Skip to main content

Contemporary Arts Practice with Industry Experience


School - School of Arts & Media

Subject area - Art and Design

Start Date(s): September


One year full-time

Two years part-time

Fees 2018-19:

2019-20 fees will be displayed shortly.

Full-time - £7,560 per year (180 credits)

Part-time - Pro-rata by credits - contact for details

In Brief:

  • Develop your knowledge and skills relating to current debates and practices
  • Access to your own studio space and workshop support.
  • You'll be offered placements, residencies and exhibition opportunities with key arts organisations.
  • Part-time study option
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

This programme is open for September 2018 entry only.

This course is designed for students to refine their subject specific practice through creative industry experience, studio based experimentation, contextual research and critical dialogue to enable them to graduate as professional artists within the wider context of contemporary arts networks.  

During your time with us, you will be encouraged to undertake independent contextual and theoretical research that will improve your capacity for independent enquiry, creativity and professional practice. 

There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in group exhibitions, residencies and live projects as we work closely with key cultural organisations within the North West. These include; The Center for Chinese Contemporary Art, Hotbed Press, Islington Mill, Castlefield Gallery, International 3, Salford Museum & Art Gallery, Artworks, Mark Devereux Projects and HOME.

Course Details

This course embraces a range and diversity of practices and aims to:

  • Provide the skills needed to professionalise careers through embedded creative placements and live projects with industry and community organisations.
  • Develop creative, critical, analytical and intellectual competencies appropriate to Masters level degree study, which is informed by current industry practice.
  • Develop advanced understanding of research methods in the context of contemporary art & design practice and to understand how the boundaries of knowledge are advanced through research.
  • Enhance your knowledge and understanding of professional, contextual and collaborative frameworks appropriate to their experiences and objectives by establishing intellectual debate to enable the articulation and dissemination of their propositions.
  • Assist you at an advanced level in developing, extending and applying complex strategies and approaches to the development of a professional studio practice, embedding the knowledge and skills required to establish you as an arts practitioners within the wider context of contemporary arts networks.

Contemporary Arts Practice is for committed artists who wish to develop their personal creative practice towards a higher, professional level. It actively encourages the pursuit of individual agendas for study and for personal choice of media/disciplines selected from the range of practices within the field.  

You will contextualise your work via rigorous analysis of relevant cultural discourses and reflective studio-based practice. Running alongside this, is the notion of embedding this practice within the creative industries through public exhibition as well as responses to opportunities provided by our industry partners. Studio production is emphasised as a key driver for practice development and there is a challenging seminar programme and a comprehensive schedule of visiting or visits to artists/art professionals and venues.

Course Structure

The programme structure consists of five modules, four of which are delivered within a collaborative framework allowing all students across the Masters in Art & Design programmes (Contemporary Fine Art, Socially Engaged Arts Practice and Design for Communication) opportunities to engage with your peers whilst working through individual assignments focused around each programme. The remaining one module is tailored to the specific programme learning outcomes.

For the full-time study option:Semester 1 - September to February
Semester 2 - February to June
Semester 3 - June to September

You will take five core modules and will study one day a week. Full-time students will have concentrated module delivery in both the morning and afternoon

Semester 1    

During the first semester, focus is placed upon you investigating, critically-reflecting and presenting ideas and findings; developing an understanding of research methods for practice; experiencing different strategies and a broad approach to the subject area.    

Importance is placed on developing:    

  • the ability to explore, manage and present research content/drivers and potential of your individual practice      
  • the ability to identify and articulate practice-derived and research issues from your studio production or live projects      
  • the ability to analyse, critically reflect and present your developing concerns and any potential outcomes.      
This module focuses on the understanding of and the application of a range of practice based research methods. You are initially encouraged to develop an individual line of inquiry that will be explored through a variety of creative research methods of which you are supported through lectures, seminars and tutorials.. This module has 2 assessment points at week 7 and 12 and submissions will generally be project based (70%) with an underpinning written component (30%).
Within the module you will examine how your studio practice can be applied to external contexts such as notions of site specific activity/ exhibition and commission. You will be expected to commitment to a establishing a mature studio practice and evidence your research focus through this.

Semester 2    

This semester focuses upon developing student knowledge, ability and application to explore different practical and theoretical issues relating to a variety of practices in art and design, and the creative and cultural industries.    

Through the Real World Context module you will undertake a placement in a relevant work place to gain new experiences and test out developing ideas and activities. The creative and cultural industries embrace a range of professional subjects. Given the transversality of these industries, it is important for you to have sufficient knowledge about the sector and its wider contexts, enabling you to identify and acquire professional skills within and across relevant sub-sectors. It is also important to enable you to understand and have experience of working in a multidisciplinary environment and an international context.
This module deals with the theoretical and practical issues faced by practitioners in the context of art and the creative and cultural industries. The module supports you in developing new ideas through research and practice and through an appraisal of the context in which they operate. Particular emphasis is placed on contexts that emerge from international perspectives and from contemporary debates around creativity.  

Semester 3    

This semester focuses exclusively on either self-directed major project: practice/or major project: dissertation.    

The aim of the self-directed major project: practice is to offer you the opportunity to critically engage in a major practice-driven project in which the emphasis will be on production, analysis and critical reflection in response to your practice-drivers and concerns; or major research project: dissertation, in which the emphasis will be on developing a constructive response to a research question.    

During the 'major project’ you are provided with a supporting supervisor, in developing concerns and practice-drivers accrued throughout the chosen programme of study, via a programmed series of tutorials. Individual tutorials and peer interaction/group discussions are integral to the development of the major project.    

The aims of the major project are to offer you the opportunity to critically engage in a major project in which the emphasis will be on defining and analysing through action research, and developing a constructive practical response to a line of inquiry or research question while formulating your own resolutions or conclusions from your body of work. The culmination of this module is an exhibition or other form of public exposition.

Part-time mode

You will take five core sequential modules and will study one day a week. Part-time students will have concentrated module delivery in the mornings alongside full-time students.

Year one

  • Creative Research Methods (30 credits)
  • Expanded Studio Practice (30 credits)
  • Real World Context (30 credits)

Year two

  • Exploring Theory & Practice  (30 credits)
  • Definitive Practice (60 credits)

Entry Requirements

Relevant undergraduate degree, normally at 2:1 or above, and supporting portfolio of practice.

Applicants with an undergraduate degree of 2:2 will be considered where a high quality portfolio of practice is presented.

  • Interview 
  • 250 word Statement of why you want to study Socially Engaged Arts Practice at Masters Level
  • Portfolio

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.5 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Suitable For

The programme is suited to those with a background in or responsibility for delivering; creative skills, disciplines and media. This course is intended to support your professional development and encourage your independent expertise and facilitation skills. It focuses on developing individual creative habits and strategies to be shared within a community context.

Applicant profile

All students working in any media or discipline need to demonstrate a commitment to an ongoing career as a practising artist and a willingness to challenge the scope of their practice.

Fees 2019-20

Fees for entry in 2019 will be displayed shortly.

Fees 2018-19

Type of StudyFee
Full-time£7,560 per year (180 credits)
Part-timePro-rata by credits - contact for details
Full-time International£13,860 per year

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships and Bursaries

For more information please see our funding section


This course uses a range of teaching and learning settings including lectures, seminars/workshops, tutorials, situated learning (e.g. ‘live’ projects) and independent learning. The combination of these aims is to develop an environment that allows students to progressively take ownership and direction of their learning so that they may develop as independent, life-long learners. The process of Masters level study, relating to an individual and independent arts practice, is one of dense critical self-reflection; this is achieved by including self-directed projects where students have the opportunity to negotiate their learning and assessment requirements.

Indicative to the course are:

  • formal lectures
  • seminar presentations
  • workshops
  • critical analysis and independent learning

Award specific learning activities include exercises; team and peer-based learning, studio practice and critical seminar-events, site visits, visiting professionals, work placements, online activities and critical debates.


Assessment methods used on the course include:

  • Practical projects (60%)
  • Reflective writing and essays (30%)
  • Group presentations/ exhibitions (10%)

You will be assessed throughout the course on:

  • Body of work and contextual research: e.g studio/portfolio/exhibition/publication/etc.
  • Reflective journals: log or sketch-book/statement/critical writing/seminar or other presentation*  

All submissions are comprised of a body of arts practice: ‘studio’ plus a contextual and critical research portfolio, and reflective logs/journals. As the ‘thesis’ is embedded in the practice there is no requirement for a separate, written dissertation - although you may elect to do so, if appropriate, by negotiation with final award Course Team. 

*You can negotiate the format of your submissions, in response to the needs and priorities within your practice, and in line with contemporary professional practice habits.

Postgraduate Staff Profile

Sam Ingleson

Programme Leader for the Art & Design Masters suite

Sam Ingleson is a multimedia visual artist. Her art practice is centred in social engagement and participatory performances. Her core research themes are the exploration of creative space and engagement in the formation of artistic strategies that include makers and performers. Sam's current interest is collaborating to developing board games that bring groups of people together to celebrate, learn or reflect. This has led to the publication of the chapter, 'An artist's approach to board games ', in: Moseley, A & Whitton, N (eds.), New Traditional Games for Learning: A Case Book.

Sam is currently working with the Institute for Dementia at The University of Salford using game based methodologies to raise awareness and generate personal narratives around dementia. This is part of an ongoing body of work looking at how we can use games to engage with and widen the dementia debate.

Sam was previously the artistic director of Artists and Education (2003-2010), a company with a database of over 100 artists that devised, delivered, and evaluated artists’ residencies with young people. The company worked extensively in the North West with external partners including: Creative Partnerships, the Arts Council, and Salford and Manchester City Councils.

SEEK Profile -


Our graduates have exhibited successfully in a range of venues and biennales. Many graduates establish themselves within the local creative economy and develop a studio presence in the region and beyond.  

We encourage students to pursue an international profile and presence as soon as possible in support of their professional reputation. Opportunities via MediaCityUK will facilitate internationalisation of practice on individual terms.

Many of our students succeed through related professions in: education, community development, healthcare environments or enterprise. Some graduates prefer to apply their creative practice to commissioning, consultancy or other professional outcomes.

Career Prospects

We encourage students to pursue an international profile and presence as soon as possible in support of their professional reputation. Opportunities during the programme offer exhibition experience and encourage students to make professional links with arts networks in the region.

The majority of our graduates continue with their creative careers. Graduates are particularly visible in the region – in group studios, exhibitions or events.

Many graduates support their practice via teaching or demonstrator roles in further or higher education establishments. A number of graduates find work with museums or galleries. Our graduates are particularly proactive in initiating art-based projects – establishing new venues and curating group exhibitions, for example. A number are successful each year in securing artist residencies at home and abroad. 

Some of our students succeed through related professions in: education, community development, healthcare environments or enterprise. Some graduates prefer to apply their creative practice to commissioning, consultancy or other professional outcomes.

The School co-ordinates a range of enterprise projects and initiatives that can benefit graduating students, in order to assist their career opportunities or routes into self-employment.

Alumni Profile

Rebecca Rogers

Course Leader of Art Foundation, Warrington Collegiate.

“I am a Manchester based artist and Lecturer who studied Contemporary Art at Salford university. The programme enabled me to define and articulate my practice and discipline. I am a site responsive artist identifying the social voids of transient disposition in people and place. My practice uses a cross-section of disciplines.

I have exhibited and partaken in residencies with various artists across the UK and Europe. I currently have a studio at Rogue artists studio, Manchester. Since completing the MA I have sold work commercially and taken part in exhibitions and contemporary arts festival across the Uk. The MA has also been a valuable tool to my vocation as an art foundation course leader and lecturer.  I have been able to develop my research and enquiry skills which I now pass on to my learners.

Salford University gave me the confidence to redefine my practice and articulate my work at a professional level. The tutors and technicians were encouraging and supportive which enabled me to develop new way of learning and working.”

Links with Industry

We work with key cultural organisations within the North West. These include; The Center for Chinese Contemporary Art, Hotbed Press, Islington Mill, Castlefield Gallery, International 3, Salford Museum & Art Gallery, Artworks, Mark Devereux Projects and HOME. 

Opportunities for student collaboration range from artist in residence positions and exhibition opportunities to volunteering at the organization, live projects and mentoring. Members of staff from the organisations visit to provide careers advise and guidance as well as inviting our students to events and talks with professional artists at their venues

Further Study

Graduates from this course pursue professional practice via a range of enterprise, employment and self-employment strategies and contexts. Continuing practice-based and driven research is supported via MPhil/Phd courses at the University of Salford.  

Graduates can become associate members of the School of Arts & Media Research Centre or other Research centres as appropriate to individual practice drivers. Graduates are currently engaged in further study via PhD.


This programme is based at New Adelphi on the main campus. The facilities include:

  • 2D & 3D Printing Facilities
  • 3D workshop
  • Fibre Workshop
  • Photography studio which includes a lighting set-up
  • Computer suites
  • Gallery Spaces

You will be inducted into the workshops, which covers how to use all the machinery, by trained workshop technicians.

Not the course you're looking for?

If this course isn't for you then please retry our course finder below.


Visit our A-Z list of courses.

A-Z courses