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MFA Art, Society & Publics


Quick FactsApply to DJCAD
Qualification: PgCert, PGDip or Master of Fine Art
Course Length: 45 Weeks (full time), 90 Weeks (part time)
Start date: September


Do you want to be part of a vibrant artistic community to develop your art practice and critical awareness of contemporary art discourse? Are you highly motivated and have a personal voice that you want to explore?

The MFA Art, Society & Publics course aims to challenge and extend its students’ work and relationship to the visual world by providing the creative and intellectual framework for the exploration of current attitudes and phenomena in the context of contemporary art, culture and society.

All forms of art practice are embraced, from media-based sculpture, painting, photography, drawing, printmaking, audio and video to the non-media-specific such as performance, installation, (durational) work in the public domain, writing (critical, and writing-as-visual-art) and curating. Students can explore a particular approach to practice or combine approaches - appropriate to the conceptual statement they are formulating – and will be encouraged to transcend boundaries by exploring visual knowledge and expression across a range of platforms. In tandem, historical and contemporary positions in art and visual culture will be investigated through exposure to ideas in artistic research, aesthetics, anthropology, critical theory and curatorial practice.


A combination of teaching situations – one-to-one, group critique, seminar, exhibition, performance, conference, workshop, salon, study trip - will encourage the questioning of recognised and accepted modes of practice and production in contemporary art across media, presentation modes, strategies, technologies, social, political, cultural and critical contexts, and professional practices.

You will be stimulated to develop a highly ambitious and informed art practice by engaging in studio-based practice, research-based work and (interdisciplinary) seminars with international visiting artists and speakers. Professional skills such as presentation of practical and theoretical work will be developed through presentation opportunities and elective modules that focus on engagement and building professional relationships.

DJCAD is committed to the sharing of knowledge and experience across teaching resources and opportunities, and these include the possibility of collaborating throughout the year on creative and critical projects that aim to integrate art practice, art-writing and curating. For the individual student, the MFA course leads to a curated public exhibition, the Masters Show.

The current MFA group is developing a diverse range of individual projects supported by a high level of staff contact, and have collaboratively curated the joint public exhibition, A Matter of Process. Participation in public projects, seminars and conferences include DJCAD and Wellcome Trust’s Shared Imagination, focusing on future art-science partnerships; DJCAD Exhibitions and Bruce McLean +, performance and exhibition A CUT, A SCRATCH, A SCORE and An Action of Words, with writers in residence from RCA MLitt Critical Writing course). As part of MFA staff research activities students are participating in public interdisciplinary seminars in the performative discursive exhibition environment The Museum of Loss and Renewal, Tracy Mackenna and Edwin Janssen and WAR as EVER! exhibition and symposium at the Nederlands Fotomuseum; Missing, at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, with Graham Fagen. Students are concurrently developing their work by undertaking placements with the National Health Service, StAnza and Discovery Point amongst others.

The MFA course draws on the diverse, unique and internationally acclaimed research conducted at DJCAD. In the RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design was rated as the top institution in Scotland for research in art and design, and one of the best in the whole of the UK. We have been described as "the outstanding Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, regarded as one of the top colleges in Britain." (Sunday Times University Guide, 2008).


The MFA course is led by the artist and Professor (Chair of Contemporary Art Practice), Tracy Mackenna. Module Leaders include Professor Murdo Macdonald (Chair of History of Scottish Art); Edwin Janssen (artist; expanded collaborative art practice with Tracy Mackenna; Graham Fagen (research and non-medium-specific practice focuses on ‘cultural formers’); Jeanette Paul (researcher and Acting Dean, DJCAD). A range of staff from DJCAD’s Art & Media group act as Advisors to individual MFA students throughout the duration of their study.

This website will give you an introduction to student projects, staff and graduates - if you want to know more, give us a call or drop us an email:

+44 (0) 1382 388219

Postgraduate Secretary:

MFA Art, Society & Publics Course Director, Professor Tracy Mackenna: