Led by Dr Mel Jordan, Reader in Art & the Public Sphere, the Contemporary Art Practice programme has specialist pathway leaders in order to facilitate a distinct engagement with specific areas of contemporary art practice. The programme is delivered through four pathways: Critical Practice (led by Jeremy Millar), Moving Image (led by Jane Wilson), Performance (led by Professor Nigel Rolfe) and Public Sphere (led by Mel Jordan).
The Contemporary Art Practice programme enables us to incorporate practices that exceed the specificity of the well-established disciplines of Fine Art at the Royal College of Art. Contemporary Art Practice engages with contemporary modes of art production, dissemination and debate. It facilitates specialisation through its pathway structure enabling students to engage with a particular approach to developing their own art practice. The teaching methodology we employ is not technologically or materially determined however students are expected to utilise appropriate and specific means in which to manifest their ideas. Contemporary Art Practice students have access to all facilities within the School of Fine Art.
Critical theory has emerged as an essential intellectual framework for art criticism but what is its potential as a tool within the production of contemporary art? Studio-based and primarily focused on supporting the development of the artistic practice of its students, the Critical Practice pathway offers regular seminars exploring emerging ideas and bodies of theory as well as opportunities to work with organised forms of knowledge such as public archives and institutions.
Moving Image is aimed at artists using film and video, and practitioners working in the areas of documentary film, film and fiction cinema as well as practitioners who wish to draw upon, challenge and re-map established realms of Moving Image based practices. The diversity of approaches employed in the Moving Image pathway reflects the new reality of contemporary moving image.
Performance happens in the ‘here and now’ and not the ‘there and then’. Unlike many practices, where time is historic, and the image presented is necessarily an archive or record, ‘being and doing’ are more immediately significant in live time, and the expectation is that – in the contemporary – artists are often presenting work that is not made in advance but rather happening now!
Public Sphere is a major research area in the School, and the pathway supports expanded engagement with art and its publics as well as art’s social function. Social art practices have featured as a key force in the rise of the global biennale as well as being utilized by the Occupy Movement. Therefore questions about public space, participation, collaboration and collective action are becoming essential principles within the production of contemporary art both in terms of practice and theory.
Your application should be for MA Contemporary Art Practice and you will have to specify in which Pathway you wish to study: Critical Practice, Moving Image, Performance or Public Sphere.
The programme offers:
The curriculum of this programme is under review for the 2018/19 academic year. Programme structure and course availability is subject to change.
This programme encourages creative, holistic and practical knowledge of this increasingly polymathic field, grounding practical schooling in criticism, art writing and curating in knowledge of key histories and theories of contemporary art. The programme addresses issues raised by the practices of contemporary art, criticism and curating as a means of encouraging you to contribute both critically and practically.
Artists think and act. Being contemporary means engaging with multiple perspectives and different ways of learning. Students of contemporary art theory conduct research in relation to a broad range of creative, cultural and historical contexts in ways that are speculative, writerly, philosophical, organisational, social and economic.
Students apply aesthetics, art theory and criticism, art historiography, anthropology, and critical theory to engage with contemporary art’s variety of media, technologies, images, artefacts, tactics, texts, cultural contexts and professional practices.
Coursework is based on a strategy of blended learning, combining the latest open-source educational technology with more conventional face-to-face lecture, seminar and workshop-based teaching methods. Particular emphasis is placed on the importance of peer learning; group work, field work and experiential learning.
Research projects are student-led, personalised and supervised by a team of academic staff who aim to support whichever direction is most appropriate to your interests, skills and strengths. Theory students form an integral part of our graduate school, writing, producing and commissioning projects in a family of media and adapting approaches drawn from an increasingly wide array of disciplines.
The programme aims to provide you with both an overall level of expertise in recent developments in art practices and theories, and a high degree of specialisation within this field, culminating in an original Research Project. As such, the programme has the following specific aims:
This programme will enable you to develop the creative, organisational and economic knowledge required for a career in the contemporary art world, as a critic or a curator. You will also be qualified to teach studio art and theory in higher education and to work as a self-employed artist.
The Master of Contemporary Art serves as a bridge between undergraduate study and independent art practice, as a "refresher" program for artists who have been away from formal study, or as an entry point to further tertiary education for artists who lack formal qualifications but have significant professional experience, including those of recognised ability who have been unable to undertake or complete an Honours year.
The focus of the course is twofold – to develop individual articulation in art practice and to develop an understanding of how this practice intersects with contemporary art.
The emphasis in the first year is on experimentation and the speculative, directed at identifying an area of research to be investigated in depth in the second year. Second year consists of a single, two semester studio project that culminates in assessment and a public presentation in the Masters exhibition, held annually as the concluding event to the academic year.
This is a 200 point program. After the successful completion of the first year (100 points), the course may be exited with a Postgraduate Diploma in Contemporary Art.
The MA in Contemporary Art Theory is for those with a special interest in contemporary art, and an aptitude for theoretical work in the subject.
The programme offers a challenging and advanced scheme of study, which explores a range of theoretical perspectives that shape attitudes towards visual art in the late 20th/early 21st centuries.
Invigorated by current research, the programme encourages you to explore conceptually and creatively the ways in which contemporary artistic practice and critical theory interrelate. It aims to expand your knowledge of contemporary artistic developments as well as to deepen your understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of academic discourses on visual culture.
The programme draws variously upon the fields of performance studies, art history, philosophy, museology, queer theory, post-colonial studies and cultural studies in addressing the critical challenges posed by artistic practice.
The programme comprises a non-assessed introductory module, the Core Module (comprising 4 blocks that thematically vary from year to year and of which students choose 2), and four assessed components: two Special Subjects, the MA Symposium and the MA Dissertation. Students also attend the Visual Cultures Public Programme of lectures and other events. You have the option of auditing another special subject should you wish to do so, subject to availability and in agreement with the course tutor.
The taught part of the programme runs from the end of September to the end of March, with additional guest lectures or workshops in May and June. It offers a framework to help you focus and develop your own understanding of contemporary art practice and its wider cultural significance. It is designed to develop your understanding of a range of critical and theoretical approaches that inform the heterogeneous field of visual art production whilst, at the same time, enabling you to identify and prepare the area of independent research you will carry out in your dissertation project.
Thematic pathways through the MA will be offered on a yearly basis. These will connect the annually changing themes of the core courses with the annual roster of special subjects. In any specific year three themes will be operative. They may include Global Arts; Sound; Politics and Aesthetics; Performance and Live Art; Critical Thought.
Full-time students attend on Thursday and one other day each week (determined by the choice of special subject); part-time students attend on one day each week in the first year and on Thursday in the second year.
Visual Cultures assessment are 100% coursework. Normally this consists of essays, sometimes accompanied by creative projects, group projects, multi-media projects, presentations, symposia, reviews, and studio work.
Many of our MA students have gone on to MPhil/PhD study, not only in art history and visual cultures, but also in related fields such as philosophy, cultural studies and literature. Careers obtained by recent graduates include: artist, curator/collections manager, journal editor, lecturers, researcher, and roles in TV and production, public relations, and rights and marketing.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
The issue of Contemporary Art Conservation is at the center of debates and disagreements. The diversity and originality of used materials, the ephemerality and perishability of some art works, the use of new media and, last but not least, the immateriality of some performances and happenings make this field a continuously and rapidly evolving ground where well prepared specialists ready to deal with this wide and inestimable patrimony are definitely missing.
Starting from here and from the individual peculiarities of each Campus, Accademia di Belle Arti Aldo Galli signed a partnership which proposes an ambitious Higher Education project.
Career opportunities - The Specialist in Contemporary Art Conservation can work either in conservation or in restoration, boasting a theoretical and practical knowledge specifically connected to the contemporary times. The employment sectors include galleries, public and private museums, public institutions for conservation and land-use planning, exhibition setup and art transportation businesses, studio and analysis labs, university departments of Art History, restoration and conservation companies.
Established 25 years ago and led by Professor Victoria Walsh, the MA Curating Contemporary Art (CCA) programme is recognised both as an international leader in its field and for its commitment to collaborative group project-based work that integrates theory and practice throughout the two years of the curriculum. For 2017/18, we are introducing new areas of focus in response to the expanded field of curating and the widening professional opportunities for curatorial practice and research in a global context. These will include:
Exhibitions and Programming practice focusses on curating, commissioning and programming within the physical and defined setting of the gallery/museum space providing critical, theoretical and practical understanding of the histories and opportunities within this form of curatorial practice.
Urban practice focuses on curating and commissioning within the urban context of the global city, with particular emphasis on the expanded role curators play bringing together architects, designers, urbanists, and public and private organisations with communities and artist practitioners to create new spaces of creative opportunity, encounter and public value.
Digital practice focuses on the expanded field of artistic and curatorial practice that is rooted in and defined by digital media, online production and networked distribution. It will examine the differences and commonalities between digital and analogue forms of artistic production and curating; and experiment with new curatorial models that bridge on and offline networked cultures and audiences.
The CCA programme approaches the field critically, theoretically and through best practice in commissioning, curating, and programming with London-based and national arts organisations and spaces ensuring that the knowledge and understanding of these practices is grounded in the context of public audiences, urbanisation and the digital. In the increasingly complex cultural environment in which curating takes place, our research-led and practice-led teaching by staff and visiting tutors ensures the curatorial and artistic significance, intellectual value and critical vitality of the MA programme.
Curating Contemporary Art is a two-year, full-time 240-credit ‘enhanced’ RCA MA that runs from September 2017 – June 2019. From 2017, the programme is primarily located in the RCA's newest facilities in White City.
The programme will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the history and theory of modern and contemporary art, and prepare you for further research and/or a range of careers in the art world.
The MSc combines academic study, including compulsory courses on Research, Theories & Methods and Cultures and Politics of Display alongside option courses on critical subjects and themes, with more practical, vocational elements, appropriate to studying in a major international art centre.
There is a mixture of group teaching, individual tutorials and supervision, and research seminars. You will be taught by research-active staff, including leading experts in their fields. You are also expected to undertake independent study and research.
Formal assessment is by means of academic essays, a dissertation, and project work where appropriate.
The optional internship involves learning by direct practical experience. The MSc is offered full-time or part-time.
Students will acquire knowledge and understanding in the field of modern and contemporary art, as well as transferable research skills. The programme offers the possibility of an internship in a museum or gallery.
The comprehensive nature of this programme, including the specialised courses it offers, will equip you for further research in this fascinating field, and perhaps an academic or curatorial career. In helping you gain vocational skills, experience and contacts, the optional internship can open doors to a career in a museum, gallery or other cultural institution.