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Unit of study_

CAEL2048: Investigating Clay

Semester 1, 2021 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit of study provides a studio-based approach to the production of creative work in ceramics. You will be introduced to concepts, methodologies and technologies integral to contemporary ceramics. You will also be introduced to historical and contemporary frameworks that underpin the processes and paradigms of ceramics today and provide the foundations of a 3D vocabulary. Thematic approaches accompany technical introductions to handbuilding, wheelwork, surface treatments and kiln firing to encourage exploration with ceramics methodologies. The unit develops and enhances critical skills through group and individual tutorials and critiques. This unit is suitable for those who have no or limited experience with the ceramic material and its technologies.

Unit details and rules

Unit code CAEL2048
Academic unit Sydney College of the Arts
Credit points 6
12 credit points at 1000 level in Visual Arts or 12 credit points at 1000 level in Studio Foundation
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Jan Guy,
Tutor(s) Jan Guy,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Presentation Final works
oral exam with final work
60% Formal exam period
Due date: 21 Jun 2021 at 11:00
20 minutes assessment
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment hurdle task Experimental process folio
Portfolio of studio experiments
20% Week 06
Due date: 16 Apr 2021 at 23:00
500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO5 LO4
Assignment hurdle task Proposal for final work
Written research proposal for final work
20% Week 08
Due date: 30 Apr 2021 at 23:00
1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction to unit of Study; 2. Seminar: survey portraiture in contemporary ceramics 3. Discussion and demonstrations Project A: FigureHEAD 4. Tech - Induction into Studio Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO5
Week 02 1. Introduction Project B Wheelthrowing – Repetition and Difference – the basics of cylinders and bowls 2. Seminar : survey of ceramic vessels 3. Discussion and demonstration 4. Tech - Safe wheel practices/ Making a Sprig Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 03 1. Project A Handbuilding - Head First in Contemporary Life Demonstrations and Individual Tutorials (development) 2.Tech - • Introduction to Earthenware glazes Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 04 1. Project B Wheelthrowing – Repetition and Difference – the basics of cylinders and bowls Demonstrations and Individual Tutorials (development) 2. Tech - Packing and firing an electric kiln Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 05 1. Project A Handbuilding – FigureHEAD – contemporary portraiture Joining/drying Forms 2. Tech - Making a Raku Glaze Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 06 1. Project B Wheelthrowing – Repetition and Difference – the basics of cylinders and bowls Group Critique 2. Tech - Applying Raku Glaze/ Applying a coloured slip (remote learning only) Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 07 Students may sign up to use the studio independently. Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO4 LO5
Week 08 1.Projects A and B Individual Tutorials - final projects 2. Tech - Raku firing demonstration Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 09 1. Projects A and B Individual Tutorials – final projects Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 10 1.Projects A and B Developing surface treatments 1 Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 11 1.Projects A and B Developing surface treatments 2 2. Tech - Individual Glaze Consults Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 12 1.Projects A and B Final Individual consultations Summary 2. Tech - Firing kilns Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 13 1.Projects A and B Group Critiques 2. Tech - kiln firings Studio (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: You should attend all classes for the best learning experience. If you need to be absent please email your lecturer before class.

Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation and research time (reading, studying, homework, independent studio time.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. confidently access and use research materials relevant to the field of contemporary ceramics practice
  • LO2. critically and creatively articulate their understanding of contemporary ceramic practices through practical and oral forms
  • LO3. demonstrate rigorous and independent thinking
  • LO4. effectively apply technical and individual conceptual knowledge to project-based studio work
  • LO5. effectively apply Work Health and Safety consideration in the ceramics studio.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Changes to schedule and the content of projects have been made since this class was last offered.

Additional costs

There is a studio fee that supplies some materials. (face-to-face).

Work, health and safety

Students must wear steel capped boots in the studio. There are some available to borrow while in the studio, but there is no guarantee of size.

You will be inducted into the studio in Week 1


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.