The influence of technology and scientific innovation is profoundly changing the way we create and interact with images and our artistic expression in general. The cross-disciplinary employment of the digital medium as tool for creative expression and communication is a relatively new and exciting field of research that covers the convergence of technology with established and new practices in the fine art, video, film, performance, games, design and online art fields of discipline.
The MFA Digital Arts programme is a practice-oriented, postgraduate award in digital art practice and theory. It is an umbrella programme that seeks to develop a learning environment in which historical traditions and new practices confront and influence each other within a contextual, cultural and theoretical framework. The programme seeks to offer a comprehensive approach to image-making that not only encourages innovation by students through a practice-based research methodology, but also endeavours to provide the same students with the creative, artistic, intellectual and theoretical foundation upon which they can build their contributions to this dynamic field.
Through a combination of practical and theoretical modules, the course encourages the development of critical and original approaches to contemporary creative production and enables students to actively investigate the influence of new digital technologies in relation to creativity and communication. The programme provides a framework within which students are prepared for further academic research as well as integration into the various industries requiring digital creativity.
The programme recognises the importance of theoretical foundations for the formation of responsible digital media creatives in today’s information age. It acknowledges the fundamentals of design, film, media, and the visual arts through providing extensive contextual, historical and critical modules while encouraging experimentation and innovation. The theoretical input fosters an analytical and creative exploration of established and emerging forms of visual art, moving image and visual communication practices and their relevant areas of specialisation, while the practical modules include the application of essential techniques for contemporary creative practice within a variety of digital media.
‘Making’ is central to the research process encouraged throughout the MFA programme. The development of skills is coupled with a solid foundation in traditional and new media theory, and a historical understanding of the discipline’s ongoing development. The course explores the interdependence of culture, creative practice and technology, and the ethics and representation of digital culture and new media.
Students of the MFA Digital Arts programme realise a final project and a contextual dissertation which, apart from having a specific research focus, also explores the relationships between the project itself and the roles of the artist/designer within the contemporary digital art and moving image world. Location, site-specificity, audience reception and interaction with the project realised are also considered of paramount importance as the project is ultimately presented in the public domain or other appropriate context.
Final projects are created through an ongoing reflective process of experimentation connecting evolving artistic concepts and techniques. The interdisciplinary nature and the level and depth of the course prepares students to fuse theoretical knowledge with the use of contemporary technologies to conceive, develop, produce, and present innovative artworks and provides them with the opportunity to conceptually and technically refine their work in preparation for professional artistic practice. Skills attained will allow graduates to significantly contribute to the development of content in a variety of fields and to become eligible for gainful employment in areas with a focus on creative digital media production, such as in the video and contemporary arts fields, the graphic design industry as well as in more generalised fields which increasingly draw upon the creation of new media talent such as those of the audio-visual, serious gaming, mobile services, social software, and IT.
Programme of Studies
Students of the MFA Digital Arts Programme will realise a project that is presented in the public domain or other appropriate context, together with a contextual thesis which together explore the evolving roles of the visual creative within contemporary cultural production, focusing on his/her relationship to digital art and the moving image as well as giving value to issues of location, site-specificity and audience reception and interaction.
The programme aims to give students the opportunities to demonstrate a significant creative and contextual practice related to appropriate debates in the contemporary, the social and the historical. It helps them demonstrate creative ambition through the production of an advanced project and contextual thesis.
The programme is intended to develop strategies, skills and creative networks to facilitate professional practice and employability.
Teaching and Learning Methods
The programme is taught through a mixture of lectures, studio workshops, tutorials, student led seminars and group presentations.