Contemporary Fine Art MA

2021-22 (also available for 2020-21)

This course is eligible for Master's loan funding. Find out more.

Start date

20 September 2021

17 January 2022

Duration

1 year full-time
2 years part-time

Places available (subject to change)

20

About the course

Contemporary Fine Art opens up a transformative space. It creates a dialogue and it disrupts. New ideas are expressed and artists develop a critical language from which they communicate and mediate on processes and global contexts. Contemporary Fine Art is made up of many different processes and contexts. The Masters course provides an opportunity for you to challenge and hone your professional approaches to the discipline for different creative platforms and International contexts.

Our course aims to enable you to:

  • Critically appraise the importance of social, ethical, technological and cultural dimensions of contemporary fine art as applied to your personal practice and that of others.
  • Evidence advanced knowledge and understanding of the breadth of contemporary fine art practices such as, but not limited to, painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, lens-based media, new media and performance.
  • Systematically plan, negotiate and implement topical research to substantiate a coherent body of advanced contemporary fine art practice.
  • Contribute to the principles and processes of contemporary fine art in supporting innovation within commercial or creative industries.
  • Evidence awareness and relevance of your work in relation to professional standards in contemporary fine art practice, such as through demonstrating self-direction and initiative in delivering a project or commission from inception to evaluation.

Contemporary Fine Art opens up a transformative space. It creates a dialogue and it disrupts. New ideas are expressed and artists develop a critical language from which they communicate and mediate on processes and global contexts. Contemporary Fine Art is made up of many different creative processes and inhabits a multitude of contexts. The Masters course provides an opportunity for you to challenge and hone your professional approaches to the discipline for different creative platforms and International contexts.

Course detail

Research Methods and Project Proposal

On this module you will be encouraged to explore how different research methods underpin all kinds of creative practices. The module introduces you to current research themes in art and design. In the past we have explored topics such as: developing concepts through thinking and making, using archives in creative practice, working with objects of material culture, analysing digital transformations, practising psychogeography in the urban environment, tackling the anthropocene and environmental issues of the twenty-first century. As thinkers and practitioners you will work to develop an understanding of the different research approaches you might design and use to enhance and transform your ideas. You will be introduced to a range of practice-led research methods which may include: creative and design thinking, user-centered methods, practice-led approaches, cultural analysis, historical/archival research and market-driven data capture and analysis. The module helps to equip you with a tool kit of research skills to guide you in the development of a project proposal or working brief for your Master's study. The module is made up of lectures, guided seminars and small group tutorials which will support you in building a solid foundation to lead you through your studies.

Creative Innovation and Entrepreneurship

This module aims to introduce you to key features of innovation and entrepreneurship within the context of the cultural and creative industries. Depending on your future aspirations we will help you to build your knowledge and understanding of different approaches to creative innovation (social, ethical and sustainable aspects), provide guidance on business start-ups, and assist you in your professional skills development (commercial awareness, self-management, problem-solving, team working, communication strategies), including searching for marketing, promotion, consultancy and funding opportunities specific to your subject. The module involves lectures, seminars and practical projects where you will experiment with the tools and techniques of creative innovation. There will be opportunities for group projects and cross-disciplinary working on this module.

Creative Studio

This module enables you to explore a range of advanced creative concepts and practices across Art and Design working alongside other students in a mixed-discipline cohort encompassing Art and Communication, 3D Design and Fashion and Textiles. You will identify starting points for your studio practice through supported and scheduled access and interaction with a range of specialist workshop facilities and digital making processes which in turn inform the potential of material investigation as a core part of your refocused enquiry-led practice. The module comprises three discrete but interlinked phases of development: Conceptual Direction, Creative Contexts, Critical Processes.

Professional Platforms Art and Communication

Working alongside other students within Art and Communication, this practice-based studio module advances the professional orientation of your creative practice. Specialising in your chosen area of practice, you will be supported to produce a body of practical work supported by specialist and inter-disciplinary workshops that will explore the hybrid and expanded nature of your discipline that arises out of contemporary culture. You will be encouraged to push the direction and development of your specific project through processes of risk taking, problematisation and creative thinking, related to your professional context. In doing so you will develop a deeper understanding of professional directions, audience, context and creative platforms.

Contemporary Fine Art Major Project

Working with a robust proposal you will rigorously test materials, techniques, approaches, and technologies of pre and post production to realise a unique creative practice. The work you make will demonstrate a focused interrogation of contemporary practice informed by technological, social, cultural, ecological, theoretical and professional contexts. You will test your knowledge and understanding of appropriate exhibition formats at key stages and present the culmination of your creative innovations in a showcase portfolio. Your individual project may evidence exemplary approaches to contemporary fine art in drawing, painting, electronics, performance, sculpture, spatial practices, sound art, photography, film and video, curation, writing, interactive media and/or other hybrid and transdisciplinary forms.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for this course are normally:

  • An Honours degree (2:2 or above) in a relevant subject or an equivalent professional qualification.
  • Alternative qualifications and/or significant experience may be accepted, subject to approval.
  • International students with qualifications in 'creative' or 'practice' subjects should submit a digital portfolio (pdf) of work with their application.
  • All suitably qualified applicants are normally invited in for an informal chat with a portfolio or considered for admittance under alternative arrangements, such as a skype chat.

If your first language is not English, you will need to meet the minimum requirements of an English Language qualification. The minimum for IELTS is 6.0 overall with no element lower than 5.5, or equivalent will be considered acceptable. Read more about the University’s entry requirements for students outside of the UK on our Where are you from information pages.

The Barbara Hepworth Building


Welcome to the Barbara Hepworth Building - home to Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Huddersfield.

Designed for experimentation, students have the opportunity to develop, curate and exhibit their work in innovative spaces, utilising fully extensive and leading workshop facilities such as 3D printers for rapid prototyping and modelling, laser cutters, Wacom drawing tablets, virtual reality and motion tracking sensors, print and dye, maker library, photography studios, advanced 3D technologies, digital print centre, specialist studios and software and the ability to get access to all facilities and much more.

What can I research?

Research plays an important role in informing all our teaching and learning activities. Through research our staff remain up-to-date with the latest developments in their field, which means you have the opportunity to benefit and develop knowledge and skills that are current and highly relevant.

For more information, visit the Centre for Cultural Ecologies in Art, Design and Architecture (CEADA)

Teaching excellence

  1. Huddersfield is a TEF gold-rated institution delivering consistently outstanding teaching and learning of the highest quality found in the UK (Teaching Excellence Framework, 2017).
  2. We won the first Global Teaching Excellence Award recognising the University’s commitment to world-class teaching and its success in developing students as independent learners and critical thinkers (HEA, 2017).
  3. Here at Huddersfield, you’ll be taught by some of the best lecturers in the country. The University is joint first in England for the proportion of staff with teaching qualifications (HESA 2020).
  4. We are joint second for National Teaching Fellowships which mark Britain’s best lecturers in Higher Education, winning a total of 17 since 2008 (2020 data).
  5. All our permanent teaching staff* have, or are completing, doctorates. This expertise, together with our teaching credentials, means that students here learn from knowledgeable and well-qualified teachers and academics who are at the forefront of their subject area.

*Permanent staff, after probation: some recently appointed colleagues will only obtain recognition in the months after their arrival in Huddersfield, once they have started teaching; research degrees applies to those on contracts of more than half-time.

Your career


Contemporary Fine Art creates a space in which you can innovate and mediate, exploring transformative ideas and processes within a global context. Consequently, the opportunities are endless. A visually literate, innovative ‘creative producer’ or ‘creative thinker’ has the edge and potential to lead in whatever area they choose; in freelance/consultancy, cultural or creative, national and global contexts.


The expectation is that you will be seeking to practice in a broad transdisciplinary context. This will foster your potential to operate as an artist, working with the cultural and creative industries in a variety of roles including: artist; art director; strategist; performer; curator; publisher; director. You may also be seeking to develop proposals for further postgraduate research and doctoral study or the education sector.


After studying within the subject area of Art and Design, a few of the careers graduates have gone on to be successful within include: freelance artists – national/international exhibitions; curators – curator of Fine Art, York Art Gallery, Hepworth Wakefield; Arts Organisations – East Street Arts, Arthouse; Visual Designer – Google.**

* Percentage of our postgraduate students who go on to work and/or further study within fifteen months of graduating (HESA Graduate Outcomes 2017/18, UK domiciled graduates).

 


**Source: LinkedIn

96.4% Graduates employed*

Student support

At the University of Huddersfield, you'll find support networks and services to help you get ahead in your studies and social life. Whether you study at undergraduate or postgraduate level, you'll soon discover that you're never far away from our dedicated staff and resources to help you to navigate through your personal student journey. Find out more about all our support services.

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

Changes to a course you have applied for

If we propose to make a major change to a course that you are holding an offer for, then we will tell you as soon as possible so that you can decide whether to withdraw your application prior to enrolment.

Changes to your course after you enrol as a student

We will always try to deliver your course and other services as described. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below:

Changes to option modules

Where your course allows you to choose modules from a range of options, we will review these each year and change them to reflect the expertise of our staff, current trends in research and as a result of student feedback or demand for certain modules. We will always ensure that you have a range of options to choose from and we will let you know in good time the options available for you to choose for the following year.

Major changes

We will only make major changes to the core curriculum of a course or to our services if it is necessary for us to do so and provided such changes are reasonable. A major change in this context is a change that materially changes the services available to you; or the outcomes, or a significant part, of your course, such as the nature of the award or a substantial change to module content, teaching days (part time provision), classes, type of delivery or assessment of the core curriculum.

For example, it may be necessary to make a major change to reflect changes in the law or the requirements of the University’s regulators; to meet the latest requirements of a commissioning or accrediting body; to improve the quality of educational provision; in response to student, examiners’ or other course evaluators’ feedback; and/or to reflect academic or professional changes within subject areas. Major changes may also be necessary because of circumstances outside our reasonable control, such as a key member of staff leaving the University or being unable to teach, where they have a particular specialism that can’t be adequately covered by other members of staff; or due to damage or interruption to buildings, facilities or equipment.

Major changes would usually be made with effect from the next academic year, but this may not always be the case. We will notify you as soon as possible should we need to make a major change and will carry out suitable consultation with affected students. If you reasonably believe that the proposed change will cause you detriment or hardship we will, if appropriate, work with you to try to reduce the adverse effect on you or find an appropriate solution. Where an appropriate solution cannot be found and you contact us in writing before the change takes effect you can cancel your registration and withdraw from the University without liability to the University for future tuition fees. We will provide reasonable support to assist you with transferring to another university if you wish to do so.

Termination of course

In exceptional circumstances, we may, for reasons outside of our control, be forced to discontinue or suspend your course. Where this is the case, a formal exit strategy will be followed and we will notify you as soon as possible about what your options are, which may include transferring to a suitable replacement course for which you are qualified, being provided with individual teaching to complete the award for which you were registered, or claiming an interim award and exiting the University. If you do not wish to take up any of the options that are made available to you, then you can cancel your registration and withdraw from the course without liability to the University for future tuition fees and you will be entitled to a refund of all course fees paid to date. We will provide reasonable support to assist you with transferring to another university if you wish to do so.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. These include regulations regarding the assessment of your course, academic integrity, your conduct (including attendance) and disciplinary procedure, fees and finance and compliance with visa requirements (where relevant). It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, along with the Student Protection Plan, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Office for Students (OfS) is the principal regulator for the University.

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