MA in Social Sculpture students take three compulsory modules - Creative Strategies, Research and Development and Contemporary Arts, and a fourth - in which they develop their Major Project related to their specialist concerns.
PGDip students take the three compulsory modules - Creative Strategies, Research and Development, and The Theories and Practices of Social Sculpture.
Modules may change from time to time; an indicative list is shown below.
- Creative Strategies is shared by all four MA courses. This module explores methodologies and strategies for generating contemporary and cross-art-form work, sonic art and musical composition, social sculpture and related expanded art practices. You are encouraged to become aware of your working process as a creative practitioner and to understand the influence that certain methodologies and strategies have on the kind of work that you do. Through individual and collaborative practice-based work, staff-led seminars and feedback discussions, attention is focused on how we generate practice-based work. Strategies that encompass the intuitive, spontaneous, interventionist, discursive and analytical are used, individually or in collaboration with others.
- Research and Development provides the opportunity to identify an area of interest as a starting point for investigation and speculation. You will develop project proposals through deliberate, rigorous and sustained research and exploration. The module emphasises practical research processes relevant to your own concerns.
The Theories and Practices of Social Sculpture focuses on social sculpture, agents of change and ecological citizenship, connective practices and cultural creative action. Alongside an exploration of strategies of engagement, and the relationship between imagination and transformation, it makes special reference to the projects and legacy of Joseph Beuys, whilst exploring the broader field of expanded art practices. You will have the opportunity to study the theoretical and philosophical frameworks that underpin these ideas, and to examine contemporary research and practice that explores the relationship of social sculpture to ecological sustainability and the shaping of a viable future. In addition, you will explore relevant practice-based methodologies and research strategies as the basis for developing your own practice-based, interdisciplinary social sculpture and expanded art projects.
At the end of the course there is an annual degree festival of the MA work. The Major Project is the culmination of your course of study. You can take an active role in organising, marketing and running the festival, which in previous years has taken place at a variety of sites in and around Oxford, as well as the University and exhibition spaces in the School of Arts.
Teaching and learning
Our teaching methods include:
- seminars and lectures on creative practice and social sculpture
- team teaching in group seminars, involving research methodologies for practice-based research
- feedback from staff during group feedback sessions, in which staff provide constructive feedback and analysis of your work
- staff-led group discussions arising out of your practical work presentations
- individual tutorials that address your research concerns
- introductions to creative strategies for generating and making practice-based work, social sculpture and cultural activism
- introductions to the School of Arts technical facilities
- induction sessions with subject librarians.
The learning methods include:
- regular forums where staff and students formulate and articulate responses to work
- creative practice presentations
- presentations of practical research
- the researching and writing of reports, assignments and evaluations
- private research and study
- presentations to peers and group feedback.
The assessment methods include:
- practical presentations of resolved artworks
- written self-evaluations for each creative project
- a written research portfolio
- written assignments and reports
- a final presentation of practical work as part of the MA Festival which includes exhibitions and events.
As a student in the School of Arts, you will benefit from excellent and well equipped facilities, 24 hour access to your own studio spaces and the help and support our team of practising artists and the other specialists in the field who work here.
The MA in Social Sculpture is situated in the Richard Hamilton Building, which includes a large lecture theatre, a smaller lecture room, studios and installation rooms, music practice rooms and a research room for postgraduate students. Access to the Richard Hamilton Building is available 24 hours a day for all arts students.
The department also has access to the drama studio where performances and installations can take place. This provides a live performance venue with versatile sound, lighting and staging possibilities, including surround sound, projections and raised staging and seating.
Arts related workshops and IT
Social sculpture students have access to well-equipped workshops run by technical specialists in Artists’ Books, Printmaking, Photography, Video and a range of processes including casting, metalwork and woodwork. General internet, email and office software are available as well as workstations with more specialist programmes including Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe Audition 3.0; Sibelius 6; Cubase Essential 4; Pure Data; Hyperprism; GRM Tools and Composers Desktop Project.
You have the opportunity to spend a semester at the Bauhaus University in Weimar; the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam; or the Vilnius Art Academy and well as volunteer and assist Social Sculpture Research Unit projects such as University of the Trees, Exchange Values and Earth Forum.