As one of the world’s leading centres of contemporary art London allows you to see, reflect on and respond to art at the cutting edge. This poses an exciting challenge: what is your own position as an artist in relation to contemporary art and the debates surrounding it? MA Fine Art at Byam Shaw provides a framework within which you are able to address this question. It offers you the opportunity to explore and challenge ideas about art, questioning its conventions and assumptions through the development of your own practice.
In the context of the course, practice is seen as a methodology both for learning and for making art. This methodology of practice places an emphasis upon an inquiring and speculative approach which is particularly suitable in the contemporary context of art. Practice involves ongoing open-ended inquiry and experimentation which values problems as much as solutions. It embraces negotiations of judgement and orientation which inevitably occur as new ideas and horizons open up in the development of your work. The notion of practice encompasses your development throughout the course.
The course uses an analytical approach to looking at art as a key method of raising complex questions about art’s aims, nature, social function and future. By presenting historical, theoretical and critical models against which the shifting ground of current practice and debate can be evaluated and questioned, the course seeks to generate new perspectives and innovative thought and practice.
The course is term based and divided into 3 units. Units 1 and 2 run concurrently, and these are followed by unit 3. Assessment occurs at the end of each unit.
Contextual Studies is concerned with ensuring that you have the appropriate research skills to carry out independent work and research in order to fulfil the requirements of the written component of the course.
Re-Viewing Practice involves reviewing your notions of practice and evaluating them in relation to wider conceptual and philosophical concerns which are raised by seminars, discussions and tutorials. The purpose of the unit is to enable you to reflect critically on your practice as a means of learning, development and research. A group show of work by the MA students is held in the Concourse Gallery at the end of the unit.
Synthesis involves you in further reflection and exploration of your practice but with an emphasis on defining your own position and presenting work for final assessment. The unit requires you to demonstrate through your studio work and essay that you are able to make critical judgements, in the context of contemporary art, about your practice and areas of interest. Unit 3 concludes with a final exhibition of your work.