Master of Fine Arts Course Outline
Whitecliffe Master of Fine Arts students are enrolled in New Zealand’s premier low-residency postgraduate visual arts programme. They experience intelligent debate, rigorous critique, and high quality encounters with exceptional artists from New Zealand and overseas, graduating with the skills to become leaders in their chosen field.
The MFA 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 programme consists of four inter-related elements:
Intensive 5-6 day Seminars
Held four times annually, enable students to engage in critical dialogue with peers, supervisors and significant local and international artists, take ownership of the production, installation and contextualisation of their work, and to have informal contact with guest artists through artist talks and discussion groups.
Supervised Self-directed Study
Students work on their research in their own space, in contact with supervisors via studio visits, email and ongoing contributions to blogs and discussion groups.
Relevant Contextual Research
80% of the programme is studio research and 20% is contextual research. Students produce evidence of their contextual research through:
- 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 MFA exhibition, attended by art dealers, critics, curators and other arts professionals, is the most significant event in the programme - the point at which an international 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 graduates to move from the educational sphere
An appropriate undergraduate degree or equivalent educational or professional experience.
Key Information for Students
Belinda WattHead of Department - Fashion Design
Belinda joined Whitecliffe College in 1990 as Head of Department and established and developed the Fashion Design + Sustainability Programme.Continue reading
Debra DennyAcademic Leader
Growing up in a family of tailors and dressmakers, Debra was encouraged from a young age to create her own clothes with a varying degree of success.Continue reading
Susan BarterDiploma Tutor
30 years as a designer, practitioner and maker in the Fashion industry was a gateway to the academic world where Susan completed a Masters of Art & Design at AUT.Continue reading
Christina DohertyCPD Tutor
Christina has made wonderful and diverse career out of Fashion Design, focusing on lingerie design + women's outer-wear.Continue reading
Angela NewsonCPD Tutor
Angela holds a Diploma in Fashion Design and Technology from Massey University, where on completion she was bestowed the Clothing Institute Award for Tailoring.Continue reading
Catherine AndertonCFT Tutor
Catherine Anderton has over 25 years’ experience in the fashion and costume industry. She has worked in film, television and theatre, contributing to the construction and maintenance of costumes on set.Continue reading
Pip StevensonCPD Tutor
Pip has been working in the Fashion Industry since completing her Bachelor of Design (Fashion) at Otago Polytechnic in 2002.Continue reading
Serena IrelandCFT Tutor
Serena’s pathway to fashion has been infused with a rich tapestry of music and travel.Continue reading
Raelene Puru-PeriCFT Tutor
Since completing her studies, Raelene has worked in many areas of the fashion industry, with a specialisation in pattern-making. Continue reading
Heather HohenbergerCFT Tutor
Heather has been involved in the Fashion Industry since she and her husband bought a fashion production company in 1980.Continue reading
Doula MatheosDiploma Tutor
Doula graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Fashion Design and Technology from Wellington Polytechnic, and achieved 2 awards in the DuPont Lycra Fashion Awards.Continue reading
Di McCreanorCFT Tutor
Di has been involved in the fashion industry for many years, beginning with studying fashion at Wellington Polytech in 1984.Continue reading
Claire PalmerCFT Tutor
Claire Palmer started her career in the fashion industry after graduating from Wellington Polytechnic.Continue reading
Rosalind BlackProgramme Coordinator
Roz has over 30 years’ experience in the apparel industry working in diverse areas starting in clothing production as a sewing machinist.Continue reading
Noel IvanoffMaster of Fine Arts 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
Victoria graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts from Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts in 1999.Continue reading
Yolunda HickmanActing Programme Director - MFA / Lecturer
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
Liz is a graduate of the London College of Fashion and has been lecturing in the Fashion Design department at Whitecliffe College since 2005.Continue reading
Linz joined Whitecliffe College as a lecturer in the Fashion Department in 2013. Linz has over 25 years experience in the New Zealand fashion industry.Continue reading
Harita holds a Master's Degree in Sustainable Design from Massey University, New Zealand.Continue reading
Jacquie PhippsHead of Department - Learning and Teaching
Jacquie graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with a Bachelors of Arts (Hons.) in English Literature with supporting studies in Classical Studies and Art History.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
Fashion Public Relations
Fashion + Sustainability
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.