Postgraduate study in illustration reflects the diversity of the subject and the opportunities that exist in areas such as publishing, advertising, graphic and web design, theatre, television, art galleries and museums. We welcome applicants with a variety of approaches to Illustration, from both academic and professional perspectives.
Students are encouraged to explore a range of methods, with support from highly accomplished and respected staff, all of whom have understanding and expertise in the art of illustration.
Facilities include excellent individual working spaces with access to a drawing studio and extensive printmaking resources. There are life drawing classes, workshops and field trips for Masters students. Students will also have the chance to study bookbinding, book arts, digital technologies and web publishing.
The programme also includes working with writers, designers and publishers in collaboration and in live briefs. Many of our postgraduates have seen their work published and there are a small number of set projects, which evolve from year to year to reflect contemporary developments in Illustration. For example, Masters students have made work for the Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh Film House and the ECA Bookmarks symposium.
Students are encouraged to take part in national and international competitions, with an aim to join the ranks of those who have exhibited and won prizes in prestigious events, such as the V&A Student Illustration Awards, Folio Society, Penguin Book Awards, 3x3 and Image Nation.
This programme offers an excellent opportunity for independent, focused study. MA students produce a body of practical and written work on an agreed topic. MFA students produce an additional extended range of work, appropriate to the length of the course. Self-directed projects are connected to a number of set projects, workshops and collaborations throughout the academic year.
Studies will combine practical studio work with theoretical and written studies, including professional practice elements in preparation for employment in the industry. There is a lecture/seminar series that will examine the wider context of your studies, presented by contemporary illustrators, designers and artists.
Graduates explore an exciting and diverse range of careers, including working as picture book illustrators, designers, freelance illustrators, artists and craftsmen, or in leading agencies.
The Master of Fine Art in Fine Art (MFA) provides postgraduate studio-based arts practice, critical theory in fine arts and access to the professional skills and knowledge to succeed in a career in the fine arts. The programme will appeal to independent artists wanting to extend their practice within a critical research framework supported by practicing tutors. Artists looking to extend their career path into curatorial practice in the contemporary arts, collaborative projects with arts organisations, arts in socially engaged practices and/or further research will find support for this trajectory in this broad-based programme. Teaching involves lectures, seminars, and group and individual tutorials from active artists with research profiles. The programme will equip you with creative, interpretive, critical and analytical skills to develop an advanced understanding of contemporary art and its social, cultural and historical contexts.
The image above shows a close up of the work Nova by Saad Querishi, a former student of Fine Art at Oxford Brookes. Saad has been commissioned to produce a piece of work for the new areas of the campus and will be acting as a resource for the students on the programme.
Your artistic practice – An independent studio environment enables you to further your work within a supported critical framework. Through group and individual tutorials, staff/peer critique and presentations, an incremental approach is applied whereby you will confidently develop your work towards public exhibition/dissemination. There are two formal exhibitions during the MFA programme.
Flexible studio options – Students may select to locate their studio either at Oxford Brookes or elsewhere. Students working from their own studios will be eligible for a reduced tuition fee.
Technical resources – The School of Arts’ workshops offer supported working environments in a range of specialist areas including: sculpture, photography, video, sound, printmaking and book-works. All our workshops are staffed by highly skilled and creative Technical Specialists.
Extra-curricular activities – You will gain exposure to a range of contemporary artistic practice through the thriving creative student community in the School of Arts at Oxford Brookes. You will participate in the lectures and film screenings set up by the Fine Art Research (FAR) Group. These include visiting contemporary artists, critics, curators and notable alumni. Free life drawing classes extend your drawing skills and optional local, regional and international field trips provide further stimulus.
Theoretical framework – Your ability to articulate your own creative position is enabled through a critical engagement with a range of scholarship informed by diverse practices by nationally and internationally recognised artists, collectives and movements. An early theoretical module explores contemporary art discourse through seminars informed by selected readings and in a later module you develop a more intense involvement with theory related to your individual research interests.
Professional development – The programme enables you to identify a professional focus which is likely to inform your subsequent career trajectory. This might involve research preparation, a placement, a collaborative project or exhibition management/curatorial practice. With the guided experience in this module our graduates are better prepared for a successful career as a professional artist.
Careers and professional development
In addition to the support, teaching and development opportunities afforded by the curriculum, as a student you will be immersed in the active arts environment of the School. During your studies with us you will have access to the visiting speakers arranged for this and for other arts programmes, for the seminars and conferences in diverse fields, including publishing, film, music and digital production in the School. The field trips, visiting artists, PhD students and opportunities in the programme’s Professional Experience module offer a rich network of individuals and organisations that enable you to make useful contacts for your future career.
Graduates from this programme will be well equipped to pursue their practice as independent artists who have a well-developed understanding of the theoretical and professional contexts of the current and contemporary landscape of the arts and creative industries.
This programme is delivered within the School of Arts, which offers a vibrant environment for the creative industries including film, photography, music and publishing. Through the modules, which address practice, theory and professional experience, students are provided with links to engage with employment and further study opportunities, either as independent practitioners, facilitators or participants within a range of group and collaborative practices and contexts.
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: