The MA in Arts Practice is a multidisciplinary course, which is focused upon the three interrelated principles of skills, concepts and contexts. Prospective students are asked to submit a proposal of study in order that specialist staff can be assigned to support each students practical and research needs.
Current subject specialisms offered are:
Interior Architecture and Design
Film and Video
We welcome applicants from any of these, or related, disciplines. Before potential applicants make any decision to apply, they are adivsed to contact the UCS Infozone in the first instance.
The creative backgrounds of each student cohort varies from year to year. This is a course strength. Debate, and critical discourse is actively encouraged, as are the cross-fertilization of ideas and collaboration.
The aim of the course is to enable students to interrogate their work, through considerations towards the context in which they create, market and disseminate their work. It is designed to support them in their pursuit of a variety of professional arts practices by means of self-employment or employment in relevant arts, design, educational, and cultural contexts. The course is designed to meet the needs of students graduating from undergraduate courses and established professionals alike. Those falling into the latter category may be attracted by the opportunity to engage in, and contribute to, the wider debate and discourse centred upon arts practice, to enhance their qualifications, challenge their current practice, network with other practitioners, or all of the above.
The teaching ethos of the course seeks to integrate theory and practice, develop networking and collaboration skills and facilitates the coordination of activities across different communities, businesses and organisations, at a regional, national and international level.
Aside from the curriculum and facilities, the course also offers international exchange opportunities, and possible internships/placements with professional partners. The course also runs a graduate teaching scheme where those students who wish to enter to higher education teaching can gain supported teaching experience.
The MA Arts Practice is offered as both full-time and part-time modes of study.
Content and Modules
The course is comprised of five modules:
This module enables students to align themselves with postgraduate study, the level of research and inquiry expected at this level. It introduces students to the relevance and importance of research in contemporary arts practice and the creative industries, and provides a platform for the student to negotiate the future direction of their studies. An essential component of this module is to develop the students understanding of the inter-relationship between theoretical and studio based research methods. This module is compulsory for all MA students in their first year and consists of a series of weekly lectures, seminars, and workshops delivered throughout the first semester.
Concepts and Contexts in Arts Practice
Concepts and Contexts in Arts Practice offers students a bridge between their current practice and the MA module Independent Practice. Students will be asked to review, question and extend their existing practice through exploration and experimentation using divergent thinking and risk taking. They will negotiate an agreed programme of self-initiated, research-led and studio based study initially based on the proposal made at application stage. All students will be obliged to undertake a workshop induction for all areas of study. It is within this module that students will be introduced to all of the workshops and facilities within the school, as well as school lecture programme and Atrium Studios.
The ethos of this module covers themes such as project management, collaboration, communication, funding, promotion and dissemination. A critical and analytical approach to the application of such skills will be encouraged, enabling students to further their individual practice through the experience of possibilities created by working with creative partners and/or within real world situations. It is within this unit that students are encouraged to realise a live project, beyond the confines of the institution, or take part in an exchange or internship. This module will interrogate the practicalities of successfully negotiating a successful practice or business. For those students that instigate ambitious projects it may be possible to negotiate linking it to subsequent modules.
Independent Arts Practice
This module builds upon the work produced for the module Concepts and Contexts in Arts Practice. Students are asked to take an element, theme or approach explored at proposal stage – or resulting from proposal stage – forward and develop it into a significant body of work. Students are expected to develop and explore the critical context surrounding their work, and take the lead in discussing their work in tutorials and seminars. Students are also expected to contextualise their work in relation to historical and contemporary practice with a view to establishing appropriate methods of dissemination.
Dissertation / Exhibition Research Project
This major project provides a vehicle through which to contextualise the insights, critical thinking, personal perspectives, theoretical knowledge and evaluative capabilities previously developed within the Masters programme. It is within this unit that students are asked to consolidate their ideas and emergent work, and realise is substantive body of work, disseminated to an appropriate context. Students will be encouraged to investigate an aspect of his/her own practice, either in relation to its development as an art form (and the MA Arts Practice takes a very broad view of which disciplines may be thus represented) or its development as collaborative practice, and/or its development as part of provision within an arts organisation (for example as an artist educator). Students are also welcome to undertake a piece of theoretical research based on existing data, and in such cases students will be given every support to enable them to carry this out. It may be that a student is already working professionally in an area that would benefit from further research. In such cases the potential for the student’s research to have currency outside the MA and within their own field is to be encouraged, provided the research remains the student’s own in design and execution. Further content is provided by continued access to the core lecture programme, and extended seminars offered across UCS.
All applicants will be invited to present a portfolio at the interview stage in order to ensure that the applicant is equipped with the necessary level of existing capability in arts practice to undertake the course. This will also act as evidence of their specialist interest in one or more arts disciplines. A statement will be requested providing an outline summary of the proposed investigation and subject specialism, identifying both academic and personal aims and objectives.
Applicants are called for interview if their work demonstrates:
Originality of their work and proposed area of study.
A high degree of engagement within their area of practice.
The potential for development of their research to Master's level.
Should the applicant be successful, the academic team will then work with the prospective student to develop their proposal of study, to ensure that they are married with the right people and facilities, to maximise their experience on the course.
Applicants are asked to write a proposal of study in preparing for the MA Arts Practice. The following download provides background and advice to support this:
Funding your MA
Potential applicants often ask us for advice regarding how to fund their postgradute study. We have put together the following download to provide some advice and suggestions: