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Master of Fine Art in Fine Art

PGDip, PGCert, MFA

School of Arts

The Master of Fine Art in Fine Art (MFA) provides postgraduate studio-based arts practice, critical theory in fine arts and access to the professional skills and knowledge to succeed in a career in the fine arts. The programme will appeal to independent artists wanting to extend their practice within a critical research framework supported by practicing tutors. Artists looking to extend their career path into curatorial practice in the contemporary arts, collaborative projects with arts organisations, arts in socially engaged practices and/or further research will find support for this trajectory in this broad-based programme. Teaching involves lectures, seminars, and group and individual tutorials from active artists with research profiles. The programme will equip you with creative, interpretive, critical and analytical skills to develop an advanced understanding of contemporary art and its social, cultural and historical contexts.

 

The image above shows a close up of the work Nova by Saad Querishi, a former student of Fine Art at Oxford Brookes. Saad has been commissioned to produce a piece of work for the new areas of the campus and will be acting as a resource for the students on the programme.

Available start dates

September 2017 / September 2018

Teaching location

Headington Campus

Course length

  • Full time: 1 year
  • Part time: 2 years

UCAS Postgraduate code

60043

For full application details, please see the 'How to apply / Entry requirements' section.

Your artistic practice – An independent studio environment enables you to further your work within a supported critical framework. Through group and individual tutorials, staff/peer critique and presentations, an incremental approach is applied whereby you will confidently develop your work towards public exhibition/dissemination. There are two formal exhibitions during the MFA programme.

Flexible studio options – Students may select to locate their studio either at Oxford Brookes or elsewhere. Students working from their own studios will be eligible for a reduced tuition fee. 

Technical resources – The School of Arts’ workshops offer supported working environments in a range of specialist areas including: sculpture, photography, video, sound, printmaking and book-works. All our workshops are staffed by highly skilled and creative Technical Specialists.

Extra-curricular activities – You will gain exposure to a range of contemporary artistic practice through the thriving creative student community in the School of Arts at Oxford Brookes. You will participate in the lectures and film screenings set up by the Fine Art Research (FAR) Group. These include visiting contemporary artists, critics, curators and notable alumni.  Free life drawing classes extend your drawing skills and optional local, regional and international field trips provide further stimulus.

Theoretical framework – Your ability to articulate your own creative position is enabled through a critical engagement with a range of scholarship informed by diverse practices by nationally and internationally recognised artists, collectives and movements. An early theoretical module explores contemporary art discourse through seminars informed by selected readings and in a later module you develop a more intense involvement with theory related to your individual research interests.

Professional development – The programme enables you to identify a professional focus which is likely to inform your subsequent career trajectory. This might involve research preparation, a placement, a collaborative project or exhibition management/curatorial practice. With the guided experience in this module our graduates are better prepared for a successful career as a professional artist.

You will find more details about the specific teaching programme in the module descriptions below. All the modules are compulsory, although there is considerable choice of topic for assessments in the theory modules. The practice modules are set out to extend your own work.
 
 
 
Fine Art Practice I
In this module you pursue rigorous and sustained research, exploring and investigating your own concerns out of which resolved outcomes emerge. The module provides a supportive context within which students initiate and establish a self-directed project. This process will enable you to re-evaluate, extend and challenge the strategies, techniques and motivations that underpin your existing practice, professional experience and prior learning. The emphasis is placed upon the generation of independent/collaborative/participatory practice-based work with materials, processes and contexts as well as engagement with theoretical ideas and concerns. This module gives you an opportunity to evolve a confident and intellectually stimulating working process as an artist and demands intensive, creative engagement coupled with sustained reflection. You will work with a nominated supervisor.
 
You will acquire and develop new skills. The outcome of the module serves as the foundation for the development and realisation of further completed work in the Major Project module taught in Semesters 2 and 3. Developed work in progress will be shown publicly at the end of this module and preparation for the end-of-year MFA Show will begin alongside this module (in the Professional Experience module), during which you and other students will take on a variety of roles and responsibilities involved in the public and collective, professional exhibition of your artwork.
 
Fine Art Practice II
This module represents the culmination of your learning throughout the course. You will work with a nominated supervisor to produce a work or body of work that is presented during the Fine Art Postgraduate Exhibition (MFA Show). The module extends the independent process of your development begun earlier in the programme and provides the opportunity to further develop and realise intellectually challenging and imaginative work through fine art practice to an advanced academic and professional standard. The module represents the culmination of your contemporary fine art practice at taught postgraduate level and provides a platform from which further career pathways can develop.
 
Professional Experience
This professional experience module delivers preparation for a future career in the creative industries in a number of ways. The teaching and learning are structured to build the students' confidence in a range of possible areas - for example, independent artists require research and communication skills in order to succeed in gaining grants and residencies to progress their practice within a wider environment. Communication is equally important in promoting work in public exhibitions and professional environments. Additionally, negotiation and collaboration are essential skills for many artists. In an academic environment, research and communication are equally important for individuals who wish to progress to PhD studies. The development of the ability to work independently is essential for a sustained career in the visual arts. 
 
The teaching, learning and assessment strategy is designed to build upon previous professional experience and expertise by providing opportunities in bridging the gap between practice and academia, or working in the creative industries through a placement, or exploring and implementing different modes of collaborative, social or participatory practices within a project, or increasing exhibition management and curatorial skills. Essentially, the module provides a platform of experiences that will support the students understanding of development as an arts academic, creative industries employee or independent professional artist.
 
Fine Art Theory I
This module develops your theoretical understanding of fine art and encourages you to critically engage with key topics from modern and contemporary art and culture. It provides you with opportunities to develop knowledge and understanding of fine art, as well as an ability to analyse the range of critical discourses that frame and inform contemporary practice. In this module, you will attend seminars, with sessions dedicated to the introduction of selected topics in modern and contemporary art and culture. Emphasis will be placed on your close reading and analysis of texts and will examine a range of critical forms of engagement, and critical positions taken on these. You will work independently and in groups, contributing to discussion and making presentations where required.
 
Fine Art Theory II
In this module, research and carry out independent critical investigation of a topic of your choice. This topic may relate directly or indirectly to your own practice. The module provides the opportunity to develop a sustained and critical theoretical position on any aspect of modern and contemporary art or visual culture, which may act to inform your subsequent practice-based work. The module spans the process of proposing an appropriate topic, researching it, developing and defending a position or argument in relation to the chosen subject and producing a critical essay. It is focused on your own learning throughout and is taught through seminars and individual tutorials.

Teaching and learning

There are three main parts to the programme. The largest of these develops a student’s individual practice as a contemporary artist. This is supported by another that develops understanding of historical and theoretical frameworks and contexts, and a third that enables development as a functioning and contributing member of broader local, national and international arts communities.

 

Module  Code and Title

Credits

Level

Semester

Timetable information

Year of study*

P65500: Professional Experience

30

7

1 and 2

Thursday

FT: 1

PT: 2

P65501: Fine Art Practice I: Outcomes of Research in Practice

40

7

1

Monday

FT: 1

PT: 2

P65503: Fine Art Theory I: Topics in Contemporary Fine Art Culture

20

7

1

Tuesday

FT: 1

PT: 1

P65504: Fine Art Theory II: Extended Critical Essay

30

7

2

Tuesday

FT: 1

PT: 1

P65502: Fine Art Practice II: Major Project

60

7

2 and 3

Monday

FT: 1

PT: 2

*The Brookes MFA in Fine Art can be taken either Full or Part time. The full time programme lasts for one academic year and the part time programme takes two years.

 

The teaching and learning strategy we use seeks to integrate your advanced development as reflective, practising artists with a robust and critical understanding of your own work within current theoretical frameworks of contemporary art practice. You will have access to technical resources (including technical staff) in a range of specialist areas including: sculpture, photography, video, sound, printmaking and book-works.

As a postgraduate student you are enabled to develop a broad knowledge and critical engagement with a range of theories informed by diverse and often challenging practices by nationally and internationally recognised artists, collectives and movements. This approach coordinates with the University Strategy for Enhancing Student Experience in enabling you to work towards being an independent learner and confident self-critical practitioner.

Courses are delivered using a range of teaching methods and approaches. These may include: formal lectures, seminars in various forms including student-led sessions, tutorials for individuals and groups, workshops, written feedback on assessed and unassessed coursework, oral presentations and self-directed study. Each of these approaches is designed and adopted to meet the learning outcomes and promote the acquisition of postgraduate attributes, and individual modules may employ one or more of these teaching methods.

Teaching patterns vary from module to module. Details will be made clear at the start of each module, normally in the form of a general Module Handbook. If in doubt, ask your seminar tutor or the Module Leader. Most modules employ a mixture of seminars and tutorials.

Lectures, where scheduled, are normally up to 60 minutes long. They cover principal themes in a module and are attended by all students on it. Lectures therefore offer a large group learning and teaching experience.

Seminars/Workshops/Critiques are held for groups of students and are intended for collective discussion. The expectations regarding student preparation and the structuring of the seminar discussion itself will vary from module to module and indeed from tutor to tutor, but all operate on the assumption of active student input. Seminars are extremely important and you should aim to prepare beforehand, attend regularly and participate fully. The object is to help you clarify uncertainties, try out your own ideas, and achieve expertise in the vital skill of oral communication. In Practice modules critiques enable you to engage with the work of others as ‘active’ audience participants. Critiques are a forum for academic discourse that focus on the relationship between and responsibilities of both the ‘producer’ and ‘receiver’ of any work of art. 

The broad basis of this MFA is evident in the supervisory team available to you for your major project. Beyond the core teaching academic team are artists on the teaching staff who can offer supervision in a wide range of fields relevant to contemporary fine art. 

Tutorials are individual and group consultations with your seminar tutor about your work and are programmed regularly throughout all practice modules, but also take place in the theory and professional experience modules. You should always prepare for your tutorials, bringing your relevant work in progress with you. Tutorials will usually take place in the studio (on campus) or staff offices/bookable rooms. Where students have elected to use their own studio space, a tutorial may be arranged via a similar digital environment. On rare occasions, it may be necessary for staff to travel to student’s off-campus studios.

All members of staff hold Office Hours at regular times each week and these times will be posted on their real and virtual office doors. During these times you are free to drop in to see your tutors. If you make an appointment to see staff outside office hours, please make sure that you keep it.

Independent learning is fostered through specified activities within modules. Within the programme, independent learning is understood as a learning process in which teaching staff retain overall responsibility for teaching and for the direction of work, while enabling the student to pursue specific interests to a greater depth than might be allowed by a formal syllabus.

Approach to assessment

In the practice based modules, assessment runs through conception, research, development production and public dissemination of your work. In Semester 1, this is practiced through an interim exhibition and culminates in Semester 3 through a major piece or body of work presented in a professional context through the MFA show. All practical work is assessed alongside research and development materials which demonstrate the critical contextual underpinnings to each project and also document work in progress as well as editorial decision making. A written evaluation is also presented placing students’ work into informed critical and theoretical contexts through a reflective process of articulation. This approach to assessment is selected because it replicates the expectations placed on professional artists when working with external agencies and stakeholders and encourages good practice.

The assessment of the theory modules is based on written work. Formative and summative feedback leads students to develop the ability to rationalise theory within contemporary arts practices. The teaching includes a limited number of sessions on research and writing skills. This enables students to put these skills into practice through their individual work, but also to continue to focus on their work in practice based modules alongside and informed by this research.

The assessment for the professional module is designed to support and formalize the career aspirations of individual students. From the initial proposal (which is summatively assessed) to the final analytical report (both formatively and summatively assessed), the assessment leads students to practice identifying, ordering, prioritising and assessing personal goals within a dynamic work environment.

Specialist facilities

 
Technical workshops 
 
The School of Arts has its own dedicated workshops in the Richard Hamilton Building which support your development of artistic practice:
  • Book works and Printing Workshop 
  • Sculpture/3D Workshop
  • Laser Cutting Room
  • Printmaking Workshop 
  • Photography Workshop
  • Video Workshop 
Each workshop is very well equipped and is managed by a team of Technical Specialists. You will be introduced to these workshop areas as part of a technical induction. Introductory sessions given by the Technical Specialist for these areas as part of these modules will cover the basic skills required (where necessary), introduce you to the Health & Safety regulations, and tell you how you can book time in the Workshop to do your own work. Painting areas are available in the studio spaces. 

 

Field trips

The field trips are an optional feature of the programme and costs are not included in the programme fees. The likely cost for an international field trip to a European location of approximately 4 days is estimated at £350 to £400. There are also optional day field trips to London and other local venues which may be taken on public transport at an approximate cost of £30. 

Additional Costs

Field trips 
The field trips are an optional feature of the programme and costs are not included in the programme fees. The likely costs for an international field trip to a European location of approximately 4 days is estimated at £350 to £400. There are also optional day field trips to London and other local venues which may be taken on public transport at an approximate cost of £30.

Art Materials
The cost of art materials is not included in the programme fees. All students should expect some cost implications related to the production of their art. For at least one module there will be a minimal fee to cover the costs of materials used. There is no relationship whatsoever between the amount students pay for materials for their work and the final assessment achieved. The written self-evaluation that students hand in with each practice module can be used to enable a student to talk about cost restraints and alternatives used in the resolution of their art works. Where there are financial constraints on what a student can realistically spend on art materials, staff will take this into account. As students may choose their own media and modes of working, we cannot estimate how much a student may have to spend on materials.

Exhibition costs 
There are also costs associated with the exhibition of your work. The programme requires your work to be professionally displayed for public view at two exhibitions in the programme. The costs associated with exhibiting your work are not included in the programme fees. The amount will vary according to the type of work displayed and the means to transport and install the piece(s). While it is difficult to be precise about these amounts because they will vary with medium and practice, size, weight and complexity of the your work, it is likely that you should budget at least £350 as a minimum for this expense.

Your studio practice space
The School of Arts recognises that at Masters level, studio provision on-campus is not always necessary nor appropriate for all students. Therefore, students may make their own arrangements for a UK-based studio space in which to develop their fine art practice. Students making their own arrangements for studio space will be offered a discount on their programme fees. International students are advised that while they may rent studio space in Oxford, or in a nearby locale, the cost of rental in this area is considerably higher than the discount in Brookes fees associated with locating your own space. We therefore recommend that unless you already have your own studio space set up and supporting your practice, that you use the studio space offered and supported by the university.

Should you wish to use your own space which is already set up and supporting your practice, the University requires that you meet the following conditions before we are able to agree to your use of this space as your named practice studio while you are attending the MFA programme:

You will be required to sign a disclaimer in which you agree to be responsible for your own safety. The disclaimer has been prepared by Brookes Legal Services and may not be amended.

You must attend safety training conducted by the University during the Induction period of the programme.

You recognise that if at any time during your attendance on the programme you are able to transfer to the University studio spaces if there is any question over the safety of your own equipment.

Due to the nature of the arrangements to ensure your safety, the timing of the signing of the disclaimer and the safety training required, students wishing to access this discount are required to pay the full fee when they enrol on the programme, attend the safety training, and sign the disclaimer before claiming a refund to access the discount.

 Those students who prefer to work in their own dedicated space within a communal environment may apply for studio space on campus. A key-card access system allows card-holders access to buildings after hours. Each entry and exit is recorded electronically.

Management of Brookes’ studio space
The use of the Brookes spaces are governed by the same regulations that apply to the undergraduate Fine Art programme and the masters level Social Sculpture programme.

Health and safety issues for studio use
As a student on the programme Brookes has a responsibility to you to ensure that you are aware of the health and safety issues associated with the materials, working spaces and machinery used with various arts media. You will be provided with comprehensive information about regulations in the induction to the technical workshop areas and when using the studio spaces. If you select to use your own studio space, you will attend the same Health and Safety sessions for the students using the Brookes studio spaces and, in addition, must sign an Own Studio Health and Safety disclaimer prepared by Brookes Legal Services and provided at induction before commencing Semester 1.

Attendance pattern

While the teaching schedule remains open to re-arrangement, the current plans are for teaching to occur on three days, which are likely to be Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. However, this may change and you are likely to want to commit to additional time to use the workshop facilities although it is possible to schedule these in advance by booking your use of space and support from technical specialists. The optional field trips may occur on any weekday.  

Tuition fees

Home/EU - full time fee: 2017/18: £5,450 2018/19: £5,560

Home/EU - part time fee: 2017/18: £2,830 2018/19: £2,890

International - full time: 2017/18: £13,200 2018/19: £13,460

Where part time fees are quoted this is for the first year only. Fees will increase by approximately 2% each year.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed in the 'This course in detail' window above.

Questions about fees?
Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088
finance-fees@brookes.ac.uk

Funding and scholarships

Entry requirements

The general entry requirements are:
  • a good honours degree, ie an upper second or first, in any subject
  • an internationally recognised qualification equivalent to a good British honours degree.
Applicants without a first degree, but with extensive experience in the arts or other disciplines relevant to our programmes may also be considered. Please contact the Admissions Officer to discuss this.

Please also see the university's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or if you have not studied a higher education degree in English, then an English language level of IELTS 7.0 overall with 6.0 in each component is required

There is a fair amount of discussion on the programme - both in the feedback sessions and in the weekly seminar-meetings. It is therefore very important to be able to understand and speak English well enough to participate in a group conversation. 

Please also see the university's standard English language requirements

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the university's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

International applications

Preparation courses for International and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you to meet the entry requirements for this course and also familiarise you with university life. You may also be able to apply for one student visa to cover both courses.

  • Take our Pre-Master's course to help you to meet both the English language and academic entry requirements for your master's course.
  • If you need to improve your English language, we have pre-sessional English language courses available to help you to meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s.

If you are studying outside the UK, for more details about your specific country entry requirements, translated information, local contacts and programmes within your country, please have a look at our country pages.

How to apply

You apply for this course through UCAS Postgraduate.

Through UCAS Postgraduate, you should use the UKPASS portal to make your application, which will then be forwarded directly to our Admissions Office. You should send supporting documentation to us directly using the email addresses on the UKPASS application form.

Once we have received your UKPASS application we will contact you to set up an interview, in person, or by Skype if you are not near Oxford.

At this point we will discuss further why you want to do this programme and will request to see previous practice. 

If you are not an arts practitioner we will need to hear about other work and experience, and understand how it equips you for this programme.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

How this course helps you develop

In addition to the support, teaching and development opportunities afforded by the curriculum, as a student you will be immersed in the active arts environment of the School. During your studies with us you will have access to the visiting speakers arranged for this and for other arts programmes, for the seminars and conferences in diverse fields, including publishing, film, music and digital production in the School. The field trips, visiting artists, PhD students and opportunities in the programme’s Professional Experience module offer a rich network of individuals and organisations that enable you to make useful contacts for your future career. 

Careers

Graduates from this programme will be well equipped to pursue their practice as independent artists who have a well-developed understanding of the theoretical and professional contexts of the current and contemporary landscape of the arts and creative industries. 

This programme is delivered within the School of Arts, which offers a vibrant environment for the creative industries including film, photography, music and publishing. Through the modules, which address practice, theory and professional experience, students are provided with links to engage with employment and further study opportunities, either as independent practitioners, facilitators or participants within a range of group and collaborative practices and contexts. 

 

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:

  • studying at a Brookes partner college
  • studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

How Brookes supports postgraduate students

The objective of Oxford Brookes University is to provide the highest quality services and facilities to all its students. We hope you will find that this is so throughout your time as a student. However, if you have any concerns, we would in the first instance encourage you to share these with your programme team, possibly with the support of your student representatives.
 
Academic Advisers
Every student is allocated an academic adviser upon arrival at the university. Your academic adviser is the principal person you should go to see for any issues you have about your academic programme. Let him or her know if you have problems affecting your work. Your Academic Advisor will be a member of the department teaching staff. 
 
Subject Coordinator
The Subject Coordinator (Dr. Clair Chinnery) can advise on timetabling and progression matters, and any matters unresolved through the normal processes of discussion with seminar tutors and module leaders. 
 
Student Support Coordinators
The role of the Student-Support Coordinator (SSC) is to provide academic and pastoral support services for all students across the Faculty. They can help on a broad range of issues, answering questions where they can, offering support and acting as a referral service.  They are here to help with anything from academic advice, such as helping you choose your modules, through to any personal issues you may experience. If they don't know the answer to your question, they will know someone who will. This is a confidential and non-judgmental service. You can contact your SSC for any of the following issues:
  • Choosing your modules/programme of study
  • Academic issues (deadlines, grading, regulations, mitigating circumstances)
  • PIP problems and error messages
  • Financial Issues
  • Accommodation issues
  • Pastoral advice
  • Disability or sickness
  • Specific learning difficulties (Dyslexia, etc.)
If you are unsure of the help you need, visit your SSC and if they can't help you they will refer you on to the appropriate University Support Service where necessary, for services such as:
 
  • Counselling
  • Disability support
  • Careers
  • Financial Aid
  • Student Finance
  • Accommodation Office
  • International Student Advice Service (ISAS)
  • Student Union Advice Centre (SUAC)
SSCs have regular office hours and you are welcome to drop in, to email or to make an appointment for a time that suits you. SSCs specialise in helping students studying on particular subjects. However, if the person you want to speak to is unavailable, please contact one of the others and they will be happy to help you.
 
Catherine Foley is the Student Support Coordinator for the School of Arts. She is based in the Richard Hamilton Building and covers the following programmes in addition to Fine Art: Music, Film Studies, Publishing and Digital Media Production. She can be contacted at catherine.foley@brookes.ac.uk or 01865 483790.
 
 
 
You can find information about different support services on the following pages:
 
 
Brookes Union can help students get involved in University life. It is currently based in the John Henry Brookes Building on the Headington site. Please see the Brookes Union website for further information.

Supporting your learning

From academic advisers and support co-ordinators to specialist subject librarians and other learning support staff, we want to ensure that you get the best out of your studies.

Personal support services

We want your time at Brookes to be as enjoyable and successful as possible. That's why we provide all the facilities you need to be relaxed, happy and healthy throughout your studies.