Course subject to validation
Duration: Two academic years (36 weeks pa) full time course
Location: West Dean
Scholarships and bursaries - see available funding
The Master of Fine Art (MFA) Craft Practices at West Dean College is a two-year full-time masters course designed to support you to further advance your practical, theoretical and professional skills, through an emphasis on specialist studio practice. You are likely to already have a well-developed craft practice but want to spend a further period of time specialising and refining your core concerns and creative ambitions.
Our MFA Craft Practices focusses on the making of objects or artworks using traditional and contemporary craft techniques, materials, and processes. It combines the skills and knowledge of traditional crafts with contemporary design principles and artistic expression.
Craft Practices encompass a wide range of material knowledge, including ceramics, woodworking, metalworking, textiles, willow, paper, as well as inter and cross-disciplinary practices. Craft often involves the use of both traditional and innovative materials and techniques, such as recycled or found objects and digital fabrication in the creation of unique and original works.
Craft Practices often reflects broader cultural context, addressing social, environmental, ethnographic, and political issues. Makers may explore themes such as sustainability, identity, consumerism, or the preservation of traditional craft practices through their work.
One of the distinguishing features of contemporary craftmaking is the emphasis on individual craftsmanship and the artist's personal voice and expression. Artists and artisans working in this field often push the boundaries of accepted techniques, experimenting with new techniques, forms, styles, and ideas. They may incorporate elements of abstraction, conceptualism, or other contemporary art movements into their work, or research ancient lost-making methods, resulting in objects that may be both functional and visually compelling.
On this programme you will be encouraged to explore interdisciplinary practices, as well as those focused on a single discipline area such as furniture, clock making, musical instruments, tapestry, bookmaking, small and large scale metals and ceramics. You will benefit from sustained periods of studio-based activity, alongside developing your critical reflection towards a dissertation in the second year.
- Individual studio spaces
- Excellent staff-to-student ratio with regular tutorial support
- Specialised lectures, seminars and workshops with regular visiting lecturers and artists
- Expert support from workshop technicians
- Professional development - gallery visits and other external events
- Contact with a regular series of professional Artists-in-Residence
- An immersive environment with a large applied arts collection and rich connections to art history, particularly Surrealism, through the legacy of College founder Edward James
You can expect
- Support in consolidating studio/workshop practice to a high standard
- Access to facilities, workshops and expertise for the fabrication of artifacts relating to the individual student's ambitions.
- Individual studios and outdoor facilities make it possible to realise ambitious work
- Opportunities for innovative approaches to studio practice so conceptual ideas can be tested and informed using selected media
- To develop originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in craft practices
- Systematic understanding and critical awareness of current debates in contemporary craft and art practice
- To develop an aptitude for professional practice, independent research or employment, including opportunities for public exhibition
Students are encouraged to collaborate with other College departments, particularly the full-time programmes in Fine Art and the School of Conservation, making the most of the wide range of specialist knowledge, materials and equipment that is available.