Studio Disciplines

As New Zealand’s oldest public art school, we have a tradition of teaching excellence with the support of world-class facilities – ensuring that you reach your full potential. Teaching is across eight specific studio areas.


Ceramics allows students to explore three-dimensional expression. Ceramic work can range from innovative, figurative and sculptural pieces.

Electronic arts

The Electronic Arts studio enables you to explore a wide range of approaches to art using new media and old technologies.

Jewellery and Metalsmithing

Develop your artistic eye and practical skills, along with the understanding that the body is fundamental reference for jewellery.


Develop the knowledge and skills to produce works for exhibition, and develop an understanding of art history and related theories.


Develop a photography practice from darkroom to digital, to communicate your experiences and ideas.


Develop critical approaches to image making through directed research and a hands-on exploration of the materials.


Sculpture encompasses installation practice, site-specific artworks, public sculpture, performance, live art and the object in relation to the commodity.


We specialise in print and construction processes that employ a variety of surface treatments.

Media Arts

The photography department is equipped to enable you to explore photography in all its forms.

Our studio disciplines are supported by:

Art History and Theory

Researching, writing, debating and critiquing are essential skills if you work in the visual arts, helping you to position your own work in the wider context of contemporary art. We offer semester-long courses and shorter seminar blocks enabling in-depth consideration of specific art movements and concepts. In the final year of our degree programmes, you will contextualise your own artwork in a longer research essay.

Your learning will be informed by our renowned artist seminar series, delivered as a public lecture programme. Artists and theorists deliver presentations in this weekly forum, often followed by in-depth tutorial discussion in an afternoon session. 

Our programmes recognise the bicultural nature of Aotearoa/New Zealand and Otago Polytechnic/Te Kura Matatini ki Otago and its relationships with Kai Tahu. We look at the recent past and the legacies of modernism, and also consider earlier histories and contexts.

Lecturers: Alex Kennedy, MFA and Ed Hanfling, PhD.


Studio Methodologies

Studio Methodologies introduces students to a range of key making, writing, reading, documenting and research skills and to some ideas from the history of art. It develops students’ ability to use a range of media and approaches to create and extend concepts in visual form and to use drawing and other skills as research tools.  


Professional Methodologies

The Professional Methodologies course supports final year students to gain work-ready employment skills and develop confidence to work both independently and collaboratively.