"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."
Ji Hye Yeom. Gray matter, 2011. Video Still
While on the programme you will continually engage with what it means to practice 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 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 have already a good understanding of the core concerns of their practice in the view of the programme team are able to enter directly into Year Two of the programme on either a full-time 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 for an Associate Graduate Studentship.
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.
If you register your interest in this programme we will keep you informed about open days and send you relevant further information. If you subsequently decide to apply for this programme you will be able to use the same login details to apply.
You can apply directly to Goldsmiths via the website by clicking the ‘apply now’ button on the main programme page.
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.
We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September.
Application deadline: 1 December. We may consider late applications if there are vacancies. You shouldn't normally expect to receive a decision until the end of March.
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.
Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.
We prefer you to send up to 20 images only.
We prefer that you send up to 20 images (via the online application system) as your portfolio.
However, if you wish to post your portfolio, do so on a CD (Mac compatible) saved as JPG, or on DVD as a PAL format video show reel of no longer than 10 minutes (please do not send QuickTime movies; only DVD format).
Supporting material should be securely packaged and clearly labeled with your name and address; Goldsmiths cannot accept responsibility for any loss/damage.
Post portfolios to: MFA Fine Art Portfolios, Admissions Office, Goldsmiths, New Cross, London SE14 6NW. You must write 'MFA Fine Art Portfolio' and your name on the outside of the envelope so that it can be matched with your application.
Only complete applications together with portfolios can be considered. We examine portfolios, and may then invite you to attend an interview. We'll invite international (non-EU) students who are invited for an interview, but can't attend Goldsmiths, for an interview via Skype.
You'll be able to arrange for collection of your portfolio up to three months after receiving a decision or by 31 July at the latest. Due to space limitations portfolios not collected by this date will be disposed of.
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: must show through interview and portfolio that they have established a professional practice in the field and have already fulfilled the criteria demanded at the end of Year One of the programme through professional experience.
Requirement for part-time study: you need to have your own studio space in which to work over the four years of the programme. As a condition of admission to the part-time programme, applicants from outside London will normally be expected to maintain a studio in London for the duration 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.
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 enroll and study on this programme.
Please check our English Language requirements for more information.
To secure any offer made to you after applying for this programme, we ask for a deposit of £450.
Get in touch via our online form
+44 (0)20 7919 7766
+44 (0)20 7919 7702
Simon Bedwell (staff profile page)
An artist with a background in collaboration and curation - he was longest serving member of London art group BANK from 1991 until 2003 - whose work has included altered found posters, paintings, ceramics, appropriation and large-scale installations on themes of politics, misogyny, decor; and, more recently, presence and - once again - curation.
Dr. John Chilver (staff profile page)
Problems of agency: philosophies of the ‘event’ and questions of how the ‘new’ appears at all; specific contemporary contingencies.
Marion Coutts (staff profile page)
Sculpture and moving image; uses a pared down language to explore social forms – the object as focal point and functional utility, human behaviour as ritual and repetition; writing.
Works collaboratively with Jon Thomson. Much of their recent work looks at live networks like the web and how they are changing the way we all understand the world around us.
Nick Crowe (staff profile page)
Working in collaboration with artist Ian Rawlinson our video and sculptural work address itself directly to the rhetoric and grammar of power as a social and cultural phenomena.
Nina Danino (staff profile page)
Film and cinema; moving image and visual art; experimental film; new forms of digital production: sound, image and transmission.
Paul Davis (staff profile page)
Computer identity and aesthetics; gaming culture; video compression.
Mark Dean (staff profile page)
Video and sound installation; seeking the representation of personhood in cultural terms, particularly through appropriation; considering the problematic relation of contemporary art and religion.
Dr. Ros Gray (staff profile page)
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.
Dr. Stephen Johnstone (staff profile page)
Collaborative studio practice with Graham Ellard; video installation/ expanded cinema; immersive visual technologies; art and the everyday; the anecdote; artistic temperament.
Dr. Susan Kelly (staff profile page)
Relationships between art and micro-politics; temporalities of migration and movement; situations where questions are asked and answers are given.
Richard Kirwan (staff profile page)
His studio practice involves making paintings – characteristic components involve colour, motif and size.
Phillip Lai (staff profile page)
His artistic practice often works through themes of containment and dispersal, implying both philosophical and socio-political interests.
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.
Annie Whiles (staff profile page)
Comtemporary Art practice. A humorous exchange between the quotidian and the miraculous, between soviet realism and surrealism. Interested in who magic belongs to, as a kind of cultural lost property. Her work refers to an emblematic language, ceremonial, ritualistic and social artefacts of affiliation in the form of woodcarving, hand embroidery, drawing and film.
Dr. Suhail Malik (staff profile page)
Contemporary art; critical theory and philosophy; critique and liberal democracy, especially American power; technoscientific transformations of experience and life.
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.
Dr. Richard Noble (staff profile page)
Critical evaluation of visual art production; contemporary art practice and politics; the problem of toleration in contemporary liberal democracies; contemporary sculpture.
Jacqueline Pennell (staff profile page)
Contemporary fine art practice; mixed media installation and sculpture; transformation and manipulation of space; the spatial abilities and the aesthetic awareness of children.
Gail Pickering (staff profile page)
Performativity; constructed socialities; cross-disciplinary art practice; participatory art practices.
Dr. Andrea Phillips (staff profile page)
Contemporary art, architecture and current socio-political thought; movement, mobility and fluidity in contemporary art and political philosophy; connections between curating and socio-political activities of constructing, organising, and caring for transnational space; concepts of distribution in art, architecture and politics; Rancière, Badiou and the political in art; Sassen, Beck, Harvey and economy vis-à-vis art.
Lindsay Seers (staff profile page)
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)
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)
Sculpture/installation as a locus for the exploration of subjectivity
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.
Bernard Walsh (staff profile page)
Writing and audio-visual representations exploring the notion of common identity/experience; significance of mass-production, particularly picture postcards.
Roxy Walsh (staff profile page)
Makes paintings in watercolour on panel, linen and directly onto architecture. Interests include body language and figures of speech; the withholding expressivity of conversations; the private in the public domain; literary and visual metaphor.
Laura White (staff profile page)
Sculpture, installation, photography and video. Relationship and negotiation with the ‘stuff’ of the world, from the readymade to the handmade, images to objects, playing with ideas of value, profile, association and meaning of individual and collections of objects. White's objects/arrangements occupy a fluid space, on one hand demanding critical discourse, and on the other their own ambiguous and intuitive logic.
Goldin + Senneby
Lisa Le Feurve
Laura Oldfield Ford
Dmitry Vilensky/Chto Delat
Lisa Le Feuvre
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, and research laboratories support this work. All parts of the programme are mandatory for all students. There are no optional courses on the programme. Courses and assessments are structured similarly on both parts of the programme.
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.
These develop your work as professional 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 professionals relevant to your practice for tutorials. These professionals 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 professional practice. You are expected to write a report immediately after each tutorial, summarising what took place and recording your considered responses to it.
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.
The three examination elements for both Year One and Year Two are: Studio Practice 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.
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.
Lisa, now a practising artist and visiting tutor
MFA Fine Art, graduated 2011
"The facilities at Goldsmiths are great but it was the technicians who made all the difference. They are good humoured and very willing to help you achieve the scrawled plan that you’ve drawn on a scrunched up piece of lined paper."
I studied on the MFA Fine Art course at Goldsmiths. I was initially attracted by the reputation and by the shows I had seen in previous years but I wasn’t prepared for so many learning curves, for the intensive discussions and for acquiring a whole new social circle!
As time progressed at Goldsmiths, I began to find my own voice. The one-to-one tutorials and discussions with friends enabled me to become more vocal within group seminars. This not only gave me the confidence to network beyond the Goldsmiths context, but also helped to formulate and express opinions regarding my own practice and that of other artists.
The facilities at Goldsmiths are great but it was the technicians who made all the difference. They are good humoured and very willing to help you achieve the scrawled plan that you’ve drawn on a scrunched up piece of lined paper. I learned how to make moulds and to weld, slip cast, screen print… The possibilities and combinations were endless!
My current work focuses primarily upon sculpture, though this isn’t fixed and may change as my ideas continue to develop. I have gained particular technical skills in ceramics, casting and woodwork, but I retain an open-minded curiosity as to what the discipline might offer, and am interested in non-traditional, conceptual approaches to materials. Before Goldsmiths, my work was heavily reliant on materiality and the ‘preciousness’ of a ‘final piece’. Previously I felt pressure to produce resolved works and Goldsmiths helped me to recognise and explore the value of intermediate elements and stages.
My priority at Goldsmiths was to pursue a deeper critical context and develop the skill set I could use in my work as an artist, but I am also increasingly interested in art education itself. Before the MFA, I had taught art in schools and colleges, but the experience I gained whilst studying will certainly enhance my career prospects when it comes to teaching at a higher level. Most recently I have been invited as a visiting tutor on a BA Fine Art course to give tutorials and devise workshops. One workshop explored unconventional modes of display through which students are encouraged to think critically about the use of traditional methods such as plinths or shelves in contemporary sculptural, installation or multi-media practice. I really interrogated and experimented with these concerns at Goldsmiths.
My exhibition profile has been growing steadily since graduation, no doubt because my work was able to evolve so much through the seminars and tutorials, through talking to fellow students and thanks to the reflective time I had in my studio space at Goldsmiths. I developed a very supportive network with my peers who were going through the same process as me, and with whom I regularly travelled to see exhibitions around London. That this extended to the year above me, and to the incoming students when I was in my final year, was an unexpected pleasure.
Now I’ve graduated I organise a series of regular critical group sessions across London through which I hope to support the development of emerging artists: we move from studio, to living room, scout hall to gallery, as we discuss and challenge the artists’ work being presented in what are essentially ‘pop up’ shows.
Our Art programmes aim to equip you with the necessary skills to develop independent thought and confidence in your practice. In addition, these skills are of use in other career paths you may wish to follow. Read our student and graduate profiles to find out more.
Our students continue to be successful, practising artists and exhibit around the world. Have a look at some of our alumni.
Aya Ben Ron
Tiago Carneiro da Cunha
Cathy De Monchaux
Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard
Monika Ursina Jäger
Pil and Galia Kollectiv
Tonico Lemos Auad
Bob and Roberta Smith
Chooc Ly Tan
Chu Chun Teng
Jane & Louise Wilson
Catherine YassMiyeon Yoon
Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW, UK
Telephone: + 44 (0)20 7919 7171
Goldsmiths has charitable status