Practice, Teaching and Research in Fine Art

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 strong precedents and roots in post-war art education, much of which was originally developed at Newcastle.

Newcastle University's Fine Art department has been ranked 2nd in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2020, and 3rd in the Guardian University Guide 2020 and 6th in the Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020.  We are also in the top 150 Art and Design Institutions in the world according to the QS World University Rankings.

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A brief history

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: https://www.hattonhistory.co.uk/.

Newcastle is also particularly associated with the 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 Gowing, Richard Hamilton, Victor Pasmore, Roy Ascott, Sean Scully, Noel ForsterSusan Hiller, Mary Webb, Rita Donagh, Mail Morris, Sarah Pickstone and Phoebe Unwin.