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.
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.
Our next Open Day for this course will take place on 29 June 2019. Visit us to see our facilities and speak to our staff and students.
Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.
Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:
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.
Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.
|MA||Sep 2019||FT||1 year||£7,100 per year|
|MA||Sep 2019||PT||2 years||£3,550 per year|
|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. 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.
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.
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:
Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,906 for some courses and options?
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 160 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.
Research in Practice
Narratives of Art and Design Education Practices
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.
Global Innovations in Arts Practice Education
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.
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
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.
Models and Methods of Curatorial Practice
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.
Queer Strategies in Practice
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.
Small Arts Business Set Up
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.
Photography as Research
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.
Creative Publishing and Public Dissemination
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.
Technical Methods, Workshop Practice and Learning
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.
Social Practice in the Visual Arts
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.
Art and Transcultural Communication
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
"Studying on the MA Arts and Education Practices programme was a great privilege as the course allowed me time and space to reflect upon and revisit my art practice, as well as research my developing interest in faith schools and alternative arts education, particularly within gallery settings and Punjabi schools situated in Gurdwaras (Sikh temples). Over the course of the year, I experimented with various materials and processes and felt the independence of the programme was integral to achieving success, as this encouraged me to approach galleries and organisations in the local arts community to share and experiment new works. This led to my first solo show at The GAP Arts Project and a number of student-led collaborative shows both at Margaret Street and an interim show at the CET Building in Coventry. The malleability of the course meant that I was able to balance my practice alongside my writing and was supported by my tutors to take up a research trip to Punjab - this developed into a short documentary film (Finding Space in Faith, 2018,), in which I explored my developing relationship with faith and family. This work was presented as my final project and exhibited as part of the end of year Masters degree show, Turn Out.
"After completing the course, I was fortunate enough to be supported by various arts organisations including Grand Union Gallery and Studios, with whom I am now a studio holder as part of their year-long BCU Graduate Residency Programme.
"Finding Space in Faith was widely shared across various platforms including on The White Pube's website as their November web resident. This led onto a collaborative exhibition at Stryx Gallery with a small number of my fellow Masters graduates, my second solo show at Recent Activty and more recently, exhibiting work at the UK's first Asian Woman Festival and becoming a member of Black Hole Club's 2019 cohort.
"Also after completing the course, I began my Initial Teacher Training and am currently working towards QTS with Staffordshire University on their PGCE Art and Design programme and am very privileged to be the newly appointed Teacher of Art at Nishkam High School from September 2019. I endeavour to be a positive role model for young people of colour in the community and create opportunities for them that were not accessible for me."
"Having the space and time to identify how I wanted to practice as an artist through the contexts of education was important to me in selecting this MA. The expanded nature of the course enabled me to play within a critical framework that supported and challenged my practice and thinking. The most powerful aspect of this course was developing an educational ethos that has affected the way in which I interact and make decisions in my work with communities, galleries and teaching in Higher Education."
"The MA Arts and Education Practices course was my ideal programme of study because it gave me fresh perspective on my position as an experienced Fine Art lecturer in Further and Higher Education, and in my role as a freelance art educator. As an artist it also challenged and shifted my creative identity towards unfamiliar territory. Since completing the course, I have started a new job as Course Leader of the Foundation Degree Fine Art and Contemporary Craft at Malvern School of Art, a role in which I constantly draw and reflect upon my experiences at BCU."
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.
A significant number of our graduates have been highly successful professionals, including:
Navi Kaur - A studio holder as part of a year-long BCU Graduate Residency Programme and Teacher of Art at Nishkam High School.
Melanie Woodhead - Course Leader of the Foundation Degree Fine Art & Contemporary Craft at Malvern School of Art.
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:
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.
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.
Our students come from around the world but our arts practice and education course is most popular with international students from:
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.
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. 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.
Cathy is an artist, writer and academic whose work is concerned with how art can be created and distributed in collaborative partnerships and through the creation of commons. Her work seeks to understand the experience of contemporary conditions through social practice and is realised as digital video, print, installation, public art, publication, text, drawing, performance and participatory works.