Fine Art - MA

Full Time, Part Time
September 2016, September 2017
£6,500 for UK/EU Full Time 2016 entry (view all fees)

MA Fine Art is firmly founded upon the consideration of art practice, in whatever form it takes and in whatever circumstances it occurs: drawing, painting, sculpture, print, film/video, photography, installation, performance, participatory and interdisciplinary practice.

Art is considered in relationship to philosophy, art history and theory, contemporary discourse and context, and you'll establish a critical framework in which artists make work in the contemporary world. We have strong links with numerous art galleries and arts communities.

New for 2017/18

Fine Art

If you’re looking to start this course in 2017, it's important to know that the content and structure are undergoing a substantial review and are likely to be different to what is outlined here. We’ll publish more detailed information about the changes over the next few months. If you’re starting in 2016, the course content/structure won’t be affected by the review.

Sign up for course updatesMore about our new curriculum

What's covered in the course?

This stimulating course offers you a specialist education in Fine Art. It is centred on the development of your own art practice in relationship to contemporary debates in philosophy, art history, theory and context.

You will enhance your knowledge and understanding of fine art as the course provides you with an exciting experience that encourages you to develop a high level of speculation and to hone your critical and analytical skills. You will have the opportunity to personalise your learning through the modules you choose, to advance your practical skills and to explore alternative media if you wish. This prepares you for a life as a professional artist, a PhD researcher or to work in other career areas.

There is scope to work on external live projects and you’ll be encouraged to present your work in public. Our academic staff are highly experienced with national and international research profiles for example course director Associate Professor Henry Rogers is an artist and author working with drawing, painting, photography and writing. Professor Johnny Golding is an internationally renowned philosopher working on radical materiality in art, acoustics and the wild sciences.

You will be located at Birmingham School of Art (Margaret Street), a fine example of Venetian Gothic architecture and an impressive purpose built Grade I listed art school.

Before starting the Master’s in Fine Art I was a 3D technical demonstrator. My practice was predominantly skill-based, with little consideration to any conceptual concerns. I embarked upon the part-time course as a means of addressing this issue. The School soon became an invaluable and creative haven where I could freely experiment with my process. The tutors and visiting lecturers sensitively encouraged me to combine theory with my studio practice, the two disciplines merging seamlessly as time went on. Greg Dunn Graduated - MA with Commendation

Why Choose Us?

  • Birmingham School of Art is an internationally recognised centre of excellence for art-based learning and research.
  • You will become a valued member of the Centre for Fine Art Research.
  • The MA Fine Art course has a significant international reputation with alumni in over 20 countries worldwide, with strong exhibition profiles and working in a range of institutions and organisations.
  • You will have the opportunity to interact with students from other Master’s courses in the School and the wider faculty/university.
  • You will be supported by a highly professional staff team, doctoral researchers, technical demonstrators and artists in residence in a caring and supportive environment.
  • We have good external links with international galleries and organisations in the creative industries and the wider community.
  • A high number of graduates have been awarded fully funded Arts and Humanities Research Council and Birmingham City University Scholarships for PhD study.
  • Financial support for full time study may be available via Birmingham City University Scholarships, the Gertrude Aston Bowater Bequest and the Mike Holland Trust.
Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 23 November, between 2pm and 7pm. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

This course is open to International students

School of Art

Discover Birmingham School of Art

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

New MA studentships

Apply for September 2016 entry and you could have the cost of your student fees paid for. 

Apply by 22 August

Where our students go

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

  • Databank
  • Sainsbury

And in jobs such as:

  • Databank Award Creative & Cultural Practice
  • Online Shopper

New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

UK students

We would normally expect you to hold either a degree in a relevant subject, or equivalent qualifications or experience.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £6,500
PT 2 years £3,250 per year
Sep 2017 FT 1 year TBC
PT 2 years TBC

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £12,000
Sep 2017 FT 1 year £12,000

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

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 specific courses. 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.

Find additional costs for your course

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

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

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is available part-time

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our pdf application form instead.

For more information please contact the School Admissions Office. Tel: 0121 331 5150 / Email 

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.

When you complete your application form, tell us something about your artistic, educational and/or professional experience thus far. Tell us why you want to apply to the MA Fine Art course and what you hope to gain from the experience. Your application must be accompanied by evidence of your art-based practice. We require 12 images of recent work on power point. If your work is film based you need to prepare a show-reel and if your work is web-based you need to direct us to it with the appropriate link.

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

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

Stage 1: PgCert

All Art Based Master’s (ABM) courses consist of two core modules (specialist and discipline specific); two common core modules (followed by all ABM students) and a range of option modules (shared by all ABM students) from which you chose to undertake two in Stage 1. You may also follow another option module in Stage 2. 

Advanced Practice - core module
30 credits

This module is self-directed and allows you to build on your artistic practice in relationship to a range of option modules thus helping to challenge your thinking whilst re-orientating your practice through experimentation in relationship to theory and context. You’ll have an opportunity to acquire new skills in other media.

Select two option modules
15 credits

See option modules tab for further information.

Stage 2: PgDip

Advanced Practice 2 - core module
30 credits

This module is also self-directed. It helps you develop and evaluate your artistic practice in relationship to your research. You will build on what you have achieved in the Stage 1 by deepening your knowledge and understanding of your practice towards the production of work for an interim assessment presentation.

Research in Practice - common core module
30/15 credits

This module enables you to develop and apply the knowledge and understanding you have gained and introduces you to research strategies in the arts in a series of methodology talks, workshops and student led seminars. It gives you the opportunity to adopt approaches in research applicable to your own activities.

Select one option module
15 credits

Choose one option module, but only if Research in Practice is followed at 15 credits.

See option modules tab for further information.

Stage 3: Masters

Final Presentation or Dissertation
60 credits

This module allows you to build on the knowledge gained so far and enables you to synthesise and resolve your artistic practice or dissertation. You will work together to organise a public exhibition, develop an equivalent presentation or submit a dissertation. You may also present both practical and written work.

Option modules

The Art Based Master’s Programme is an integrated framework that allows you to build your own course. Core modules in any given course become option modules in all other courses. You will have an opportunity to engage with students from diverse learning and professional experiences. Various freestanding options are available.

Art in the Public Realm
15 credits

This module addresses ways in which art can be mobilised to improve people’s lived experience. It considers how notions of the public, public and community art are defined and examines issues and debates of inclusion, access, identity/difference, government and regional arts policy and the importance of documentation, accountability and evaluation.

Arts, Health and Therapeutic
15 credits

This module explores art and the therapeutic benefits of making, practice as a set of three activities concerning the relationship between three elements: the creator, the art object and another who facilitates. The module explores professional meanings and theoretical frameworks thus equipping you with the knowledge to negotiate the field.

Arts Policy and Cultural Planning
15 credits

This module examines arts’ processes and contexts and their relationship to the State. It considers the UK’s history of cultural policy since WWII and the impact of the Arts Council. Main themes include: the history of arts policy, contemporary policy‐making, and examining various funding systems to develop successful grant applications.

Changing Paradigms
15 credits

This module explores visual culture focusing on methodologies, critical theory, cultural studies and historiography of the discipline. Various analytical tools are experienced: iconographical analysis, formalism, semiology, social contextualisation, post-colonialism and theories of representation. You will examine the cultural politics that continually frame knowledge and the theoretical models for deconstructing it.

Contemporary Curatorial Practice
15 credits

You will work collaboratively to present/develop artworks that relate to a specific context or setting whilst developing an awareness of issues of space, place and location and the interrelationships between individual works in a given site or context. You will work as a team toward the realisation of the project.

Contemporary Philosophy and Aesthetics
15 credits

This module examines why and how the fine arts can be explored when the foundations of modern/contemporary political philosophy and its relation to the social are at the forefront of scholarship. It sets the stage, epistemologically and methodologically, giving you a critical knowledge of the complexities underlying our contemporary world.

Creative Publishing and Public Dissemination
15 credits

This module explores publishing as a dynamic contemporary art-form, a vehicle for disseminating ideas and an exploration of radical formats for bringing your art to a wider public arena. Emphasis is placed on practical outcomes and the exploration of creative modes of dissemination whilst exploring contemporary debates surrounding artists' publishing.

Discourses in Art and Design
15 credits

This module examines key concepts in western art and design from mid-nineteenth century onwards. Through chronologically arranged presentations, topical issues are introduced from across art and design. Indicative topics: the western canon; approaches and methodologies; design ethics; the changing role of the artist; primitivism and ethnography; postmodern fashion and gender.

Global Innovations in Arts Practice Education
15 credits

This module examines arts and education since 2000. It maps contemporary educational and artistic trends, and the political and cultural contexts within which art education is located internationally. Indicative topics: Governmental initiatives, new technologies, globalisation, intercultural considerations, application to contexts, formal school-based, museum and gallery education and participatory community arts.

Managing Arts Events and Projects
15 credits

This module examines the role of events and exhibitions: selecting venues, interpersonal skills, audience development and qualitative and quantitative analysis. The module explores concepts and themes in event management: developing relationships, integrating multiple sub-events, sustaining and developing brands. You will also consider the marketing, planning, managing and evaluating of events.

Models and Methods of Curatorial Practice
15 credits

The module examines: curatorial practice and exhibition making; the museum and gallery as context and framework; artist-run space; the rise of the artist/curator and alternative curatorial practices and contexts; curating for new media and technologies and craft and design. It considers issues of audience and project development for social inclusion.

Narratives in Arts and Design Education
15 credits

This module explores histories of art and design education between the fifteenth and late twentieth centuries. Narrative themes are introduced in relationship to art and art educational practices and the influence of educational beliefs upon the nature of art education. These periods and influences are also examined within ideological/cultural frameworks.

Photography and the Archive
15 credits

This module explores the relationship between photography and the archive, the definition and application of documentary photography in relationship to the archive through theoretical and practical methods. It interrogates ideas of objectivity and indexical veracity, demanding an inquisitive approach to questions on the uses of historic and contemporary archive material.

Photography as Research
15 credits

Employing theoretical and practical methods this module explores the spectrum of therapeutic photography when the image is a tool for enhanced self-awareness. A key question concerns the role of the technology of photography in framing our world. The module therefore examines the ethical and participatory concerns of therapeutic photographic practice.

Queer Strategies in Practice
15 credits

This module explores queer models of practice that examine the complex relationships between image and text, making and writing, modes of representation, performativity and queering. Indicative topics: historical representation and societal change, queer practices beyond representation, queer figures, affective reading, contemporary art, activist and interventionist strategies, film and collaborative practice.

Small Arts Business Set-up
15 credits

This module explores entrepreneurship and small business start-up within the arts and creative industries and how entrepreneurial ideas are formed. Indicative topics: arts and creative industries; cultural entrepreneurs; economic development role of entrepreneurship within the arts, creative industries and society; practicalities of business start-up and business operations within the sector.

Social Practice in the Visual Arts
15 credits

This module examines art as social practice and models of art practice in social contexts: urban, rural and transnational contexts and places of labour, health, post-conflict and post-traumatic societies. It considers the history and development of social practice and the impact it has as a generative and transformative artistic activity.

Strategic Marketing for the Arts
15 credits

The module addresses the central role of marketing in modern business and explores the design and construction of brand identities, the role of creativity in advertising and marketing, and the importance of understanding consumers. Indicative topics: advertising; marketing strategy; market research and consumer psychology in the arts and creative industries.

Technical Methods and Workshop Practice
15 credits

The module is workshop-led and enables you to engage in practical hands on experience in media such as print, plaster, lens based, digital media, 3D modelling and printing. You will demonstrate the breadth and depth of what you have learned by developing a portfolio of evidence recording your engagement with processes or skills.

Untimely Meditations
15 credits

This module focuses on exploring the shift from an understanding of identity, selfhood and sexuality, as linked to representational logics, to introduce you to non-representational methods of practice. You will investigate the radical consequences of such moves to re-situate time, space and speed as relative conditions to identity and art.

Well-being and Mindfulness: Context and Environment
15 credits

This module explores well-being and mindfulness in relationship to historical and contemporary debates on creative practices that are context based and environmental in nature. The module considers the history of arts practices, land art and environmental art, towards an understanding of the embeddedness of contemporary art as collective and shared.

Preparation for Masters Practice (Extended PgCert Module)
15 credits

This module has been designed to enable you to engage with the ABM Programme over an extended period. It enables you to review your practice in response to the demands of Master’s study and introduces you to contemporary ideas in art and theory enabling you to develop your study plan.

On this course, you’ll learn by taking part in a variety of activities, including:

  • Independent learning
  • One to one tutorial support
  • Group tutorials
  • Taught staff led seminars
  • Student led seminars
  • Studio seminar series (visiting artists/professionals’ talks)
  • Lectures and conferences
  • Library research/resources
  • Field trips (where appropriate).

Arts Based Masters brochure

Student stories – Lisa Metherell

Student stories – Grace Williams

View more examples of student work...

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 in 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

By joining this world-leading research environment, you will be eligible to apply for the prestigious Midlands3Cities Consortium (£14.6 million research fund) Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) doctoral training award. This consortium enables strong research within the Midlands. A significant number of graduates have been highly successful as doctoral researchers receiving fully funded scholarships from Birmingham City University, the AHRC and the Gertrude Aston Bowater Bequest. 

Trips and visits

As a Master’s student, you’ll benefit from the trips run annually by the School. Recent visits have included Berlin, Florence, Liverpool, London, New York and Venice. You’ll also be 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 independent and alternative spaces in Birmingham and beyond.

Student stories – Samira Nejad

Enhancing your employability skills

Studying an arts based Master’s course, will help you to pursue or develop your career in a range of related professions across the 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 artists in the creative industries sector. Several modules on this course have been specifically designed to equip you with valuable transferable skills, for example Managing Arts Events and Projects; 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.

With our partners, Turning Point West Midlands (TPWM), Eastside Projects and The Art Market, our students are 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 and the Lunar Society, to name but a few, and are members of the Colmore Row Business District.

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. 

New Art West Midlands offers our graduates the opportunity to have their work exhibited alongside other selected graduates of West Midlands art schools that takes place at venues across the region between February and May each year. In 2015, eight of our graduates were selected, and 11 have been chosen for 2016.


Placements are one of the possible ways of fulfilling your Research in Practice module and many students across the ABM Programme 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 give you 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. You will also find that this is a great way to meet and network with people in the creative industries. Our members of staff are available to guide you through this process.

Our OpportUNIty students

Two Art Based Master’s students, Jodie Wingham (MA Fine Art) and Tadas Stalyga (MA Radical Media Arts Philosophy) have been employed as workshop mentors. 

A selection of our alumni

Heather Morison and Ivan Morison

Heather and Ivan exhibit internationally – here is a selection of their solo exhibitions and projects:


An Unreachable Country. A Long Way to Go, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth
Frost King, Open Satellite, Seattle, USA
Mr. Clevver, ongoing project commissioned by Contemporary Art Spaces Tasmania, Queenstown, Tasmania, AU


Falling Into Place, published by Bookworks, London and Situations, UWE, Bristol
The Black Line, Void, Derry, Northern Ireland
The Shape of Things to Come, Situations, University of West of England, Bristol
I hate her. I hate her., VOLTA NY with Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Art, New York
Black Dog Times, produced in collaboration with Full Beam Visual Theatre, Bristol


How to Survive (The Bad Years), Clint Roenisch Gallery, Toronto
The Opposite of all those Things, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool


And so it goes, Representing Wales at the 52nd Venice Biennale 2007, with Merlin James and Richard Deacon, touring to Oriel Davies, Newtown and Chapter, Cardiff
The Land of Cockaigne, Bloomberg Space, London

James and Eleanor Avery

James and Eleanor are based in Sydney and exhibit internationally:

Excerpt from Claire Lewis’s ‘Eleanor and James Avery: Our Day Out’:

“The multiple and shifting manifestations of the contemporary ‘landscape’ form a fertile site for the critique of perception and reality in the work of Eleanor and James Avery. Their improbable towers of makeshift props and brazen monuments to the interventions of tourism offer us a parallel environment, constructed from artificial reproductions of natural phenomena. Although the material constituents of these unruly dioramas are familiar - a cable car, a mountain vista, a sightseeing tour or souvenirs, they remain symbols on the periphery of our conventional understanding of those entities. In the crude artifice of these synthetic landscapes we recognise the commodified, passive devices which shape our understanding of the ‘real’, opening up complex questions about the validity of how we experience and consume the natural world.”

Feng Ru Lee - Winner of the prestigious Taipei Prize in 2000

Feng-Ru Lee’s practice is rooted in her Far-East Asian Cultural background her work crosses a range of different media and often-incorporates video, two dimensional works, performance and installation. Toying with ideas of mass production and genetic engineering, Lee’s practice is often seen as both a critique and an attempt to understand the seemingly controversial issues involved in the state of the contemporary human condition. Lee explores ideas that centre on the status of the transition/ migration between cultures and humanity, whilst also addressing notions of the materialisation of objects and beings. Subjects, such as Eastern philosophy and Western science that seem immediately differential, hold intrinsically deep and thought provoking issues for both the artist and viewer. Lee has exhibited throughout the UK, Taiwan and internationally including the USA, Middle East, Japan, and across Europe. In 2001 she represented Taipei, Taiwan in an artist residency programme between Taipei and Jerusalem. Lee has also completed residencies in Berlin and recently at the New Art Gallery Walsall.

Recent exhibitions have included:

  • Venice Biennale, 2015
  • Flux Fest at VIVID, Birmingham,
  • Jam: Cultural Congestions in Contemporary Asian Art at South Hills Park
  • Shift Time - The Festival of Ideas in Shrewsbury
  • Solo Exhibition at Entrance Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic.
Faye Claridge

Faye has an MA Fine Art distinction from Birmingham City University and has had 13 solo shows. Her numerous commissions and awards include work for the Photographers’ Gallery and the New Art Gallery Walsall, in addition to being shortlisted for the Helen Chadwick Fellowship with the British School in Rome.

She has also worked internationally with exhibitions in Greece and France and a residency in the Czech Republic. In 2010 she was in group exhibitions with Cindy Sherman, Glenn Brown and Gillian Wearing, building on her 2009 solo exhibition at Danielle Arnaud Contemporary Art, which won the accolade of Time Out London Exhibition of the Week.

Graduate jobs

A significant number of our graduates have become highly successful professionals. They include:

  • Mark S. Gubb – Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Worcester University.
  • Ajesh Suresh – - Lecturer in Art and Theatre, Mutiara International Grammar School, KL, Malaysia.
  • Jacob Rock – Course Leader in Art and Design (level 2) – Hereford College of Arts.
  • Jo Capper – Course Director of Fine Art at Warwickshire College.
  • Matt Westbrook - Course Leader, Foundation Diploma in Art – Dudley College.
  • Phil Barber - Leader of the BA (Hons) Fine Art - Solihull College.
  • Mark Parkinson – Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, University of Central Lancashire.
  • Clair Walton - conservation consultant for the National Conservation Service.

Andrew Hunt, Director of Focal Point Gallery, Southend on Sea, UK

Andrew was previously curator of International Project Space, Birmingham, UK and assistant curator at Norwich Gallery, UK.

He regularly organises independent projects. Freelance exhibitions include The Affirmation, Chelsea Space (2007), Writing in Strobe, Dicksmith Gallery (2006) and Like Beads on an Abacus Designed to Calculate Infinity, Rockwell (2004). Publishing activities include the imprint Slimvolume, produced on a yearly basis since 2001. He is also reviews editor at Untitled, a regular contributor to Frieze, Art Monthly and a number of other journals. He is currently editing three books about contemporary art criticism collectively titled Laboratory of Synthesis with the critic Robert Garnett, to be published by Book Works during 2008 and 2009.

International Students

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 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 fine art course is most popular with international students from:  

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, lecture/seminar rooms and ARTicle Gallery.

Located next to the city centre’s Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the School is just a five-minute walk from the new Library of Birmingham and Ikon Gallery.

Students benefit from an environment which thrives on the everyday interaction of education, culture and professional practise.


Our studio spaces make excellent use of height and light, and a special screening system allows each full-time student a dedicated area to work in throughout their course.


Workshops include one-to-one technical support and operate throughout the building, allowing you to develop ideas and skills working with print, wood, metal, plaster, photography, video, textiles, 3D printing, laser cutting and prototyping.


The School of Art library contains a wealth of artists’ biographies, catalogues, art and design magazines and DVDs, all of which are updated throughout the year. The library is also linked to others across the University so you can order any additional materials you might need.

Social space

A new student-led social space, designed by School of Art students, is a great place to relax, grab a coffee, and catch up with friends. Students also display their work, host film showings and private-view receptions in this space.


There are purpose-built spaces throughout the building to present your work, including areas for cabinet, wall and floor pieces, and installation project rooms.

ARTicle, our professional art gallery space, has proved a huge success and offers a diverse and exciting variety of shows every month.

Parkside Building

You will also be able to use facilities at our nearby Parkside Building, a new five-floor campus site packed with fashion design workshops, studios and social ‘collision spaces’ where you can share ideas with students and staff from different courses.

Meet our staff

The staff team is a highly professional and dedicated group of artists, philosophers and theoreticians, historians and educators with extensive expertise within their individual specialist subjects and fields of research (see the CFAR website for details). As an MA Fine Art 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 if it is important to your study.

The course director is Associate Professor Henry Rogers, an artist and author: I See What You’re Saying (Ikon); Queertexturealities (Article Press). Professor Johnny Golding is an internationally renowned philosopher and author of The Eight Technologies of Otherness (Routledge). Other teaching staff exhibit internationally, including Professor Jo Longhurst (dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel), David Cheeseman (ICA, London), Francoise Dupre (IMMA, Dublin), Yvonne Hindle (H - Project Space, Bangkok), Lee Hewett (New York, Hong Kong), Jenny Wright (V&A, London) and Mona Casey (MAMA, Rotterdam).

Henry Rogers

Reader in Art and Queer Studies

Henry Rogers is the Arts Based Masters Programme Director, MA Fine Art and MA Queer Studies Course Director and a PhD supervisor in the School of Art, BIAD. In 1987 he gained a first class pass in Drawing and Painting from Edinburgh College of Art where he was awarded the Watt Medal for Excellence in a field of study.

In 1989 he gained a Masters in Painting from the Royal College of Art. In 1990 he was awarded the Mark Rothko Memorial Trust Award to live and work in the USA and in 2001 he became an Abbey Fellow at the British School at Rome. Since 1990 he has worked in art schools in the UK and between 1986 and 2002 he lived and worked in Florence, Paris, New York and Rome.

He is an interdisciplinary practitioner working with drawing, painting, photography and writing. He is concerned with formality, mediation and mimesis in art with particular reference to queer theory and queer strategies in art practice.

The MA Queer Studies in Arts and Culture (an internationally unique M level award) has emerged from his research. He has initiated projects addressing the impact of performance and performativity on art-based production.

Professor Sue (Johnny) Golding

Director of the Centre for Fine Art Research

Professor Sue (Johnny) Golding is the Director of the Centre for Fine Art Research (CFAR) and holds the Chair in Philosophy and Fine Art at the School of Art, Birmingham Institute of Art & Design (BIAD). Internationally renowned for her philosophy enactments, installations and sound-scape exhibitions, her research covers the intra-disciplinary intersections of fine art, digital/electronic arts, and aesthetic epistemologies, captured through the lens of contemporary philosophy, meta-mathematics and modern physics.

Her most recent publications include: Dirty Theory: Philosophy After Metaphysics; Fractal Philosophy, Trembling the Plane of Immanence: The Small Matter of Learning how to Listen (or Attunement as the Task of Art); Conversion on the Road to Damascus: Minority Report on Art; The University Must be Defended; and Assassination of Time (or the birth of zeta-physics). Executive Editor of Z e t e s i s: an internationally peer-reviewed journal for contemporary art, philosophy and the cultural condition (London/ Birmingham: ARTicle Press), it foregrounds research driven by experiment, risk and curiosity.  

Professor Golding has Supervised 11 PHDs to completion and, since 1997, has brought in over £900k in research grants. Previously:  Director, Institute for the Converging Arts & Sciences (2009-2012), Professor of Philosophy in the Visual Arts & Communication Technologies (2000-2012 UoG); Teaching Fellow at The Slade School of Fine Art (Jan-June 2011 UCL) and Head of the Theory Department / Lead Researcher, The Jan Van Eyck Academie, Experimental Research in Fine Art, Design & Theory (Maastricht) 1998-2003.  Was awarded an honorary Professorship in Philosophy and Imaging, Dundee School of Art (2009). 

She was born in New York City, lived in Toronto, and took postgraduate/PHD study at the University of Toronto and Cambridge. She lives by the old adage ‘Romanticism is not just for fools and horses; and hindsight is not just 20/20 vision.’

Professor Jo Longhurst

Artist, Professor of Photography and Fine Art Practice

Jo Longhurst is an Artist, Professor of Photography and Fine Art Practice and Research Fellow at the Centre for Fine Art Research (CFAR). She enjoys international recognition for her compelling explorations of ideas of perfection and traditions of photographic practice through photography, video, performance and installation.

Her work has been shown in numerous exhibitions and events, including Other Spaces, Mostyn, Llandudno; 'The Worldly House', Documenta (13), Kassel; 'Artists' Symposium on Perfection', Whitechapel Gallery, London; 'Photography in Britain since 2000', Krakow 'Cocker Spaniel and Other Tools for International Understanding', Kunsthalle zu Kiel and Ursula Blickle Foundation 'Becoming Animal, Becoming Human', NGBK (New Society for Visual Arts), Berlin; 'New Works: Pavilion Commissions', National Media Museum, Bradford; and 'The Refusal', Museum Folkwang, Essen.

Longhurst studied Russian with Politics at Leeds University, and Photography and Multimedia at the University of Westminster. She gained her PhD from the Royal College of Art in 2008, and between 2008-12 was Leverhulme Fellow at the European Centre for Photographic Research, University of Wales, Newport.

Her work is held in many public and private collections and in 2012 she was awarded the Art Gallery of Ontario's 'Grange Prize' (now the AIMIA/AGO Photography Prize), Canada's highest award for excellence in international photography.

Françoise Dupré

Senior Lecturer in Fine Art

Born in France, based in London and a permanent UK Resident, Françoise Dupré trained in London at City University (MA in Museum & Gallery Management), Chelsea College of Art and Design (MA History and Theory of Modern Art) and Camberwell College of Arts (BA (Hons) Fine Art-Sculpture).

Françoise is a self-employed artist-curator and a part-time senior lecturer in Fine Art at Birmingham City University, School of Art where she contributes to the Centre for Fine Art Research (CFAR) strand: Art in the Public Sphere.

Mona Casey

Course Director, MA Contemporary Curatorial Practice

Mona Casey co-ordinates Slice, which circulates work through exhibitions, publications and online. She is also co-director of The Event, a bi-annual presentation of artist-led galleries and projects in Birmingham.

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