Master of Fine Arts Course Outline
The Master of Fine Arts is a full-time, two-year, low-residency programme enabling enrolled artists to live and work anywhere in New Zealand. Designed around four, week-long seminars per year, the programme is delivered by faculty and guests that are nationally and internationally respected artists, critics, writers, and curators. According to their interests and proposed direction of study, students are assigned two supervisors to support their studio practice and contextual research. Faculty and supervisors provide feedback and guide each student's practice as it develops from semester to semester in order to best support their direction and research throughout the programme.
The programme prepares artists for a professional career working within a diverse field of contemporary art practices across local and international contexts. The interdisciplinary structure and philosophy support artists in understanding how art and artworks operate in the world, and through regular critique, supervisory guidance, seminar preparation, and a focus on exhibition and publication practice assists them to develop their individual approach to practice and research.
The Master of Fine Arts programme is built around a comprehensive programme of supervised studio research and contextual studies requiring self-directed learning and continuing professional development. The principal aims are for students to extend their established creative capacity, develop critical skills, and foster a mature understanding of the relationships between their work and contemporary culture. The intensive format of the seminars is structured around themed discussions, guest artist presentations, exhibition visits, and studio critique.
The MFA consists of four inter-related elements:
Intensive 5-6 day Seminars
Held four times annually on the Auckland Campus, enable students to:
- An oral presentation in their final semester outlining research direction and emphasis
- A blog site showcasing analysis of influential modes of practice and critical debate
- A printed catalogue containing critical essays and photographic evidence of key projects
The final Master of Fine Arts exhibition, attended by artists, art dealers, critics, curators, and other arts professionals, its the most significant event in the programme - the point at which an international or national artist or critic helps the internal panel assess each student's research on its sophistication, critical awareness, and professionalism. It is the springboard for our new graduates to move from the educational sphere to life as professional artists.
Life After a Master of Fine Arts
Many of our graduates have gone on to become successful exhibiting artists, both in New Zealand and abroad. However, a Fine Arts degree also prepares graduates for a wide range of careers, giving them essential skills for the modern job market: the ability to think creatively and flexibly; to work independently or collaboratively; to respond constructively to criticism, and to participate in intelligent debate. Our emphasis on business skills - such as budgeting, marketing, career management, and public relations - also prepares graduates for self-employment or to engage in a range of creative industries.
Key Information for Students
Matt EllwoodHead of School - Fine Arts
Matt Ellwood completed his undergraduate studies at Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts and has a PGDip in Teaching from Auckland College of Education.Continue reading
Bio coming soon
Oleg PolounineFine Arts Technician
Oleg studied at the Elam School of Fine Art where he got his master’s in 2011 (1st class honours). Oleg manages Whitecliffe’s Tech Bay and helps students with their art.
Noel IvanoffSenior Lecturer
Noel completed his undergraduate studies at the School of Art, Otago Polytechnic before completing a certificate in advanced studies at St Martins School of Art in London.Continue reading
Yolunda HickmanProgramme Leader - Postgraduate Programmes
Yolunda Hickman completed her MFA at Elam in 2013 and is a current Doctoral candidate there with a focus on the visual semiotics and limitations of communication systems.Continue reading
Where could this programme take you?
A Master of Fine Arts at Whitecliffe is a great step towards a professional career as an artist. Many of our graduates have gone on to achieve exactly that, here and abroad. But a fine arts training also prepares graduates for a wide range of careers, giving them essential skills for a modern jobs market: the abilities to think creatively and flexibly; to work independently or collaboratively; to respond constructively to criticism, and to participate in intelligent debate. Our emphasis on business skills – such as budgeting, marketing, career management and public relations – also prepares graduates for some of the more pragmatic aspects of life after study. The most important things we do for our students are preparing them for lifelong creative work, and helping them develop the attributes that will make them leaders within their communities. And as the creative industries continue to grow, we find that more and more of our graduates are carving out unique career paths.
Jobs related to this programme
Secondary School Teacher
Set Design and Construction
Art Magazine Editor
Art Project Manager
Talk to our team
If you would like to ask us a question or request more information, please detail your enquiry using the form below. If you would like you can contact us directly on 0800 800 300, email us or use the contact us form.