: you will learn how to use the technologies, methods, techniques and equipment that geographers need to use, with increasing confidence. You will also start to build your employability profile under our guidance. The practical application of subject knowledge is the underlying philosophy of this module.

In addition to the core module we usually offer these options (all 20 credits) from which you can choose one or two:

  • Investigating Earth Environments;
  • Global Development;
  • Visualising Society;

The remainder of level 4 is made up with at least 40 credits from a complementary module of your choice, such as Biology, Sociology, Criminology, or an interdisciplinary module focusing on Sustainability in Life and Work.

Year 2

Your second year (level 5) also centres on a core double module (40 credits) titled The Enterprising Geographer. The aim here is for you to acquire specialist skills in geographical research methods, human and physical, and to extend your abilities as a team player and as a professional. The Enterprising Geographer puts the subject and the sectors it serves in historical context and highlights the relevance of geographical knowledge to many different professional sectors. Your research skills are developed through two extended research projects where you will apply your growing mastery of your subject to real-world problems and issues. This module also gives you the chance to engage with the Royal Geographical Society and other professional bodies as we begin to help you map out potential career paths. The rest of your studies are optional, and the usual module choices are (you can choose four):

  • River and Coastal Systems;
  • Climate Change and Sustainability;
  • Environmental Hazards;
  • Geographical Fieldwork (includes a residential fieldtrip to Northern India);
  • Global Cities;
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice;
  • Work Placement;

All optional modules are 20 credits each.

Year 3

In your final year (level 6), you take the skills and knowledge perfected throughout the degree to design, conduct and write up your very own geography Dissertation (40 credits). There is a huge variety in choice in what you do for a dissertation and throughout the study you will benefit from one-to-one tuition and expert guidance. The rest of the third year is made up from 20 credit optional modules such as these (you can choose four):

  • Climatology;
  • Coastal and River Management;
  • Advanced Geographical Fieldwork (includes a residential fieldtrip);
  • Development and Disasters;
  • Globalisation and Work;
  • Global Mobility, Risks and Environmental Justice;
  • Identities and Inequalities;
  • Community Engagement (includes a local volunteering placement).

Course assessment

You will experience a variety of different assessment methods throughout your degree. These include essays, industrial project reports, scientific project reports, presentations, posters, field-craft assessments, reflective items, time-constrained tests and examinations. These will give you a rich and diverse skills learning experience, be of real benefit in the search for a good career, and be useful in your professional activities.

Each module will have a different set of assessment items, and not all will include an examination. These assessment items enable you to demonstrate that you have achieved the learning outcomes.

Good teaching is important to us, and our graduates and consistently rate the quality of teaching on the course highly. In our friendly department you will benefit from small classes, specialist expertise, and up-to-date technologies, including ArcGIS, GPS survey instruments, campus river gauging and digital ‘met’ stations. Our rural site is a superb ‘natural laboratory’ where you will learn a range of scientific techniques including field sampling and the use of laboratory instruments for sediment and water analysis. Through your degree you will also develop 'people' skills such as communication, team work and critical thinking - skills that are highly valued by employers.

Teaching methods

Geography encourages your learning through a variety of formats: lectures, seminars, team work, laboratories, IT workshops, and in the field - for 'hands on', real life experience.

Our location, nestled in a parkland valley setting just outside Bath, is a beautiful and unique 'natural laboratory' in which to pursue environmental education and we make the most of the setting. We have all the latest technologies and learning resources and Geographers have access to IT laboratories with geographical software such as ArcGIS and Idrisi. In addition there is a comprehensive stock of field and laboratory equipment. Practicals take place in well-equipped science laboratories or out in the grounds of the Newton Park campus. You will find free wireless internet access is available in the Department and across our campus. We subscribe to an extensive range of online journals so you can access the latest geographic research in seconds. 

Other resources available include Leica Smart Rovers, handheld Global Positioning System devices, survey seismograph, Russian and standard sediment corers, teaching microscopes, stream flow meters, particle size analysis kits, digital Schmidt hammers, digital weather station, campus stream gauging station, digital dictaphones, digital video cameras and laptops. Do please note that not all field courses are run every year and that all off-campus events and their funding are subject to annual review. Also, module availability may vary over time - if a particular module is of interest and you want to know more, just get in touch with us and we'll be happy to help!

 

Departmental Research

The Department hosts two active research groups covering physical and human geography, ensuring that your teaching is informed by up-to-date, specialised staff expertise. The research groups often inform dissertation ideas for students and you will benefit from our annual Research Seminar Series which includes external guest speakers and is open to all.

All our academic staff are professional geographers who undertake research and scholarship at the cutting edge of their discipline, publishing papers in international journals, textbooks for undergraduate use, and speaking at international conferences, as well as making media appearances. All research undertaken is of direct benefit to students. Indeed, some of our work is about enhancing the learning of geography at university. Students have co-authored papers with members of staff, and some have remained with us to carry out postgraduate research leading to doctorate level.

Teaching quality excellence

We are proud of the quality of our teaching in Geography at Bath Spa. During your degree you will taught by experienced, specialist staff, who undertake research in their specific areas of expertise, as well as into the learning and teaching of different aspects of geography.

Subject tutors regularly attend Professional Development Workshops that inform curriculum development and we regularly attend academic and commercial conferences. We subscribe to industry societies and their journals, such as the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG), the Association for Geographic Information (AGI), the Development Studies Association (DSA), Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc), American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), the British Cartographic Society (BCS), GIS Professional, GIM International.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Want to know more about studying Geography at Bath Spa? We have Open Days and Visit Days throughout the year. If you can't make any of those, we are also happy to arrange individual visits for you to have a look around at the facilities and ask any questions you may have. You can get in touch using the contact details adjacent. We hope to see you here soon!

Please contact Dr Rebecca Schaaf, Subject Leader for Geography: r.schaaf@bathspa.ac.uk 

Have a look at our related courses:

BSc Global Development and Sustainability

BA Geography (Human)

BSc Geography (Physical)

Entry requirements

260–320 UCAS Tariff points with minimum 80 points from geography or a related subject such as science, sociology, economics.

We welcome applications from mature students with an Access to HE qualification. If you have non-standard qualifications we will consider any prior learning and professional experience in your application.

Career opportunities

Our graduates possess a diverse range of skills, knowledge and expertise, suitable for many careers and occupations. This is due to the great appeal of your geographical skill-set to employers. Environmental bodies, utilities, planning, police and armed forces, retail and financial services, heritage management, local government and school teaching are typical destinations. Many geography graduates are hooked on the subject and undertake further study, including doctoral research here in the department.

The opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of your degree is an excellent way of gaining some experience in the workplace, while guest speakers from industry contribute to your learning experience throughout the course. This engagement with potential employers will stand you in good stead for making those all-important career decisions when you move into the world of work.

Since 2010, employers such as Geomatics Group, At-Bristol, Discover Battle, Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre and The Ministry of Defence have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including  Assistant Geomatics Surveyor, Renewables Developer, Business Analyst, Oceaneer and Press Officer.

What students say...

 Tim Johns, Geography, graduated July 2012:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my course at Bath Spa University and would recommend it to anyone interested in pursuing a career in the environmental industry. Academically, the course was fantastic and offered the opportunity to learn a diverse range of skills that would equip anyone with the necessary attributes to enter the world of work, or pursue postgraduate studies. At Bath Spa my learning was not just restricted to the classroom; I had the opportunity to undertake a live Dissertation project working in conjunction with the Environment Agency. This was an invaluable experience giving me the opportunity to work with industry professionals. My advice to those starting their studies would be to take full advantage of the facilities Bath Spa has to offer, including the excellent support from staff and tutors. Just remember from the offset… you have to work hard to play hard and all things are achievable no matter what!”

We take the views of our students very seriously, and evaluations of each module are undertaken each year, incorporating feedback from all students. You will also have the opportunity to represent your peers at committee and board meetings that meet regularly to discuss the shape and evolution of your course.

Please look at the video clips to see what our students have said about studying Geography at Bath Spa University.

Alice - second year Geography student

Read about the activities and achievements of our students and staff in our annual Geography Newsletter:

Geography 2013

Geography 2014


newsletter 2015.pdf