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

The MFA ASP course welcomes students from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and professions and helps students to position their work within the framework of contemporary art. Students are supported and challenged to extend their work and its relationship to the visual world. Art's place in society and its relationship to a range of audiences is actively explored on the course, which provides the creative and intellectual framework through which to understand current attitudes and phenomena in contemporary art, culture and society.

All forms of art practice and media-specific approaches are embraced including sculpture, painting, photography, drawing, printmaking, audio and video to 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 and experimentation in artistic research, aesthetics, critical theory and curatorial practice.


A combination of teaching situations – one-to-one, group critique, seminar, exhibition, performance, conference, workshop, salon, study trip - 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. The MFA ASP course actively engages with unique resources such as DJCAD Exhibitions and abcDundee (Artists' Book Collection Dundee) to provide on-site learning opportunities. Optional specialist masterclasses focussing on performance, sound and lighting are some of the elective activities that bring undergraduate and Masters students together for short, intense working periods.

You will be stimulated to develop a highly ambitious and informed art practice by engaging in your practice both individually and through collaborative opportunities We believe that students learn most from their peers, guided by a well-structured, content-rich course. Practice and research-based work is supported through events such as (interdisciplinary) seminars with internationally active DJCAD staff and visiting artists and speakers. Professional skills such as presentation of practical and theoretical work will be developed through situations and opportunities in 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 ASP course leads to a curated public exhibition, the Masters Show.

The MFA ASP students continue to develop a diverse range of individual practices and projects supported by a high level of staff contact. Events include collaboratively curated public exhibitions and performances, presentation at and participation in public projects, seminars and conferences. Students have contributed to MFA ASP staff practice and research activities such as exhibitions and public interdisciplinary seminars at the Nederlands Fotomuseum and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. As part of personal projects students have worked with the National Health Service, StAnza International Poetry Festival and Discovery Point amongst others.

The course draws on the diverse, unique and internationally acclaimed research conducted at DJCAD. In the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF) Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design was rated as the top institution in Scotland for world-leading 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 course is led by the artist and Professor (Chair of Contemporary Art Practice), Tracy Mackenna, working closely with Edwin Janssen (artist; expanded collaborative art practice with Tracy Mackenna). Modules content is provided by numerous staff including artist Graham Fagen (research and non-medium-specific practice focuses on ‘cultural formers’; representing Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2015), artist Ellie Harrison (investigating, exposing and challenging the absurd consequences of the capitalist system, and the impact free-market forces have on our society and our individual day-to-day lives) and Professor Murdo Macdonald (Chair of History of Scottish Art). A range of staff from DJCAD’s Art & Media group act as Advisors to individual MFA students throughout the duration of their study.

Staff member
Watch programme director Professor Tracy Mackenna speak about the course at the DJCAD Masters Open Day Virtual Visit



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: