Postgraduate MA

Contemporary Fine Art

Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

Attendance

Full-time

Course

One year

Next enrolment

September 2022

Introduction

In a nutshell

Our Contemporary Fine Art Masters is a course that emphasises how making is informed by theory to enable you to view, critique, and challenge the way we experience the world and culture. This a practical subject supported by ideas and research. There is a strong emphasis on professional practice, particularly within an international context. Greater Manchester has the fastest growing creative sector outside of London, and culture is the beating heart and soul of a city brimming with amazing museums, galleries, project spaces, and studios. The course will also look at how you can position yourself outside of the region and develop an international profile.

At the heart of the programme is creative play and creative thinking. You will have the opportunity to explore a range of art practice and learn how to question, explore, and define your identity as an artist. Studying within our fantastic studios and workshops at the New Adelphi campus, you can be creative, learn new skills, and develop your talent to transform your potential in art. You will have access to print, textiles, photography, wood, and metal workshops, and well as the latest cutting-edge industry technology in our digital labs. We also have state of the art sound recording studios and film studios at our MediaCity campus.

You are taught by practising artists, each with national and international reputations within the art world. We have partnerships with University of Salford Art Collection, Open Eye Gallery, Tate Liverpool, HOME, Hot Bed Press and the Turnpike Gallery. The programme is also supported by a wide range of regional curators, artists, and arts professionals. Students are also eligible to apply to our Graduate Scholarship Scheme that offers mentoring, a small bursary, and free studio for a year with one of our partner organisations including Castlefield Art Gallery.

We start by examining your methodologies as well as introducing you to how theory and practice are integral to your growth and development. In your second semester, you will immerse yourself in your studio-based practice whilst simultaneously considering the wider professional contexts of your practice. Your final module, is a culmination of your personal journey as an artist as you resolve a body of work for exhibition in the MA Show.

We are a university that embraces inclusivity and diversity. We also highlight the significance of contemporary social movements and how these link to our past, present, and future.  Professional practice is a key aspect of the course you will learn how to promote and share your practice through collaboration, exhibiting, industry connections, marketing, web design, and social media.

You will:

  • Be mentored and given tailored feedback from practising artists and academics who are experts in their fields
  • Gain a professional understanding of how the arts industry works, while developing the skills you need to promote your work
  • Graduate with a strong portfolio of work that represents the techniques and transferable skills you’ve mastered throughout this course
International

students accepted

THIS IS FOR YOU IF...

1.

You want to go on a journey to build and improve your portfolio of work

2.

You want to develop the professional skills to carve out a successful career in the arts

3.

You’re looking for a Contemporary Fine Art course that offers the flexibility of both full-time and part-time study

Course details

All about the course

So what does studying a fine arts master's involve? You may expect that you’ll spend countless hours in the studio making and creating and exploring your passion for the subject. While this creative work is an integral part of your programme, a good postgraduate fine art course is about much more than that.

Throughout the course of your studies – whether that’s through full-time or part-time study - you’ll develop your critical and analytical skills, engaging in intellectual debate and placing your work in a range of contexts. You’ll also be supported to develop your research methods, gaining an understanding of where and how these apply to modern art practices.

Our MA Contemporary Fine Art course consists of five modules, designed to encourage collaboration amongst peers. In your first year, you’ll focus on presenting ideas and findings, developing an understanding of research methods and trying out different artistic techniques.

As your degree progresses, you’ll explore a variety of issues related to practices in art and design, as well as gaining exposure to a range of creative and cultural industries. With a challenging seminar programme and comprehensive schedules of visiting artists, you’ll work to professionalise your studio practice and begin to take part in public exhibitions.

Sound interesting? You can find out more about what each module in our fine art postgraduate course involves below.

Full-time: semester one

Creative Research Methods

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 two assessment points at weeks 4 and 12 and submissions will generally be project-based (70%) with an underpinning written component (30%).

Exploring Theory and Practice

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.

 

Full-time: semester two

Real World Context

Through the Real-World Context module, you will undertake a placement or residency in a relevant workplace 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.

Expanded Studio Practice

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.

Full-time: semester three

Definitive Practice

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. 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.

Part-time: year one, semester one and two

Creative Research Methods

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 two assessment points at weeks 4 and 12 and submissions will generally be project-based (70%) with an underpinning written component (30%).

Expanded Studio Practice

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.

Part-time: Year two, semester one, two and three

Real World Context

Through the Real-World Context module, you will undertake a placement or residency in a relevant workplace 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.

Expanded Studio Practice

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.

Definitive Practice

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. 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.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What Will I be Doing?

60%

Practical projects

30%

Reflective writing and essays

10%

Group presentations and exhibitions

TEACHING

Our MA fine art courses predominantly take place at our Fredrick Road (New Adelphi) campus in our state-of-the-art collaborative studio environment.

We use a range of teaching and learning settings, including lectures, seminars and workshops, tutorials, situated learning (e.g. ‘live’ projects) and independent learning. The combination of these teaching methods aims to develop an environment that allows you to take ownership and direction of your learning to ensure you continue progressing – even after you finish your course.

The process of master's level study, relating to an individual and independent arts practice, is one of critical self-reflection. This is achieved by including self-directed projects where you can negotiate your learning and assessment requirements.

You will take part in five core modules and will study one day a week. Full-time students will have concentrated module delivery in both the morning and afternoon. If studying part-time, you will have concentrated module delivery in the mornings alongside full-time students

ASSESSMENT

Once you’ve completed your modules, you’ll be awarded credits that will contribute towards your overall degree classification. These grades can be a failure, pass, merit (or credit) and distinction.

Throughout the course you will be assessed on:

  • Body of work and contextual research: e.g. studio/portfolio/exhibition/publication/etc.
  • Reflective journals: log or sketchbook/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 the 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.

BE A PART OF A CREATIVE, SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY

All our Art and Design courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media, and Creative Technology. Our focus is to ensure that you have the skills you need to pursue your dreams, and we encourage our students, past and present, to collaborate with each other and achieve great things.

Each year - through the Create Student Awards – our School rewards the incredible achievements and successes of our final year and postgraduate students.

Whatever you choose to study with us, you’ll be mentored and supported by experts. And once you graduate, it won’t end there. You’ll join a thriving alumni network across Greater Manchester and beyond, meaning you’ll be supported professionally and personally whenever you need it. 

ART AND DESIGN FACILITIES

This MA in Fine Art is based at our £55 million New Adelphi building, the home of design and creativity on campus.

When you study with us, you’ll learn from our experienced tutors and demonstrators, who’ll teach you how to use our art and design facilities. These include:

Studio space – dedicated areas for each course, giving you room to think and create.

MarkerSpace workshop - create digital rapid prototypes using 3D printers, CNC machines, laser cutters and more.

Photography studios - industry-standard photographic studios, which you can use in conjunction with darkrooms and digital printing facilities.

Workshops – from print to textiles, wood to metal, our range of workshops allow you to take your ideas from page to reality and work in a variety of media.

Mac suites - equipped with the industry-standard software you’ll need during your studies and in the world of work.

Explore our Art and Design facilities at New Adelphi or take a 360 tour of our New Adelphi building.

MEET THE ART AND DESIGN TEACHING STAFF

Are you looking to learn more about the background of our Art and Design tutors and technical demonstrators or put a face to a name?

Find out who'll work with you throughout your academic journey at the University of Salford.

Explore the Art and Design faculty at the University of Salford

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

EMPLOYMENT

As a result of the body of work you’ll have built up during your MA Contemporary Fine Art studies, and the experience you’ll have gained from exhibiting and building your creative network, you’ll be in a great position to move forward with your plans for a career in the industry.

Many of our graduates continue with their creative careers, with many choosing to establish their reputation by building on the connections they’ve made within local creative communities across the region. Our previous students have also successfully exhibited in a range of venues or been proactive in initiating art-based projects. Others have secured artist residencies in both the UK and abroad.

It is not uncommon for graduates to support their practice via teaching or demonstrator roles in further or higher education establishments, or to find work within museums and galleries. But professional opportunities don’t end there. Equipped with a range of transferable skills, our students have also entered a variety of related professions in education, community development, healthcare and enterprise.

FURTHER STUDY

Graduates showing strong academic and research skills can pursue a further academic research path through our doctoral (PhD) programmes on a full-time or part-time basis subject to a satisfactory proposal.

Career Links

Our MA Art and Design programmes have great working relationships 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 and Art Gallery, Artworks, Mark Devereux Projects and HOME.

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

Requirements

What You Need To Know

APPLICATION PROCESS

To gain a place on this MA Fine Arts course, you’ll have to submit a personal statement and meet our entry requirements when you apply.

Within your Contemporary Fine Arts Master’s personal statement (up to 4000 characters), we’ll want to understand:

• what motivates you and what current experiences do you have in terms of art and design and contemporary fine art?

• how have you been involved and what did you do?

• do you have any knowledge in the arts sector; are there any projects that inspire you?

• What are your future goals; is it to work in the arts sector, for example?

• and why the University of Salford and this Fine Art master’s degree is the right choice for your future goals.

All applicants will be asked to provide us with a portfolio of work and potentially take part in an informal group seminar discussion or interview– either live or on camera – to demonstrate their skills.

Normally we'd invite you to attend a face-to-face interview. At the moment though, we’re reducing the number of people we have on our campus. Once you’ve made your application to study with us, we’ll contact you and let you know the next steps.

Want to know more about our Fine Art postgraduate courses? Come along to our Open Day or contact our MA in Contemporary Fine Art programme leader, Tim Isherwood.

Our supportive course enquiries team can help you with any general questions you may have. You can also explore all of our Art and Design courses.

Standard entry requirements

Standard entry requirements

To join this MA you should have a second class honours degree, 2:2 or above.

  • Interview 
  • Personal statement as detailed above
  • Portfolio

For international students

If you are an international student and not from a majority English speaking country, you will need IELTS of 6.5 with no element below 5.5.  We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.

We also accept a range of other English language qualifications. If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take our Pre-Sessional English course.

Alternative entry requirements

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).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2023/24 £8,550per year
Full-time international 2023/24 £15,750per year
Part-time 2023/24 Part time costs are calculated pro rata per 30 credits

Additional costs

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

Scholarships for International Students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships. Explore our international scholarships.

Apply now

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Enrolment dates

September 2022

UCAS information

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