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The University of Southampton

ARTD6184 Contemporary Fine Art 1

Module Overview

This module is the first taken by all students on the MA Fine Art programme. Through it you will develop your art, in theory and in practice, within the wider context of an increasingly globalised contemporary fine art world. Your output to this module will reflect the approaches of your chosen mode of art practice, in whatever medium you employ; drawing, painting, sculpture, video, performance, text, digital, etc. The module supports all art activity, regardless of medium. It provides you with a context, and support, to explore new dimensions of your art work while establishing a clear understanding of the relation of that work to the larger context of contemporary fine art. The intellectual consideration of your own and others’ art ideas takes place within a challenging and creative environment that values the diversity of practices that constitute art today.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • current theories and practices of contemporary fine art, relevant to your professional practice;
  • critical and reflective approaches to your own work, its development and completion, at an advanced level.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • think in a critically reflective and creative manner, applying advanced critical judgement to your research and intellectual knowledge of contemporary art;
  • explore and engage in the informed application of theoretical studies applicable to your practice.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • demonstrate your ability to work effectively to develop your art work in innovative and creative ways at an advanced level;
  • take responsibility for your own learning development and academic integrity.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • communicate complex visual and conceptual ideas effectively, and apply critical judgements to all levels of your work;
  • appreciate and evaluate the relevance and importance of the ideas of others.


This module establishes your individual practice in the context of contemporary fine art. It aims to develop your awareness of how to refine your thinking and its practical applications. Through this module you will learn, at an advanced level, how to develop your art practice to pursue its realisation at a professional level. With the introduction of challenging concepts, you will employ a variety of practical methods and engage with appropriate materials. Workshop inductions will support you in establishing technical confidence with processes and the production of your work. Seminars and lectures will help you to focus your ideas and propose new directions of study. Tutorials will support the steady development of your art, in theory and in practice. Guest artist lectures will provide benchmark standards for art practice today. Study trips provide real world experience of exhibitions, in London, Oxford and Southampton.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Staff-led seminar presentations • Group critiques • Tutorials • Library information skills session (This is a session tailored to the specific interests of MAFA students) • Induction workshops in a wide variety of mediums • Artist lectures • Film screenings Learning activities include: • Peer-group learning • Exhibition creation • Independent practice and research • Gallery/exhibition visits • Critical reading in relation to your knowledge and understanding of art and your work

Independent Study350
Total study time400

Resources & Reading list

Frieze Art Magazine. An extensive range of other contemporary art magazines is available in the library.


Studio Computers. Computers installed in the studios provide you with an easily accessed research facility.



Portfolio Development


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio  (800 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio  (800 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Portfolio  (800 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Generic art and design materials, such as wood, clay, paint, drawing pads and canvas, are available from the School shop at competitive prices. You will develop your art practice in a medium or mediums of your choice. These may or may not be traditional ones such as painting and casting, contemporary fine art encompasses a very wide range of possible material processes and you are free to develop your art work in whatever manner, and with whatever materials you regard as appropriate. Costs associated with these are your responsibility and decisions about their utilisation are a part of the professional practice of your development.


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase the mandatory/additional reading text as appropriate.

Travel Costs for placements

Study trips are funded by you, though group subsidies are organised from relevant transport companies in advance of such trips.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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