NC Art and Design

NC Art and Design

The National Certificate in Art & Design is a one-year Further Education course based in North Uist in the Outer Hebrides.

NC Art Studio

What is special about this course?

Portfolio preparation is embedded into the course for those students interested in progressing into Art College.

The course attracts a diverse group of learners from the islands and further afield, younger students moving on from school and adults returning to education. With small group sizes and the input of a number of specialised tutors, the learning experience is full of new challenges and creative opportunities.

A particular feature of the course is its location in Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Arts Centre. With a changing exhibition programme, and stunning waterfront studios, Taigh Chearsabhagh is a vibrant hub of creative and cultural activity. The islands as a whole offer much stimulus with exceptional environment, natural history, landscape and rich cultural heritage. Gaelic language class are also available to students.

Entry requirements

Applicants should aim to have 3 National 5 passes or equivalent, preferably including Art and English. Applicants will be asked to show examples of their work at interview where possible. Applications are welcome from mature students who may not have the suggested academic requirements.

(Applicants to the course should note that for entry to a degree programme at any of Scotland’s Art Colleges typically 3 or 4 Higher awards are required.)


The NC programme comprises nationally recognised Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) Units. In addition, portfolio preparation is embedded into the course structure. Drawing forms an important part of the course and includes units in Figure Drawing, and Analytical Drawing as well as introducing a wide range of fine art and design based units such as:

  • Painting
  • Printmaking (including Etching)
  • Photography (Digital, experimental techniques and analogue)
  • Sculpture
  • Graphic Design

The NC Art and Design programme aims to provide students with a broad range of experience in the visual arts; introducing a diverse range of skills, building on knowledge and understanding and encouraging critical awareness. A number of visiting artists are invited to deliver specialist workshops.

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time
  • Part Time

The course is offered full-time over three days a week (Monday - Wednesday, 9am-4.30pm)

Part time: In discussion with the Course Leader, applicants can select a number of units to study. Units are normally delivered in 2 week blocks.

Where can I study my course?

North Uist Campus - Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Art Centre.

How long will my course last?

1 Year from September to June.

Start date



For further information contact:

Fine Art BA (Hons)

Fine Art BA (Hons)

Study fine art at our North Uist campus on the BA (Hons) in Fine Art, in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Fine Art

Direct applications outwith UCAS are encouraged as are applications from those wishing to undertake short modules to engage their work more deeply with the landscape. The course attracts a wide range of part time and full students who benefit from excellent staff student ratios and a flexible, supportive learning environment.

Consideration and response to ‘Place’ underpins our students learning experience, their primary resource - the island environment - understood in its broadest sense. Students are encouraged to engage, interpret and respond to this notion in a wide variety of ways, investigating and exploring the abundant stimuli here and beyond whilst developing their own creative and visual identity.

Fine Art students are primarily based at Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum & Art Centre in Lochmaddy, North Uist. The venue provides a stimulating creative environment where students benefit from a rich programme of exhibitions, artists talks and residencies. Recent visiting artists have included Alasdair Gray, Ilana Halperin, Andy Goldsworthy, Chris Drury, and Vija Celmins.

Working in light, modern studios overlooking Lochmaddy bay, students follow a programme of study designed to enhance and build on individual creative skills, exploring a wide variety of media and approaches. The studios are wi-fi enabled, and have PC and Mac computers. Onsite there is access to Taigh Chearsabhagh’s print workshop, darkroom and multi-media facility, as well as a dedicated art library.

Year one modules include Lens based Media, Drawing, Painting, Printed Image, Spatial Studies and Critical and Contextual Studies.

Years two, three and four develop a studio practice in which students direct their learning, framed by workshops and electives across a wide range of media and subjects, developing practical and creative skills. Students receive regular one to one support, lectures, seminars, peer and group reviews. Year three offers opportunities for student exchange with other academic institutions. Year four culminates in a student degree show and a written dissertation.

A number of elements of the course are delivered at the Lews Castle College, Benbecula campus via video conferencing, in particular the Critical & Contextual Studies module. This campus also provides extensive IT facilities for research. Students have access to the wider UHI network of partner colleges and benefit from this additional academic input throughout the course through working with staff and fellow students across campuses in Shetland, Orkney and mainland Scotland.

Teaching Staff

The core teaching staff are all practicing artists, Additional teaching provision is facilitated through resident and visiting artists throughout the year; including fine art photographer Rosie Blake, filmmaker Hugh Watt, environmental photographer René Jansen, painter and printmaker Margaret McLennan, ceramic and glass artist Rosa Nguyen, sound artist James Bull and critic Mel Gooding.

Entry requirements

Year 1

All applicants are required to submit a portfolio of work demonstrating their ability to respond to with demands of the course and preparedness for study at Higher Education level. Standard requirements for admission are:

  • A minimum of 3 Higher grade passes, one of which is preferably English
  • Or the equivalent gained from systems of Education out with Scotland
  • Or a recognised Access programme

Year 2

Successful completion of the Certificate of Higher Education in Fine Art (Year 1) or equivalent programme of study and submission of a portfolio.

Years 3 and 4

Direct entry into years 3 and 4 is available. Students are also welcomed to engage in modular part time or full time study for periods from 6 weeks to 1 year and beyond.


Students from the course have gone on to exhibit at the Royal Scottish Academy, as part of the New Contemporaries and the Society of Scottish Artists, amongst other shows. Graduates have gone on to complete MA and PHD level study with institutions such as Glasgow, Edinburgh, Chelsea and Dundee Schools of Art. Many establish themselves as working artists or undertake teaching and community arts, locally, nationally and internationally.


Applications are currently being accepted. Apply via Lews Castle College or contact us for further information:

Short Courses

Short Courses


A regular Monday afternoon class covering figure drawing and location drawing. Starts Monday 4 February.


An introduction to etching and print workshop facilities. Starts Tuesday 29 January for 5 days.


with Alistair Gow from Glasgow Print Studio. Starts Wednesday  13 – Thursday 14 February.


An introduction  to stop-motion animation. Starts Tuesday 5— Wednesday 6 March.


Join this exciting workshop  for studio and field-trip based projects. Starts Tuesday 12 March.