VA7026 - Public Output 1: Project Initiation

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What will I learn on this module?

Public Output 1: Project Initiation is delivered in the first semester of the second year of the two-year MFA course. The module facilitates the initiation of a self-directed project through the development of an experimental and critically reflective research practice. Formal and conceptual experimentation and its critical evaluation are at the centre of this module, encouraging you to speculate on the potential form and context for the public presentation of your art. You will also be responsible for the initiation and documentation of an appropriate offsite ‘context’ where your work will be realised and evidenced through digital documentation. The nature of your research practice and the range of strategies you have undertaken during the module, including evidence of the offsite component, will be demonstrated through the submission of a research portfolio. Navigation of the various components of your portfolio should be structured in relation to the 2000 word narrative set out in the written summary contextualizing your development. Through one-to-one tutorials with academic staff and individual mentoring by BALTIC curators, you will be supported in identifying and utilizing your key research strengths through engaging in critical debate and evidencing your independent research in reflective writing. A core programme of bi-weekly seminars and monthly studio critiques run throughout the module and develops a dynamic, participatory approach to discourse surrounding contemporary and historical models of studio practice. The aim of this module is to enable you to confidently position yourself as an emerging practitioner by establishing experimental and critical research practices.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn primarily through engaging in an independent self-directed creative inquiry, mentored through one-to-one tutorials, group critiques, seminars and lecture situations and benefitting from our team of technical assistants and high quality facilities. This will provide you with opportunities to speculate and rehearse the skills and knowledge required to pursue an independent and sustained exhibition practice as a creative professional in a range of relevant applied context. To achieve this you will be supported in establishing effective methods of testing your artworks in the studio environment and be encouraged to consider the potential and challenges of a wider public reception for your artworks. Additionally, our BxNU partnership ensures you will have direct access to professional expertise encompassing the logistics of installing of major international exhibitions , education, public outreach and curatorial activity. To achieve this, you will be given opportunities to build networks with galleries, curators and arts organizations at a regional, national and international level through field trips, visits and opportunities to study or exhibit abroad. Additionally, ‘Blackboard Collaborate’ will be used to enable national and international artists, curators, writers and academics to contribute to seminar sessions within ‘Talk Studio.’ This interactive technology will also be available for you to build your own networks. Therefore, you will progressively develop your abilities to foster relationships and collaborate with external individuals and organisations. This is conducive training towards establishing yourself as an ambitious, capable practitioner, able to engage with professional opportunities, grant/proposal /CV writing, and interacting with external stakeholders.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported through formative staff feedback on presentations of work in progress through critiques and tutorials. Guidance is also provided on structuring and formulating written statements. Written and verbal feedback at the end of the module will support your academic progress by assisting your reflection on and awareness of your achievements and potential as a learner. Pastoral support is available through and an allocated guidance tutor who can assist you to access other relevant sources of support such as the University Counselling Service or Finance Section of the Students’ Union Advice Centre. MFA staff work closely with the University disability advisers to ensure those students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties are fully supported. Additional bookable and drop in study skills support is available through the Northumbria Skills Programme at the City Campus Library and via the e-learning portal. In line with the University’s equal opportunities statement, all students that are confirmed with a disability are given every support to enable them to meet their full potential on the course. Regular group meetings with the module coordinator and course leader offer the opportunity to discuss assessment, practical considerations and feedback on delivery of the course and related matters. All course tutors are readily available via Email and tutorials can be easily arranged any member of the staff team outside of formal, timetabled sessions.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

1. Demonstrate creativity in the delivery of the artwork in relation to complex contexts.
2. Clearly contextualise your studio-practice in relation to contemporary fine art and research models.
3. To be able to employ a range of effective strategies with which to establish a sustainable professional practice.
4. Synthesise creative and organisational skills including project planning and time management.
5. To show the ability to work creatively in individual and group situations.
Knowledge & Understanding:
1. You will achieve a clearer understanding of your own artistic abilities and motivations and become acknowledged as a co-producer of knowledge through on-going engagement in a research rich studio culture. Several aspects of formative assessment are instigated progressively through peer-led encounters. Therefore, working alongside a postgraduate community of PhD, Mres and MFA peers who are committed and ambitious in their studies will expand and enrich your existing awareness of practices and research opportunities.
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
1. Your employability will be enhanced through self-reflective analysis, which builds skills such as reflexivity, emotional intelligence and self-efficacy.
2. The ability to critically evaluate and act upon different conceptual, ethical and material approaches to the production of art, in line with standards across the sector, is an important factor in gaining future work. You will develop your capacity to utilise different theoretical /methodological frameworks and reflect on the ways you have developed them in creating work.
3. An awareness of industry standards for the production, exhibition and communication of contemporary fine art practice is developed via staff feedback and engagement with curators, technical, educational, marketing and design teams as part of the BxNU partnership. The wider research environment of BALTIC 39 allows students to work alongside doctoral students, staff, professional studio holders and fellowship holders – all with a host of industry and professional experience.
Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
1. You will significantly develop a confident, self-empowering attitude through achieving the diverse skills and abilities necessary to sustaining a committed, challenging level of artistic experimentation and production. By accomplishing ambitious public-facing outcomes, you will develop effective organisational skills including project planning, time management and the ability to work creatively in individual and group situations. These qualities are vital aspects in regard to demonstrating innovation and the pre-eminence of independent, lateral thinking in the cultural industries.

How will I be assessed?

All assessment requirements are focused towards outcomes that the students understand to be necessary to a sustainable artistic practice, prioritizing key attributes of research rigor, critical engagement and professionalism. The framework of the MFA allows for several different types of artistic practice to evolve, where the learning is appropriately shaped to each individual.
Summative Assessment
On completion of the module assessment is summative. You are asked to demonstrate the development of your studio practice through the presentation of a significant body of ambitious practice-based research evidencing clear decision-making in relation to a sustainable studio practice and through the digital documentation of the ‘offsite’ component, an understanding of appropriate contexts for the public output of your art. (75% weighting) (MLO 1)
You will also be required to submit a written summary contextualising the thematic concerns of your work in relation to contemporary models of fine art practice and how they might be further developed for public output (25% weighting) (MLO 2) (2000 words)
Formative assessment
You will benefit from receiving feedback delivered in sensitive and appropriate ways that are imbedded into all aspects of the courses delivery. You will be receiving several perspectives on your evolving practice, through one-to-one tutorials, group critiques and seminars where diversity of opinions is offered in order to stimulate risk-taking, independence of thinking and the ability to locate your practice in relation to contemporary models of fine art production and exhibition. (MLO 2) In this way, the teaching methodology encourages strategies for you to develop the high levels of autonomy, objectivity and effective organisational skills necessary post-graduation (MLO1). You are required to write reports in response to both one-to-one tutorials and group critiques, involving you in reflective self-assessment whilst developing your skills of articulation, self-analysis and criticality.


Studio Practice 1 VA7022
Locating Practice VA7024
Studio Practice 2 VA7023
Exhibiting Practice VA7025



Module abstract

Through the initiation a major self-directed research project the module Public Output 1: Project Initiation provides a continuous and intensive period of studio practice in which to rigorously explore the possibilities of your fine art practice.. The module will facilitate the development and refinement of your research strategies and form the foundation of research upon which the module Public Output 2: Project Resolution will be built. You will design and manage the articulation of your own investigations, determining the core questions and strategies in conversation with staff and peers, with studio critiques and seminars providing supportive opportunities for critical reflection on your own work and that of your peers’. In parallel with practical work you will write statements and make verbal/visual presentations identifying a critical and intellectual context of ideas and practices of relevance to your interests. Specialist input from core staff, discursive events linked to the exhibition programme at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, one-to-one mentorship from a BALTIC curator and engagement with visiting artists will facilitate you in developing a mature approach to professional practice and ultimately enabling you to make a smooth transition from the educational to the professional arena.

Course info

Credits 60

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years full-time

Department Arts

Location Baltic 39, Newcastle upon Tyne

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

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