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Painting defines its practice through the particularities of the painted field. The making materiality of the unique object, a globally acknowledged cultural history and the dedicated and dynamic relationship of the painted object to the painter. Painting in the 21st century is vital and relevant. Contemporary painting and what it can be, do and declare is meaningful. We ask how, why and according to what means.
The MA Painting course will explore this innovative and expansive territory in depth, dedicating itself to specialist study at postgraduate level.
Enjoying a growing resurgence in the last decade, recent exhibitions such as Painters’ Painters at the Saatchi Gallery and upcoming Radical Figures: Painting in the New Millennium at the Whitechapel gallery demonstrate a renewed interest in painting and acknowledgement of its unique and innovative position within contemporary visual practice.
Painting defines its particular practice through the peculiarities of the painted field; the making materiality of the unique object; a globally acknowledged cultural history; the dedicated and dynamic relationship of the painted object to the painter. The MA Painting course will explore this innovative and expansive territory in-depth, dedicating itself to specialist study at postgraduate level.
This specialism is reflected in the course content, delivery and dedicated studio/workshop facilities. Staffed by leading practitioners and academics, focused painting technicians and visiting experts in the field; delivering a programme built upon the cross-fertilisation of practical application with an understanding of contemporary painting discourse. Further engagement with practising artists, art world professionals and partner institutions will enable a connected and informed master’s student. You will, through individual studio practice and a dedicated programme, come to an advanced level of understanding of both painting theory and application whilst mapping your position within this territory.
This course looks to establish a new and distinctive voice in Fine Art study, both nationally and through collaborative ventures, internationally.
Staffed by leading practitioners and academics, focused painting technicians and visiting experts in the field; the MA Painting programme is built upon the cross-fertilisation of practical application with an understanding of contemporary painting discourse. Further engagement with practising artists, art world professionals and partner institutions will enable a connected and informed master’s student. You will, through individual studio practice and a dedicated programme, come to an advanced level of understanding of both painting theory and application whilst mapping their position within the wider field of contemporary visual arts.
Independent studio practice is an essential component of the course, through dedicated application comes failure, success and revelation. A strong ethos of making as thinking, self-discipline and material exploration is encouraged throughout the programme. Critiques, workshops, seminars, lectures, surgeries, tutorials and personal research will inform your practice, building confidence and clarity in situating your creativity within contemporary painting.
The course is divided into three units:
Unit 1: The painted language (Materials, methods, contexts.)
Assignments in The Painted Language are aimed at decoding three key areas of your making: the theories, debates and situating of practice; the technical considerations and processes involved in the expanded field of painting; the relationship to modes of making that is the personal dynamic. This will be instigated by a re-visiting of the fundamentals of the subject discipline; in practical; theoretical; historical; social and cultural terms. If your first degree was in a subject other than in the one you are registered, or if you are less familiar with working with critical language and debates, these introductory projects will give you the opportunity to develop skills and adjust to new ways of working.
Unit 2: Everything in its wrong place (Explore, enquire, elucidate.)
This unit provides an opportunity to explore and articulate your painting practice, through focused research, professional engagement, active dialogue and studio practice. Here you will start to locate your painting practice through informed articulation of your methods, defining the rituals and habits of the creative act and situating of your work within appropriate contexts.
Unit 3: Head, Heart and Hand (purpose; integrity; Exhibit).
Here you will create a fully resolved and realised body of work. Very much a time of independent working against the creative tension of a deadline. A final exhibition will establish chosen methods of exhibiting a body of work; considering the narrative in a series of artworks, curatorial coherence and audience readings.
Full-time and part-time pathways
The full-time course runs for one year (45 weeks of study), from September to September. You will be given full access to a dedicated studio. The part-time course runs for two years (90 weeks of study), from September to September. Attendance is one day a week (Tuesdays).
Watch our course videos
Award leader Associate Professor Dominic Shepherd talks more about what you can expect from studying MA Painting here at AUB. Also take a look at the course's recent exhibition at Lighthouse, Poole's Centre for the Arts.
How to apply
When you're ready to apply, you'll need to head to our online application form to apply directly to us.
We encourage you to apply early so that you have time to organise accommodation and to arrange for a visa (if required) before you enrol.
We encourage applications from students with a broad range of qualifications – we'll take into account the knowledge and skills that you've developed outside the classroom as well as your previous qualifications. We aim to interview all applicants who demonstrate the potential to succeed on the course. Interviews are used to assess whether you have the necessary skills and capabilities and whether this programme is appropriate to your interests and aspirations.
Looking to be inspired? Browse our gallery of images from the course – you can find more in our Student Journal and graduate show, too.
Your interview and portfolio
As part of your application, we require a portfolio of your work. You can find out more about what to include in your portfolio by visiting our Portfolio Guidelines page.
Fees and funding
The tuition fees you pay will vary depending on the subject area and the type of postgraduate study you're embarking on. The fee that you pay AUB provides the necessary equipment and training for you to complete your course.
We also have a number of progression discounts and bursaries available to go towards paying for your studies.
You may also choose to buy some items or personal equipment such as a laptop, tablet or computer. This isn't a requirement as desktop and laptop computers are available for you to use in common study areas, including a loan system in the Library.