interdisciplinary opportunities we offer create an engaging professional experience investigating the practice and discourse of fine art. You can choose areas of specialism in drawing from the archive, art in space and place and curating art, alongside your own studio work.
Full-time students use our purpose-built studio space. You have access to a wide range of workshops and technical expertise from all areas of media and fabrication. These include • sculpture • painting • live art • drawing • computer programming • metalwork • video editing • dark rooms • sound studios • film production equipment • printmaking.
Our teaching staff are experts in fine art and art education who not only exhibit their work but also contribute to conferences, journals and publications at national and international levels.
Vibrant and supportive learning environment
The course offers a supportive community to foster your practice and your ambitions as a fine art professional. It is particularly suitable if you are • open-minded • ambitious • keen to experience new personal challenges that expand your creative development • interested in understanding all areas of the fine art discipline.
You are encouraged to create experimental and innovative works and to engage with the critical context of art in our time. Dialogue with peers, practicing artists and structured teaching throughout the course enables you to identify your practice within the wider field of fine art to achieve new goals, develop networks and find new inspirations to enrich your creative ambitions.
Excellent creative resources
We have a comprehensive range of technical resources and an excellent programme of high profile guest artists from across the visual arts spectrum to stimulate debates on issues of art and culture. If you are doing your work placement in another European country there may be funding available through the Erasmus programme.
Dynamic and creative art community
Fine art students work and exhibit in the heart of Sheffield's Cultural Industries Quarter. The course has links with • Sheffield Contemporary Arts Forum • studio groups such as S1 and Bloc • Yorkshire Art Space Society • the Showroom Cinema • Site Gallery.
Sheffield has a dynamic and vibrant creative community. We work collaboratively with artists and curators, as well as researchers and students in other areas. You have access to a network of public galleries, art organisations and artist-run spaces. Opportunities for exhibiting and publishing take place throughout the year.
MA and MFA study
MA and MFA students complete the same modules during the course except that MFA students complete an extra project module. The MFA project encourages you to develop professional skills that help you to identify, instigate, and deliver projects with external partners, such as communities, galleries or businesses. You find a project partner, agree a brief and then deliver the project to a professional standard.
This course is part of the Sheffield Institute of Arts (SIA), an amazing, diverse community of makers – where staff, students and partners work as equals to deliver real innovation and creativity. SIA opened in 1843 and is one of the UK's oldest Art and Design Schools. We have recently moved into the Head Post Office, a redesigned Grade II listed building. It includes state-of-the-art workshops which provide you with a unique studio-based learning environment in the heart of the creative community.
In this module you extend your knowledge of the range of approaches to research that have been used in art, and those that derive from other disciplines. You are introduced to an advanced range of contemporary critical theories, and examine key texts embodying these theories. Principles of research planning and the theory and practice of information searching ensure you are ready to effectively carry out your own research and critical practice.
During this studio-based module, you produce a body artwork in preparation for an exhibition. Your work may manifest itself across a range of contemporary art practices arising from individual intellectual and creative concerns. You have access to specialist workshop surgeries where you can seek individual support and advice to further your practical work.
On this module you produce a body of work in any chosen media form. It draws together strategies of research, professional practice and critical thinking to form an advanced, mature, informed and professional practice. The module holds together these key aspects to reflect, and enable transition into, the wider contemporary art world.
You select from options that are led by research active staff who will introduce you to their own professional interests including • art writing • curating art • art in space and place • drawing from the archive • gallery – public realm: making art inside and out
MFA core module – MFA students only
You reflect on and consider methodologies of fine art to develop an individual method of making.
Your work on this final MFA project involves public presentation of your work supported by a mentor who guides you as you make the leap into the professional world.
Self-negotiated models of examination enable students to present agreed bodies of work for self and peer group assessment as well as evaluation by tutors.
We provide a learning environment that supports your individual needs while developing your involvement in the wider art world.
You are regularly involved in a range of exhibition, curatorial, performance, screening and publishing projects at regional, national and international levels.
You gain confidence to exploit opportunities for practicing artists and work in associated fine art-related culture. You can also register for further study at MPhil/PhD level within our Art and Design Research Centre.
Graduate successes include
The MFA Fine Art course in Belfast was established in 1979. Since then, 320 emerging artists, 21 full-time staff (including six Course Directors) and over 200 visiting artists have exerted their individual and collective influence on the shape and direction of this program of study.
The course continues to produce artists of international reputation as evidenced by the success of graduates in major national and international prizes and competitions including the Turner Prize, Paul Hamlyn Award, Becks Futures, Bloomberg New Contemporaries, the Glenn Dimplex Award and the Nissan Art Award and through representation at international biennials such as the Venice Biennale. Public art, film production, gallery management, community arts, curation and arts administration are wider areas where graduates have been internationally successful. The course has also been immensely influential in the sphere of art education across Europe with a high number of academic, research, teaching and management positions being held by our MFA graduates.
The course retains the core values from its inception in 1979 and so builds upon 30 years of innovating and fostering relevancy, criticality and quality in today’s contemporary art world.
The programme aims to promote individual contemporary fine art practice towards presentation as an exhibition or equivalent public output. It provides a learning environment that supports a wide range of modes of production for art in which you can demonstrate a sound understanding of the practical, intellectual and creative aspects of your practice as an artist. It also aims to facilitate engagement between and among art practitioners in order that you can locate your practice and that of other art practitioners within contemporary culture.
A capacity for self-directed learning is a prerequisite for the programme. Fostering individual creative development is a key concern. Formal tutoring is based upon the expectation of self-motivated personal development and research. Re-evaluation through teaching, criticism and research is a fundamental aspect of the course.
Regular discussion based on studio work and issues around contemporary practice involves the whole course. Peer learning from studio work and informal discussion is also a valuable experience. Assessment is directed at the quality and significance of the output as contemporary art practice.
The programme is also offered in three part-time pathways. All of the part-time modes require the student to have their own studio space independent of the institution.
The 2010 Turner Prize was won by MFA graduate Susan Phillipsz (1994). Other nominated graduates include Phil Collins, Cathy Wilkes and Christine Borland. Graduates of the MFA have been substantially represented over the years in other high profile events and prizes, including the Venice Biennale, Becks Futures, The Nissan Art Award, New Contemporaries, The John Moores Prize and the Glenn Dimplex Award. Two graduates have been awarded the highly competitive Paul Hamlyn Award. Film production, art writing, gallery management and curation are allied areas where graduates have also been internationally successful.
The MFA programme is offered in full-time mode over 2 academic years. There is an exit qualification of Postgraduate Diploma after one academic year, with a further one academic year for MFA completion.
Formal teaching input is delivered through tutorials, weekly studio critiques and student or staff-led seminars and lectures. Independant study and self-directed learning are fundamental aspects of the course.
Assessment: Through exhibition of studio practice and supporting written and oral presentation.
The programme is also offered in 3 part time pathways. All of the part-time modes require the student to have their own studio space independent of the institution.
Part-time route 1:4 years part-time model of the 2 year course.
Part-time route 2: 3 years. This model allows a student to study the first year full-time with transfer to the part-time mode for the second year. It is envisaged that this route will be most appropriate to a student for whom the necessary infrastructure is not initially in place to allow them to undertake the course part-time. This may include candidates from abroad who by the second year have become familiar enough with the local setup to have acquired a studio and relevant support structure.
Part-time route 3:2 years. This model is based on candidates convincing the course team that the quality of their work over a number of years is of sufficient standard and that learning outcomes of the modules Practice 1 and 2 have been met to enable them to enter the course with compensation for prior learning.
Advanced standing is possible – where an applicants experience is taken into account in order to be exempt from certain aspects of the programme. This may apply to full or part time attendance. Please contact us to discuss this if it is something that may be appropriate to you.
On the programme you will gain work placement experience at one or more of our external partners, for example Catalyst Arts or Platform Arts. Within this process you will be tasked with developing a professional exhibition of your own work as a group within a partner organization. This usually is undertaken of several weeks – with an intense period working on-site alongside professional colleagues.
As practising artists, many of our graduates go on to establish their own studios, successfully exhibiting nationally and internationally, gaining public art and gallery commissions, residencies, fellowships, awards and prizes. Others develop careers in other sectors of the arts, such as curatorial practice, arts writer, art critic, community arts, education, academic art research, art facilitation and administration, while others have built reputations in the wider creative fields where innovative artists are highly valued as problem solvers.
This intensive programme allows artists to develop a body of work within the contexts of the studio, dissemination, value and audience. The course is open to artists working in, or wishing to work in, socially engaged practice, collaborative practice, as artist curators, as art writers or within art education.
You will develop your art practice in purpose built studios, working towards a final exhibition and dissertation, supported by a series of conversations, seminars and a visiting speaker programme.
In a region full of cultural resources, from The Hepworth Wakefield to artist-led spaces such as Seize Projects, you will gain experience from expert practitioners and researchers, visiting artists and speakers.
Through our optional module array you will have the opportunity to explore critical and theoretical issues such as aesthetics, feminist studies, deconstruction and museum practice.
Housed within a single central campus location, the School offers a modern and well-equipped learning environment providing 24-hour studio access and versatile exhibition spaces. Resources include dedicated Mac and PC computer suites for video editing, animation and image manipulation, printmaking workshops for etching, relief and screen printing, and a photography darkroom for film developing and printing. A woodworking and casting area are also housed within the School, with additional facilities for digital and 3D printing available at the University.
At the heart of the School is Project Space – a multi-purpose space, designed for the development of curatorial practice and visiting exhibitions.
The University incorporates world-class library resources and special collections, the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery, Treasures of the Brotherton, the Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, ULITA – an Archive of International Textiles and the [email protected] performance venue.
Appropriate critical and technical skills and methodologies are developed throughout the duration of the course, as students engage in discussion and critique of their own practice and projects with peers and academic staff.
Students take full responsibility for their own programme of work, routinely engaging with contemporary issues in art, developing relationships across the School and Faculty, and working with local partners. This combines the production of work in an active studio and workshop environment with a programme of academic research and study, culminating in a public presentation/exhibition and critically reflective dissertation.
The course is also supported by a network of regional galleries, museums and artist initiatives with which the School has direct links, including The Tetley, The Hepworth Wakefield, Leeds City Art Gallery, Seize Projects, Pavilion, Henry Moore Institute, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Tate Liverpool.
You will also have the opportunity to expand your studies when you choose from a wide range of optional modules, and by becoming involved in many of the School’s public-facing initiatives such as the Project Space, the Wild Pansy Press and the International Contemporary Artists’ Book Fair.
If you choose to study part-time, you will study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
We use a variety of teaching and learning methods. These will vary, but generally include visits to museums and galleries, lectures, seminars, tutorials and online learning.
You’ll also benefit from our extensive programme of visiting artists and speakers. Independent study is vital to this programme – not only is this where you’ll work on your practice and develop your creativity, but it is also an opportunity to build your skills in research, analysis and interpretation.
The assessment methods you come across may vary depending on the modules you choose. However, they’re likely to include your exhibition and supporting written work, your portfolio of studio work, in-course assessment, essays and presentations.
This programme will allow you to develop your practice as an artist and write thoughtfully about the practice and context of artistic work.
It will also give you the chance to gain skills in organising and curating events and exhibitions, researching, interpreting and analysing artistic work and cultural, visual and critical awareness.
All of these traits are valuable in a wide range of careers. Fine Art graduates have gone on to work in curatorial and educational roles around the world, both on a freelance basis and for major art institutions. Others have decided to develop their research interests through PhD study and academia, or pursued careers in teaching.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website
This programme is targeted at individuals interested in exploring the domain of sound in the wider context of new media theory and technology. It is strongly interdisciplinary and course content ranges from the study of film sound to interactive audio design, sound installation and web design.
This programme will provide you with knowledge, skill and understanding in a range of sound design situations both commercial and experimental. Graduates of the programme will be armed with professional, practical, analytical and critical skills to take into sound-related industries or on towards further academic study such as a PhD.
The Reid Studio is our new surround-sound mixing and production studio, and our Russolo Room offers industry-standard recording equipment and software. Our Sound Lab, which hosts a number of fully equipped workstations, is available for your use.
Students will attend a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical sessions supported with occasional input from external professionals in the field of sound design and related areas.
Students who follow this programme will:
Thanks to the rich cross-disciplinary course of study this programme provides, you will graduate with advanced skills in multimedia, audio production, post-production and other digital technologies which are applied to sound design. These skills will allow you to take on commissions in professional sound design, or pursue your own creative path.
You will also gain a wide variety of transferable skills, such as research, teamwork and communication that will increase your employability.