Fine Art (MA)
Postgraduate studies in Fine Art at Kent offer you an energetic, challenging and open framework in which to explore your artistic practice.
The programme welcomes independent thinkers who seek to develop their practice in a discursive environment that brings together a diverse set of attitudes to making and producing art work in contemporary culture. As a student, you are encouraged to realise your creative and intellectual potential within your discipline informed by specialists within your field.
The MA Fine Art programme prepares you for a professional career in the arts and we offer new workshops and studio spaces with excellent technical support to realise your practice-based projects. New opportunities to work together on ambitious group projects in public are encouraged and supported by a staff team made up of practicing artists.
Kent was ranked 10th in the UK for art in The Guardian University Guide 2015.
This programme develops your practice towards establishing a creative, critical and independent practice. You have your own studio space in which to explore and test your studio work, with full access to workshops and high-quality resources at our new multimillion-pound development on the Chatham Historic Dockyard, just 55 minutes from London.
The programme welcomes students who wish to pursue any form of artistic practice in an interdisciplinary studio-based research environment. A core series of critical studies lectures, seminars, tutorials and collaborative opportunities allow you to develop your awareness of key issues in contemporary culture. We also offer opportunities for working with museums and galleries outside of the University, developing your specialism towards the achievement of professional excellence within your field.
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.
FA800 - Fine Art
The Module aims to develop: 1) A resolved project of practice based research demonstrating self reflexivity and informed decision making in the processes of producing a body of practice based work in an exhibition of art work; 2) knowledge of the contexts in which methods are applied in practice and how these inform research choices; 3) awareness of the processes and conditions of analysis and critical discussion within and surrounding arts practice; and, 4) independently motivated practice that is of a high professional standard. Students will attend a core seminar series where they present their practice to the cohort. This is supplemented and supported by lectures, tutorials and visits to art institutions that focus on the study of method and context. Lectures will deliver key themes that are taken up each year, and which deal with current issues and debates in contemporary culture. These will be delivered by external visitors and in-house staff. The Module will culminate in a Final Degree exhibition of work for assessment.
Credits: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits).
FA801 - Development of Practice
The Module aims to develop: 1) the processes and conditions of analysis and critical discussion within and surrounding arts practice; and, 2) independently motivated practice, as a means to develop work to an advanced standard. Students will be expected to develop work towards an interim exhibition, evidencing understanding of the contexts and issues in the production of their work for audiences of art. This work in practice research and writing is aimed to develop conclusive statements on the direction and aims of the research towards the Module entitled Resolution.
Students will also attend a core seminar series where they present their practice to the cohort. This is supplemented and supported by lectures, tutorials and visits to art institutions. Lectures will deliver key themes that are taken up each year, and which deal with current issues and debates in contemporary culture. These will be delivered by external visitors and in-house staff. Themes may include: Transgression, Neutrality, Global identities, Public/Private and Protest.
Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).
FA803 - Collaborative Project
This module is designed to promote interdisciplinary collaboration as a core process of creative engagement. Students will either work in small groups of two or three, work with external partners or collaborate as an entire cohort in order to produce an event, exhibition, or project, either on, or off site with partner institutions. Processes of performance, intervention, programme, participation and interaction between audience, artist and site will be explored through interdisciplinary arts practice within specific temporal and spatial contexts. Each student will produce independent documentation of the project in the form of a catalogue, video, audio work or other publication. The submission will also include contextual writing, in addition to live and/or recorded sound, still and/or moving image production and design.
Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).
MU898 - Dissertation
This module aims to foster the student's ability to develop her/his research skills through student-led work, and to develop an advanced understanding of artistic endeavour. The module facilitates the transition from undergraduate level work or employment to self-management of independent postgraduate study and the formulation and presentation of an agreed research proposal and dissertation. Through a series of themed seminars, it will address current arguments and historical paradigms surrounding arts theory and practice, considering areas such as research methods, the role of social forces in the production and reception of art, and perspectives on artistic practices and interventions. The series will draw upon a number of disciplines, such as critical theory, cultural studies and philosophy. Students will attend the regular Music and Fine Art interdisciplinary postgraduate seminars at Medway, which will encourage the consideration and discussion of research in relation to different practices, contexts and methods.
Credits: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits).
The programme is assessed by self-directed written and practice-based coursework for each of the modules.
The programme aims to:
- create and interpret knowledge at the forefront of the discipline through the development of critical, conceptual and practical abilities
- develop a self-directed programme of practice and related research
- contextualise and theorise practice in relation to, and through critical evaluation of, the work of contemporary practitioners and leading researchers within the discipline
- develop a comprehensive understanding of methodologies applicable to independent research
- develop autonomy in practice work within a context that fosters collaborative learning
- sustain an advanced practice that encompasses the disciplines of writing, discussion and producing practice-based outcomes
- achieve high-level skills and competencies as a preparation for professional practice and further development in the field of the arts
- embed your research within the context of the University and utilise the resources offered in the research environment such as staff expertise, symposia and colloquia
- develop public outcomes outside the University in a range of formats
- attract students from a diversity of arts contexts and contexts that inform artistic practice, including fine art, history of art, sociology, journalism, English literature, film studies architecture and philosophy
- attract intellectually able and talented students who are enquiring, open to experimentation, discussion and collaboration as well as able to work independently
- provide a forward-thinking, dynamic learning environment that responds to the current climate of debate and production in the arts
- forge an international identity within the field of study through developing partnerships with international universities and non-HEIs
- support specialism and progression by allowing you to opt for specific routes of study that include Fine Art, Curation and Critical Arts Writing as designators of the final degree award and to be taught together in an interdisciplinary environment.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- the contemporary and historical contexts for your individual practice and related research
- the formative debates in the wider contexts of cultural production
- the contemporary and historical critical and theoretical debates in your chosen topic area and in wider cultural contexts
- the interdisciplinary field through fostering an awareness of, and involvement within, a diversity of research orientations and pathways in cultural production
- the definitions and practice-based assertions of what defines critical discourse in contemporary arts practices
- interdisciplinary practice: the relation between and interactions within disciplines of writing critique, curation and art production
- the approaches to producing professional practice-based outcomes in a range of media for public audiences
- how to evaluate research methodologies, apply methods and propose new hypotheses applicable to specific research intentions
- how to develop high-level skills and competencies within professional practice and their application.
You develop intellectual skills in:
- critically reflecting upon the theories, concepts and ideas that shape work in the contemporary arts to an advanced level of achievement
- analysing complex issues and communicate their conceptual understanding to a range of audiences
- critically reflecting upon, refine and present the theoretical framework for independent practice and formulate clearly articulated research questions
- realising and presenting a body of critical and creative work that demonstrates inventiveness in the application of knowledge
- developing ideas and plans through to material outcomes
- developing a critical practice that is self-reflexive
- demonstrating independent and creative approaches to problem-solving and research, including planning and problem-solving
- exercising the initiative, responsibility and decision-making necessary to support continued professional development
- demonstrating self-direction and inventiveness in work and discourse, and act independently in planning and implementing practice to a professional standard
- understanding and evaluate the conceptual and practical concerns that arise within public contexts.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- effectively deploying terms and concepts relevant to understanding art in a contemporary practice-based context
- locating evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources, and interpret it in relation to the aims and conceptual framework of critical and artistic practice
- presenting and discussing cultural material in the context of the arts, in both its developmental and final states, employing argument and interpretative skills relevant to professional practice
- the ability to draw upon understanding of the materials and processes central to a variety of cultural practice, as well as the technical skills necessary to practical work in these contexts
- critically evaluating a range of different conceptual and practical methodologies and approaches to both understanding and making art in a contemporary context
- managing a practice-based project, including time management, budgetary control, space management, and equipment acquisition and maintenance
- working in collaboration with your peers to produce cultural outcomes for public audiences
- competently performing the tasks necessary for contemporary professional artistic practice, including skills of display and dissemination of work, fundraising, and gallery negotiation
- the ability to reflect upon your work and to assemble and define its contexts in the form of a research journal
- effectively documenting the stages of a project’s development, including the formulation and evolution of the guiding idea, the planning and experimentation, and the processes of completion and evaluation.
You gain the following transferable skills:
- the ability to articulate ideas and information comprehensibly in visual, oral and written forms
- the ability to organise information effectively and respond to written sources
- the ability to communicate to a range of audiences
- the ability to source, navigate, select, retrieve, evaluate, manipulate and manage information from a variety of sources
- the ability to select and employ communication and information technologies
- the ability to produce written documents
- the ability to employ advanced software for module projects and tasks
- the ability to interact effectively with others, for example through collaboration, collective endeavour and negotiation
- the ability to accurately define and review the work of others
- the ability to negotiate regarding the planning and execution of a project or the dissemination of its outcomes
- the ability to study independently, set goals, manage workloads and meet deadlines
- the ability to explore your strengths and weaknesses
- the ability to develop autonomy in learning
- the ability to listen effectively and so to learn from and participate constructively in discussion
- the ability to seek and use feedback, and critically reflect on and improve your performance
- the ability to identify and define intellectual and practical problems
- the ability to explore alternative solutions to research problems and discriminate between them
- the ability to gather, organise and deploy ideas in order to formulate arguments cogently and express them effectively orally, visually and in written form
- the ability to research and evaluate sources in the process of carrying out independent study.
Careers and employability
A postgraduate degree in fine art is a valuable and flexible qualification which allow students to develop independent practice-based skills, hone analytical and critical thinking and to put these into practice through public projects.
Graduates leave the programme with a grounding and extended knowledge of the arts sector and are well equipped to enter a range of roles as curators, critics, arts administrators, teachers, librarians and other work in the creative industries. Graduates interested in a research career are supported by the University’s Graduate School Researcher Development Programme. The University’s Employability Weeks can also provide valuable support in terms of planning future careers.
For more information on the services Kent provides you to improve your career prospects visit www.kent.ac.uk/employability.
The University of Kent has invested over £5 million in the School of Music and Fine Art, to provide you with the best possible study and research environment. A number of historic buildings in the atmospheric Chatham Historic Dockyard have been renovated to provide a new range of professional standard facilities. You are given studio space within the Department as well as access to workshops that include wood, metal, plaster, digital media, audio-visual media and photography as well as on-site technical support. Off-site working can also be organised within the multiple opportunities for site-specific production available at the Dockyard campus and beyond.
The University offers access to a broad-based library stock, covering the fields of painting, sculpture and architecture, as well as a large collection of works on photography, contemporary visual communications, aesthetic theory, cultural studies and philosophy. There is a substantial stock of periodicals and a slide library with well over 100,000 classified slides. The programmes also include regular trips abroad to cities such as Madrid, Berlin, New York and to major arts events such as the Venice Biennale. The Department takes advantage of its proximity to London with regular visits to London galleries, as well as providing opportunities for you to develop research links and projects with organisations and spaces within the capital.
We hold regular studio-based seminars, lectures and discussion seminars, bringing together practices of making, organising, reading and critique for group discussion. Visiting specialists, representing the current debates within the discipline, regularly visit the Department providing lectures and one-to-one tutorials.
During your degree programme, we offer training in research skills, a regular research newsletter, and the opportunity to take part in our research seminar programme. All PhD students have the opportunity for funded conference attendance.
Dynamic exhibiting culture
Staff exhibit at major institutions in the UK and beyond. This includes Sarah Turner’s Perestroika, 2009, theatrically released at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), and widely screened in international film festivals; Shona Illingworth’s The Watch Man and Balnakiel (2011) exhibited widely at venues including the Museum of Modern Art, Bologna, the Wellcome Collection, London, the National Museum, Tirana and Interaccess Electronic Media Arts Centre, Toronto; Dr Steve Klee’s work at the David Roberts Arts Foundation, 176 Gallery, Five Years Gallery, No.w.here Gallery, Glasgow Tramway and Transmission Galleries and at Lena and Rosselli Gallery, Budapest.
Staff also publish journal articles, catalogue essays and regularly speak at conferences and symposia. Their research spans the areas of performance, lens-based media, identity politics and the politics of representation.
An upper second-class honours degree or better, usually in a relevant humanities subject. In certain circumstances, the School will consider candidates who have not followed a conventional education path or who may have relevant experience in the industry. These cases are assessed individually by the Director of Graduate Studies. A portfolio of creative work is required for admission.
General entry requirements
Please also see our general entry requirements.
English language entry requirements
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
The Department offers a diverse range of expertise across ways of making and approaches to thinking. Staff are interdisciplinary and work across different areas of art production as well as curating exhibitions, writing on art, and writing as art.
You have access to the wide variety of research events that take place at the Medway and Canterbury campuses. These links with the Canterbury campus remain key to our research culture where regular events, symposia and exhibitions are held in collaboration with different departments and disciplines.
Staff research interests
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Ian Gonczarow: Lecturer in Fine Art
Shona Illingworth: Lecturer in Fine Art; Director of Graduate Studies
Shona is an artist whose work with moving image and/or sound takes the form of gallery-based and site-specific installation, and combines interdisciplinary research (particularly with emerging neuropsychological models of memory and critical approaches to memory studies) with publicly engaged practice.Profile
Dr Steve Klee: Lecturer in Fine Art
Steve works primarily in video. In the last five years he has shown in London at (among other places) The David Roberts Arts Foundation, 176 Gallery, Five Years Gallery, No.w.here Gallery, Limehouse Town Hall, Zoo Art Fair and Event Gallery. His work has also been shown in Glasgow at Tramway and Transmission Galleries and at Lena Rosselli Gallery, Budapest. Writing about art and writing as art is another important focus. He has produced texts on the video installations of Aernout Mik as well as contributing fiction pieces for Frozen Tears, a collection of artists’ writing, curated by John Russell. He has written extensively on the aesthetic and political philosophy of Jacques Rancière.Profile
Tim Meacham: Lecturer in Fine Art
Tim is a practising artist who makes sculptural installations in a range of media which investigate and describe space, often through the use of sound, movement and light. His interests include spatial acoustics, architecture and flight.Profile
Sarah Turner: Reader in Fine Art; Director of Research
Sarah is interested in writing as art practice; experimental and hybrid writing forms that engage with fictional and poetic developments particularly for the screen.Profile
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T: +44 (0)1227 827272
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Read our student profile
We hold regular Open Events at our Canterbury and Medway campuses. You will be able to talk to specialist academics and admissions staff, find out about our competitive fees, discuss funding opportunities and tour the campuses.
You can also discuss the programmes we run at our specialist centres in Brussels, Athens, Rome and Paris at the Canterbury Open Events. If you can't attend but would like to find out more you can come for an informal visit, contact our information team or find out more on our website.
Please check which of our locations offers the courses you are interested in before choosing which event to attend.
The 2015/16 tuition fees have not yet been set. As a guide only, the 2014/15 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
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