Skip to main content

Fine Art

We are home to world-leading research and ground-breaking innovations in art practice and teaching.

Practice, Teaching and Research in Fine Art

Newcastle’s reputation is built on inspirational teaching, alongside excellent facilities and world-leading research and art practice. The BA Fine Art degree at Newcastle University is ranked 2nd in the UK in the Guardian University Guide 2022, 3rd in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2022, and 3rd in the UK in the Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

Staff at Newcastle are engaged with contemporary art practice and research generated at the nexus of established and new practices, technologies and methodologies. Cutting-edge practice and research in fine art by our staff, results in a vibrant, creative culture and provides the basis for our excellent teaching. We encourage students to be imaginative and creative, to question orthodoxies, to cross boundaries, and to make their own mark in the contemporary art world.

Students studying Fine Art in the art school at Newcastle are taught by a group of distinguished artists and art historians who are all active practitioners, researchers and specialists in their fields. Our research and practice is disseminated in the form of exhibitions, installations interventions, books and other publications.

Based at the very heart of Newcastle University's city-centre campus, the art school provides students, from undergraduate to postgraduate, with excellent workshops and studio spaces, support by excellent technicians, and a superb Visiting Artists Programme

The department is committed to supporting and engaging with the full range of both traditional, contemporary and emerging studio-based practices in Fine Art; whether a student is working with painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, performance, film and video, digital media, or installation, we are able to provide a unique level and quality of support.

Newcastle's diverse and lively arts and cultural scene with its galleries and venues goes hand-in-hand with our continuing and distinguished history in innovative art teaching. The current breadth of staff, and the resulting breadth of practice and research in the subject area is a significant element of the vision and pedagogical stance within Fine Art at Newcastle; it is an approach that has its roots in post-war radical art education, much of which was originally developed at Newcastle. 

What we do

Newcastle is one of the best and most vibrant cities in the UK in which to study and make contemporary visual art. It has a thriving art scene with numerous artists studios and galleries. The Fine Art department is at the centre of this and provides a supportive, challenging and inspiring environment in which to study Fine Art, as well as one in which staff engage in world-leading art-historical and practice-led research. 

Fine Art at Newcastle is also home to the Hatton Gallery, and we are part of the University's Institute for Creative Arts Practice, which supports Creative Practice and interdisciplinary working across the university. These and other partnerships - in the city and the region, in the UK, and on the international stage, are key to many of our staff’s individual, collaborative and interdisciplinary research projects.

Follow us on Twitter

Sorry, you need JavaScript to view this video

A brief history of the department

The first School of Art in Newcastle was established in 1838. It subsequently became part of Armstrong College, followed by being part of King's College, Durham University, and then it became part of the newly-established University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1963.

Throughout, it has maintained an excellent reputation as one of the UK's leading centres for art education. The first BA degree in Fine Art in the UK was awarded here in 1927.

The art school also houses the Hatton Gallery; this world-renowned gallery has one of the most iconic artworks of the 20th century in its collection - the Elterwater Merz Barn- the final work of the German Dadaist Kurt Schwitters.

The art school was a key player in radical developments in art education in the 1950s and 1960s. This led to the development of the course known as Basic Design and the subsequent revolution across art education in the UK. The Hatton Gallery, which is part of the Fine Art department, played a particularly important role in this history:

Newcastle is also particularly associated with the development of Pop Art in the UK, as outlined in the essay by Gill Hedley for the exhibition 'Pioneers of Pop', recently held in the Hatton Gallery.

Many distinguished artists have come through Newcastle University and continue to do so, either as students or as teachers. The list includes: Sir Lawrence GowingRichard HamiltonVictor PasmoreRoy AscottSean ScullyNoel ForsterSusan Hiller, Mary WebbRita DonaghMali MorrisSarah Pickstone and Phoebe Unwin.

Newcastle University has everything. Good facilities, excellent staff and numerous connections to wider cultural organisations.

Luke, Fine Art student