The University of Southampton
Winchester School of ArtPostgraduate study

MA Fine Art

Pursue your creative ambitions, experiment with a range of media and engage with the latest discourses in contemporary art, supported by experienced practitioners and a vibrant art school community.

Book your placeVisit us at our Postgraduate Open Day on 22 November

Introducing your course

The MA Fine Art encompasses the diversity of contemporary art and values all types of practice. Working in purpose-built studios with superb facilities, you will have the freedom to realise your own ideas through a single medium or across multiple artforms, from painting, drawing and sculpture through to photography, video, site-specific work, digital media or performance art. We will also encourage you to explore your work intellectually, grounding your practice in the key ideas and issues that inform contemporary art today. Our staff are successful artists as well as experienced teachers, and are well placed to advise and guide you in the conceptual, technical and professional aspects of contemporary art practice. In addition, you will gain insights into life as a working artist through weekly guest lectures by leading practitioners, studio visits, opportunities to exhibit, and through a module devoted to specific arts-related professional skills. You will be part of a small, friendly and supportive community based on a dedicated art school campus within easy reach of London’s art scene – a unique environment in which we will nurture your creativity and help you to develop a career as an arts practitioner.

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Overview

On the MA Fine Art we facilitate art and ideas across the full range of media, reflecting the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of contemporary arts practice. Intellectual engagement runs through every aspect of the course, and we aim to produce graduates with advanced critical capabilities. You will learn to reflect on and appraise your work in the context of personal influences and current concepts and debates in the wider world of contemporary art.

Our students benefit from being part of the University of Southampton, a world-leading Russell Group institution with an excellent reputation, while studying on a campus devoted to arts disciplines. The School of Art has an on-campus gallery, The Winchester Gallery, and there is a thriving art scene in the city of Southampton, including important regional galleries such as Southampton City Art Gallery and John Hansard Gallery, based at the new arts hub, Studio 144. 

View the programme specification document for this course

To Apply

University application form with transcripts and CV. A personal statement, portfolio of your current art practice should outline your engagement with contemporary art and your interest in the MA Fine Art at WSA.

Programme Structure

This is a full-time, one-year course; the year is divided into three semesters.

You will develop your studio practice in Contemporary Fine Art modules throughout the year. In semesters one and two we encourage you to explore different media, develop your capacity to critically reflect on your work and develop ideas for your final project, which you will work on in the final months of the course. The modules include talks, workshops and a weekly practice-focused seminar given by staff in semester one and by students in semester two.

Alongside your studio practice, in semesters one and two you will take professional and academic skills modules that will prepare you for study at postgraduate level and equip you with skills to help you advance your career after graduation. You will learn about research methods that will underpin your practice, such as approaches to the analysis of visual, written and material sources. In professionally focused seminars and workshops, you will also learn how to approach galleries, how to write a CV, how to use social media to best effect, how to build networks and other key career skills. Tailored to the specifics of the contemporary art world and taking into account students’ cultural backgrounds, these sessions will help you to develop your individual creative profile in preparation for life after graduation.

You will be able to personalise the course by choosing an optional module that reflects your interests and career goals. These cover topics ranging from visual culture, digital culture and the theory and practice of visual display, to entrepreneurship and marketing.

The final project is an opportunity to develop a distinctive portfolio of work that you will showcase as part of a major exhibition on campus at the end of the course.

Exhibiting

We see making work for exhibition as integral to the course and an important part of your preparation for a career as an artist. As well as the final project show, you will have several opportunities to exhibit during the year:

  • in the first semester you will take part in a collaborative exhibition with final year BA Fine Art students
  • you will produce work for an interim exhibition – a large MA group show – in semester two
  • in addition, we will let you know about external exhibition opportunities, and some students organise their own London shows with the School’s support

 Facilities 

We offer unrivalled facilities for printmaking, 3D printing, laser cutting, painting, sculpture, video, sound and photography. Our team of specialist technical staff will help you get the most from these resources, through workshops and one-to-one support.

MA Fine Art students have their own dedicated studio space, with computing facilities, an area for film screenings and an informal space for reading and discussion stocked with the latest books, journals and magazines. In addition, the School has its own specialist library, which houses a superb collection of artists’ books.

Inspiring academics

You will learn from academics who are practising artists as well as inspiring teachers, and can therefore offer advice and guidance not only on your practice but on art as a profession. Staff work across diverse media ranging from painting through sculpture, video and book publishing, to socially engaged practice. Their extensive networks ensure you have plenty of exposure to arts practitioners and other arts professionals, enabling you to develop your contacts.

The teaching team includes:

  • Programme leader Nick Stewart, who has more than 30 years of professional practice in drawing, installation, photography, performance, video and text. He has exhibited widely in Europe, Canada, USA and India. Major exhibitions of his work have taken place at the Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol (1997), Chisenhale Gallery, London (1998) and in Belfast (1996, 2005). He has received awards, residencies and commissions from the Canada Council, British Council, British Film Institute, Arts Council England and the Royal Festival Hall, London. In 2007 he published No-one’s Not From Everywhere, which researched Irish artists and the Irish identity. In 2012 the John Hansard Gallery published the second of a projected series of books, Which is The: 49 Views. Nick is currently working on two feature-length film projects in Mexico and in Ireland.
  • Mia Taylor, an artist with an interdisciplinary practice that includes object and image making, installation, performance, moving image, sound and writing. A characteristic of her practice is its mobility – literally and metaphorically, travelling across disciplines, places and media. She has been involved in a number of collaborative projects, including staging a trip to the moon at Camden Arts Centre and co-writing a play about technological nostalgia. She has exhibited internationally including in Jerwood Contemporary Painters, and East End Academy at Whitechapel Gallery, London.

Guest lectures by world-renowned artists 

Our weekly visiting artist lecture programme, Talking Heads, is an opportunity to hear from internationally respected artists about their practice, what informs and influences their work and how they have developed their careers. We attract leading practitioners from diverse fields, including painters, video and digital artists, conceptual artists, public artists, writers, musicians, curators and social activists.

Past speakers have included Mark Titchner, Vanessa Jackson, Dryden Goodwin, Marcus Coates, Simon English, Brian Eno, Dougald Hine, Paul Winstanley, Joanne Lee, Shezad Dawood, Siobhan Hapaska, James Lingwood, Hayley Newman and Anna Lucas.

Study visits and additional learning opportunities

We take advantage of being just 50 minutes from London by train, organising regular visits to galleries and artists’ studios. Past trips have included the Tate, White Cube, Camden Arts Centre, Whitechapel Gallery and the Serpentine, as well as smaller galleries. These visits will expose you to a diverse range of artists and venues, as well as the broader cultural aspects of the city, such as architecture and social history.

On campus, there is an optional weekly reading group focusing on texts, catalogue essays and other writings about contemporary art, and weekly screenings of art films.

You will also have the opportunity to take a leadership role in our Shared Drive initiatives, which see all Fine Art students at all levels collaborating on short-term studio projects with large-scale, collective outcomes. Taking part will enhance your ability to develop and negotiate ideas, and to manage and deliver solid professional outcomes.

The campus-based Winchester Gallery hosts a year round programme of exhibitions, events and symposia.

Interdisciplinary opportunities

Our links with other arts disciplines and with subject areas in the wider University enrich your learning experience.

  • You will have the opportunity to work with MA Contemporary Curation students and gain an understanding of curation processes that will be valuable as your career progresses.
  • Links with other Winchester School of Art programmes will broaden your understanding of technical possibilities beyond the established Fine Art skill set.
  • Researchers from other University of Southampton disciplines regularly visit to talk about their work, enabling you to respond creatively to current societal issues and the latest scientific developments.

Key Facts

Join a supportive, close-knit community of artists within a dedicated art school campus.

Offers the freedom to take your work in any direction you choose while rooting your practice in the context of current contemporary art discourses.

Engage with a single medium or with diverse media, including painting, printmaking, sculpture, video, photography, digital media and performance art.

Learn from teaching staff with extensive experience as arts practitioners.

Based in purpose-built studios with first-rate facilities including the latest photography, video, 3D printing and laser cutting technologies.

Includes workshops on professional skills and weekly talks from internationally renowned artists, helping you to develop contacts and consider career options.

Benefit from a thriving local arts scene and study visits to exhibitions and studios in London – just 60 minutes away by train.

An optional module allows you to explore an area of interest; topics range from digital cultures to entrepreneurship.

Graduates are now working as professional artists, teachers, animators and curators.

MA Fine Art degree show 2016

Students exhibit their work and discuss their experiences.

More videos from WSA

Our Students Say:

"With extremely knowledgeable tutors, great campus and excellent facilities, the MA course allowed me to study contemporary art and explore my practice in ways that opened up new understanding. With a vibrant studio life bringing a further enjoyable aspect to the course, it was, very much, a valuable experience."  - Jane-Ann Hunter, MA Fine Art, 2015-2016. 

"I can’t believe how much this course has changed my artistic vision in such a short time" - Hoda Alnasir, MA Fine Art, 2015 – 2016.

"I’ve spent the past year doing exactly what I wanted every day" - Claire Leech, MA Fine Art, 2014 – 2015.

"This year has been one of the best years in my life" - Cao Xuning, MA Fine Art, 2014 – 2015.

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

MA Fine Art at Winchester School of Art is both practice and theory based. It is important that you demonstrate your artistic ability in a portfolio, as this will be the determining factor for entry. Your portfolio should include evidence of independent research in art practice and in thinking, evidence of your knowledge and understanding of the broader contemporary art context, and examples of the development process you use to create your work in whatever medium or media that may be – stills or video (10 minutes, maximum, compressed video please). Please indicate scale, date and materials used in your work. Your portfolio should not exceed ten megabytes in size.

A 2.2 at degree level or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University or experience is desirable.  

If you have professional experience, or credit through prior learning at another institution, you may be eligible to use this experience against some of the programme requirements for period of study. You will need to present evidence that you have met the learning outcomes of the programme. Full details can be found in the University’s Policy on the Recognition of Prior Learning .

English Language Requirements

International and EU students applying for the MA Fine Art Pathway are required to have a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 overall with 5.5 in each component or equivalent, prior to starting the programme. For a full list of English language tests accepted please see here

The University also runs a number of English language courses to prepare students for study, details can also be found here for more information about the WSA pre-sessionals.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Modules

Typical course content

MA Fine Art students study compulsory and optional modules aimed at honing their own artistic practice.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees

Funding

Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

TypeDescription
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc). Any specialist stationery items will be specified at module level.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentArt equipment and materials: Student will be required to purchase diverse materials and equipment as necessary in relation to your art practice. This will change over the course of the study period. In addition, most students also require sketchbooks, notebooks, pencils, pens, CDs and DVDs for image storage.
Printing and copyingWritten coursework: In most cases, written coursework such as essays, projects and dissertations is submitted online and by hard copy. The costs of printing a hard copy for submission of such coursework will be the responsibility of the student. The cost of photocopying will also be the responsibility of the student.
Printing and copyingPortfolio: Printing for the collation of a student’s portfolio will be the responsibility of the student.
OtherOptional visits (e.g. museums, galleries): Some modules may include optional visits to a museum, galleries, etc. You will normally be expected to cover the cost of travel and admission, unless otherwise specified in the module profile.
OtherParking costs: Free parking is not normally available on campus to students.
TravelThe Student Union provide a mini free bus service which runs every two hours between the Winchester Campus and the Highfield Campus. Students are responsible for all other daily travel expenses.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.

Career Opportunities

We create an environment in which you can develop a mature and independent approach to your work, and gain the confidence and professional skills that will enable you to take forward a career as an artist when you graduate.

Some of our graduates choose to undertake further study at PhD level, or to pursue a career in arts-related organisations and other sectors. You will graduate with the ability to think critically and creatively, solve problems and work with others – these transferable skills will be invaluable in a range of roles in the cultural and media industries.

Previous graduates are enjoying success as professional artists and in teaching, the media, animation and curation. For example, one recent graduate is now Director’s Assistant at the prestigious Today Art Museum in Beijing.

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

Winchester campus

Winchester campus

Winchester School of Art is set in pleasant, green surroundings close ...Find out more

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