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Kingston School of Art is an internationally regarded art school with a reputation for excellence and innovation in research across disciplines. The newly restructured MFA Fine Art course invites applicants to critically engage with contemporary art and identify what the urgent questions for contemporary practice are. Artists joining the course are asked to reflect on the historical, social, political, technological and intellectual conditions for artistic production. We believe students will then be equipped to understand and question contemporary art and lead rather than follow developments in the field.
Teaching on the course is designed to carefully nurture the core methods, ideas and approaches of its students. The course is studio based with world-class technical facilities and teaching that will consolidate and strengthen students' positions as practicing artists.
Professors in the Department of Fine Art include Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price and Mike Nelson who represented Britain at the 2011 Venice Biennale.
Recent guest lecturers and speakers include Caroline Achaintre, Barby Asanti, Dexter Dalwood, Mark Leckey, Chooc Ly Tan, Amila Pica, Anahita Razmi, Grace Schwindt and Issy Wood.
The course also offers the option to take one module with our internationally renowned Philosophy department (CRMEP).
As part of Kingston School of Art, students on this course benefit from joining a creative community where collaborative working and critical practice are encouraged.
Our workshops and studios are open to all disciplines – enabling students and staff to work together, share ideas and explore multi-disciplinary making.
This course will help you to enhance your research and analytical skills as an integral aspect of your studio practice.
Your own research is augmented by collaborative work, seminars and talks. Within a diverse cohort of students, you'll challenge one another's world views, towards an in depth understanding of cultural production.
You will amass a substantial body of work, develop and apply highly attuned analytical skills, practice innovative exhibition strategies and hone your confidence as an artist.
Typically students must complete 120 credits at each level, totalling 240 credits by the end of the degree.
The teaching in the first year supports students in establishing their studio practice and critical skills. Sessions with key professionals in contemporary art then go on to assist students in developing the research and professional skills they need to sustain a career. This is then followed by a period in which students (in dialogue with their peers) explore their strengthened individual practice and research through making and reflecting on modes for disseminating art.
This module aims to enable you to develop a body of artwork with reference to artworks, art historical, theoretical, inter-disciplinary and wider cultural contexts. The module integrates theory and practice to allow you to develop and apply individually developed critical tools in order to make and analyse your own work and the work of your peers. You will become able to express your abilities to reflect and be critical through making, recording, documentation and evaluation of ideas from within your discipline and from the wider interdisciplinary environment. The Practice and Critique module introduces making, verbal and written communication skills to allow you to position your developing practice. This enables you to begin to understand the field of your practical research and your potential contribution to that field.
This module builds on the grounding work of the Practice and Critique Module by developing research skills alongside a range of professional skills. The module aims to provide you with comparative models of what research means in the context of a fine art practice alongside differing models of professional practice. To this end students will understand for example the difference between research-led practice and practice-based-research. You will be expected to understand how issues of funding, project management, institutional frameworks and organisation impact on the production and reception of artworks. You will learn the conceptual implications of these structures on your art as you further define the field of your research. The module will develop written, presentation, technical, artistic and communication skills as ways and means of expressing research. You will also begin to establish professional and organisational structures that are appropriate to your research and arts practice. These methods of organising and making your work public will enable you to successfully complete the course and sustain your research and art after graduating. The distinguishing feature of the larger credit version of this module (60 credits) is a fully costed project or exhibition proposal with documentation of current and past work.
This module builds on the grounding work of the Practice and Critique module by developing research skills alongside a range of professional skills. The module aims to provide you with comparative models of what research means in the context of a fine art practice alongside differing models of professional practice. To this end students will understand for example the difference between research-led practice and practice-based-research. You will be expected to understand how issues of funding, institutional frameworks and organisation impact on the production and reception of artworks. You will learn the conceptual implications of these structures on your art as you further define the field of your research. The module will develop written, presentation, technical, artistic and communication skills as ways and means of expressing research. You will also begin to establish professional and organisational structures that are appropriate to your research and arts practice. These methods of organising and making your work public will enable you to successfully complete the course and sustain your research and art after graduating.
Based on a study of artists' texts, art criticism, art history and philosophical writings on art, this module comprises a critical examination of the legacy and possibilities of modernist and avant-garde criticism in contemporary art theory. As well as introducing students to some of the major texts and ideas in these traditions of art theory and art criticism, the modules aims to enable students to reflect critically on works of contemporary art in the light of their study.
In the second year of the MFA you are given the time, teaching, support and discursive framework to consolidate their independent practice and research. You will work towards the completion of a final major exposition of work that signals a critical engagement with notions of dissemination and publication in the field of contemporary art. The final major exposition is the culmination of the technical, critical, professional and organisational skills learnt earlier in the course.
This module aims to enable you to develop your practice with reference to individually identified cultural and social contexts and begins to examine in more depth the relation of artworks to audience. You will be encouraged to apply developed critical tools in order to make and analyse your own work and the work of your peers. You will consider a wider interdisciplinary environment, working individually and collaboratively to investigate and disseminate your work inside and outside of the studio. During the module you will be expected to present your work in the public arena and may work together or individually to test the most appropriate platform for the dissemination of your work. The Extended Practice module allows you time to focus on your strengthened individual positions through making and testing and reflection on appropriate modes for disseminating work.
This module is the bringing together and culmination of the strands of learning from earlier modules. This includes but is not limited to a consolidation of your skills with regard to critique, professional frameworks and organisation, research and studio practice. Having tested strategies for disseminating work in the previous module this module focuses on the realisation of an ambitious project with an accompanying publication. It is expected that your final project and publication will fully realise and expresses the conceptual terrain that your current research and art has mapped out and take a form appropriate to the enquiry you are making. The publication will take a form pertinent to your art and research and is understood as a visual and written culmination of the thinking carried out in the previous modules. The Final Major Exposition module allows students enough time to achieve an ambitious final project and publication that signals a critical engagement with notions of dissemination and publication in the field of contemporary art.
The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.
Applicants should have a 2:2 or above honours degree in fine art or an equivalent British or overseas qualification.
We will also consider applicants with relevant work experience. Your application might also be considered if you aren't a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but you must have relevant experience of the visual arts and can demonstrate you have the capacity to work at postgraduate level.
Applicants will be asked to upload an online portfolio as part of the application process.
You will be required to submit a digital portfolio of work and an artist statement to support your application.
We are not able to carry out interviews so your digital portfolio will be very important in helping us to learn about you and your work and your readiness for postgraduate study. The ability to communicate your work, processes, thinking and understanding of contemporary art should be evident in your portfolio and artist's statement. We want to know what your interests are and how you critically reflect on those interests.
We also want to see how much you understand about the course you are applying to and how it is different from other post graduate courses but also how this course would suit you and the development of your work. The course is unique amongst London's postgraduate fine art programmes in that it takes only a relatively small number of students. We need to know what you will contribute to the dynamic of the group, understand how you will work individually and with others from diverse backgrounds.
In your portfolio we would like to see a collection of work that illustrates your range of skills and expresses your visual and aesthetic sensibilities. It will show us your practical and thinking skills as well as your creative interests.
We are interested in all forms of media and techniques you consider to be relevant, for example drawing, collage, photography, sculpture, painting, printmaking, video and performance.
We recommend that you use the following structure to prepare your portfolio:
Please also include a statement about yourself and the work you have presented. You can provide this in one of two ways:
Whichever method you choose, please address the following questions:
If you have questions about the course or about what to include in your portfolio and artist statement then please contact Joint Course Leader Roman Vasseur.
All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.
Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.
Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.
You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.
Find your country:
The course employs a range of approaches to teaching and learning. Lectures, seminars, group critiques, individual tutorials, optional study visits, presentations, workshops and assessed expositions of work support the development of your practice and research.
When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy documents and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.
Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.
At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.
3 - 5 days a week; the main teaching days for students are Monday and Wednesday.
MFA Fine Art is a two-year, full-time course. The timetable is carefully designed to facilitate progression.
Your full attendance is expected in timetabled sessions and at all other times we expect you to be engaged in self-directed study within the university.
We would normally expect you to be in attendance 3-5 days per week. Key teaching days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Missing key sessions will inevitably affect your marks. Similarly, non-submission of work at assessment will impact on results.
Whilst we recognise the necessity for some students to take employment to support studies, we strongly advise that this should not exceed 16 hours per week or you will find it difficult to keep up.
Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.
Assessment typically comprises a presentation of practical work (eg exhibitions, performance) and supporting coursework (eg contextual written documents, research folders, evaluative reports, portfolios, presentations).
The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:
Type of assessment
We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.
Ongoing feedback is provided at group and individual tutorials, module sessions and at tutorials with departmental professors and visiting artists and professionals. Summative feedback is given after each assessment point and we aim for your individual tutor to provide feedback within 20 working days of your work being assessed. These are occasions when the strengths and weaknesses of the work are highlighted and discussed in order to progress the work.
To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 12 students and lecture sizes are normally 25-150.
However this can vary by module and academic year.
This course is delivered by academics at Kingston School of Art, all of whom are professional artists, curators or writers. Their specialisms include but are not limited to: artist's film and video; painting; performance; sculpture; art and urbanism; art and informatics; art and political philosophy; art and questions of pedagogy.
Alongside core teaching, there are opportunities for tutorials with Professors Elizabeth Price and Mike Nelson. Invited artists, curators, gallerists, writers and critics offer further input into the teaching and the opportunity for students to compare and discuss differing models for the production and dissemination of art.
A highly distinctive aspect of the course is that one option module is delivered by the internationally renowned Kingston University Philosophy Department, the Centre for Research into Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP). CRMEP is internationally recognised as the leading centre for postgraduate level study and doctoral research in continental philosophy in the UK and its work is characterised by an emphasis on broad cultural and intellectual contexts, including contemporary art and a distinctive sense of social and political engagement. Fine Art students are also welcome to attend the CRMEP talks programme.
The Fine Art Department has within it a highly innovative practice-based Fine Art PhD programme. Artist researchers give presentations to the MFA on their research projects allowing students who are considering developing a PhD proposal in the future, exposure to practice based research.
Staff teach between all the programmes within the Fine Art Department including the undergraduate programme that ranks amongst the top ten of undergraduate Fine Art courses in the UK. This means that an enormous range of expertise, research and art practices are available to students.
A regular artist's talks programme takes place on site and has included artists Grace Schwindt, Dexter Dalwood, Hannah Catherine Jones, Steve Claydon, Caroline Achaintre and Travis Alabanza. This year's programme includes Mark Leckey, Patrick Staff, Issy Wood and Leslie Thornton. The department also collaborates with the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Central London on a public talks programme that has recently included artist Steven Warwick and literary critic and author of How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics, N. Katherine Hayles.
If you start your second year straight after Year 1, you will pay the same fee for both years.
If you take a break before starting your second year, or if you repeat modules from Year 1 in Year 2, the fee for your second year may increase.
Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:
If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.
We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees.
Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.
Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.
There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free Wi-Fi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.
In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.
Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.
MFA Fine Art students are based at the University's Knights Park campus. Kingston School of Art is unique in offering a close-knit community on a recently refurbished riverside campus. Friends and colleagues share student life, ideas and conversation, just a 30-minute train ride from London's world-leading galleries, museums and creative businesses.
The MFA Fine Art programme takes place in dedicated studio spaces directly opposite the recently refurbished state-of-the-art technical areas, the Stanley Picker Gallery and the undergraduate fine art studios.
The workshops and studios at Knights Park are open for creative exploration and offer you plenty of opportunities to collaborate on projects and share ideas, whether you are studying or researching. Building on this open approach, there are many adaptable Architecture studio and workshop spaces, designed by Stirling Prize winning Haworth Tompkins, alongside active breakout spaces.
At the heart of the building are new state of the art workshop facilities, which include:
The University also has its own on-site galleries, including:
Kingston is just a 30-minute train journey from central London. Here you can access the city's unrivalled wealth of exhibitions and galleries, including the Tate Modern and the National Gallery. Kingston School of Art works closely with the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in central London where internationally-acclaimed exhibitions, events, talks and screenings are held that students often attend. Kingston staff members have professional contacts with central London institutions. This means that opportunities arise for students to meet arts professionals, as part of an optional visit to a gallery, museum or archive.
Our graduates have progressed to careers in curation, arts administration, project management, arts education and PhD study, and have established arts collectives internationally.
Whilst the course does not offer progression onto the Fine Art PhD at Kingston School of Art it is understood that the programme supports those interested in developing a practice-based PhD proposal in the future with which they can apply to PhD programmes nationally and internationally as well as at Kingston School of Art.
Our students are encouraged to engage closely with the diverse businesses that make London one of the most important centres for the creative industries. Our industry connections mean we provide unique study opportunities, such as:
Our excellent reputation means that industry leaders regularly visit our student shows to see the best of the new talent.
Kingston School of Art is internationally renowned for research excellence and innovation across disciplines.
The Fine Art Department is home to a highly innovative practice-based Fine Art PhD programme and undergraduate programme that ranks amongst the top ten of undergraduate Fine Art courses in the UK. Working within a campus that is conducive to creative dialogues and exchange, students often choose to collaborate across different levels and disciplines.
Our faculty research centres explore practices, histories and theories of contemporary art, design and material culture.
Specifically, within the Department of Fine Art, The Contemporary Art Research Centre explores innovation in contemporary fine art, focusing on: