Structure of the Curriculum

The Fine Art curriculum and its credit structure places emphasis on the student’s self-directed research and practice, and is devised to provide students with the time and space to experiment and take risks, refine their research and working methods, and critically contextualise their motivations and positions as artists. It offers opportunities for students to explore presentation methods and modes the work might need or the artist might invent to reach desired audiences, such as the first-year self-organised project, public programs, our annual Open Studios and the Graduate Exhibition. The structure of the curriculum allows for the flexible adjustment and development of course content according to contemporary developments in the field and the (often diverse) research interests of individual students. The content of the taught program of thematic projects and seminars and the initiatives we take together vary from year to year according to what we collectively consider is of live and vital relevance to the community.

The Curriculum in Focus

Fine Art considers education a highly social process within which we hone and acquire a range of skills and gain new knowledge. It emphasises self-directed and peer learning, research and making, and stresses the complexity and scope of issues raised in and by artworks and their presentation.

  • Studio Research and Practice (Year 1) is comprised of practice-led and practice-based research and the production of work, which may take myriad forms. It is the main focus and largest credit-bearing component of the curriculum for Fine Art students. Students develop a body of work focused on motivating questions, ideas or themes, and use media, materials and working methods they find most appropriate. Students undertake research and work independently, in forms and directions that are specific to them, including material, archival and field research, technical training, publications, collaborative partnerships and public presentations. In the first year, emphasis is on experimentation and exploration of processes, materials and ideas. By the end of their first year, students present at least one or more individual and assessable works that evidence their ability to integrate self-directed research and critical, contextual perspectives into a developing body of work.
    • Within Studio Research and Practice, there is an additional Analysis of Practice-Group Critiquemodule that operates as a formative assessment involving tutor and peer evaluation of research and practice.
  • Proseminar/Workshops (Year 1) is conceived as a provision for first-year students. It provides students with a holistic framework for thinking and working creatively, critically, analytically and contextually to the postgraduate level. Its primary aim is to help enrolled artists question and identify their influences, motivations and priorities, their approaches to research and practice, and their means, materials and methods of production. It also offers critical and art historical perspectives on the so-called institutions and discourses of contemporary art relevant to our practices. In-class meetings and assignments are tailored to enhance research, presentation and writing skills while connecting students to possibly less-familiar or more interdisciplinary paths of inquiry and expression.
  • Thematic Projects and Seminars (Years 1 and 2) are practice-led, research-led or reading and discussion-led elective courses. They approach topical issues and discourses related to contemporary art over the two years. They provide a collective forum for the exploration of different modes of making, representing and understanding art within critical and contextual frameworks. Thematic projects and seminars can be classroom-based and workshop or practice-focused. They usually involve a combination of close readings, lectures, practical work and self-directed research. Pedagogical excursions are a feature of thematic projects and seminars.
  • The Graduate Research Project (Year 2)offers second-year students a concentrated period of self-directed study devoted to the conceptualisation and completion of the Graduate Research Project, which is comprised of a body of work for public presentation and a written text of up to 6,000 words. Each trimester in the second year corresponds to a phase in the Graduate Research Project: Proposal Phase, Project Phase and Completion Phase.