VA7022 - Studio Practice 1

What will I learn on this module?

Studio Practice 1 is delivered in conjunction with the module Locating Practice in the first semester of the two-year MFA course. The module provides a supportive and professionally engaged context within which to establish a challenging studio practice within the BxNU Institute of Contemporary Art at BALTIC 39. The initiation of a self-directed studio project enables you to re-evaluate the representational and critical resources underpinning your studio practice and the multiple teaching strategies employed by the module develop the discursive skills necessary for you to evaluate and articulate your studio practice to staff, curators, publics and your peers. Through one-to-one tutorials you are supported in the critical and visual exploration of your individual field of interest, learning how to develop ideas through a combination of visual/material experimentation and dialogic exchange; as its name suggests, the module Locating Practice, then helps you to contexualise these ideas within a wider sphere of practice. A core programme of bi-weekly seminars runs throughout the programme and develops a dynamic, participatory approach to discourse surrounding contemporary and historical models of studio practice, exploring how new knowledge is brought about by making/doing through practice-based research. Within this programme tropes of ‘the studio’ are critiqued and ideas such as the body as a studio site, of nomadic practice or cross-disciplinary practice are considered alongside the studio as a site of material production or where artists are mythologised.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through the initiation of your own self-directed studio-based (or comparable) practice, supported by several complementary teaching strategies:
Studio-based group critiques provide feedback from MFA staff, BALTIC curators and peers, allowing you to gain confidence in the analysis of artwork, concepts and theories in order to make clear and sophisticated arguments in verbal form. Seminars take place within the dynamic research environment of BALTIC 39 as well as off-site in a stimulating variety of contexts. The seminars are led by core staff as well as national and international visitors (in person and via interactive technology) and introduce you to key issues and debates, enabling you to acquire and apply tools of critical analysis. Individual tutorials with module staff and visiting artists provide you with specific guidance and feedback and workshops provide opportunities to explore and gain confidence in the use of pertinent material processes. Oral and written presentations foster the development of presentation skills necessary for the critical evaluation, articulation and professional promotion of studio practice. All assessment tasks are directed toward tangible outcomes in the professional sphere and are used to develop skills for reflective, life-long learning. A host of field trips and visits provide opportunities to critique the curatorial, technical and interpretative issues determining the presentation and dissemination of contemporary art and opportunities to attend (and contribute to) research events evolved from the PhD community as well as BxNU symposia will link you the extended field of post-disciplinary activity across the arts, sciences and humanities.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

• You will be supported through formative staff feedback on presentations of work in progress through group critiques and individual tutorials. Guidance is also provided on structuring and formulating written statements.
Written and verbal feedback at the end of the module will support your academic progress by assisting your reflection on and awareness of your achievements and potential as a learner.

• Pastoral support is available through an allocated guidance tutor who can assist you to access other relevant sources of support such as the University Counselling Service or the Finance Section of the Students’ Union Advice Centre. MFA staff work closely with the University disability advisors to ensure that students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties are fully supported. Additional bookable and drop-in study skills support is available through the Northumbria Skills Programme at the City Campus Library and via the e-Learning Portal.
In line with the University’s equal opportunities statement, all students that are confirmed with a disability are given every support to enable them to meet their full potential on the course.

• Regular group meetings with the module coordinator and course leader offer the opportunity to discuss assessment, practical considerations and feedback on delivery of the course and related matters. .
• All course tutors are readily available via email and tutorials can be easily arranged with any member of the staff team outside of formal timetabled sessions.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

1. Demonstrate a developed awareness of historical and contemporary models of practice.
2. Employ a range of effective strategies with which to establish a sustainable professional practice.
3. Make creative use of the critical tools with which to interrogate process and refine output.
4. Develop attributes of self-motivation, risk-taking and independence of thinking.
5. The ability to think laterally and multi-task.

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. You will be expected to engage with and develop your understanding and awareness of contemporary and historical models of artistic practice and to be able to position your own work in relation to these.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
1. Your employability will be enhanced through self-reflective analysis which builds skills such as reflexivity, emotional intelligence and self-efficacy.
2. Your ability to critically evaluate and act upon different conceptual, ethical and material approaches to the production of art, in line with standards across the sector, is an important factor in gaining future work. You will develop your capacity to utilise different theoretical /methodological frameworks and reflect on the ways you have developed them in creating work.
3. An awareness of industry standards for the production, exhibition and communication of contemporary fine art practice is developed via staff feedback and engagement with curators, technical, educational, marketing and design teams as part of the BxNU partnership. The wider research environment of BALTIC 39 allows you to work alongside doctoral students, staff, professional studio holders and fellowship holders – all with a host of industry and professional experience.

Personal Values Attributes:
1. In developing your artistic practice through experimentation you will learn the value of risk-taking and the pre-eminence of independent, lateral thinking in the cultural industries.
2. Through initiating and maintaining a sustained, self-motivated studio practice you will develop the necessary organisational skills of resource and time management.

How will I be assessed?

Summative Assessment
On completion of the module, assessment is summative. You are asked to demonstrate the development of your studio practice through the presentation of a selected body of art-work (75% weighting) that demonstrates your creative use of the critical tools with which to interrogate process and refine output (MLO 3) along with evidence of how you are employing a range of effective strategies with which to establish a sustainable professional practice (MLO 2). Your studio practice is accompanied by a written summary contextualising this development (25% weighting) showing your developed awareness of historical and contemporary models of practice (MLO 1).

The assessment is focused on developing a sustainable artistic practice, prioritizing key attributes of research rigour, critical engagement and professionalism. You will receive written feedback delivered in an individual ‘feedback tutorial’ with the module assessment team, ensuring the process becomes a key mechanism for active learning.

Formative Assessment

You will benefit from receiving several perspectives on your evolving practice, through one-to-one tutorials, group critiques and seminars where diversity of opinions is offered in order to stimulate both risk-taking and independence of thinking (MLO 4) as part of a self-reflective processes of learning. In this way, the teaching methodology encourages strategies for you to become ‘your own critic’ in order to achieve the high levels of autonomy and objectivity necessary post-graduation (MLO2). You are required to write reports in response to both one-to-one tutorials and group critiques, involving you in reflective self-assessment whilst developing your skills of articulation, self-analysis and criticality.




Locating Practice VA7024

Module abstract

Studio Practice 1 is delivered in the first semester of the two-year MFA course and provides a supportive and professionally engaged context within which to establish a challenging studio practice within the BxNU Institute of Contemporary Art at BALTIC 39. You will initiate a self-directed studio project that enables you to re-evaluate the representational and critical resources underpinning your practice. Individual tutorials with Northumbria and BALTIC staff provide guidance and feedback on your work, whilst group critiques help develop confidence in the analysis and discussion of artwork and encourage peer feedback. Key issues and debates informing the production, exhibition, and reception of contemporary art are introduced through studio-based seminars and field trips, providing opportunities to demonstrate critical thinking and rehearse discursive skills. Excellent workshop facilities encourage the exploration of material processes and opportunities to trial work in professional contexts are offered through unique initiatives such as the RESPOND programme made possible through the BALTIC partnership.

Course info

Credits 30

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years full-time

Department Arts

Location Baltic 39, Newcastle upon Tyne

City Newcastle

Start September 2021

Fee Information

Module Information

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Courses starting in 2021 are offered as a mix of online and face to face teaching due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Students will be required to attend campus as far as restrictions allow. Contact time will increase as restrictions ease, or decrease, potentially to a full online offer, should restrictions increase.

Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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