The MA Fine Art programme is an exciting, challenging and rigorous programme of study that addresses the multifaceted needs of today's visual artist. The programme will provide you with the opportunity to engage in taught studio-based research, under-pinned by a strong theoretical awareness of contemporary practice.
It will encourage critical reflection on personal practice and awareness of the relationship that your work may have to an audience. The programme will help you connect with a wide diversity of cultural industries on a national and international level. Tt will enable you to consider aspects of curatorial practice and the public reception art works involving general and specialist audiences.
Course Leader: Rodger Brown
T: 01332 593182 (course leader)
01332 591167 (admissions)
01332 591698 (international)
01332 593302 (general)
Start date: September and January
Course length: 1 Year Full Time or 2 Years Part Time
Campus: Markeaton Street site, Derby Campus
College: College of Arts
We are looking for applicants who are strongly motivated, reflective and independently minded. Contemporary Fine Art practice embraces a wide and diverse spectrum of activity and you will have access to well-staffed and resourced workshops and studios. We place great value on interdisciplinary debate that utilising the collective knowledge and experience of both students and staff. We are also interested in non-standard applications from other art and design disciplines who have a skill set they wish to develop in a Fine Art context. We can offer bridging studies, if necessary, in the Autumn semester for those seeking a January start.
You will become part of our lively research culture with access to see visiting speakers on all College of Art courses and staff research seminar series where colleagues present their research.
The MA enjoys the provision of a rich programme of specialist visiting practitioners such as Calum Colvin, Wendy McMurdo, Simon Le Ruez, Marcus Coates, Hannah Collins, Nick Thursston, Lei Cox, Doug Fishbone, Brian Griffin, Steel Vine, Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey, Ellie Harrison, Paul Rooney, Karen Knorr, Pak-Keung Wan, Jem Southam, Peter Kennard, Doug Cocker, Rachel Maclean. In the wider context students benefit from the knowledge offered by visitors such as philosopher Jonathan Rea, artist/ curator/ commentator Alfredo Cramerotti, curator and social historian Anna Douglas, exhibition designer Calum Storrie and Fred Mann, gallery director/artist/record producer.
Our academic team have a wide range of backgrounds with expertise in Fine Art, Photography, Film, Public Art, Performance, Curatorship, Critical Theory, Art History, Philosophy and Criticism, residencies and commissions. All members of staff are practicing artists, writers or theorists and members of Research Groups. They have extensive experience of working and exhibiting internationally, including the Museum of Fine Art Boston USA, SOFA New York and Chicago, FLICAM China, Saatchi Gallery London, The National Art School Sydney and RMIT Australia.
Derby University students have made a major contribution to the city’s vibrant arts culture. Many have taken advantage of the areas rural and industrial heritage as inspiration, to establish studios, start-up businesses or exhibit work. The College of Art also has strong community links such as Derby Theatre, Déda, Derby Museum and Art Gallery and QUAD.
Employable Graduates – we’re ranked 15th highest amongst all UK universities and 12th for English institutions with 96% of graduates in work or further study within six months of completing their degree: HESA 2016.
You will choose modules such as:
This stage is an opportunity to reflect on your creative practice, investigate and evaluate strategic approaches, and produce a body of practical work that demonstrates your research. You are encouraged to develop your ability to contextualise and critique your work and the work of others. You are supported in this by studying contemporary debates and theories that will help to underpin your practice.
Reflective Processes in the Visual Arts
This double module focuses on reflection and re-evaluation, research and experimentation using a wide variety of learning methods. It is an opportunity to consider the implications of your ideas in both the context of contemporary debate and practice and, more broadly, the ever-changing social, technical and economic context that working artists face. This module provides you with a foundation of creative and critical knowledge on which to build your Masters project.
The benefit of this stage is that it will support you in a process of defining and refining your personal creative project, along with the ongoing development of your subject knowledge and critical development. This is an opportunity to consider how the meaning of your work is manipulated by such elements as display, location, audience and medium, whilst evaluating and rehearsing a range of presentation skills appropriate to the professional standards of postgraduate study. To complement your creative practice you are asked to identify and study the work of other artists who share similar concerns as your self. This stage has its own distinct identity but may also be seen as a preparation for a major practical project in stage three.
You will choose modules such as:
This double module provides the chance to identify and focus on a research question, producing some creative practical responses through a body of creative work. The emphasis of the module is on personal evaluation and developing your individual voice as an artist.
This module will help you to acquire the language and skills needed to locate and explain your practice in the professional art world. By undertaking a critical study of your practice in relation to the international context of contemporary art, you will be empowered by an advanced level of knowledge and understanding of art and art theory. As a result going on to articulate what is original and distinct about your own practice. You have the opportunity, through scholarly research and an extended essay, to demonstrate that you can explain, justify, and critique the aims and methods of your practice with the academic rigor and authority appropriate to Masters level study.
At this stage you will be expected to demonstrate your capacity for independent scholarship. Whilst continuing to benefit from the support of the college’s research community you will also have the challenge and stimulus of critical questions from fellow students and staff. You will be expected to take a high degree of ownership of your learning and full responsibility for the critical judgments you take of your own creative practice. The focus of this stage is on the realisation of a practical body of mature work and your understanding of its place and significance within the context of contemporary practice; your locus standi.
You will choose modules such as:
We aim to attract well-motivated students who wish to further their study in a stimulating and professionally orientated learning environment.
For international students you will need to have qualifications and experience that are at the same level as for a UK student applying for the same course. UK and EU Entry Requirements
You will normally be expected to have an appropriate fine art, or other first degree appropriate to apply for the MA (Minimum 2:2 or above), or a professional qualification of equal standing, or significant practical or professional experience gained following your initial qualification that would support your application. You should bring your portfolio to the interview normally arranged at the University. You will also be asked to provide a plan of how you intend to use the time on the MA to further your practice.
£580 per 20 credits*
£580 per 20 credits*
£12,000 for the full programme
*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.
|Postgraduate Certificate||60 Credits|
|Postgraduate Diploma||120 Credits|
|MA or MSc||180 Credits|
This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you’re studying full-time you will normally complete 180 credits over one year. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.
Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.
The fees for students starting this course in September 2017 will be available soon.
We recognise that people undertake postgraduate study for many different reasons. Issues such as childcare and employment may determine how you wish to use the experience. The College provides many opportunities such as field trips, live projects and placements that are open to MA students, and within the framework of the course the staff will seek to support you in real world learning. Students are encouraged to maintain a professional profile during the course. The following are just a few examples of venues students have used:
The MA Fine Art course is a professionally taught programme delivered through seminars, tutorials, peer reviews and guest lectures.
Assessments are carried out at the end of each module and you will get written and verbal feedback on your progress. Further to this you will regularly receive feedback on how you are progressing with your work. Assessments are based on the appropriate presentation of all practical work and essays, reports including reflective journals, proposals and presentations.
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will be communicated after enrolment on your course.
This new course builds on the success and experience of our previous postgraduate programmes and is informed by the importance of adaptability in a rapidly changing, pluralistic, and complex world.
The University is committed to your long-term success, we have built a strong relationship with the University Career Development Centre who have specialist art and design career advisors. If you choose this course you will benefit from support that has secured for Derby a ranking of 15th highest for graduate employment amongst UK universities (HESA 2015).
Strong employer links have already been established within our courses, which have been designed to take into account the needs of a diverse range of potential employers. In addition to continuing to progress individual fine art practice, students find employment in education, museums, the libraries and archives sector, publishing and broadcasting as well as finding the skills acquired through postgraduate study to support a wide range of entrepreneurial activity.
"I like to walk, and from my walks I have become fascinated by grasses, the structure and the forms created in fields of grass, in grass reeds that grow in water. I began the MA just photographing them, responding to the light and the forms created, with no particular direction other than an appreciation of the marks created. The MA has allowed me to take the time to think about and make sense of the work I am creating. It has made me focus and develop my practice as an artist (even to actually consider myself as an artist!).
My work continues to grow and develop and the course has enabled me to consider and explore different approaches, bringing me into contact with theories and ideas that I would otherwise not be aware of. It has allowed me to devote the time to consider not only what it is I am interested in, but also why.
From this and through my explorations in both photography and printmaking I have become interested not in only the mark created but also the empty space in between. The idea of light and dark, of something and nothing, of sound and silence. Through my work I am beginning to explore the concept of silence and stillness. Trying to create a moment of pause for the viewer.
And last but not least, the contact with and support from your peers is a crucial part of the course. You get to discuss and exchange ideas. You get to experience different ideas, mediums and working processes. Things that you might otherwise not come into contact with. This has made me more open to, and aware of, other ways of working."
Sarah Roach, MA Fine Art
The MA Fine Art course has encouraged me to challenge myself and reflect upon my work in ways I hadn’t previously thought of, most recently with regards to my subject matter and how an audience might connect with it.
The course gives its students the opportunity to regularly meet up and have a wide variety of discussions and debates about working practices, subject matter and meanings, critical texts, and debates surrounding current fine art practice. We also spend time critiquing each other’s on going work, contributing new ideas or possible directions, helping to inform the further development of our work, as a critical but supportive network of like-minded artists.
I work mainly in video, using performance and recently with the addition of puppetry. My interests lie in exploring perceived and ‘real’ identity questioning notions of cultural interpretation, particularly informed by childhood tropes and modes of representation. In my practice I film myself, and collaborate with other people, dressed up as characters that I have created, exploring visual representations of my own psyche. These performance-based tableaux, for the most part, link back to recognisable aspects of collective memory popular culture, imagery and humour.
The course has really challenged me, encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone with the content and meaning of my work. I have begun to explore alternatives to filming my regular characters, instead of myself dressed in various guises; I have started experimenting with puppet characters and other props. I am also looking into the notion of directing other people and exploring the richness and diversity that this process brings to my work. The MA Fine Art course has enabled me to think in broader terms about my practice while maintaining a focus that has enabled my work to become more sophisticated and challenging.
Carl Smith, MA Fine Art
Find out if studying at Derby is right for you at one of our Open Days:
Click here to close or press ESC