BxNU Master of Fine Art

The BxNU Master of Fine Art is a unique postgraduate course delivered by Northumbria University in partnership with BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art.

The two-year course is based within the vibrant studio culture of the BxNU Institute of Contemporary Art at BALTIC 39, where a network of internationally active artists, academics and curators provide world-class teaching and mentorship in contemporary art practice and research.

Vice-Chancellor Scholarships available for UK/EU applicants.

We encourage all applications to the MFA programme for entry in September 2018 to apply prior to our guaranteed application review date of 1 June 2018. After this date, we will review applications subject to there being remaining spaces on the programme.


BxNU MFA Overview

The generous, purpose-designed studio and exhibition spaces at BALTIC 39 are the focal-point of the course. Here you will be supported to develop the full potential of your individual practice, through experimentation and critical reflection. We endorse a multi-disciplinary approach to fine art and welcome all forms of artistic practice.

A wide range of distinguished and internationally respected practitioners will provide you with regular tutorial guidance and critical feedback. Teaching is facilitated by the BxNU partners which includes the MFA team and wider Northumbria Fine Art staff and curators from BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. You will be mentored by this team towards an understanding of the wider professional context of exhibition and interpretation. A programme of studio critiques, seminars and exhibition visits will enable you to develop the discursive and critical skills necessary to articulate issues relating to your practice. There will be opportunities to discuss your work and receive feedback from a wide range of visiting artists, critics and BALTIC’s educational and exhibition production teams, providing invaluable insider perspectives on an International Centre for Contemporary Art.

Research Culture & Institute

As an MFA student you will be expected to demonstrate increasing levels of independence and ownership in relation to your learning experience but you will be supported throughout this process by MFA tutors and the wider community of practice-led researchers based at the BxNU Institute of Contemporary Art. The MFA course sits within a vibrant studio culture of postgraduate research at BALTIC 39 which also includes MRes and Contemporary Arts and Education MA students as well as a large cohort of Fine Art PhD researchers. As well as specialist seminars, all those working at BALTIC 39 have the opportunity to participate in the weekly ‘Midweek Postgraduate Conversation’ (Talk Studio) led by Professor Chris Dorsett;the momentum and content of these conversations are tailored to the experimental open nature of the studio environment and driven by students’ own investigative processes.

The MFA course benefits from its direct proximity to BALTIC’s stunning 300sq m, top floor galleries. These spaces are managed and programmed by the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and offer artists and guest curators the creative freedom to experiment and stretch the boundaries of critical art practice as well as being the site for the MFA graduating exhibition. As an MFA student you will take advantage of talks and symposia organized in response to the gallery’s innovative programme of exhibitions and participate in collaborative events, like the innovative Peer to Peer and BxNU Respond programmes, all of which embody the spirit of openness and exchange at BALTIC 39.

Several, often overlapping, research clusters operate within the BxNU Institute, including The Cultural Negotiation of Science – a group of staff and research students whose practices involve a variety of ‘negotiations’ with expert cultures - or NEUSCHLOSS, a group of artists, writers and curators working with or at Northumbria University with specific relation to experimental curatorial and exhibition practices. Reading and research groups are also initiated from within the student body itself; current examples are the blogsite The Negative Affect and The Performance Research Group.

Wider Research & Technical Facilties

The MFA at Northumbria is served by well-established research facilities spread between BALTIC 39 in the centre of the City, the main City Campus of Northumbria University and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art; all are approximately 15 minutes’ walk from one another. BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art has a unique library and archive as well as its comprehensive digital archiveBALTIC+ whilst the library at Northumbria University was rated joint third in the UK, alongside Cambridge University in the Times Higher Education 2014 Student Experience Survey.

Across these sites we endeavour to create a research environment that is inclusive of cross-disciplinary enquiry, yet also facilitates the demands of focused specialized study. At the City Campus, Gallery North provides an important focus for engagement with practitioners, including funded artists-in-residence and visiting artists, and research within critical and curatorial practices through exhibitions, seminars and publications.

PSN (Paper Studio Northumbria) and CSN (Colour Studio Northumbria) are both examples of internationally focussed initiatives led and mentored by specialist staff in these fields through regular discussions with students and symposia. In addition to this unique, specialised provision, Northumbria University also provides exceptional technical facilities and support including fully-equipped sculpture workshops (wood, metal, casting, ceramics); print workshops (screenprint, etching, lithography, cyanotype, drypoint, photo-etching, photo-intaglio, monoprint); analogue photography darkrooms (B&W and colour fine print & processor); photography studio; two Mac suites, each with 24 stations for digital imaging and video; digital output facilities with high resolution printers; conservation workshops and central media stores with online booking for still/moving image, sound and lighting equipment.