Arts and Education Practices - MA

Attendance:
Full Time, Part Time
Starting:
September 2019
Fees:
£7,100 per year for UK/EU Full Time 2019 entry (view all fees)

Our pioneering MA Arts and Education Practices course focuses on the exploration of educational models at the intersection of practice, teaching and pedagogic theory.

The only Arts Education MA in the UK based in a School of Art, we provide a unique platform for the art educator. This setting helps to facilitate an innovative community of experienced and aspiring art educators, welcoming those willing to critique current practices to ask not only how we should teach art, but also how art can teach us.

What's covered in the course?

Our students come from diverse phases and sectors in the field of art and design education and the expanded fields of gallery, community and self organised educational practices. Through the course individual perspectives and experiences meet with those of your peers providing you with the stimulation and challenges that different perceptions can bring. We seek to evolve a dialogue through direct experience and engagement with the arts and their value as taught subjects, both within the institution and outside of it.

Our taught modules strengthen your subject knowledge and connect you with contemporary creative and educational practice.

The course core modules are taught primarily on Tuesdays, with some lectures taking place in the evening or at weekends to allow for your work patterns. Taught sessions and tutorial contact are balanced with online content and assessment is spread throughout the year to ease workload.

MA Arts and Education students follow a core modular structure that explores the past, current and future practice of arts education. You can personalise your learning through your choice of an optional module and pursue your interests within the expanded field of arts education through research and practice.

The structure of the course enables you to focus your research within the context of your own creative field and workplace. Through this study you build independent research leading to your major project that can be focused through educational models, workshops, creative practice and encounters that inform and are responsive to art educational contexts.

The course offers opportunities to connect with and expand your knowledge of your creative field through collaboration, live projects and visits that explore educational situations and projects.

Why Choose Us?

  • This is a unique professional development opportunity at the intersection between art practice and educational theory.
  • The MA Arts and Education Practices has a significant international reputation with alumni in over 20 countries worldwide, with strong educational profiles and working in a range of institutions and organisations.
  • We work with each individual student to develop a route through the course to match their aspirations.
  • Our students practice as artists, gain promotion within the field of education, pursue research or take a sideways step into another arts education related context.
  • You will be supported by a highly professional staff team, doctoral researchers, technical demonstrators and artists in residence in a innovative, creative and supportive environment.
  • Birmingham School of Art is an internationally recognised centre of excellence for art-based learning and research. We have a unique art education archive relating to the Arts and Crafts Movement, and Marion Richardson, amongst others.
  • The course is based at Birmingham School of Art (Margaret Street), a fine example of Venetian Gothic architecture and an impressive purpose built Grade I listed art school.

Postgraduate lunch drop in

Visit us to find out more

Come along to one of our upcoming events where our staff will be on hand to answer your questions.

Drop in events
Open Day: Sat 29 June

This course is open to International students

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • St Peters Catholic Primary School

And in jobs such as:

  • Teacher

Speak to an expert

If you’ve got any questions about the course, we’d love to hear from you. Please email the Course Director: Cathy Wade.

Email Course Director

Alternatively, you can register for our next postgraduate open day.

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements
Essential

Normally a first degree or its equivalent in an appropriate subject, and/or previous or concurrent experience in the arts and/or education.

We also welcome applications from those mature applicants who may not satisfy the normal entry requirements.

International Students

Entry requirements here

International Students

Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.

Apply now

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2019 FT 1 year £7,100 per year
PT 2 years £3,550 per year

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2019 FT 1 year £12,300 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead. Fees for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Portfolio Guidance

Applicants to the practice led pathway are required to submit a digital portfolio and an artist statement. This should largely focus on your own arts practice but may also include examples of your experience within art education contexts. We expect to see approximately 10 slides. Please ensure you include details such as the date the work was produced, the title (if appropriate), scale and medium used. 

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements

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Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on your course. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

The additional costs listed here are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

View additional costs for this course

On receipt of your application form, your application will be considered and you may be called for interview. After interview, if you are considered suitable for the course you will receive an offer of a place.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

Modules

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 160 credits):

Major Project
60 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practical outcome with accompanying reflective, critical and contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to your programme and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.

Download the full module specification

Research in Practice
20 credits
Narratives of Art and Design Education Practices
40 credits

This module aims to convey the alternative histories of art and design education from the fifteenth century to the present day. In the context of the relationship between arts practice, art educational practices and the influence of broad educational beliefs upon the nature of art education a number of narrative themes are introduced.

Download the full module specification

Global Innovations in Arts Practice Education
40 credits

This module will examine the diverse roles and practices of the arts in educational settings since 2000. It maps contemporary practices through educational and artistic trends and the political and cultural contexts within which art education is located globally. Art education in the present will be explored through a series of workshops, readings and group discussions that respond to specific texts, governmental initiatives, policies, new technologies, globalization, intercultural considerations and changing approaches to research in the field. The application of these contexts is considered within formal school-based art education, museum and gallery education, dialogical art practices and participatory community arts.

Download the full module specification

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

Contemporary Philosophy and Aesthetics
20 credits

This module, Contemporary Philosophy & Aesthetics explores how Fine Art is made and understood conceptually. How thinking in Fine Art works. This may inform research into practice via the meeting of philosophy, visual culture and social contexts within Fine Art practices. We may look at exhibitions artists and cultural discourses. For example: texts, films, music, fashion and events. It sets the stage for developing your own critical knowledge of the complexities underlying modern and contemporary life and in so doing, building your concepts and language, in your own practices.

Download the full module specification

Models and Methods of Curatorial Practice
20 credits

The purpose of this module is to introduce you to contemporary curatorial thinking. Throughout the module, you will encounter a range of concepts, themes, approaches and methodologies relevant to your discipline including the role of the curator and exhibition making; the museum and gallery as context and framework; the role of the artist-curator-artist, curating for new media and technologies and curating global exhibitions. You will be supported to develop skills in confidently articulating your knowledge in verbal and written forms.

Download the full module specification

Queer Strategies in Practice
20 credits

This module attends to both historical and contemporary models of practice in relationship to the emergence of queer theory. We will explore a range of art practices and queer methods that critique or subvert dominant modes of representation and operation. Focus is given to the following areas: Introduction to queer theory, Art beyond representation, Queer Speech, Queer horror, Education and transgression, Queering the Archive; Care; Queer reading.

Download the full module specification

Small Arts Business Set Up
20 credits

This module provides you with an insight into entrepreneurship and small business start-up within the arts and related sectors. Its focus is an exploration of the practicalities of starting-up a creative business. It also covers the nature of the creative industries as a whole as well as the significance of entrepreneurship within the arts and society as a whole.

Download the full module specification

Photography as Research
20 credits

The acts of photographing and researching are intrinsically linked. They are both activities concerned with expansion and contraction. If we imagine a photograph as a means to isolate a sphere of reality (with all of the caveats this statement demands) that are rendered, most often, in fractions of seconds. Then we could think in a similar way about research. An effort to know more and more about less and less.

Download the full module specification

Creative Publishing and Public Dissemination
20 credits

This module will explore publishing as a dynamic contemporary art form, a vehicle for the dissemination of ideas and an exploration of radical formats for bringing your art to a wider public. You will be introduced to artist-made books, self-publishing, digital publishing and other non-gallery modes of sharing and communicating art.

Download the full module specification

Technical Methods, Workshop Practice and Learning
20 credits

The module will be based on a specific workshop process (e.g. for example in the print room this might be etching, screen-print or lithography etc.), technical method (e.g. for example this might be around casting techniques, film and video making, 3D modelling etc.) or material (e.g. for example this might be an investigation into the material properties of clay, stone, a textiles material, etc.). You will independently identify and investigate your chosen line of enquiry to enable you to engage in practical hands on experience of a fabrication/production process.

Download the full module specification

Social Practice in the Visual Arts
20 credits

The module examines art as a social practice, its relationship with our present time and links to historical works and contexts. You will be introduced to key examples and debates within Social Practice with focus given to the following areas: Activism, Antagonism, Participation, Collaboration, Community, Environmentalism, Relational Aesthetics, Socially Engaged Practice, Dialogical Art & Institutional Critique. 

Download the full module specification

Art and Transcultural Communication
20 credits

This module provides a grounding in arts and transcultural communication, using artistic practices and discursive frameworks to highlight and examine issues related to communication. Communication, but also translation and interpretation intended from a linguistic, visual, cultural, artistic and curatorial perspective, are crucial when working internationally (and locally) with different communities. This module is for those students who aim at working and researching in a transcultural global environment more critically and effectively.

Download the full module specification

 
Please note list of optional modules is indicative only. Students’ choice will not be guaranteed for optional modules but a fair and transparent process will be adopted and shared with students.

Course structure

For both the experienced or aspiring artists an/or educators the course ethos is one of facilitation, mentoring and collaboration. We seek to model a critical pedagogy where dialogue and mutual enquiry are emphasised.

The Arts and Education Practices course consists of two core modules (specialist and discipline specific); two common core modules and an option module which you chose to undertake one in Stage One. The first core modules- Narratives of Art & Design Education encourage students to develop related research ideas relevant to their particular interests and aspirations. The study on this course is interdisciplinary in nature and encompasses both theory-led and practice-led study. 

The second stage of the course is framed through the second core module- Global Innovations in Art and Design Education and this stage of the course sees a shift to more independent inquiry through the common core module Research in Practice. This is supported through briefing sessions, group seminars and tutorials. Our seminar series complements Research in Practice providing a balance of topics dealing with contemporary art practice and theory. Where possible they are conducted by both School of Art staff and visiting lecturers: artists, critics, curators, writers and other related professionals.

In the final stage of the course, for the Faculty wide Major Project, you will write either a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words or you will develop work for exhibition at the end of year MA show supported by a smaller amount of text.  

Overseas opportunities

As an Art Based Master’s student you can study abroad through the Erasmus + scheme. This enables you to work abroad in an institution or professional organisation or one of our many international academic institutional partners for example Rotterdam, Gent, Dublin and Rome.

You’ll be expected to research your proposed destination before making an application in consultation with your Course Director. The study period may be organised during or upon completion of your course and can last for up to 18 months. It offers a unique opportunity to network, make friends, enhance your CV and experience new cultures. 

Further Study

Many of our graduates have been highly successful as doctoral researchers receiving fully funded scholarships from Birmingham City University, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Gertrude Aston Bowater Bequest.

MA Arts and Education Practices graduates have also been supported in other universities, including Jonnet Middleton and Okhee Joeong who have both successfully completed PhDs.

Enhancing your employability skills

Studying an MA will help you to pursue or develop your career in a range of related professions across the educational sector and creative industries. This course will help to enhance your skillset and employability and either progress in your existing role or achieve your career ambitions in a new direction.

Many of our graduates have achieved regional, national and international recognition as professional artist educators and professionals in the creative industries sector.

Several modules on this course have been specifically designed to equip you with valuable transferable skills, for example Contemporary Curatorial Practice; Small Arts Business Set Up and Creative Publishing and Public Dissemination. These transferable skills include:

  • Thinking in a creative, imaginative and speculative manner
  • Demonstrating communication and presentation skills in practical, written and verbal forms
  • Demonstrating adaptability and flexibility in a range of contexts
  • Reflecting and communicating in an articulate, informed, confident and effective manner
  • Working independently while demonstrating initiative and self-reliance
  • Demonstrating motivation, organisation, planning and effective strategising skills
  • Showing a capacity for good time management
  • Actively linked with up-to-date local and regional opportunities.

We maintain excellent connections with major city centre institutions such as Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery (BMAG), Selfridges, Birmingham City Council, New Art West Midlands and Digbeth First Friday to name but a few.

The School works with Savills, Capsticks, Associated Architects and Deutsche Bank, which also sponsors an annual award of £10,000 to support artists’ career development.  

Placements

Placements are one of the possible ways of fulfilling your modules and many of our students have chosen this route. There is scope for placements with a number of organisations in the city and beyond, however it is your responsibility to plan and organise your placement with the organisation you wish to work with.

Placements are a great opportunity to gain insight into how an organisation works and your reflection on their activities can be useful to them as you develop your research. Placements also give you the chance to meet and network with people in the education sector and creative industries. Our tutors are available to guide you through this process. 


Student stories

Jen Scott profile picture

Jen Scott

A graduate of the MA Arts and Education Practices theory pathway. 

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

OpportUNIty ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University.

This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. 

Graduate jobs

A significant number of our graduates have been highly successful professionals, including:

  • Jane Alred - appointed Head of Student Services for Stratford Upon Avon College.
  • Nicoleta Demetriou employed as lecturer at the Frederick Institute, Cyprus.
  • Amy Denton - Lecturer, Solihull College, Fine Art, Visual Studies, Contextual Studies and Photography.
  • Valentina Erakleous employed as an art education specialist at the Ministry of Education and Culture, Cyprus.
  • Sue Gibbons employed as Head of Art at Ribston Hall High School, Gloucester.
  • Darren Martindale - appointed as Corporate Parenting Team Manager and Virtual School Head for Looked after Children for Wolverhampton Local Authority.
  • Laura Onions - appointed as a Fine Art lecturer at Wolverhampton University.
  • Elena Thomas - invited to join the Department for Education Expert Advisory group for art and design education.

Trips and visits

Master’s students are encouraged to operate independently and visit regional and national cultural centres such as Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Ikon, Eastside Projects, the New Art Gallery Walsall, Nottingham Contemporary, Tate Modern, ICA, Tate Liverpool and projects and spaces in Birmingham and beyond.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Our international students

The Art Based Master’s Programme is an international community of aspiring researchers and professionals and the programme attracts candidates from all over the world including: Africa, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Taiwan and the USA.

This diversity provides you with an opportunity to study with people from diverse social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and who bring a wealth of experience to the programme. This gives the ABM programme a dynamic energy that enriches everyone’s educational experience.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our arts practice and education course is most popular with international students from:  

Norway Flag

Norway

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

Birmingham School of Art (an impressive purpose built Grade 1 listed example of Venetian Gothic architecture) was the first major renovation project undertaken by the university (£5.5m refurbishment). The School provides an incredible resource for the production of art and its associated fields of study. The building has a range of facilities available including studios, workshops, specialist art and design library, bookable spaces and lecture/seminar rooms.

Albion Press - Art
Etching Press - Art
Screen Printing 1 - Art
Stone Litho - Art
Woodwork 1 - Art
Metalwork 1 - Art
Ceramics 2 - Art
Comp Lab - Art
Photography Lab 1 - Art
Photography Lab 2 - Art
Editing suite 1 - Art
Editing suite 2 - Art
Studio Space 1 - Art
Studio Space 2 - Art
Studio Space 5 - Art
Studio Space 4 - Art
Library 2 - Art
Common Area - Art

Meet our staff

Our academic team is a highly professional and dedicated group of artists and art educationalists, historians, philosophers and theoreticians with extensive expertise within their specialist fields of research (see the CFAR website). As an MA Arts and Education Practices student you will encounter a diverse range of staff members depending on which choices you make and you will be able to request tutorial support from other academic and technical members of staff and the PhD student group.