MFA in Fine Art

This MFA, described as one of the most influential MFA programmes in the world, subjects art-making to critical scrutiny. Artists on the programme strengthen the motivation, self-reflection and ambition of their practice and its leading ideas.

Find out more about applying.

Our application deadline is 12 January 2015. We may consider late applications if there are vacancies.

Interviews will be held in March 2015.

About the department

2 years full-time, or 4 years part-time, or 3 years combined full-time and part-time.
If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline. Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants.

See our tuition fees.
Contact the department
Contact Nick Crowe
Visit us
Find out about how you can visit Goldsmiths at one of our open days or come on a campus tour.

For MFA Program Page 
Ji Hye Yeom. Gray matter, 2011. Video Still 

While on the programme you will continually engage with what it means to practise as an artist today and the position taken by an art-practice in relation to art's complex history and its currency in wider social and cultural processes.

Given the wide international breadth of artists on the programme and the open range of media welcomed in it, a primary concern in discussion is how a particular artist's work and ideas are understood in and across different social, artistic and intellectual contexts.

Our primary emphasis is on how artists look to shift prevalent expectations and whether their work does so – perhaps then transforming what art might be.

The degree has been described as one of the most influential MFA programmes in the world.

Further Information: 

Why not visit one of our Postgraduate Art Open Days? You can also visit our Exhibitions and Events Archive

You can also view our programme activities and projects on, follow staff, student & alumni activity on Facebook and get course announcements on Twitter

What you study

The Goldsmiths MFA Fine Art places a strong emphasis on student-centred learning, particularly in the studio seminars and personal tutorials based on your art-making, its key concerns and ideas and their mutual and inter-dependent development.

A lecture programme will in addition contribute to your understanding of concerns relating to contemporary art in broader contexts.

The programme is divided into two parts:

Year One (Diploma stage) can be taken either full-time for one year (until late July), or part-time for two years (until late July in both years). This year seeks to establish the core concerns and ambitions of your art. 

Year Two (MFA stage) can be taken either full-time for one year (until late August) or part-time for two years (until late July, and then until late August in the final year). This stage of the programme enables you to address your ambitions for your art with an awareness of how it is situated.

Applicants who are already in possession of 120 grade credits for postgraduate study from another programme are able to apply for direct entry into Year Two of the programme on either a full or part-time basis. 

You may also take advantage of an exit point at the end of Year One of the programme and graduate with the Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art.

If you are an international student and would like to study a 'tailor-made' programme (for up to a year), you may be interested in applying as a Guest Research Student.

Visiting Tutors and Lecturers

Visiting tutors on the MFA during 2011-2012 invited by the students can be found here.

Over the last three years, lectures have been given by these visiting lecturers.

Applying and entrance requirements

You can apply directly to Goldsmiths via the website by clicking the ‘apply now’ button on the main programme page.

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have: 

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments.
  • The email address details of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic soft copy of your academic reference.
  • A personal statement. This can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online.
  • If available, an electronic soft copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory).
  • Your digital portfolio.

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September.

Application deadline: 12 January 2015. We may consider late applications if there are vacancies. Interviews are held in March 2015.

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

If you're applying for funding you may be subject to an application deadline. Find out more about funding opportunities for UK/EU students and international students

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

Submitting your portfolio

We prefer that you send up to 20 images, movie clips or web links as your portfolio via our online application system. You will be asked to do this when you apply online. Please include information on the size, media, duration and year of works as appropriate.

Only complete applications together with portfolios can be considered. We examine portfolios, and may invite you to attend an interview. International (non-EU) students who are invited for an interview, but can't attend Goldsmiths, will be interviewed via Skype.

Entrance requirements

Applicants for Year One full-time and part-time (home/EU only) Diploma stage: undergraduate degree of at least second class (or international equivalent) plus experience as an artist.

Applicants for entry directly onto Year Two full-time and Year Three part-time of the programme (home/EU only) routes: you must already be in possession of 120 grade credits for postgraduate study from another programme to apply for direct entry into Year Two of the programme on either a full or part-time basis.

Requirement for part-time study: you need to have your own studio space in which to work over the four years of the programme.

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

We also accept a wide range of international equivalent qualifications, which can be found on our country-specific pages. If you'd like more information, please contact the Admissions Office.

English language

If your first language isn't English, you need to demonstrate a minimum score of 7.0 in IELTS (including 7.0 in the written element) or equivalent to enrol and study on this programme. 

Please check our English Language requirements for more information.

Find out more about applying 

Contact us 

Get in touch via our online form


+44 (0)20 7919 7766

International (non-EU)

+44 (0)20 7919 7702

MFA Fine Art staff


Nick Crowe (staff profile page)

Nick Crowe works in collaboration with artist Ian Rawlinson and their video and sculptural work address itself directly to the rhetoric and grammar of power as a social and cultural phenomena. Of particular interest are questions around faith, national identity, militarism and the environment.

Dr Ros Gray (staff profile page)
Dr Ros Gray's research focus on revolutionary cinema and its global filmmaking networks; the screen as site of radical gathering; postcolonial and political theory; urban cultures and spatial theory; contemporary film and video art.

Andy Harper (staff profile page)
Andy Harper's practice is predominantly studio based and centres on concerns of contemporary painting. His current interests involve neuro-aesthetics and the brain's sense of movement and how these might be brought to bear on the making and reception of painting. Symmetry, mark making, and a crude version of printing, all play a part in trying to explore painting as an instrument to capture thought itself.

Dr Mark Harris (staff profile page)
Dr Mark Harris is an artist, writer, and curator. His approaches to making artwork are linked by an interest in the imagery of intoxication as a form of utopian representation considered as alternative agency to militant strategies of the historical avant-gardes. Primarily working in video, painting, and drawing, he has most recently been reconfiguring photographs derived from hippy communities of the 1960s to consider them as future-oriented wish images.

Mark Leckey (staff profile page)
Mark Leckey works in sculpture, sound, performance, and video to explore the affective power that objects, images, and brands exert on us, as focal points of desire and identity. Leckey taught as professor of film studies from 2005 to 2009 at the Städelschule Frankfurt am Main. He was awarded the Turner Prize in 2008. 

Professor Yve Lomax (staff profile page)
A longstanding research concern has been that of including writing within the repertoire of visual art and placing emphasis on writing as a practice not in relation to ‘art writing’ but also the ‘art’ of writing theory. The research endeavours to question presuppositions held of speaking and seeing and, moreover, practice and theory.

David Mabb (staff profile page)
Mabb's paintings, photographs, textiles and videos work with and against the fabric and wallpaper patterns of 19th-century designer and Marxist William Morris. By contrasting Morris' design work with Constructivism and other early Modernist forms Mabb produces an unstable picture space that is never fixed, where the appropriated forms are never able fully to merge or separate. 

Dr Suhail Malik (staff profile page)
Dr Suhail Malik’s research focuses on contemporary art; critical theory and philosophy; critique and liberal democracy, especially American power; technoscientific transformations of experience and life.

Simon Martin (staff profile page)
Simon Martin's practice is an attempt to reflect upon material culture. He is interested in how we understand ourselves through social structures, mythologies and collective memory evidenced in art objects, mass media and the built environment. Employing various strategies of appropriation the work takes the form of moving image, installation and photography.

Professor Michael Newman (staff profile page)
Professor Newman writes art criticism and art history, and occasionally curates exhibitions. Much of his writing is devoted to developing critical and hermeneutic frameworks for the understanding of contemporary art. His main thematic interests lie in the still and moving image, in the trace and the ways that it manifests itself in mark-making and installation, and in the intersections of these two modes. His current research projects concern sovereignty and decapitation, and notions of fetishism, perversion and enjoyment as positive values in art.

Lindsay Seers (staff profile page)
Lindsay Seers’ work takes the form of performances, which narrate the histories of strange transformations. These acts draw inspiration from television and film biographies, which attempt to explain an artist’s work as evolving from their biography.

Ben Seymour (staff profile page)
Ben Seymour's research looks at the relationship between urban regeneration, gentrification and culture; the culture and politics of contemporary capitalism from social precariousness and creative economy ideology to art and financialisation. 

Kate Smith (staff profile page)
Kate Smith uses sculpture/installation as a locus for the exploration of subjectivity.

Jemima Stehli (staff profile page)
Jemima Stehli's photographic works are performative experiments where she places herself as either subject or object of the image and often as both. In so doing she explores the relationship between sculpture, photography and performance and underlies the tensions that exist between these mediums. A number of Stehli's works incorporate iconic imagery from other artists, ranging from Helmut Newton to Allen Jones to Larry Bell, investigating the traditions of Art History and exploring a contemporary relationship to them.

Milly Thompson (staff profile page)
Milly Thompson looks at pleasure, desire, the market, women in art and business, the gaze, and humour, using sculpture, video, printmaking, photography, web, collaboration/participation, curation and painting.

MFA FA Visiting Tutors


Lawrence Abu Hamdan
David Beech
Josephine Berry Slater
James Bridle
Clare Charnley
John Cussans
Christina della Giustina
Redmond Entwistle
Sophie Fiennes
Simon Fujiwara
Henriette Grahnert
Emma Hart
Ole Hagen
Anthea Hamilton
Andy Holden
Isaac Julien
Allison Katz
Pil & Galia Kollectiv
Andrew Kotting
Sharlene Khan
Darian Leader
Jenni Lomax
Laura McLean-Ferris
Dawn Mellor
Nathaniel Mellors
Haroon Mirza
Tom Morton
Rosalind Nashashibi
Sally O’Reilly
Katrina Palmer
Heather Phillipson
Gail Pickering
Paul Pieroni
Matthew Poole
Laure Prouvost
Morgan Quaintance
James Richards
John Russell
Clunie Reid
Simon Sheikh
Daniel Sinsel
Sue Spaid
John Smith
Aneta Szylak
Jessica Voorsanger
Jeremy Wafer
Ian Wallace
Maria Walsh
Laura White
Zoe Whitley
Bedwyr Williams
Gilda Williams
Carey Young


Ed Akins
Phil Allen
Anna Barham
Becky Beasley
David Beech
James Bridle
Steve Claydon
Matthew Collings
John Cussans
Dexter Dalwood
Matt Darbyshire
Folkert De Jong
Redmond Entwistle
Koken Ergun
Doug Fishbone
Antony Gormley
Rikke Hansen
Emma Hart
John Hillard
Roger Hiorns
Andy Holden
Alasdair Hopwood
John Hutnyk
Travis Jeppesen
John Jordon
Robin Klassnik
Gil Leung
Lan Lam
Lisa Le Feuvre
Hew Locke
Lana Lin
Simon Ling
Rebecca May Marsten
Renzo Marten
Stewart Martin
Atje Majewski
Nathaniel Mellors
Tine Melzer
Tom Morton
Laura Oldfield Ford
Sally O'Reilly
Uriel Orlow
Francesco Pedraglio
Emily Pethick
Heather Phillipson
Cher Potter
Laura Preston
James Richards
Adrian Rifkin
John Smith
Suzanne Treister
Mark Tichner
Sarah Tripp
Wendelien Van Oldenborgh
Karen Vershooren
Marina Vishmidt
Maria Walsh
Ian White
Gilda Williams Liam Young


Jaishri Abichandani
Phillip Allen
Ed Atkins
Jonathan Baldock
Dave Beech
Norbert Bisky
David Blandy
Jan Boelen
Nicolas Bourriaud
Sebastian Buerkner
Faiza Butt
David Campany
Benedict Carpenter
Alice Channer
Adam Chodzko
Pamela Church-Gibson
Steve Claydon
Celine Condorelli
Stuart Croft
John Cussans
Dexter Dalwood
Judith Eisler
Chris Evans
Laurel Farrin
Doug Fishbone
Mark Fisher
Max Frisinger
Beatrice Gibson
Kirsten Glass
Margarita Gluzberg
Goldin & Senneby
Brian Griffiths
Chris Hammond
Rikke Hansen
John Hilliard
Karl Holmsqvist
Claire Hooper
Alasdair Hopwood
Ian Hunt
Mark Hutchinson
John Jordon
Ian Kair
Annetta Kapon
Joseph Kosuth
Lisa Le Feurve
Daria Martin
Dawn Mellor
Nathaniel Mellors
Tom Morton
David Musgrave
David Noonan
Kirsty Ogg
Laura Oldfield Ford
Katrina Palmer
Olivia Plender
Rachel Reupke
Abigail Reynolds
John Roberts
Aura Satz
Martina Schmuecker
Mike Sperlinger
Dan Sturgis
Neal Tait
Noam Toran
Dmitry Vilensky/Chto Delat
Marina Vishmidt
Nicole Wermers
Martin Westwood
Carey Young

MFA Fine Art Visiting Lecturers

As well as the seminar and tutorial programme within critical studies, a weekly programme of lectures are provided on a range of positions within contemporary art. Over the past three years lectures have been delivered by:

Michael Archer
Vicki Bell
Amanda Beech
Lauren Berlant
Roger Buergel
Howard Caygill
Anna Colin
Sarah Cook
Bridget Crone
Anna Dezeuze
Diedrich Diederichsen
M. Beatrice Fazi
Mark Fisher
Matt Fuller
Melanie Gilligan
Avery Gordon
Janna Graham
John Gray
Jack Halberstam
Mark Harris
Chris Kraus
Lars Bang Larsen
Lisa Le Feuvre
Sook-Kyung Lee

Francesco Manacorda
Peter Osborne
Heather Phillipson
Plastique Fantastique
Andrea Phillips
Matthew Poole
Nina Power
Elizabeth Price
Adrian Rifkin
Mark Sladen
John Slyce
Sue Spaid
Jaime Stapleton
Barbara Steveni
Sally Tallant
Jennifer Teets 
Alberto Toscano
Hanan Toukano
Marina Vischmidt
Grant Watson
Eyal Weizman
Carey Young
Tirdad Zolghadr 

Modules & Structure

This two-stage programme is designed to subject the making of art work, the ideas and concepts involved, and the works of art themselves, to artistic and critical scrutiny. This will include individually directed research to review, consolidate and strengthen your individual position as an artist. Students accepted onto the programme work in media areas including painting, sculpture, printmaking, installation, performance, art writing, textiles, digital media and video. The programme places a strong emphasis on student-centred learning – especially on your individual response to the divergent views you will experience in relation to your practice.

Among other qualities, you are expected to: contribute actively in tutorial and seminar discussions; to welcome and encourage sustained analysis of your practice by tutors and fellow students; to understand that the production of contemporary art takes place in a demanding and testing environment; and to take an independent path in developing your practice and its concerns.

What do you study?

Learning on the programme is primarily achieved through an appropriate combination of self-initiated and directed work in studio-practice and Critical Studies. Individual tutorials, seminars, lectures, workshops and research laboratories support this work. All parts of the programme are mandatory for all students. There are no optional modules on the programme. Modules and assessments are structured similarly on both parts of the programme.

Studio seminars

Seminars help you develop the confidence and ability to discuss your own work and the work of others, and to use the combined knowledge and experience of the group to assist in understanding and developing your own practice. This element of the programme is student-led with tutors responding to the needs and concerns of the participants. Studio seminars are organised by groups and take place weekly. Each student presents work for a seminar once in each term.

Tutorials and group tutorials

These develop your practice within contemporary art and current debate. You receive scheduled one-to-one tutorials with your Group Tutors and other staff from the study area. Two tutorials a term are scheduled with the core studio staff. In addition, you are expected to select a number of visiting tutors relevant to your practice for tutorials. These tutors are chosen in consultation with your Group Tutor, and cover a wide range of specialisms – discussion with them should further your understanding of your work in terms of the development of your practice. You are expected to write a report immediately after each tutorial summarising what took place and recording your considered responses to it.

Critical Studies

You are expected to identify and initiate the discussion of the critical concerns and interests of your practice. These concerns are developed through studio-based teaching and in discussions with your Critical Studies tutors, and developed further through the Critical Studies seminar and essay. For this reason, and in contrast to many other programmes, Critical Studies for the MFA Fine Art at Goldsmiths does not offer a series of subjects taught and learnt through seminars, group reading and discussion, but bases the teaching and learning of Critical Studies primarily in relation to your own practice.


These introduce and develop issues of critical significance in contemporary culture and fine art by presenting arguments and discursive frameworks for contemporary practice. Lectures run through the first two terms on a weekly basis. They provide an opportunity for you to critically engage with your own practice in terms of wider cultural debates with which they may be unfamiliar. The lectures also provide an occasion for all members of the postgraduate programmes to meet on a regular basis.

Taught workshops

Each workshop will comprise four staff-led discussion-based sessions on a philosophical, theoretical or historical topic relevant to contemporary art practice, and will involve texts to be read in advance. Each student takes two workshops during the first year (students may apply to substitute part of this requirement with structured independent study).

Collaborative seminars

Student-led collaborative seminars, supported by staff and teaching assistants around a topic of mutual interest, are held during the second year. These will involve engagement with the professional art community, may take place outside the college in collaboration with other institutions such as museums and galleries, and may culminate in an open event or publication.


The three examination elements for both Year One and Year Two are: Collection of Tutorial Reports, Exhibition, and Critical Studies Essay. All three elements must be passed to successfully complete each part of the programme. Each element of examination has both progression and final points of assessment.

Programme specification

To find out more about this degree, including details about the ways you'll be assessed and information about our marking criteria, you can download the programme specification.

Student profiles

Laure Prouvost, winner of the Turner Prize 2013

Former MFA Fine Art student

Laure Prouvost recently became the seventh former Goldsmiths student to win the Turner Prize, the UK’s most prestigious arts award. She was awarded the prize for her film Wantee, which takes the audience in search of her fictional grandfather. The prize panel said the film, which played in a room styled like a tea party, was “outstanding for its complex and courageous combination of images and objects in a deeply atmospheric environment”. The piece was commissioned by Grizedale Arts and Tate for inclusion in a Kurt Schwitters retrospective at Tate Britain.


Abri De Swardt

MFA Fine Art student

"I am constantly surprised by the dedication and talent of my peers, the commitment to political integrity, radical research, and the drive to find fresh cultural articulations."

Since the second year of my BA in Visual Arts at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, I was enticed by the notion of coming to Goldsmiths to do a MFA. This predilection was grounded on little knowledge: Goldsmiths in my mind was this mythical place that saw only a handful of South African artists as alumni. It was only during 2011, as a postgraduate student and a part-time lecturer in Visual Studies, that I started to earnestly research Goldsmiths, New Cross and London, a venture that at times seemed overwhelming for someone who had not been in the UK before, and who knew that any future plans would be subject to scholarships.

The experience of now attending Goldsmiths, and having a studio in the Laurie Grove Baths, is still tinged with the surreal ­– I am constantly surprised by the dedication and talent of my peers, the commitment to political integrity, radical research, and the drive to find fresh cultural articulations.


"The tutors challenge you and push you to be bold and think outside the box."

I'd been working as an independent artist for a few years now, and I was really interested in coming to London knowing that is one of the most important centers of contemporary art, so the idea of taking a Masters degree was the perfect choice for me.

After some research on universities I was particularly attracted to the critical thinking approach of Goldsmiths as I feel it is of paramount importance for the full development and maturity of an artist. And was I correct! Not only have I met the most critically engaging environment where every single person has his/her own strong opinions and points of view and wanting to discuss and participate in a dialogue, but I'm also very motivated by how the tutors challenge you and push you to be bold and think outside the box.

I'm positively sure that when I graduate I'll be more than ready to participate in the professional world and contribute to the current developments around art.  

Mina Salimi

MFA Fine Art student

"Thanks to the critical quality of Goldsmiths in general, I'm more conscious of my interests in depth and that connect different mediums that I'm doing together."

I chose Goldsmiths not only for its fine art department but also for other humanities departments. Art is very closely related to philosophy, visual culture, politics, sociology, film, music, and theatre. This is unique about Goldsmiths as other art colleges in London have more of a combination of science or design departments, which are interesting too. However they don't feed to fine art as much as humanities. Here most departments are open to all students and eventually university (and not just your course) offers more than you can accommodate in the calendar. This system is very important for collaborations and collective learning. I was offered to do set design of Goldsmiths opera this year only by sitting in their rehearsals during my spare time.

I have done painting, interior design, sculpture. When I came to Goldsmiths video, script writing, and performance added to the diversities; yet thanks to seminars and critical quality of Goldsmiths in general, I'm more conscious of my interests in depth and that connect different mediums that I'm doing together. I hope I can keep critical thinking, self development, and relevant network after graduation.


Graduates from the MFA in Fine Art Goldsmiths go on to success in a range of fields. As well as the many internationally reknown artists who have studied at Goldsmiths, others have gone onto become gallerists or curators or have entered the fields of art administration, education and other cultural industries. The course at Goldsmiths enables you to focus on the development of your own skills and aspirations and to equip you with the resources to succeed in your chosen profession.

Please see our full MFA Art Alumni list .

Alumni portraits

Aisha Abid Hussain

MFA Fine Art, 2012

I owe all my personal and artistic growth to London and to Goldsmiths. 

When I decided to apply for MFA, Goldsmiths became my eminent choice among other Art institutions in London for having a diverse and cutting-edge programme. I was seeking an environment that can play a pivotal role in pushing me out of the comfort zone, artists are prone to reside in. As a practicing artist, I was interested in developing a new visual idiom to find my place within the Contemporary Art Scene. I choose Goldsmiths because what I learned about the Institute and programme was exactly what I needed at that point. I consider it to be the best time of my institutionalised life. The programme did open up the horizons I was struggling against. Interaction and exchange of ideas with fellow artists coming from such diverse backgrounds actually changed my perception about art making. Great facilities and help of experts around made it possible for me to explore new mediums in my practice. What Goldsmiths provided me as an artist is an enhanced vision/intellect to analyse various art forms and to look at things from a different perspective all together. The MFA Programme at Goldsmiths provided me with an opportunity to reflect on my practice in such a way that I could bridge it to the context I was probably shying away from. A chance to share ideas with many contemporary artists, writers and theorists coming in as tutors filled me with an immense confidence to believe in the visual narrative I was daring to explore in my practice. The way I was pushed at the beginning of the programme to achieve clarity in my ideas was the key to a much articulate practice by the end. I owe all my personal and artistic growth to London and to Goldsmiths.

Pil and Galia Kollectiv

MFA Fine Art, 2000-2001

The workshops were fantastic and the staff introduced us to new ways of making with patience and dedication.

We didn’t really know that much about art when we came to London. We’d heard about Goldsmiths because the band Blur had gone there and we vaguely knew Damien Hirst had made a video for them and had also gone to Goldsmiths. We didn’t even like Blur that much, but we had this notion that if you were into bands, you went to art school, and London seemed to be the epicentre of this sort of thing. We were attracted to the emphasis on theory and the lack of separation between artistic disciplines at Goldsmiths. We got many things from our time here, the most valuable of which is probably an enduring network of international contacts that has allowed us to establish a career as artists. We found ourselves part of an intellectual community where art was discussed critically through a strong engagement with political and philosophical concepts. We found the teaching at Goldsmiths incredibly useful, in particular Suhail Malik’s lecture series and reading seminars, which gave us insight into ideas we had not encountered before. The workshops were fantastic and the staff introduced us to new ways of making with patience and dedication. Many of the things we were told during our degree only made sense a couple of years later. We had a lot to learn about the artworld and its institutions, and initially we were just excited to be in London and probably couldn’t take it all in, but the feedback we got on our early attempts at a collaborative art practice was very useful, and we continue to refer to some comments that were made then when we think about projects now. We went on to do a PhD at Goldsmiths because we saw it as one of the few places devoted to the kind of critical thinking about art we were interested in, and an institution singularly committed to supporting new methodologies, including collaborative work.

Amir Chasson 

MFA Fine Art, 2008-2010

Goldsmiths is more a way of thinking and a particular approach to art practice than simply an art school. 

I went to several art school graduation shows after moving to London in 2007, and the one at Goldsmiths was by far the most thought provoking. It had such a special kick that I knew it would be the perfect place to work. The most important thing is that I learnt to think critically about my own work. I also made lots of crucial friendships which have been - and still are - invaluable for my development as an artist. And I am still making friends with Goldsmiths graduates who I didn't even study with, which says a lot about the shared sensibility of the place. That seems to confirm the idea that Goldsmiths is more a way of thinking and a particular approach to art practice than simply an art school. One of the cool features of the MFA programme was that I was able to invite artists from outside Goldsmiths to meet with me and discuss my work at length. I had some brilliant tutorials with artists whose work I'm interested in, such as Spartacus Chetwynd and Brian Griffiths. But the close relationship and the intellectual exchange with the Departments' own tutors, and the opportunity to place my work in the context of others', was what I found to be the most valuable aspects of the programme.

Amanda Beech

MFA Fine Art, 1997-1998

Goldsmiths presented an atmosphere where making art was coupled with thinking about art in a critical context, and its reputation for cultivating this type of 'thinking practice' through seminars and discussion was central to how I saw my work developing at that time. To me, Goldsmiths represented a place where an artist could have an 'active', 'engaged' and 'affective' practice rather than offering a passive attitude to arts' potential political power. The programme was intensive and challenging. It allowed me to work through the question of how an artwork could sustain a vital and generative critique in and beyond its own context. Unlike other programmes, Goldsmiths was more focused on enabling the student to make those difficult decisions about practice and to test them out in focused seminars on practice. The programme enabled me to develop a method of working in my practice, where theory and practice were not combative; nor were they illustrative of each other. This led to the development of an area of practice that I had previously not considered as an artist, that of publishing writing and public speaking. This led to my undertaking a practice-based PhD. Goldsmiths foregrounded the relevance of key skills in approaching practice from different perspectives, as well as the importance of understanding the core motivations of the work that I wanted to make. Leaving an MA with an idea of what I wanted to say as an artist, and how my practice could be developed independently by producing my own discursive contexts for art production were lasting benefits of the programme.

Anthony Gross

MFA Fine Art, 1999-2001

I had always wanted to come here since finding out about Jon Thompson and then being impressed by a later generation including Brian Griffiths, Gary Webb and others from that time. Goldsmiths clearly allowed me direct access into the London scene at that time. Goldsmiths very much created a culture of self-organisation, with myself and friends organising our own shows. I really valued that there were no specific departments such as painting and sculpture, etc. This is fundamental as fine art has for me such a wide range, for example from the digital to architecture. The personal network of friends and collaborators that the course created for me was the most important aspect. I found myself forming a close bond with fellow Goldsmiths art students that still exists today as all our careers evolve side by side. This has been the most valuable aspect of Goldsmiths for me. Working with this supportive network of piers I started temporarycontemporary with another alumni, Jen Wu. As a response to a perceived lack of an alternative scene it went on to produce over two dozen exhibitions locally, inviting artists and curators, and expanding the networks globally. This yielded projects in most of the London Institutions (see 'Event Horizon, GSK, Royal Academy) and two new venues near Goldsmiths. The Old Police Station is a space for student graduates to try out their first exhibition proposals and to find post-college workspace. This on-going project hopes to support Goldsmiths students as well as other colleges in London. Thinking about what could form a full range of art activity in the area led to creating Enclave nearby in Deptford, which creates a semi-professional and professional internationally accessible art gallery context for Deptford. It is designed to provide the missing link in an artist's professional development, with white cube spaces, curated gallery programmes, hopefully a residency space and so on into the future. As an artist, I have taken on board these ideas and brought them into my animation/film-making, resulting in a fictional look at urban planning in South London, filming locally to really explore the surrounding patina. I applied this approach to Detroit as another example of a similar urban context, which led to new film works and in 2013 a retrospective of films shown at The Pompidou centre, Paris. Whilst I did not have immediate commercial success coming out of Goldsmiths, what it allowed me to do was work on and build long-term strategies that have built up over the years into a complex and compelling involvement in the art scene. So I am very much continuing my Goldsmiths days in the world at large.

Doug Fishbone

MFA Fine Art, 2002-2004

As someone living in New York at the time I was considering doing an MA, I thought London might be an exciting place to study, and submitted an application to Goldsmiths. I came to visit and liked the vibe very much, especially after speaking to the people on the course. It was a bit of a leap of faith deciding to study in a different country, but I am delighted I took the chance. Goldsmiths was an excellent place for me, especially as someone without a traditional art background. My BA had been in music, not fine art, so I'd had not spent much time studying art formally prior to coming to the MA. I had lots of ideas and great enthusiasm, but few particular notions how to develop things into work. Goldsmiths turned out to be the perfect place for me – it supported me in experimenting and developing my voice, providing the right mix of structure, infrastructure and independence for me. I am deeply indebted to the technicians there, especially Tolga Saygin and Mike Riley, who helped me to find my voice in a medium I had not tried before, and might not have tried without their guidance. Goldsmiths gave me the time and focus to develop ideas properly, and a sense that a project could be nurtured and pursued even if I did not have the skills to do it immediately on my own. I can't really overstate the importance of this in my own development as an artist, especially given my non-traditional background. The confidence and independence that this offered – knowing that I could explore an idea with expert guidance, wherever it might lead  – has stayed with me, and sits at the heart of my practice. I am very glad I went to Goldmiths. I could not have found a better place.

Joey Holder

MFA Fine Art, 2008-2010

After my BA I didn't want to focus on a particular medium and wanted to expand my knowledge and practice. After seeing the work in the MFA Fine Art degree shows and visiting the University I felt that Goldsmiths was the best place to challenge and rethink my ways of making, which was reflected in the wide range of work on display. I made a great number of friends and peers who have been invaluable to my development as an artist during and after studying at Goldsmiths. Without these networks there would be less opportunities to show work and share ideas. The feedback I received from the tutors, visiting tutors and students helped me to understand my work from an outside perspective. My work developed in ways that I could never have imagined as I was able to experiment with different media and modes of display. The seminars and tutorials helped me to think 'critically' and question different forms of contemporary art and discourse. Goldsmiths taught me to continuously push my work forward and take risks. Since leaving Goldsmiths I have been lucky enough to take part in numerous exhibitions and awards in London and overseas. I believe that many of these opportunities wouldn't have come to fruition without the knowledge and networks I have maintained from my time studying at Goldsmiths.

Juan Bolivar

MFA Fine Art, 2001-2003

I had been reluctant to undertake postgraduate studies; adamant that if I dug deep enough and hard enough I would find answers to my practice and research. Paradoxically through incidental conversations with Goldsmiths alumni, I began to understand that it is questions that guide research and not the quest for answers. I had reached a hiatus and developed an affinity with Goldsmiths simultaneously, and I wanted to explore the challenges Goldsmiths could offer in this quest for better questions. Goldsmiths introduced me to the idea of criticality. Not to be confused with the act of merely being critical, criticality is closer to the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi: unequivocal yet hard to sum up. The awareness of this quality – and the conditions for, and surrounding criticality – in turn provided me with a structure and compass with which to sustain my practice and its fundamentals in a meaningful way. Goldsmiths enabled me to contextualise my practice, making it possible to ask more pertinent questions specific to my practice whilst at the same time making me aware of being part of a bigger interdisciplinary picture. This sense of belonging to a tacit and actual peer group, continues to support and challenge my development as an artist – not just through the networks built during my MFA – but through the ethos and unique approach at Goldsmiths, which reverberates still within me uncompromisingly as ever.

OtherPeoplesPixels blog, an interview with Juan Bolivar

Mary-Ruth Walsh

MFA Fine Art, 2003-2004

I choose to come to Goldsmiths to get a better perspective of my art practice from outside my country and to see how my work would fit into an international context. Also to immerse myself in the London art world, absorb the works I thought important to me and to make connections with my new colleagues and other art professionals. From the well-honed one-to-one tutorials and group critiques my art practice made a quantum leap while on the course. The tutorials were in depth and professional. I think the programme was greatly enhanced by the non-segregation policy of the College as the Fine Art programme included painting, sculpture, installation, film, photography and performance in the one programme. The technicians who ran professional workshops enhanced the practical part of the course. As Goldsmiths is part of the University of London it was easy to attend lectures from other departments, or even in other colleges on cultural issues that I was interested in, these cultural exchanges further helped the development of my art practice. My work has continued to grow since I left Goldsmiths; I attribute it to the strong theoretical foundation and close analyses of my work while on the programme. From this solid platform my work continues to developed and is now finding a specific niche as an art practice in an international context. Although Goldsmiths was one of the most demanding experiences, it has also been one of the very best things I did.

Student work


Joseph Noonan-Ganley

Joseph produced theatrical installation My Fathers, Zol 

Visit Joseph's website


Cynthia Cruz

"The origin of my work draws on themes of tragedy, horror and the abject in imagery that is shared on the Internet.

The images range from crime scene photos, disease, autopsies and slaughterhouses.

Working with these sources forces me to sit and digest the veracity of their origin. What starts out as a grim reality ends up transforming into an exciting, mysterious fictional world."

Visit Cynthia's website


Ting-Ting Chen

In The school of accents, Cheng invited participants with different first languages on to teach her how to speak English with their foreign accents, using the sentence "I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen" as the example.

The project explores the relationship between accent and identity, questioning the concept of "standard" accent as part of the mechanism of ideology. 

Visit Ting-Ting's website



Content last modified: 15 Apr 2015

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