MA Fine Art

MA Arts is an exciting, challenging and rigorous programme of study that addresses the complex, multifaceted needs of today’s visual artists. The programme provides students with the opportunity to engage in taught studio-based research, underpinned by a strong theoretical awareness of contemporary visual art.

The programme encourages students to critically reflect on personal practice and develop an awareness of the relationship that their art has to a wide audience.

Our students are strongly motivated, reflective and independently minded. They have made a major contribution to the city’s vibrant visual arts culture and many of them have taken advantage of the regions rural and industrial heritage as inspiration, to establish studios, start-up businesses or to exhibit work. Many of them have engaged with national and international exhibition opportunities and will continue to do so after completion of their studies.

Our MA Arts programme aims to critically engage, challenge and support students, preparing them to become effective professional practioners contributing to the ever evolving national and international cultural landscape.

Rodger Brown
Programme Leader, MA Arts

Christine Thomas

I create artwork as a semi-autobiographical expression of my own life experiences. I work predominantly in textiles and can remember sitting on the floor of my parent’s house sewing the hours away. This reminds me of a time of comfort and innocence, when creating and sewing was an instinctive process, something that has been part of my methodology throughout my artistic career. My artwork is created from a feminist viewpoint around the context of the domestic and the impact on women’s lives.

I use textiles and stitch to address contemporary issues around domestic abuse, legislation and explore ways of communicating the imbalances within society. I use research methods to explore ideas, using books, articles, feminist projects and political developments to follow threads of interest which inspire me.

Painful Suspense addresses issues around domestic violence and violence against women, inspired by the Counting Dead Women Project by Karen Ingala Smith, I have created memorials stitched in aprons in remembrance of all the women murdered over the past 5 years. Nailed to their frames, the aprons are all kept on tenterhooks, an ancient process of keeping fabric taut which also describes the emotion of painful suspense.

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Image of a needle and thread at the end of stitching some names on cloth

David Walton

I am a painter and site-specific sculptor of abstract images. My recent concern has been with the possibilities of a political content within abstraction. For this site-specific wall sculpture, I looked at the conflict in Bosnia and while my images derive from a particular place, event and time they remain abstract. The formal qualities of what I produce is, for me, of prime importance. The collection of hard edge shapes of different textures and materials, falling from the ceiling to the ground, suggests disruption and fragmentation.

Images of various textile pattern cutouts

Finn Dahlhaus

Based on a personal interest in the architectural flux of the ‘cityscape’ my artistic practice presents an exploration of the ever-changing urban environment, through the intertwining manipulation of photography, sculpture and printmaking.

Photographs of buildings fashioned in various and contrasting architectural styles, sourced from primarily the north of England, are brought together in a collage. The images are then layered on top of each other multiple times and in multiple sizes, to create a sense of depth, collision and a visual ‘push and pull’.

My work aims to draw the viewers’ attention to the often-overlooked built environment, inviting them to re-examine their surroundings. It therefore has the potential to act as a catalyst for a broader conversation on the passage of time, fluidity of urban architecture and its role within a wider social context.

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Fine art original print

Jeannean Howe

Through the medium of photography, I investigate the transient nature of our life, perceptions, gender beliefs and desires.

By physically and digitally manipulating organic objects, chosen for their association with domesticity, consumption and femininity I aim to produce ambiguous, uncanny and metaphysical imagery. The work highlights dualities such as strength and fragility, the sensual and the repellent.

My art is created through an intuitive reflection of personal experience and feelings. The surreal, autobiographical context traditionally sits within the domain of the female, domestic environment. Fuelled by an interest in history, philosophy and symbology, I endeavour to explore the corporeal and psychological multiplicities of feminism. Simply presenting ordinary reality in an extraordinary way.

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Close up photo of a dewy flower on a black background

Jenny Bramley

In my practice I create a site-specific intervention using a simple process and inexpensive materials; Sellotape and carbon paper. The space, walls and/or other surfaces determine the work created. I modify the process to fit the space.

The process is as follows; I remove strips of Sellotape from a dispenser in a rhythmic and repetitive manner and adhere to carbon paper. I rip the Sellotape from the carbon paper and place it directly onto an interior wall, surface or window. The process is repeated innumerable times which creates a large-scale installation.

The remnants of the used carbon paper become a genuine non-predetermined, simultaneous by-product of the process. Words and concepts that I associate with the remnants are stripped back, fragile, trace, time, patterns, archival and mark-making. I video and live stream the performative act on social media in order to document the process.

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View of a courtyard garden in a modern building seen through tainted glass with remnants of carbon paper fixed to the window

Jessica Storey

The female experience,
Opposites, softness and rigidity,
The internal, the external,
The physical, the psychological.
The logical, the scientific,
The irrational, the obsessive,
Abject beauty, fallen women.

The abject depicts all aspects of the female body and bodily functions that are considered impure and challenge our sense of cleanliness. It covers themes that threaten societies conventionally accepted standards of decorum, what is considered morally, socially, or legally acceptable.

I apply this to the female body through my materials associations with idealistic femininity, using human hair and nylon tights to represent the skin. I damage and sew hair into the nylon, suggesting trauma to the skin.

My work constructs and implies a narrative, a history of traumatic events that forces one to think about unconventional themes considered inappropriate for public display, such as menstruation, sex, rape and murder.

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Close up photograph of small slithers of fabric stored in grey boxes next to a basic sketch

Kathryn Prestidge

My work explores the interrelationship between text and image.

Portraiture orientated, it aims to represent the sitter and their identity. These ‘word portraits’ are text-image hybrids and influenced by Professor Alan Simpson’s statement ‘the arts rely on language for their meaning…. but… language… cannot fully explain or replace the work of art’ (1988, p.48). I am influenced by the concrete poets’ experimentation with form and content; the text is on the surface of the paper and the image is in space.

I collaborate with the sitter to create a mimetic and representational portrait of who they are. The text used describes them in their own words or the words of those closest to them. The objects are personal and/or sentimental to the sitter.

An important aspect of my work is ‘the everyday’ person and these portraits are linked by a focus on family and friends.

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Sketch of a face made up of individual letters and words

Rachel Dineley

My practice aims to highlight aspects of using the internet – more specifically – how we interact with social media and why it has become such a pervasive part of our daily lives.

My artworks are moving image work and are produced predominantly using my iPhone and rely on the use of found media from sources of popular culture. Footage within my sequences is abstracted with the addition of colours and filters. This creates a visually disorientating effect which makes the everyday unfamiliar and aims to parallel the image-saturated world we are constantly experiencing.

In recent works, my concepts revolve around our contemporary dependence on and addiction to social media and our phones. My hope is to create visually intriguing work which reflects and represents our relationship with the internet. My work also explores how technology allows us to connect with one another whilst simultaneously alienating us from human interaction.

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Multiple abstract digital images in pink tones