Course Overview

This two-year full-time programme is designed to educate artists to a level appropriate to professional practice or progression to doctoral studies. Progression to PhD can be an option. The MFA is operated as an integrated and progressive learning experience. The modules Studio Research, Historical & Critical Studies and Professional Studies deal with the three main aspects of artistic practice but are operated together as elements of the one holistic experience.

The MFA is a joint Burren College of Art/National University of Ireland, Galway programme based at the Burren College of Art. Students register as full students of NUI Galway. The programme operates in association with the Royal College of Art, London and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which provide visiting faculty to the programme. 

MFA students have their own dedicated studio space at Burren College of Art and the availability of all BCA faculty as appropriate.

Applications and Selections

Apply online www.burrencollege.ie/programmes/mfa/admissions.html

Applications should be made directly to Burren College of Art (BCA).

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

Final examination is by project work in each of the modules, by exhibition at the end of the programme and by essay where applicable. Results are determined on a pass/fail (credit/no credit) basis.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally have a Bachelor’s degree with first or upper Second Class Honours in Fine Art, or a Bachelor’s degree with a major in Fine Art with a GPA of 3.50 or above, or evidence of equivalent achievement. In the case of an outstanding portfolio, a Bachelor’s degree with a lower Second Class Honours/2.2/GPA 3.0 may be accepted.

Additional Requirements

All eligible applicants are interviewed either in person or by phone.
Duration

2 years, full-time

Next start date

September 2018

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

10

Closing Date

1 February 2018. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis up to this deadline. Late applications may be considered if all places are not filled.

Next start date

September 2018

NFQ level

Mode of study

Taught

ECTS weighting

120

Award

CAO

PAC code

Not applicable. Apply at www.burrencollege.ie

Course Outline

Modules listed by semester:

Year 1, Semester 1: Introduction to Graduate Art Research 

  • Studio Research 1, Introduction to Art Research Methods. 20 ECTS 
  • Professional Skills 1, Documentation as Artistic Production. 5 ECTS 
  • Historical and Critical Studies 1, Bridging Theory and Practice. 5 ECTS

 Year 1, Semester 2: Experimentation and Exploration 

  • Studio Research 2, Refinement & Coherence of Enquiry and Practice. 20 ECTS 
  • Professional Skills 2, Student Selected Project. 5 ECTS 
  • Historical and Critical Studies 2, Formalising Discourse. 5 ECTS

 Year 2, Semester 1: The Development of a Body of Work

  • Studio Research 3, Working Towards an Exhibition. 20 ECTS 
  • Professional Skills 3, Organising and Publicising an Exhibition. 5 ECTS 
  • Historical and Critical Studies 3, The Dissertation. 5 ECTS

 Year 2, Semester 2: The Resolution of a Body of Work

  • Studio Research 4, The MFA Exhibition. 20 ECTS 
  • Professional Skills 4, Exhibition Installation. 5 ECTS 
  • Historical and Critical Studies 4, The Artist's Statement. 5 ECTS

Studio practice and critique is at the core of the MFA and MA programmes, comprising studio-based individual mentoring and rigorous group critiques. Studio research modules provide for studio-based experimentation and innovation, leading to the production of a substantial body of work. Historical and Critical Studies modules engage students in intensive critical discourse on contemporary art. Professional Studies modules facilitate the development of the personal, conceptual, technical and organisational skills necessary for professional practice as an artist. They are delivered through seminars, symposia and educational visits to Dublin, London and Berlin.

Modules for 2016-17

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

Credits
You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
Optional
A module you may choose to study.
Required
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Semester
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (60 Credits)

Required FA101: Professional Skills I, Documenting Artistic Production


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

Introduction to Professionalism This module focuses on the inner development of the emerging artist, examining personal and creative difference and professional effectiveness skills. Time management and stress management are explored in a series of three seminar presentations.The focus on personal development provides students with the opportunity to realise their potential as individuals and as artists by developing key personal and general management skills.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Understand, assess and evaluate personal and creative difference in relation to their own individualities, abilities, strengths and weaknesses
  2. Assimilate and demonstrate time and stress management skills.
  3. Understand distinctions between personal studio practice and professional practice and develop general management skills.
  4. Understand the functioning of art world contexts within arts organizations, developed through field trip encounters.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Reading List
  1. "The Artist's Manual" by consultant editors Stan Smith, H.F. Ten Holt ; foreword by Paul Hogarth
    ISBN: 0356067998.
    Publisher: London; Macdonald
  2. "The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide" by by Monona Rossol
    ISBN: 1581152043.
    Publisher: Allworth Press
  3. "Irish Visual Artists' Handbook" by edited by Eamon Colman & Stella Coffey
    ISBN: 0951798359.
    Publisher: Artists Association of Ireland
  4. "Ethics and the Visual Arts" by edited by Elaine A. King and Gail Levin
    ISBN: 1581154585.
    Publisher: Allworth Press
The above information outlines module FA101: "Professional Skills I, Documenting Artistic Production" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required FA105: Professional Skills II (Student Selected Project)


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Professional studies semester 2 employs workshops, field trips and seminars to further develop a professional approach to studio practice, engaging with self development and understanding oneself as an artist and a professional.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Gain a deeper understanding and insight into how the professional art world functions, and learns how to engage with the art world on their own terms, finding the professional approach that suits their own practice.
  2. Evolve distinctions between creative studio practice and professional engagement with practice.
  3. Produce a professional CV, biography and website/blog.
  4. Photographically document their own work.
  5. Organize and deliver a public seminar involving presentations by faculty or external speakers and their own independently researched paper or presentation.
  6. Demonstrate good public speaking skills.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Reading List
  1. "The Manual: A Survival Guide for Visual Artists” online http://visualartists.ie/the-manual-a-survival-guide-for-visual-artists/" by Visual Artists Ireland
  2. "10 things about being an artist that art teachers don't tell you” by Emily Browne http://www.theguardian.com/education/mortarboard/2013/feb/21/10-things-art-teachers-wont-teach-you" by The Guardian – Education online
The above information outlines module FA105: "Professional Skills II (Student Selected Project)" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required FA102: Historical and Critical Studies I, Bridging Theory and Practice


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

Bridging Theory and Practice Students are introduced to contemporary critical theory as relevant to practicing artists and in relation to the history of Art. Students identify and apply the practical relevance of Art History and its supporting theoretical discourses to their studio practice. Lectures and discussion provide students with examples of where theory and practice meet, and how knowledge of the intellectual heritage of Fine Art can become a valuable asset to contemporary art practice.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate awareness of the interrelationship between key artists works and their supporting theoretical discourses, within modernism, post-modernism and identified contemporary artistic movements.
  2. Conduct effective research using library and electronic sources, to identify art historical and theoretical sources relevant to individual studio practice.
  3. Show understanding of how artists have and can practically apply critical theory to advance and develop studio practice.
  4. Be able, both verbally and in written form, to construct an effective, supported and critically informed argument contextualizing current studio practice.
  5. Demonstrate skills in discussing issues pertinent to contemporary art practice, within an academic forum.
  6. Compile a comprehensive literature review, to form the foundation for more extended research during semester 2.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "The Poetics of Space" by Gaston Bachelard; translated from the French by Maria Jolas; with a new foreword by John R. Stilgoe
    ISBN: 0807064734.
    Publisher: Beacon Press
  2. "Story of the Eye" by Georges Bataille, Susan Sontag (Introduction), Roland Barthes (Introduction), Joachim Neugroschal (Translator)
    ISBN: 0141185384.
    Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  3. "Simulacra and Simulation" by by Jean Baudrillard; translated by Sheila Faria Glaser
    ISBN: 0472065211.
    Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  4. "The Conspiracy of Art : Manifestos, Texts, Interviews" by Jean Baudrillard
    ISBN: 1584350288.
    Publisher: MIT Press
  5. "Participation: Documents of Contemporary Art’" by edited by Claire Bishop
    ISBN: 9780262524643.
    Publisher: Whitechapel ; 2006.
  6. "After the End of Art" by Arthur C. Danto
    ISBN: 0691002991.
    Publisher: Princeton University Press
  7. "Memory in Culture" by Astrid Erll ; translated by Sara B. Young.
    ISBN: 9780230297449.
    Publisher: Basingstoke; Palgrave Macmillan
  8. "Memory: Documents of Contemporary Art" by Ian Farr (Editor)
    ISBN: 0262517760.
    Publisher: The MIT Press
  9. "The Reenchantment of Art" by Suzi Gablik
    ISBN: 0500276897.
    Publisher: Thames & Hudson, 1991.
  10. "The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious" by C. G. Jung
    ISBN: 0415058449.
    Publisher: Routledge, 1968.
  11. "Lure of the Local" by Lucy Lippard, Lucy R. Lippard
    ISBN: 1565842480.
    Publisher: New Press
  12. "Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists' Writings" by Kristine Stiles, Peter Selz
    ISBN: 0520257189.
    Publisher: University of California Press
  13. "Space and the Irish Cultural Imagination" by Gerry Smyth
    ISBN: 9780333794074.
    Publisher: Palgrave
The above information outlines module FA102: "Historical and Critical Studies I, Bridging Theory and Practice" and is valid from 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required FA106: Historical and Critical Studies II (Formalising Discourse)


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Research Seminar-Developing a Discourse Students theoretically locate their own studio practice within intellectual discourses of contemporary cultural production. A variety of research methods and theoretical approaches are introduced for consideration. Students select a concentrated research focus and apply selected methods to prepare an in-depth seminar presentation with supporting academic paper.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of a range of research methods currently used in practice-based research and artistic processes, and identify which of these methods are most relevant to individual work in the studio.
  2. Competently evaluative, analyze and discuss their own practice in relation to selected art historical, theoretical and research methodologies. This includes engagement through formal discourse in a research seminar context, as well as through the presentation of an academic paper.
  3. Present a well researched academic paper, which conforms to the conventions of academic writing and presents coherent, logical, relevant and related knowledge pertaining to individual practice-based research.
  4. Identify the topic of the MFA dissertation and the structure of research to be conducted during semester 3.
Assessments
  • Written Assessment (100%)
Reading List
  1. "]" by To be assigned
The above information outlines module FA106: "Historical and Critical Studies II (Formalising Discourse)" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required FA100: Studio Research I, Introduction to Art Research Methods


Semester 1 | Credits: 20

Introduction to Art Reseach Methods This module introduces students to the concept of art as a process of enquiry and the principles and procedures of fine art research. This revisiting of the foundations of creative process encourages students to question their habitual processes in art making and to develop new ones. It enables students to set the foundations for a plan of work for the two years of the MFA, which subsequently may be subject to periodic modification.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Critically evaluate your own creative process and that of your peers with regard to primary and secondary sources and comparative methodology.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of advanced art making methods, including integration of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions specific to the development and execution of artistic concept.
  3. Create works of art that communicate intentions/enquiry through materiality, concept and execution.
  4. Identify the field of enquiry for your practice in terms of ideas, issues, problems and methodology.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Reading List
  1. "]" by Personal reccomendations for reading will be made on an individual basis according to student needs.
The above information outlines module FA100: "Studio Research I, Introduction to Art Research Methods" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required FA104: Studio Research II, Refinement and Coherence of Enquiry and Practice


Semester 2 | Credits: 20

This module enables students to refine their experimental and explorative methods and methodology so as to move towards a more coherent sense of enquiry and direction. A sign of work progressing in this way is the resolution of a number of related works that express a common concern or issue. Faculty assist in focussing dialogue on the students’ declared interests.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Critically re-evaluate your own creative process and that of your peers with regard to high-level imaginative risk taking.
  2. Demonstrate sufficient ability to synthesize, criticize, and interpret art works and arts practices in relation to your own art practice.
  3. Demonstrate advanced understanding of your own creative processes that allow you to cultivate and develop unique and individual ideas.
  4. Master processes of generating and solving problems in art: analyse, interpret and question traditional methodologies and preconcieved notions of art and art making at an advanced level.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Reading List
  1. "]" by Personal recommendations for reading will be made on an individual basis according to student needs.
The above information outlines module FA104: "Studio Research II, Refinement and Coherence of Enquiry and Practice" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Year 2 (60 Credits)

Required FA203: Studio Research IV, The MFA Exhibition


Semester 2 | Credits: 20

Students produce and exhibit a significant and cohesive body of work as the culmination of their artistic research. Embodying the concept of praxis, the MFA exhibition will demonstrate the merging of theory and practice in the work produced.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Resolve a distinctly personal body of work in which the student’s ideas are evident to a level at which the work is ready for public exhibition.
  2. Demonstrate explicit clarity of intent against which the quality of outcomes may be evaluated.
  3. Demonstrate a distinctive self reflexive methodology of creative process.
  4. Produce and exhibit a final body of artwork that reflects research and synthesis of aesthetic, conceptual, and technical knowledge.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Reading List
  1. "]" by Personal recommendations for reading will be made on an individual basis according to the student's needs.
The above information outlines module FA203: "Studio Research IV, The MFA Exhibition" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required FA202: Historical and Critical Studies III, The Dissertation


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

Students complete the MFA Dissertation, which provides the Art Historical and Theoretical context to work presented in MFA exhibition. The dissertation consists of a researched academic paper of 6,000-8,000 words, which is presented within the academic conventions and guidelines as stipulated by NUI Galway. Working in regular consultation with the course tutor, students will write up, edit and revise this paper for completion by the end of the third semester.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Engage in open dialogical and considered debate on the art historical and theoretical context of current research and studio practice.
  2. Present a formal, thorough and well researched dissertation paper, according to the conventions of academic writing.
  3. Discuss and defend this dissertation, in line with and as a support to practice-based outcomes presented through exhibition.
  4. Competently address the topics, sources, content of this dissertation in response to external examiner questions.
  5. Understand the relevance of this research in contextualizing artistic practice for platforms such as critical reviews, curatorial statements, artist interviews and statements.
Assessments
  • Research (100%)
Reading List
  1. "Academic Writing: A Handbook for International Students" by Stephen Bailey
    ISBN: 0415595819.
    Publisher: Routledge
  2. "Academic Writing for Graduate Students" by John M. Swales and Christine B. Feak
    ISBN: 0472088564.
    Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  3. "Writing Your Dissertation: How to Plan, Prepare and Present Successful Work" by Derek Swetnam
    ISBN: 185703662X.
    Publisher: How to Books
  4. "Critical Reasoning" by Anne Thomson
    ISBN: 0415445876.
    Publisher: Routledge
The above information outlines module FA202: "Historical and Critical Studies III, The Dissertation" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required FA201: Professional Skills III (Organising and Publicising an Exhibition)


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

Organising and Publicising an Exhibition Professional Studies semester 3 expands and details the subjects introduced in the first year. The module is delivered through a series of workshops, field trips, visiting lecturers and seminars. The emphasis in year 2 is on developing and building external professional practice, and the course content looks outwards to the art world directly, engaging with its politics and structures.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Understand how a successful artistic professional practice is developed nationally and internationally.
  2. Manage accounts and make funding and exhibition applications; publicise thier work and practice; develop good communications/presentation and networking skills; learn to use the media to promote thier work; learn to work with public and private galleries and to initiate artist-led exhibitions and events.
  3. Gain an understanding of collaboration processes alongside organising the interim exhibition and final MFA exhibition in the BCA Gallery.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Reading List
  1. "The Manual: A Survival Guide for Visual Artists” online http://visualartists.ie/the-manual-a-survival-guide-for-visual-artists/ content:" by Visual Artists Ireland
  2. "Living and Sustaining a Creative Life, essays by 40 working artists" by Ed by Sharon Louden
    ISBN: 9781783200122.
    Publisher: University of Chicago Press/Intellect Ltd. 2013
  3. "To Biennial or not to Biennial?, the rise of international fairs and biennials: http://blog.frieze.com/to_biennial_or_not_to_biennial/" by Quinn Latimer
    Publisher: Frieze Magazine online
  4. "Guerilla Performance and Multimedia Handbook" by Leslie Hall and Helen Paris
    Publisher: Continuum. 2001
  5. "Creating a Life Worth Living" by Carol Lloyd
    Publisher: Harper Collins 1997
The above information outlines module FA201: "Professional Skills III (Organising and Publicising an Exhibition)" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required FA200: Studio Research III (Working Towards an Exhibition)


Semester 1 | Credits: 20

Working Towards an Exhibition This module is an opportunity for students to develop a distinctively personal body of work that is credible in the context of contemporary art practice. Interaction between students and faculty will be important to the development both of ideas and the critical discourse around them. Students will be encouraged to extend the scale of their ambition and to move towards the practical resolution of ideas.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Develop a distinctly personal body of work in which the student’s ideas are evident.
  2. Work with a self reflective methodology of creative process that demonstrates attention to: research, analytical thinking, detail, flexibility in problem solving and revision.
  3. Work with explicit clarity of intent against which the quality of outcomes may be evaluated.
  4. Select mediums or techniques appropriate to the ideas expressed by students intention, and extend those ideas through the aesthetic qualities of the medium or technique.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Reading List
  1. "]" by Personal recommendations for reading will be made on an individual basis according to student needs.
The above information outlines module FA200: "Studio Research III (Working Towards an Exhibition)" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required FA204: Professional Skills IV, Exhibition Installation


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Preparation for the MFA show is facilitated through a timeline of actions beginning with decisions on the hanging/curation of the show, design of the catalogue, finding suitable external dignitaries to open the show and reviewers to write about it in the media, raising funding, promoting the show via the media and social networking sites, producing invites and printed matter, organizing technical requirements for the effective installation of the work.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Organise, curate, produce and successfully deliver a large scale public art exhibition.
  2. Acquires an in-depth understanding of the art worlds they wish to engage with after graduation
  3. Establish strong connections and networks that will provide successful employment opportunities post graduation.
  4. Understand legal and contractual issues.
  5. Demonstrate technical/installation skills.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Reading List
  1. "Visual Artists Ireland “The Manual: A Survival Guide for Visual Artists”" by http://visualartists.ie/the-manual-a-survival-guide-for-visual-artists/
The above information outlines module FA204: "Professional Skills IV, Exhibition Installation" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required FA205: Historical and Critical Studies IV, The Artist's Statement


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

In semester four students will write both a short and long form artists statement, in support of the MFA exhibition. This will involve an applied distillation of knowledge from the dissertation, to create a concise statement of artistic intention which can be used in PR material, including the exhibition catalogue, press statements and interviews with journalists, curators or gallerists.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Write both a long and short form artists statement which professionally represents studio practice, framing it within a well informed, researched and contextualized statement.
  2. Understand how academic research can be applied to various communication and promotion platforms in real world situations.
Assessments
  • Written Assessment (100%)
Reading List
  1. "The Successful Artist's Career Guide" by Margaret Peot
    ISBN: 1440309302.
    Publisher: North Light Books
  2. "AN Knowledge Bank, selected articles from www. A-n.co.uk" by www. A-n.co.uk
The above information outlines module FA205: "Historical and Critical Studies IV, The Artist's Statement" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Graduate artists find work as professional artists and in related fields, such art curating, gallery administration and art education. The knowledge, skills and understanding developed in this programme are transferable to a wide variety of applications, depending on the individual graduate.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

Fees: Tuition

Fees: Student levy

Fees: Non EU

Programme fees are available from the Burren Collegeof Art.

Find out More

Lisa Newman
T: +353 65 707 7200
E: lisa@burrencollege.ie
www.burrencollege.ie/programmes/mfa