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Contemporary Arts (MA)

Course Description

This course is due to be revalidated, please continue to check the website for changes to the programme.

The MA in Contemporary Arts offers a comprehensive introduction to creative strategies and practice-based research methodologies for developing innovative contemporary arts and enabling an in depth development of your concerns and interests. It provides an excellent basis for both doctoral research and ongoing independent practice.

The course has been designed to allow artists to develop their interests in a vibrant, interdisciplinary context. It encourages students to develop experimental approaches to their work and examines the conceptual and creative role of the artist in 21st century arts practice.

Key elements include a focus of the role of site, context and location, together with an examination of the relationship between work and audience.

It is one of four taught postgraduate courses for artists, composers and interdisciplinary practitioners currently offered by the School of Arts at Oxford Brookes University. The other three courses are:
- MA in Contemporary Arts
- MA in Contemporary Arts and Music
- MA in Social Sculpture.

See the website http://www.brookes.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/contemporary-arts/

Why choose this course?

- The School of Arts offers a unified hub for the arts in the Richard Hamilton Building, with state-of-the-art technical facilities and 24-hour studio access.

- A special feature of all four interdisciplinary arts MA courses is the MA Forum, in which students and staff meet to discuss creative practice in a supportive and stimulating environment.

- Innovative cross-disciplinary and socially-engaged creative practices, including internationally renowned programmes in sonic art and social sculpture.

- A stimulating environment where creative practitioners and writers about the arts and culture work closely together to form specialist research units and interdisciplinary research clusters in areas including the Sonic Art. Popular Music, Opera and Social Sculpture.

- Research and teaching programmes linked to some of Oxford’s leading cultural organisations such as Modern Art Oxford, Oxford Contemporary Music, and events such as the annual OXDOX International Documentary Film Festival.

- You have the opportunity to spend a semester at one of the following institutions: the Bauhaus University in Weimar; Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam; or the Vilnius Art Academy.

- The School of Arts has a thriving culture of practice-based PhD research students, linked to our specialist research units. Seventy per cent of these research students began on our MA courses.

- Opportunities for international study, with students recently visiting the United States, Europe and Australia.

Specialist facilities

The MA in Contemporary Arts is situated in the Richard Hamilton Building, which includes a large lecture theatre, a smaller lecture room, studios and installation rooms, music practice rooms and a research room for postgraduate students. Access to the Richard Hamilton Building is available 24 hours a day for all arts students.

The department also has access to the drama studio where performances and installations can take place. This provides a live performance venue with versatile sound, lighting and staging possibilities, including surround sound, projections and raised staging and seating.

- Arts related workshops and IT
Contemporary Arts students have access to well equipped workshops run by technical specialists in Artists’ Books, Printmaking, Photography, Video and a range of processes including casting, metalwork and woodwork. General internet, email and office software are available as well as workstations with more specialist programmes including Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe Audition 3.0; Sibelius 6; Cubase Essential 4; Pure Data; Hyperprism; GRM Tools and Composers Desktop Project.

Field trips

You have the opportunity to spend a semester at the Bauhaus University in Weimar; Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam;or the Vilnius Art Academy.

Attendance pattern

Full-time students meet twice weekly in the first semester - Mondays and Tuesdays, and in the second semester, on Tuesdays only.

In the summer Full-time students work to develop their Major Project, which concludes in early October the following year.

Part-time students meet once a week every Tuesday in their first year, and in their second year, once a week on Mondays in Semester 1 and Tuesdays in Semester 2. In Year 2 they work through the summer on their Major Project which concludes in October of their second year.

Students doing full-time need to be on-site or nearby, at least half the week, and put in about 40 hours per week.

Part-time students are expected to be in at least one day a week, and work in their own time for at least 20 hours per week, on or off site, as appropriate.


This unique programme enables students to develop excellent creative capacities, combining the rigour of a more traditional academic arts programme with innovative practical and vocational components which makes them well placed for a variety of careers in the creative sector and to work as practising artists.

Many Contemporary Arts master's students who have developed their practice at postgraduate level continue as practising artists whilst others develop careers related to their knowledge, expertise or interests, for example within art galleries and museums; teaching further or higher education; new technologies; arts administration; arts and regeneration, conservation.

Free language courses for students - the Open Module

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:
- studying at a Brookes partner college
- studying on any of our teacher education courses or postgraduate education courses.

Visit the Contemporary Arts (MA) page on the Oxford Brookes University website for more details!

Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

A good honours degree, an upper second or first, in any subject. An internationally recognised qualification equivalent to a good British honours degree

Course Fees

Home / EU: Full-time £5,310, Part-time £2,710; International: Full-time £12,870

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Recipient: Oxford Brookes University

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