MFA

Fine Art

  • Level(s) of study: Postgraduate taught
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time (day)
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: September 2018
  • Course duration: 2 / 3 Year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information
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Studying an Art and Design Masters at NTU

This course allows you to develop your artistic practice while engaging professionally with the vibrant arts community in Nottingham. You will critically engage with, interrogate and resolve your own practice, leading to an informed and established body of work. With an emphasis on professional practice and audience engagement, you will widen your network working with partners across the city of Nottingham, preparing you for the rigours of contemporary practice as an artist and researcher.

Nottingham is recognised as having one of the most active artist-led scenes outside London. With an emphasis on professional practice and audience engagement, this course will allow you to widen your network, working with partners across the city such as Nottingham Contemporary and New Art Exchange.

Key features

  • Dedicate yourself to the studio, focusing and exploring your practice.
  • Work with the arts community in Nottingham to widen your practice and professional network.
  • Take part in a programme of professional practice, including career development planning and professional work experience.
  • Be supported by staff who are practising artists in their own right.
  • Benefit from our extensive links with festivals, arts organisations, and artists' groups locally, nationally and internationally, including our own Bonington Gallery.
  • Have the opportunity to undertake a European exchange with a partner institution, through the Erasmus programme.
  • Opt for additional research sessions if you're thinking of progressing to PhD or Professional Doctorate study.

What you'll study

  • Modules

    Research and Project Development (120 credit points)

    The first part of this module will function as a transition period where you are encouraged to share your experiences such as working methods, your research, and reasoning behind your own practice. A national / international study trip within this period will help to create a working community, where you will be working together and supporting each other.

    During this period, it is essential that you make connections with the art community in Nottinghamshire, enabling you to be professionally engaged with your surrounding infrastructure for future developments; you will be supported in this.

    Building on this first stage, you are expected to outline plans for the development of your self-directed practice by using the Learning Agreement as a basis for describing and contextualising your project aims and intended outcomes. In the context of your research and the development of your practice and project you will be encouraged to create closer working relationships with organisations outside the University, focusing on the professionalisation element of this course and creating a basis for your future beyond the framework of this degree. This stage of your studies is also a good time to engage in pushing your practical as well as theoretical boundaries; taking risks and experimenting, exploring and questioning beyond the expected.

    Working with your tutors and through discussion with peers, you will be encouraged to evaluate the development of research, personal engagement, and critical reflection that feed your practice and that of others. You will attend the ‘Live’ and ‘Context’ lecture programme, organised by the Fine Art staff team, which will support you in your exploration of relevant research material and provide additional feedback opportunities advancing you in your studies. The research portfolio will continue to be your permanent companion throughout your studies, including all the material that is relevant to your work, providing detailed reflection of your journey, including the Learning Agreement in which you will record, analyse and evaluate your ideas and consider ways in which the self-directed practice might progress.

    An external interim exhibition at the end of this module will give you the opportunity to engage in the practice of preparing your work for an audience and to receive feedback from a professional audience; for example, members from Nottingham Contemporary and the vibrant art community in Nottingham.

    You will also be asked to present your work to date in the form of a verbal and visual presentation and submit your Learning Agreement, reflective journal, research and self-directed practical work for assessment. You will be asked to effectively articulate, critically analyse and reflect upon your progress through presentations of your work and in your reflective journal.

    Project Realisation and Presentation (100 or 120 credit points)

    During the first part of this module you have the possibility to choose from the following options:

    • Apply to participate in an International Master Erasmus exchange, giving you the opportunity to work with one of our partner universities, engaging in different ways of addressing practice and the processes of making.
    • Intensify your professional engagement which could include a work placement in and around Nottingham or abroad (linked to the Erasmus programme), international collaborations, or two artists developing an exhibition. Support in relation to your future career aspirations is an important aspect of the MFA course. During this time you will have the opportunity to apply for a paid professional development placement with Nottingham Contemporary. Successful candidates will work within one of the two curatorial departments, Exhibitions or The Public Programme. The placement offers you the opportunity to contextualise your practice in relationship to the work of leading contemporary art institutions, while gaining experience and transferable skills relevant to the realisation of exhibition, performance, moving image and discursive programmes.


    During the second part of this module you will continue your exploration of advanced research methods in relation to your personal practice and advancement of your knowledge base.

    In July you are expected to be involved in Summer Lodge - a research activity led by the BA (Hons) Fine Art staff team. For ten days in July, the Fine Art studios and workshops at NTU are transformed into Summer Lodge, and play host to a gathering of thirty diverse artists.

    This group, comprising of current staff, student assistants and artists working in the city of Nottingham and beyond, initiates new dialogues and critical exchange through engaging together in a period of sustained studio / workshop practice. It is intended as an opportunity to think through making by being able to work for a while without many of the usual constraints and distractions. It is a collective space in which to undertake experiments, pursue new ideas and allow unexpected leaps of imagination. Students, MFA as well as PhD and Professional Doctorate assist in the development of practice, which will then feed back into the course of study as a whole.

    This will provide another opportunity to connect the different level of studies and to introduce the MFA students to further postgraduate learning. During each year’s Summer Lodge there is a more formal day of presentation and conversation on a theme related to artistic and research enquiry.

    You are to critically engage with your chosen activity at the beginning of this year and to integrate it accordingly within your reflective journal. All of the choices are considered as equal, and are therefore part of your overall effort to be considered appropriately as part of your portfolio, which is reviewed and assessed holistically at the end of the course. Your Learning Agreement will be updated and finalised. This final stage of the module culminates in the presentation and celebration of your work for the final degree show, held in a venue outside NTU and organised by yourself as a group, as part of your overall professional practice.

    Advanced Art and Design Research (20 credit points)

    This module will support your reflection on your research and practice through discursive lectures and coursework assignments. In these, you will contribute accounts of your postgraduate research enquiry, its antecedents in your practice and academic study, as well as your understanding of the role your practice can play in it.

    After an initial diagnosis phase, where you’ll outline your perspectives on research, you’ll be introduced to an overview of the philosophical assumptions that underlie research across disciplines. You’ll also identify where these feature in your experience of education and practice.

    You’ll be introduced to the literature on practice based research that has grown out of PhD activity in Art, Design and Performance, in which you will discover the direction you want your work to take. The module then identifies a range of practice based approaches that are found across disciplines from education to archaeology, and laboratory science.

    The second phase of the module brings these insights to be applied to your practice, so that it can be an element in a research design that will contribute to knowledge. This process includes a reflective audit of the research dimensions of your practice, to identify elements of it that could be part of a research design. The outcome of this audit will help you to build a prospective view of the design of potential research processes that include your practice, as well as appropriate modes of analysis and reporting.

    At the end of the module you will write up your responses to the discursive lectures, supplementing them with appropriate visual material (no more than 3,000 words).

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

How you’re taught

You'll spend most of your time in a creative studio environment. Teaching and learning experiences will include:

  • independent studio practice;
  • feedback tutorials;
  • studio seminars;
  • individual and group presentations;
  • study visits;
  • self-directed research;
  • workshop inductions;
  • technical surgeries;
  • self and peer evaluations; and
  • Context Talks and the Live Lecture programme.

Assessment

Assessment is 100% by coursework and involves:

  • verbal and visual articulation of your practice;
  • learning agreement; and
  • presentation of your work in the form of an exhibition.

Careers and employability

Professionalism is at the heart of this course, helping you to gain experience and make lasting connections with arts organisations outside of the University. The opportunity to undertake work placements and to engage in professional practice is embedded into the course, helping you to gain insight and knowledge in preparation for a career after graduation.

If you're thinking about progressing to further study you'll have the option to undertake an additional series of research sessions, to help prepare you for a Professional Doctorate or PhD.

Professional practice

A key element of this course is to develop your on-going professional practice, through exhibiting and audience engagement.

The course is outward-facing, embracing and engaging with the creative art scene within Nottingham and the surrounding region. It will help you to widen your professional network, create a sustainable practice, and encourage you to make the use of the rich art scene in the East Midlands.

Our MFA Fine Art is supported by a partnership between NTU and Nottingham Contemporary. Staff and students from the course will be invited to be actively involved in the development of Nottingham Contemporary's programme, including lectures, symposia, workshops, reading groups and screenings. This partnership also includes a student placement scheme, providing opportunities for you to gain insight and knowledge to help prepare you for your career.

You will also benefit from our Live Lecture programme. It welcomes national and international artists, creative practitioners and theorists including:

  • Hetain Patel;
  • Tom Clark and Rozsa Farkas;
  • Bedwyr Williams;
  • Lindsay Seers;
  • Annika Erikson; and
  • Pil and Galia Kollectiv.

Nottingham Contemporary - paid placement

"At the start of the MFA stage you will have the opportunity to apply for a paid professional development placement with Nottingham Contemporary. Successful candidates will work within one of two curatorial departments, Exhibitions or The Public Programme. The placement offers an opportunity for you to contextualise your practice in relationship to the work of a leading contemporary art institution, while gaining experience and transferable curatorial skills relevant to the realisation of exhibition, performance, moving image and discursive programmes.

"Nottingham Contemporary is an established partner of the School of Art & Design at NTU and during the postgraduate certificate and diploma stages of this course you will have the opportunity to participate in collective projects in collaboration with Nottingham Contemporary."

Isobel Whitelegg, Nottingham Contemporary

Backlit gallery opportunities

"Backlit provides opportunities for postgraduate students at NTU to gain professional studio practice and experience working within a community of artists in an independent studio complex. Backlit has provided exhibition space for Masters students from Nottingham Trent University and involves them in critical sessions with established practitioners and critics from the arts.

"As an organisation it hosts artist from across the city providing studios, exhibition and project spaces. Nottingham has benefited from Backlit as a contemporary art space over the last five years, since its establishment in 2008 by NTU graduate artists and is support by Nottingham City Council and Arts Council England."

Matthew Chesney, Backlit

YouFirst – working with our Employability Team

Our friendly, experienced careers consultants will work closely with you at every stage of your career planning, providing personal support and advice you won't find in a book or on the internet. You can benefit from this at any time during your studies and up to three years after completing your course.

Get inspired

Take a look at a recent zine produced by our graduating Masters students to get a flavour of the innovation and creativity that goes on within the School of Art & Design.

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • 2.1 honours degree in a related subject.
  • Applicants with non-standard entry qualifications and / or relevant work experience will be considered on an individual basis.

Other requirements:

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

What are we looking for?

  • 2.1 honours degree in a related subject.
  • Applicants with non-standard entry qualifications and / or relevant work experience will be considered on an individual basis.

Other requirements:

If you hold international qualifications, take a look at the alternative qualifications we accept for this course.

English language requirements

If English isn't your first language, you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. You'll find our language requirements and list of accepted English language tests here. Your British Council office can tell you where you can take an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test locally. Applicants who have taken a higher degree at a UK university don't usually have to meet this requirement.

Pre-masters courses

Are you an international student whose qualifications don't meet the entry requirements? You can do a pre-masters course at Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC). The college is on our City site and NTIC students can use all of the University's facilities.

Next steps

Please also take a look at our International students page and our application guide for international students which are full of advice and information about to the University.

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our staff at the International Development Office, who are always happy to help. Or speak to one of our official NTU representatives in your country.

How to apply

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying.

Application deadline

You can apply for this course throughout the year, but we'd recommend that applications should be received by the end of July for entry in September.

Writing your application

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. Make sure you include as much information as possible, including uploading evidence of results already achieve, as well as a personal statement.

Keeping up to date

After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU in our postgraduates' guide. Here you'll find advice about how to write a good personal statement and much more.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying.

Application deadline

You can apply for this course throughout the year, but we'd recommend that applications should be received by the end of July for entry in September.

Make sure you take into account the time required to apply for a visa (if applicable) before applying.

Writing your application

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. Make sure you include as much information as possible, including uploading evidence of results already achieve, as well as a personal statement.

Keeping up to date

After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process - so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU in our postgraduates' guide. Here you'll find advice about how to write a good personal statement and much more.

Next steps

Please also take a look at our International students page and our application guide for international students which is full of advice and information about to the University.

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our staff at the International Development Office, who are always happy to help. Or speak to one of our official NTU representatives in your country.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Postgraduate loans

The government introduced a new postgraduate loan scheme for the 2016/17 academic year for Masters degrees. The loan will be a contribution towards the costs of study and it will be at the student's discretion to use the loan towards fees, maintenance costs or other costs.

Find out more on our postgraduate loans page.

We are offering a number of scholarships for Masters study. To find out more visit our Postgraduate Scholarships webpage.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

You might be able to get a scholarship to help fund your studies. We award scholarships to those international students who can demonstrate excellent achievement, passion and dedication to their studies.

Please take a look at our International students page for information about fees, scholarships for international students, visas and much more.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418