The March assessment results are almost in and for some students it marks the end of their degree level study with the Open College of the Arts. For those wishing to continue forward and for other artists and practitioners wanting to pursue postgraduate education, OCA’s MA Fine Art is a three-year, part-time programme offering students academic challenge and innovative delivery.
Launched in 2011, it was the first MA Fine Art in Europe to be offered by open learning and is OCA’s first step into postgraduate provision in its 30-year history.
Being proactive and thinking for yourself are highly regarded in the arts. OCA’s balance of structure from the curriculum and self-direction is a fruitful combination. It’s one that has allowed me to develop my own voice, uninfluenced by house style. The MA has opened up new aspects of study and practice, including research.
OCA’s MA Fine Art prepares students for professional practice in their chosen discipline, supporting the existing practice and aspirations of students working in a wide range of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, installation, performance, time-based work, digital art and photography. The emphasis of the programme is on studio practice, with theory, context and professional practice integrated throughout.
The MA has allowed me to be far more experimental with my work. It has opened my mind to further exploration of materials, caring more about the process and less about the outcome than I did before. I’ve lost my expectations about the creation of a piece so I’m a much looser, more experimental painter now.
The flexibility of the MA Fine Art programme, through online delivery and being part-time, makes it accessible to students who, because of work and family commitments, would not otherwise be able to consider studying at higher degree level.
Students travel through the course together in a cohort, sharing experiences and learning through group and individual work. The curriculum builds from a more structured programme towards autonomous study, with an emphasis on enquiry, critical reflection and exploration. Through lectures, seminars, tutorials and critiques as well as one-to-one tutorial support, students benefit from the expertise of core course tutors and guest lecturers and tutors, who have a range of expertise including curation, media and marketing, art theory, professional practice and related disciplines (for example anthropology).
The programme has had a really positive influence on my art therapy and psychotherapy practice. Attending college during the day is unrealistic for many people and fees for full-time courses can be prohibitively high. In contrast, I find OCA’s flexibility and awareness of students’ different circumstances very inclusive. It is enormously supportive, enriching and inspiring to meet with a group of artists from all over the world.
Progression routes are individual as well as collective. For some students, progression comes from receiving commissions for work. For others, it is about exposure of their work to a growing audience through exhibiting in specific galleries. Equally important evidence of progression for students is increasing the range and impact of their peer networks nationally and internationally or moving on to further, related study or work in the arts.
I can say with certainty that the programme has exceeded my expectations and that my work and images have improved. I have a better knowledge of contemporary and historic artists and works. I have a clearer focus on where I am going with my own practice.
To be considered for the September 2018 cohort apply by 31 July. For more information visit our website here.
Image Credits: OCA MA students Clare Parfree, Sarah Lundy, Amelia Wilson, Mark Daniels
Also published on Medium.