Fine Art at Newcastle is especially well equipped to foster and support both theoretical and studio-based practice and research in Fine Art, Digital Cultures and Art History. The department is committed to supporting an artist’s individual practice, as well as actively seeking ways for artists and scholars to collaborate, both with other artists and art professionals, and more widely across what is a culturally and technologically rich university. Our aim is to enable scholars and artists to pursue knowledge and understanding through original research in a supportive and stimulating research environment.
We currently have around 25 members of staff and around 25 postgraduate research students. Members of the department undertake internationally recognised research and practice in their areas of expertise, in the form of academic papers, books, exhibitions, screenings and other events.
We vigorously promote the development of a dynamic and cohesive research environment and support a rich diversity of practice-based and theoretical/historical research activity. As well as developing strengths in traditional Fine Art disciplines, research at Newcastle engages with innovative research in contemporary practice, including digital and time-based art, sound, collaborative practice, installation, and critical engagements with approaches to curating contemporary art.
Full-time research students are allocated excellent studio space in the School and have access to a wide range of well-resourced facilities, both in the School and beyond.
Having time to reflect upon my work in new ways, while engaging in conversation with colleagues across the University's disciplines, has been incredibly rewarding.
We are particularly interested in attracting research proposals from students who will benefit from the specific research expertise of individual members of staff within Fine Art. In addition, we also welcome proposals that would benefit from the extraordinary range of resources and interdisciplinary research opportunities that are available across the School of Arts and Cultures and the University as a whole. Research students can also benefit from the resources and training available through NICAP, and the expertise of Culture Lab, a multi-application multi-user digital media facility that supports interdisciplinary research in the interface of art and science.
For both the MPhil and the PhD, students may propose a research project that is practice-led or a research project that is solely text-based.
The MPhil is a research degree requiring a year of study full-time or two years part-time. The project/proposal for the MPhil can be practice-led or theoretical, and the submission can be a text (a thesis of not more than 40,000 words) or a combination (50/50) of studio practice and text.
A practice-led PhD would require three years of full-time study (or six years part-time) and the final submission would be a combination of an exhibition of creative work made over the period of study/research and a thesis. The thesis would typically be 30,000 words, which constitutes approximately 30% of the degree. A text-based PhD would require three years of study (or six years part-time) and the final submission would typically be a thesis of 80,000 words. PhD students should normally have completed a master’s level course prior to their PhD.
Appropriate supervisors are allocated from within Fine Art, and if required, from elsewhere in the university, following detailed discussion with the student about the proposed research project. All staff are research-active professionals, artists, researchers and academics, and thus provide up-to-date practice-led teaching, supervision and professional experience and knowledge. We encourage you to exhibit your work in appropriate venues and attend and make presentations at our regular postgraduate seminars, which aim to encourage intellectual and practical exchange between academic staff, our visiting artists and students.
The Fine Art Research Student Seminar Programme includes subject-specific lectures and an evolving programme of seminars and round-table discussions that inform and contextualise research and provide subject-specific research training. These also offer the opportunity for doctoral researchers to exchange ideas and engage in conversation across disciplines with staff, fellow students and visiting artists, scholars, curators and critics.
Throughout their studies, extensive support and training in research methods is provided by both NICAP and the Faculty Postgraduate Research Training Programme. This is available to full-time and part-time research students in the social sciences and humanities at Newcastle University throughout their time studying for their research degree. It provides training in professional/key skills, research techniques and supports both personal and intellectual development.
It is essential to bear in mind the staff's research interests (including any cross-disciplinary plans) and the facilities within the department - and the University - when deciding to apply for a research degree at Newcastle.
Prior to submitting the formal application form that is required by the University, we would strongly advise you if possible to contact us in order to discuss your proposed research project. We would ask you to first submit to the Director of Postgraduate Studies visual documentation of your work, if appropriate, and an initial research proposal of 1,000–1,500 words. We can then discuss the feasibility of your proposal and indicate whether we might be able to support your project with the appropriate resources and supervisors. We would also be able to indicate whether there is any specific information, documentation or change to the proposal that we would require before your formal application was submitted.
The proposal needs to be well-written, clear and jargon-free. There is no strict template for the structure of the proposal. However, it is recommended that applicants include the following information:
- A provisional title, which might for example be in the form of a question;
- If appropriate, a short introduction to your current art practice;
- An introduction to the research theme/idea (and, where appropriate, an initial review of other practice-based work or other research in this area) to set the scene;
- A well thought through 'research question' that the research will aim to answer, or a thematic to be explored;
- An outline of the kinds of practice or proposed methodology that will be used to achieve the research objectives and answer the research question;
- Clearly defined aims and reasons why the research is important to pursue;
- How have your prior qualifications and/or professional experience equipped you for doctoral study in terms of the research skills and subject knowledge needed to undertake the project;
- Why is your project particularly suited to being investigated at Newcastle? Which staff do you think would be appropriate to supervise your project and what resources are needed for your research?
Please contact our Head of Postgraduate Studies, Dr Ed Juler, if you have any questions.