Entry Requirements

  • 5+ GCSEs at 9-4
  • Grade 4 in English (language or literature)
  • Grade 4 in an art subject


Christine Britton
Coordinator of Learning Art


Course Outline

IB Visual Arts aims for students to:

  1. enjoy lifelong engagement with the arts 
  2. become informed, reflective and critical practitioners in the arts 
  3. understand the dynamic and changing nature of the arts 
  4. explore and value the diversity of the arts across time, place and cultures 
  5. express ideas with confidence and competence 
  6. develop perceptual and analytical skills 
  7. make artwork that is influenced by personal and cultural contexts 
  8. become informed and critical observers and makers of visual culture and media 
  9. develop skills, techniques and processes in order to communicate concepts and ideas

Course Content

Students should, as a minimum, experience working with at least three art-making forms, selected from a minimum of two columns of the lists below. The examples given are for guidance only and are not intended to represent a definitive list.

Two-dimensional forms

  • Drawing, such as charcoal, pencil, ink, collage
  • Painting, such as acrylic, oil, watercolour, murals
  • Printmaking, such as relief, intaglio, planographic, chine collé
  • Graphics, such as illustration, design, graphic novel. storyboard

Three-dimensional forms

  • Carved sculpture, such as carved wood, stone, block
  • Modelled sculpture, such as wax, polymer clay
  • Constructed sculpture, such as assemblage, bricolage, wood, plastic, paper, glass
  • Cast sculpture, such as plaster, wax, bronze, paper, plastic, glass
  • Ceramics, such as hand-built forms, thrown vessels, mould-made objects
  • Designed objects, such as models, interior design, jewellery
  • Site-specific / ephemeral, such as land art, installation, performance art
  • Textiles, such as fibre, weaving, constructed textiles

Lens-based, electronic and screen-based forms

  • Time-based and sequential art, such as stop-motion, digital animation, video art
  • Lens media, such as analogue (wet) photography, digital photography, montage
  • Lens-less media, such as photogram / rayograph, scenography, pinhole photography, cyanotype, salted paper
  • Digital / screen-based, such as vector graphics, software developed painting, design, illustration

Course Assessment

Assessment Objectives

  1. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of specified content (a. Identify various contexts in which the visual arts can be created and presented b. Describe artwork from differing contexts, and identify the ideas, conventions and techniques employed by the art-makers c. Recognize the skills, techniques, media, forms and processes associated with the visual arts d. Present work, using appropriate visual arts language, as appropriate to intentions) 
  2. demonstrate application and analysis of knowledge and understanding (a. Express concepts, ideas and meaning through visual communication b. Analyse artworks from a variety of different contexts c. Apply knowledge and understanding of skills, techniques, media, forms and processes related to artmaking) 
  3. demonstrate synthesis and evaluation (a. Critically analyse and discuss artworks created by themselves and others and articulate an informed personal response b. Formulate personal intentions for the planning, development and making of artworks that consider how meaning can be conveyed to an audience c. Demonstrate the use of critical reflection to highlight success and failure in order to progress work d. Evaluate how and why art-making evolves and justify the choices made in their own visual practice) 
  4. select, use and apply a variety of appropriate skills and techniques (a. Experiment with different media, materials and techniques in art-making b. Make appropriate choices in the selection of images, media, materials and techniques in art-making c. Demonstrate technical proficiency in the use and application of skills, techniques, media, images, forms and processes d. Produce a body of resolved and unresolved artworks as appropriate to intentions)
  • Part 1: Comparative Study
    Students at HL analyse and compare different artworks by different artists. This independent critical and contextual investigation explores artworks, objects and artefacts from differing cultural contexts.
    HL students submit 10-15 screens which examine and compare at least three artworks – at least two of which need to be by different artists. The works selected for comparison and analysis should come from contrasting contexts (local, national, international and/or intercultural).
    HL students submit 3-5 additional screens which analyse the extent to which their work and practices have been influenced by the art and artists examined.
    HL students submit a list of sources used.
  • Part 2: Process Portfolio
    Students at HL submit carefully selected materials which evidence their experimentation, exploration, manipulation and refinement of a variety of visual arts activities during the two-year course.
    HL students submit 13-25 screens which evidence their sustained experimentation, exploration, manipulation and refinement of a variety of art-making activities. For HL students the submitted work must have been created in at least three art-making forms, selected from a minimum of two form lists (2D forms, 3D forms and lens, electronic and screen-based forms). 

This component is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB at the end of the course.

  • Part 3: Exhibition
    Students at HL submit for assessment a selection of resolved artworks from their exhibition. The selected pieces should show evidence of their technical accomplishment during the visual arts course and an understanding of the use of materials, ideas and practices appropriate to visual communication.
    HL students submit a curatorial rationale that does not exceed 700 words.
    HL students submit 8-11 artworks.
    HL students submit exhibition text (stating the title, medium, size and intention) for each selected artwork.
    HL students must submit two photographs of their overall exhibition. These exhibition photographs provide an understanding of the context of the exhibition and the size and scope of the works. While the photographs will not be used to assess individual artworks, they also give the moderator insight into how a candidate has considered the overall experience of the viewer in their exhibition.