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Masters Degrees (Textile Conservation)

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Textile Conservation is a multidisciplinary subject which combines academic knowledge with cultural awareness, aesthetic sensitivity and technical skill. Read more
Textile Conservation is a multidisciplinary subject which combines academic knowledge with cultural awareness, aesthetic sensitivity and technical skill. This MPhil is both an academic programme and professional training; it will give you a framework of theoretical knowledge and a range of practical experience which will enable you to contribute to the understanding and preservation of culturally significant textile artefacts.

Why this programme

-If you are looking to enter a career in textile conservation practice in a museum or other institution, or to pursue doctoral-level research in this field, this programme is designed for you.
-You will take part in a project-based work placement, where you can explore a possible future career while meeting professional practitioners and developing your skills and experience.
-You will be based in our specialist conservation laboratories. The facilities include workrooms, a wet lab, dye lab, chemistry lab and well-equipped analytical lab.
-You will benefit from our close links with Glasgow Museums, as well as the University’s own Hunterian Museum. Glasgow’s civic and university collections are some of the richest and most diverse in Europe and are of international standing. You will have the opportunity to draw on the museums’ rich and varied textile collections.
-This is the only programme of its kind in the UK, and one of only a few specialist textile conservation programmes in the world.

Programme structure

You will take core courses over two semesters in each year, with a work placement in the summer between the first and second years. You will write up your dissertation over the second summer and submit it at the end of August.

The core courses will develop an understanding of
-The practical skills used in textile conservation
-Related practical skills including dyeing and photography
-The science underpinning textile deterioration and conservation treatments
-Preventive conservation techniques
-The technological, cultural, historic and aesthetic contexts of textile artefacts
-The place of conservation in the wider cultural sector.

Year 1
-Research methods in practice
-Principles and practice: core skills and ethics
-Understanding textiles: technology
-Principles and practice: developing skills
-Preventive conservation
-Material cultures
-Placement

Year 2
-Principles and practice: advanced skills
-Conservation in practice
-Deconstructing the artefact
-Principles and practice: conservation projects
-Professional development
-Research management
-Dissertation

Career prospects

The programme is at career-entry level and graduates are qualified to go on to a post-training internship or directly into the workplace as a textile conservator in a museum or other institution around the world, as well as to undertake further study at PhD level.

The great majority of graduates of this programme and if its predecessor, the Textile Conservation Centre’s MA Textile Conservation programme, now work in museums and other institutions. Graduates of the two programmes have an outstanding record of employment on graduation and of remaining in the sector. They now work in nearly 30 countries and are in senior positions worldwide.

MPhil graduates have been awarded Mellon Fellowships at Denver Art Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, in the USA, while others now work for National Museums Scotland, Historic Royal Palaces and the National Maritime Museum in the UK and Heritage Conservation Center, Singapore, among others.

However, it is worth noting that many graduates go on to short-term contract posts initially. It is easier to find a textile conservation post if you are able to be flexible in terms of location.

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This MA is unique in combining the study of Buddhism, Buddhist art, and the techniques and conservation of Buddhist art. Offered by The Robert H. Read more
This MA is unique in combining the study of Buddhism, Buddhist art, and the techniques and conservation of Buddhist art. Offered by The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Centre for Buddhist Art and Conservation at The Courtauld, the MA was established as a one-year degree in 2013. In order to build on and expand the strengths of the programme, the MA is changing in 2017 to a two-year degree taught in collaboration with SOAS.

The MA now brings together world-famous institutions: The Courtauld for the study of art history and conservation, and SOAS for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Drawing on the unique strengths of the two institutions and their exceptional faculties, the new curriculum of the MA provides detailed and systematic teaching over two years. Each discipline is introduced, expanded and integrated to allow students to obtain the best possible learning experiences and skills acquisition. Designed to provide increased specialisation over the two years, the course culminates in research and a substantial dissertation in the final months.

Offered once every two years, applications are now invited for the programme beginning autumn 2017. Taught by a wide range of specialists from both The Courtauld and SOAS, the MA also benefits from teaching by visiting experts. The course includes study trips to museums in the UK and Europe, and a longer study trip to India to develop an appreciation of Buddhist art in its original contexts. Students also benefit from conferences and public events regularly held by the Ho Centre at The Courtauld.

Drawing also on the research and conservation work undertaken by The Courtauld’s Conservation of Wall Painting Department in Bhutan, China and India, this MA is specifically designed to equip students with knowledge of:

‌•the central concepts of Buddhism, and their historical diffusion;
‌•the history of Buddhist art in its various religious, social and cultural contexts;
‌•the materials and techniques involved in the making of various types of Buddhist art;
‌•approaches to the conservation of Buddhist art, including understanding of the ethical, technical and administrative issues involved.

This MA provides a comprehensive grounding in the history of Buddhism, Buddhist art and its conservation for those intending to pursue further specialist conservation education, and for those who wish to proceed into related fields such as art-historical research, curating, and site-management.

About eight students are accepted on the MA. Applicants from different academic and geographical backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Previous experience in any of the fields covered by the MA is not required.

Please Note: Plans are being made for the redevelopment of The Courtauld’s home at Somerset House. The project, called Courtauld Connects, will include the development of state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities. During the redevelopment the location of some teaching will move. Further information on Courtauld Connects will be published on The Courtauld’s website over the coming months.

Programme Structure

This two-year MA combining the study of Buddhism, Buddhist art, and the techniques and conservation of Buddhist art, is structured to provide increased specialisation during the course, with a substantial dissertation at the end. The programme consists of interwoven strands. Led by Professor David Park and Dr Giovanni Verri at The Courtauld, and by Dr Christian Luczanits and Dr Vincent Tournier at SOAS, it includes teaching by a wide range of specialists from both institutions and from elsewhere. Some strands will be taught at The Courtauld or on-site, while for others students will join classes at SOAS.

Year 1
The objectives of this year are to provide a grounding in the concepts of Buddhism and their historical diffusion; an appreciation of the chronological development, regional variations and major themes of Buddhist art; an understanding of the making of different types of Buddhist art, and of the ethical, legal and other issues underlying the conservation and display of Buddhist art; and an interdisciplinary exposure to the imagining and presentation of Buddhas and their achievements in South Asia, juxtaposing the textual perspective with what is communicated through imagery. The formal teaching is reinforced through a study trip in the second term to museums in Paris or elsewhere in Europe, and in the third term by a longer study trip to India.

‌•Strand 1: Critical Concepts in Buddhist Studies Convenor: Vincent Tournier (SOAS) This course is designed to provide a broad understanding of the major processes and dynamics at work in the growth and development of Buddhism as a pan-Asian religion, and with the key methodological tools required to approach this major cultural force in its fascinating diversity.

•Strand 2: History of Buddhist Art Convenors: David Park (The Courtauld) & Christian Luczanits (SOAS) This course provides an overview of Buddhist art with regard to its chronological development, regional variations, major themes, and the multiplicity of different media. Buddhist art in collections will also be studied, examining aspects of collecting and display.

•Strand 3: The Making of Buddhist Art, and Conservation Principles Convenor: Giovanni Verri (The Courtauld) This course provides an introduction to the making of Buddhist art from its origins. Primary sources and technical studies are used to understand the different types of materials employed. It will also provide an introduction to the principles, ethics and other issues underlying the conservation and display of Buddhist art.

•Strand 4: Imag(in)ing Buddahood in South Asia Convenors: Christian Luczanits & Vincent Tournier (SOAS) This course engages in an interdisciplinary manner with the central idea of Buddhism, as it developed within and beyond its South Asian cradle. Bringing together the expertise of an art historian and a historian of Buddhist thought, it will provide exposure to a diversity of approaches to textual, iconographic, and archaeological sources, to understand how Buddhas and their achievements were imagined, presented and encountered by Buddhist practitioners.

‌•Strand 5: Study trip to museums in Europe To examine Buddhist art in major museums in Paris or elsewhere, considering art-historical, technical and conservation aspects, as well as display and management issues.

•Strand 6: Fragile Inheritance: the Conservation of Buddhist Art Convenor: David Park (The Courtauld) To examine the measures directly involved in the preservation of Buddhist art in museums and in situ; and to examine particular major case studies in detail with regard to the legal, ethical, management, practical and other issues involved.

Year 2
Strand 6 continues in Year 2. More specialised teaching is introduced in a variety of areas: texts, and their relationship to Buddhist objects; the scientific examination and imaging of Buddhist art; and a choice of specialised courses in Buddhist studies and Buddhist art, allowing students to pursue particular interests and to assist in the choice of dissertation topic. The dissertation, undertaken over a period of fourteen weeks, should consider an aspect of the original techniques, conservation, management, curating, history or use of Buddhist art.

‌•Strand 6: Fragile Inheritance: the Conservation of Buddhist Art Continued from Year 1

•Strand 7: Texts on and around Buddhist objects Convenors: David Park (The Courtauld) & Vincent Tournier (SOAS) This course will

‌-explore the many ways by which texts inform, respond to, and accompany Buddhist objects across Asian societies. It will, in particular, -explore the Text-Image relationship, examining how textual and visual narratives respond to each other. It will introduce students to the methods of epigraphy and codicology, including the increasing use of imaging technologies.

‌•Strand 8: Analysis and Imaging of Buddhist Art Convenor: Giovanni Verri (The Courtauld) This course provides an introduction to methods of examination and analysis through the use of visual observations and scientific instruments, and an introduction to and basic instruction in the technical imaging of Buddhist art including multispectral imaging.

•Strand 9: Choice of one of the following specialised courses in Buddhist Studies and one in Buddhist Art at SOAS Students will select these courses in consultation with their tutors, on the basis of their previous background and career objectives; options will also depend on availability at SOAS. This further specialism will aid students in their choice of dissertation topic. Presentations and discussions at The
Courtauld will enable students to harmonise their experience.

Specialised Course in Buddhist Studies

-Buddhism in Tibet (Ulrich Pagel)
-Chinese Buddhism in the Pre-modern Period (Antonello Palumbo)
-East Asian Buddhist Thought (Lucia Dolce)
-The Buddhist Conquest of Central Asia (Ulrich Pagel)
-Specialised Course in Buddhist Art

-Buddhist and Hindu Art of the Maritime Silk Route (Peter Sharrock)
-Collecting and Curating Buddhist Art in the Museum (Louise Tythacott)
-Illustrated Manuscript Cultures of Southeast Asia (Anna Contadini & Farouk Yahya)
-Sacred Art and Architecture of Ancient Korea (Charlotte Horlyck)
-The Figure of the Buddha: Theory, Practice and the Making of Buddhist Art History (Ashley Thompson)
-Tibetan Buddhist Monuments in Context (Christian Luczanits)

‌•Strand 10: Dissertation: A major component of the MA is a 12,000-word dissertation, undertaken in the second and third terms of Year 2. The dissertation topic should focus on the original techniques, conservation, management, curating, history, or use of Buddhist art. Students are encouraged to design their research to reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the MA. Selection of the topic will be undertaken in the first term of Year 2 in consultation with course tutors, and will include assessment of the state of research, and production of an illustrated outline proposal with references.Topics have been varied; those of the previous one-year MA have included:

-19th– and early 20th-century copies and photographs of the Ajanta murals;
-narrative and biography in early Tibetan teacher portraits;
-tree and forest imagery in Buddhist Yamato-e handscroll paintings;
-technical study and investigation of Nagthangs;
-materials and techniques of red dyed gold from Southeast Asia;
-the influence of Tibetan Buddhism on Ming Imperial porcelains;
-examination and assessment of the environmental conditions of the Textile Museum of Bhutan.This range demonstrates the scope for students to research avenues that significantly develop their individual interests and skills, while also providing a contribution to the field.

Teaching Methods

Teaching methods and work required of the students are related to each strand and include:

‌•lectures: to impart factual information;
‌•seminars: to provide a forum for open discussion, and to allow assessment of the development of the individual student’s critical abilities;
‌•student seminars: to develop skills in gathering, organising and presenting a body of information, including visual material;
‌•essays: to develop skills in written communication and research methodology;
‌•reports: on the study trips;
‌•tutoring: to provide individual guidance, and to allow monitoring of the student’s progress.

How to Apply

Before starting your application, please ensure that you read and refer to the following three sets of information. Then access our Online Application System by selecting the relevant "Apply Now” link from the table of courses, below.

Follow this link for the information: http://courtauld.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/postgraduate-how-to-apply

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The MA Visual Arts combines advanced studio-based work, contextual studies and critically reflective research, allowing students to increase the sophistication of their work in preparation for the transition to professional practice. Read more
The MA Visual Arts combines advanced studio-based work, contextual studies and critically reflective research, allowing students to increase the sophistication of their work in preparation for the transition to professional practice. The MA is an intensive programme of study that includes taught units and an independent project comprising practical and theoretical work.

::MA students can expect::

- Support in further consolidating studio practice to a level appropriate for accomplished practitioners
- Access to facilities, workshops and expertise for the fabrication of artworks relating to the individual student's ambitions
- Opportunities to employ innovative approaches to practical making through which conceptual ideas are tested and informed by use of selected media
- To gain a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research and scholarship
- Develop originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the Visual Arts
- To consolidate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of current debates in contemporary art practice
- To further develop aptitude for professional practice, independent research or employment, including opportunities for public exhibition
- To possess independence, self-reliance, as well as promotional enterprise skills, motivated toward professional practice or employment

::Learning Environment::

- Large individual studio spaces
- An excellent staff-to-student ratio with the possibility for weekly tutorial support
- A specialised programme of lectures, seminars and workshops
- Input from regular Visiting Lecturers and artists
- Expert support for a dedicated team of workshop technicians
- Professional development provision for gallery visits and other external events
- Contact with a regular series of professional Artists-in-Residence based in the Visual Arts studios throughout the academic year
- An immersive environment with rich connections to art history, particularly Surrealism, through the legacy of college founder Edward James

Facilities

All full-time Visual Arts students are provided with a large individual workspace in the Edward James Studios. In addition to specialist spaces dedicated to Painting and Drawing, Sculpture and Tapestry and Textile-based work, the studios also include Seminar Room, a materials and tool store, a small photographic darkroom, bookable exhibition and research spaces, plus an IT suite with digital editing software. A self-contained Print Room offers specialist facilities for etching, aquatint, monoprinting, woodblock and linocut. Students can work on a large-scale in the Sculpture Courtyard, which is also suitable for work in stone carving.

Students are encouraged to collaborate with other College departments - particularly the full-time programmes in the School of Conservation - making the most of the wide range of specialist knowledge, materials and equipment that is available. The Short Course programme also allows students to access a wide range of visiting tutors and specialist techniques that can further enhance their studies.

West Dean House and Estate offers students access to ambitious exhibition opportunities and unique research material. Students are able to submit site-specific proposals throughout the year and are encouraged to take part in the annual Open House event. The Edward James Collection is an outstanding resource for full-time students, given them access to a range of significant, even iconic, works of art as an ongoing source of inspiration and research.

The College's Arts and Conservation Library gives students access to thousands of specialist books, journals and databases to support their studies.

The Main House also contains West Dean Tapestry Studio, one of the world's leading producers of hand-woven tapestry. As well as having close contact with the expertise of Master Weavers and designers, students have access to the studio's Dye Rooms, a specialist facility for the dyeing of yarn. Find out more about the professional Tapestry Studio here - https://www.westdean.org.uk/study/school-of-creative-arts/tapestry-studio

View some of the work exhibited at Divergence, the West Dean Visual Arts Summer Show 2015 - https://www.westdean.org.uk/study/school-of-creative-arts/gallery

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Still accepting applications for 2016/17. The MFA (Master of Fine Arts) at West Dean College is a two-year full-time programme of study designed to further advance students' capacities in practical, theoretical and professional domains, with an emphasis on specialist studio practice. Read more
Still accepting applications for 2016/17

The MFA (Master of Fine Arts) at West Dean College is a two-year full-time programme of study designed to further advance students' capacities in practical, theoretical and professional domains, with an emphasis on specialist studio practice. The two-year structure provides students with sustained periods of studio-based activity, with dissertation requirements coming early in the second year of study. The emphasis on practice is nonetheless informed and supported by theoretical and professional Study Units throughout the academic year. Whether specialising in a single discipline or working across media, MFA students will have time to develop and expand their studio work to the highest standards, bringing in relevant historical, theoretical and professional perspectives.

::MFA students can expect::

- Support in consolidating studio practice to a level appropriate for accomplished practitioners
- Access to facilities, workshops and expertise for the fabrication of artworks relating to the individual student's ambitions
- Opportunities to employ innovative approaches to studio practice through which conceptual ideas are tested and informed by use of selected media
- To gain a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research and scholarship
- To develop originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the Visual Arts
- To consolidate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of current debates in contemporary art practice
- To further develop aptitude for professional practice, independent research or employment, including opportunities for public exhibition
- To possess independence, self-reliance, as well as promotional enterprise skills, motivated toward professional practice or employment

::Learning Environment::

- Large individual studio spaces
- An excellent staff-to-student ratio with the possibility for weekly tutorial support
- A specialised programme of lectures, seminars and workshops
- Input from regular Visiting Lecturers and artists
- Expert support for a dedicated team of workshop technicians
- Professional development provision for gallery visits and other external events
- Contact with a regular series of professional Artists-in-Residence based in the Visual Arts studios throughout the academic year
- An immersive environment with rich connections to art history, particularly Surrealism, through the legacy of college founder Edward James

Programme Aims

The MFA programme Aims and Learning Outcomes are consistent with the descriptors for a
qualification at QAA Level 7, as defined in the QAA Quality Code for Higher Education (Part A,
Chapter 1).

The programme aims are to provide:

Practical:

1. Provide a stimulating and supportive learning environment for students to develop their
creative, intellectual and material practices

2. Provide facilities and support through which students can further develop their skills and fluency
to an advanced level as accomplished practitioners, gaining a comprehensive understanding of
techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship

3. Enable students to achieve a comprehensive understanding and detailed knowledge of key
aspects of their field of study, as well as creative originality in their application

4. Encourage and support advanced experimental, creative approaches to studio work, much of
which is at, or informed by, the forefront of academic discipline, field of study or area of
professional practice (QAA Quality Code Part A, Chapter A1, p12)

Theoretical:

1. Provide a stimulating environment where advanced research methods and critical practices can
be articulated and where a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to personal
research and advanced scholarship can flourish

2. Increase student’s ability to deploy accurately advanced techniques of analysis and inquiry within
their chosen discipline

3. Enable students to articulate an advanced critical understanding of studio practice and its
contexts within contemporary visual art culture, much of which is informed by the forefront of
art practice and theory

Professional:

1. Provide support for personal and professional development, including development and
application of transferable skills such as self-management, decision-making, communication,
collaboration, problem solving, IT and research skills

2. Educate students to possess independence, self-understanding, self-reliance motivated toward
future learning, practice or employment

Facilities

All full-time Visual Arts students are provided with a large individual workspace in the Edward James Studios. In addition to specialist spaces dedicated to Painting and Drawing, Sculpture and Tapestry and Textile-based work, the studios also include Seminar Room, a materials and tool store, a small photographic darkroom, bookable exhibition and research spaces, plus an IT suite with digital editing software. A self-contained Print Room offers specialist facilities for etching, aquatint, monoprinting, woodblock and linocut. Students can work on a large-scale in the Sculpture Courtyard, which is also suitable for work in stone carving.

Students are encouraged to collaborate with other College departments - particularly the full-time programmes in the School of Conservation - making the most of the wide range of specialist knowledge, materials and equipment that is available. The Short Course programme also allows students to access a wide range of visiting tutors and specialist techniques that can further enhance their studies.

West Dean House and Estate offers students access to ambitious exhibition opportunities and unique research material. Students are able to submit site-specific proposals throughout the year and are encouraged to take part in the annual Open House event. The Edward James Collection is an outstanding resource for full-time students, given them access to a range of significant, even iconic, works of art as an ongoing source of inspiration and research.

The College's Arts and Conservation Library gives students access to thousands of specialist books, journals and databases to support their studies.

The Main House also contains West Dean Tapestry Studio, one of the world's leading producers of hand-woven tapestry. As well as having close contact with the expertise of Master Weavers and designers, students have access to the studio's Dye Rooms, a specialist facility for the dyeing of yarn. Find out more about the professional Tapestry Studio here - https://www.westdean.org.uk/study/school-of-creative-arts/tapestry-studio

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