Mona Casey

Meet your Course Leader: Mona Casey

MA Fine Art

Could you tell us about what you do?

As well as my role as Course Leader, I am an artist and curator.

I previously initiated and directed a range of projects including; ARTICLE, which collaborates with curators to explore artist-led curatorial models in exhibition making, co-developed ‘The Museum of [ ] Objects’ an alternative, temporal model for a Museum collection, which arose out of a framework, developed at mac Birmingham, and was co-founder and curator of COLONY an artist-led exhibition space based in Birmingham.

I have also collaborated on a project titled Silent Stage, based in Lithuania which investigates the site of the exhibition as a staged environment. Current projects include Staging the Artwork, a research and curatorial platform exploring the use of scenography in Exhibition design.

What teaching approach do you take as Course Leader?

It is important to find what makes each artist passionate about making and doing art. Everyone has a unique way of learning and practicing art, and encouraging students to claim this and take responsibility for it is vital. I am influenced by James Elkin, conceptual practices of the 60’s 70’s, the Bauhaus and Post-Bauhaus approaches and thinking though making. I believe studio work, collaboration and good student teacher relations make a good learning environment.

What is the philosophy of your course?

The course at The School of Art supports plurality in arts practice and making. No one form of art making supersedes another, except where the individual artist desires it. Authentic perspectives on artmaking are encouraged and nurtured in order to create an invigorating, inspiring and stimulating creative environment. All art making approaches are valid and welcome.

If you had to name one thing about your course that makes it distinct, what would it be?

The juxtaposition of dynamic individually identified artistic research, alongside communal project outputs.

Why is Birmingham a good place to study?

Birmingham has a long history of innovation in the Arts, from the Birmingham School to the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts and Craft Movement. The Midlands, in which Birmingham sits, has produced critical phenomena such as the Public Art Commissioning Agency and the BLK Art Group as well as exciting Festivals such as Fierce Festival of performing art and Supersonic Music Festival. The Digbeth area of Birmingham, is a creative hub and is an area of great community for artists where they are able to experiment and respond to dialogues within contemporary art practice. Many of the local art spaces including East Side Projects, have activities which are linked to the Art School.

Galleries such as Ikon, New Art Gallery Walsall, the Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham Museum & Art gallery and Wolverhampton City Art Gallery also profile contemporary art, archives and specialist collections.

Why do you believe it’s good to do a MA and why might students want to do your course?

The course will help you to develop new ideas and critical thinking around your practice, alongside an associated community of creative people. You will foster a mature and self-conscious responsibility for making art in the world, and it will help you to challenge yourself and position your practice professionally.

Throughout the course you will develop expert making and production technical skills with the ability to think creatively and this skill can be applied to any profession.

What can students do to help prepare them for the course?

You will find it useful to visit exhibitions from small commercial galleries and artist initiatives as well as public galleries and museums. Take a look at a range of art press off and online: Frieze, Art Monthly are consistently good. Visit art bookshops and identify artists you like and research and read around them. Sign up to arts listings and news and notice what types of artists and conversations are occurring.