VA7025 - Exhibiting Practice

What will I learn on this module?

Exhibiting Practice is delivered in conjunction with the module Studio Practice 2 in the second semester of the two-year MFA course. Successful contemporary art practice is ultimately realised through public output. This is realised through exhibitions in galleries and museums, site-specific contexts, publication, interventions in the public sphere and virtual forms of engagement with a diverse range of publics. Through a programme of bi-weekly seminars, this module will highlight current issues and debates determining the exhibition, reception and interpretation of contemporary art and foster your awareness and understanding of the dominant models of curatorial activity. By drawing upon the resources of the BxNU Institute of Contemporary Art located at BALTIC 39, Gallery North and other external exhibition spaces, you will have the opportunity to gain a thorough understanding of the professional context in which contemporary art is produced, exhibited and interpreted. You will be encouraged to identify and apply the practical, theoretical and professional skills necessary to pursue an independent and sustained practice as a creative professional. The development of an exhibition proposal for public output will be the focus for assessment of the module.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through the development of your own exhibition proposal as both a written document and as an oral presentation. This is supported by several complementary teaching strategies: Seminars take place within the dynamic research environment of BALTIC 39 and are led by core staff as well as national and international visitors. Through these seminars you will develop your awareness, understanding and confidence in the analysis and discussion of current issues and debates within exhibition and curatorial practice. The seminar series will also provide opportunities for you to speculate and rehearse the skills and knowledge required to pursue an independent and sustained exhibition practice as a creative professional in a range of relevant contexts. Individual tutorials with module staff will provide specific guidance on the preparation of the exhibition proposal and enable formative feedback to occur. The Oral and written presentations foster the development of presentation skills necessary for the critical evaluation, articulation and promotion of your exhibition practice. All assessment tasks are directed toward tangible outcomes in the professional sphere and are used to develop skills for reflective, life-long learning. External visits provide opportunities to critique the curatorial, technical and interpretative issues determining the presentation and dissemination of contemporary art. BxNU Institute of Contemporary Art also provides opportunities to attend (and contribute to) research events evolved from the PhD community as well as BxNU symposia that will link you to 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 presentation of work in progress within tutorials. Guidance is also provided on structuring and formulating both the written and oral presentations within the module. 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 and an allocated guidance tutor who can assist you to access other relevant sources of support such as the University Counselling Service or Finance Section of the Students’ Union Advice Centre. MFA staff work closely with the University disability advisers 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 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. Evidence a critical awareness in the assimilation of the links between concept, resolution and output.
2. Demonstrate creativity in the delivery of the artwork in relation to complex contexts.
3. Clearly contextualise your studio-practice in relation to contemporary fine art and research models.
4. Understand and employ the most appropriate methods of dissemination and promotion of the artwork in the professional arena
5.. To be able to employ a range of effective strategies with which to establish a sustainable professional practice.
6. Creatively develop effective interpersonal skills through communication with specialist and non-specialist audiences

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

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
Your employability will be enhanced through self-reflective analysis which builds skills such as reflexivity, emotional intelligence and self-efficacy.

The ability to critically evaluate and act upon different conceptual, ethical and material approaches to the exhibition 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 considering the exhibition of art works.

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 students to work alongside doctoral students, staff, professional studio holders and fellowship holders – all with a host of industry and professional experience.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
In developing your exhibition practice proposal you will learn the value not only of professional standards of presentation, but also of independent and lateral thinking, within the cultural industries.

Through initiating and maintaining a sustained, self-motivated exhibition practice you will develop the necessary organisational skills of resource and time management.

How will I be assessed?

On completion of the module assessment is summative. You are asked to demonstrate understanding of the current issues and debates determining the exhibition, reception and interpretation of contemporary art. There are two components of assessment, you will submit a fully developed written exhibition proposal (60%) and deliver an oral presentation (40%) supporting and contextualising the proposal.
The oral presentation will demonstrate an understanding and application of the skills and knowledge required to deliver a professional and developed exhibition proposal. At summative assessment you will demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively and constructively through oral skills and present information clearly and professionally (MLO 1)
Your submission of a written proposal will be for an appropriate public context for an exhibition of your resolved artwork. This will include a detailed outline of the exhibition’s rational, technical requirements, budget, promotional strategy and discursive and educational events that might accompany the exhibition. The submission will demonstrate an understanding and application of the skills and knowledge required to present in a professional manner a written presentation of a developed exhibition proposal (MLO 2 & 3).
The assessment is focused on developing a sustainable artistic practice, prioritising key attributes of research rigor, 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.

Feedback is imbedded into all aspects of delivery in a sensitive and appropriate manner. Seminars encourage your active participation in your own learning processes. You will also be required to complete a brief report after each tutorial summarising the key issues addressed during the session, any recommendations made and actions agreed. These reports involve you in reflective self-assessment whilst developing your skills of articulation, self-analysis and criticality.


Studio Practice 1 VA7022 & Locating Practice VA7024


Studio Practice 2 VA7023

Module abstract

Exhibition Practice follows on from the module Locating Practice and is delivered in conjunction with the module Studio Practice 2 in the second semester of the two-year MFA course. Exhibition Practice provides a supportive and professionally engaged context within which to establish and develop a challenging exhibition practice. The development of a self-directed exhibition proposal is central to this module and enables you to position your own exhibition practice within current debates of exhibition and curatorial activity.
A series of bi-weekly seminars by researchers at Northumbria, and external visitors from the professional world of contemporary art, provides a stimulating and informed context for discussion on the production, exhibition and reception of contemporary art. Individual tutorials with the staff teams at Northumbria provide guidance and feedback on your work and the development of your own exhibition proposal. Unique initiatives such as the RESPOND programme, made possible through the BALTIC partnership, provide opportunities to trial work in professional contexts. At the end of the module the experience of making both oral and written presentations will equip you to articulate your evolving exhibition practice as well as develop your own reflective and critical skills. The filmed oral presentation takes place within BALTIC and is attended by BALTIC curators, providing an excellent opportunity for professional experience and development.

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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