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Contextualised Practice (MFA / MDes)

Course Description

Our Masters in Fine Art or Design offers a comprehensive programme of advanced study in art and design.

This supports and mentors you in developing your work in creative, cultural, collaborative and professional contexts.

The course enables students to:
- Apply creative practice in a contextual setting, developing flexibility and knowledge within professional creative environments.
- Manage live projects and develop integrated research strategies.
- Work with a variety of stakeholders, networks or community environments.
- Develop a sustainable, individual and professional practice that can be maintained post-graduation.

The course offers two distinct pathways to best suit your individual requirements.

- Studio Practice
This study option guides you in the development of your personal creative practice, based in a studio environment (on or offsite), which is supported by, and aligned to, subject specialist staff.

- Contextual Practice
This study option is tailored towards a more collaborative and contextualised practice, where you can be based offsite but working in a negotiated professional environment and supported by our specialist staff together with an external professional mentor.

See the website http://www.rgu.ac.uk/art-and-design/study-options/postgraduate/master-of-fine-art/master-of-design

This portfolio should clearly evidence examples of your previous and current creative/artistic achievements. Please consider your examples of work and/or projects that demonstrate your skill, innovation and creativity.

We recommend that you provide us with an edited selection of material that you believe best illustrates the ideas and concerns relating to your project/study proposal. As guidance you should focus on a maximum of 10 works/projects that you have completed. This portfolio material should be initially submitted in a digital format.

Project/Study proposal:
This proposal should state (in 500 words) your project/study interests and ambition for the work that you intend to develop on the course. It should discuss and identify the context(s) that you are interested in, any potential creative, cultural and professional mentors that you are interested in collaborating with and also propose what your initial ideas are and what potential there might be for the outcomes of your work.

Would you like to become a creative practitioner? Our Masters degree has been designed to help you explore your own creative pathway whilst enabling you to apply your work in context.

We recognise that the ‘linked-in’ practitioner plays an integral role in our creative and sustainable future. By encouraging practitioners to work creatively in context we can help to develop and engage the community at large in a purposeful way.

You will have the opportunity to work with people, place and projects, to connect communities and contribute to a sustainable creative future. All the time, developing valuable skills, knowledge and experience to pursue your own professional development as a creative practitioner.

Our Masters in Fine Art or Design offers two self-selected pathways to suit your own development needs:

MFA or MDes Studio practice pathway guides you in the development of a personal contextualised practice-based programme and course of study that is individually tailored, to meet your needs in conjunction with academic subject specialist staff.

MFA or MDes Contextual practice pathway is tailored towards a more collaborative contextualised practice-based programme offering you the unique opportunity to develop your professional skills and research needs through a structured and mentored liaison with local external mentors in education, health organisations, social enterprise and arts organisations. This pathway situates the learning experience within real life briefs and live research projects, relationships and networking opportunities developed in conjunction with academic and stakeholder mentors.

Each pathway is modularly delivered covering specific topics of studio/contextual practice, research methods, critical and theoretical studies and social, curatorial, community and collaborative practices. Tuition and expertise support is drawn from Studio, Contextual and Research staff from across the School, together with wider external partner support based on your individual needs and interests.

Studio Practice Pathway
•Studio practice
•Theoretical, Critical and Contextual Studies
•Research Methods
•Professional Practice
•Final Project*

Contextualised Practice Pathway

•Social, curatorial, community and collaborative practices
•Theoretical, Critical and Contextual Studies
•Research Methods
•Professional Practice
•Final Project*

* This course culminates in a final project where you will work on and resolve a formal presentation of your individual practice. It is expected that this project will fully contextualise your creative practice through exposition and thesis.

How you will learn

Full-time Study:
In full time mode, you will learn through the development of your own personal individual practice supported by specialist academic staff and technical facilities. You will also learn through a combination of lectures, seminars and workshop sessions. You will work primarily as an individual practitioner but also when required as part of a collaborative team on developing projects, team activities, presentations and discussions.

Studio Practice Pathway students will be sited in a negotiated studio practice environment in relation to their own individual practice.

Contextual Practice Pathway students will be sited in a negotiated professional mentor environment in relation to their own individual practice.

Lectures, seminars and workshop sessions are group activities and held either at Gray’s School of Art or contextually related sites.

Part-time Study:
Our part-time delivery mode combines aspects of distance learning and on-campus delivery. You will benefit from the support of the virtual learning environment but also face-to-face tutorials with tutors and attendance at a related number of lectures, seminars and workshop sessions.

Access to our virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle, is also provided giving you access outwith the School to learning materials. Elements of social media are also used in communicating with students.


This course will enable you to work independently as a creative practitioner as well as within any cultural and creative organisation. Target roles would be artist, designer, curator, exhibition manager, project manager, studio manager, institution director, educator and researcher.

If you want to find out how to apply, click here - http://www.rgu.ac.uk/applyonline

Visit the Contextualised Practice (MFA / MDes) page on the Robert Gordon University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have completed an Honours degree in Art or Design (or equivalent) with a minimum of a 2:1. Applicants with Degrees in other subjects will be considered. Applicants with substantial professional experience in Art or Design will also be considered. All applicants should also submit a portfolio of recent creative practice and a project/study proposal.

Course Fees

Scottish/EU Students £2,700, Rest of UK Students £6,750, International Students £11,000

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