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.
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
||Year of study*
|P65500: Professional Experience
||1 and 2
|P65501: Fine Art Practice I: Outcomes of Research in Practice
|P65503: Fine Art Theory I: Topics in Contemporary Fine Art Culture
|P65504: Fine Art Theory II: Extended Critical Essay
|P65502: Fine Art Practice II: Major Project
||2 and 3
* 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published
on the website. For more information, please visit our
Changes to programmes