VA6002 - Professional Practice 3

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What will I learn on this module?

On this module you will learn to gain an advanced working knowledge of the artworld as a backdrop against which to explore and reflect on future career pathways. You will continue to learn through the weekly Contemporary Art Guest Lecture programme (or CAGL). At level 6 the CAGL acts as a learning tool to deepen and consolidate your objective understanding of the range of research-led enquiries that professional artists undertake. Through the CAGL, external placement activity and group workshops you will gain a greater appreciation of how subject specific and transferrable skills can be applied in contexts beyond your programme of study. Workshops will enable you to learn through a conversation-based network about how you can develop or diversify your knowledge and skills.
You will learn to understand and build a direct professional relationship with the artworld through discussion, intellectual enquiry and independent curiosity and through real world first-hand experience. You will learn to expand your experience and knowledge of the artworld, its diverse network of institutional, economic and social systems - both formal and informal - that form the ecosystem and community in which artists operate. Teaching will reflect the diverse and individual paths open to you following graduation and you will learn that there is no one-way of being an artist, of making it professionally, of applying your creativity, or of making a living within the artworld - each individual has to forge their own path. You will learn to recognise that fine art graduates are multi-skilled and go on to study and work in diverse roles within the artworld, the broader cultural sector and beyond.

How will I learn on this module?

On this module you will learn through independent study, an external placement, group workshops, and through our weekly CAGL Guest Lecture programme, delivered by leading professional artists, writers and curators. These lectures introduce you to a diversity of first hand professional working contexts and experiences, and provide you with the opportunity to learn from both the lectures and by contributing to the questions and answers sessions at the end of each CAGL Guest Lecture. Your peer community enhances your learning as you are joined by all undergraduate levels, our postgraduate school and often by PhD students. You will also learn from attending and contributing to the Workshops and ‘in-conversations’ that compliment the core lecture programme. These activities will be focused on discussion and real world narratives and examples of how a fine art graduate can apply their skills in diverse ways.

In your professional external placement you will gain valuable first hand work experience in a professional organisation. This is set-up by you through consultation and support from the University Placement Team and an academic member of staff. Previous student placements include working in galleries and museums in areas of administration, technical crew and curatorial practices; events management and production; studio assistant; working with community groups; graphic / digital / architectural design studios; TV and media; Heritage and historical groups; schools and FE colleges. If you are interested in becoming a teacher you may use the module to gain the mandatory experience required in schools for a PGCE application.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported by the module lead who will provide you with your timetable, module guide, learning resources including key texts, assistance with your placement and guidance for your Summative Assessments. All information will be posted on BLACKBOARD our electronic learning portal and you will be notified of key dates on your Northumbria email. The Faculty Placements and Partnerships Co-ordinator supports the Placement strand of this module. You will receive formative advice and feedback from academics and the Placement Team on the efficacy and logistical planning of your Placement.
The weekly CAGL Guest Lectures and Workshop sessions provide support in the acquisition of skills and understanding of the professional art world and how you might identify and situate yourself and your career aspirations within a range of potential professional contexts. You will be encouraged to actively engage with the Careers Zone and the Student and Graduate Enterprise support. Where appropriate you may also be directed to engage with our Skills Plus or other resources offered through the University Student Support Services such as Dyslexia Support.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Contextualise and understand the diverse structures, economies and networks that constitute contemporary art practice.
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
2. Evaluate and critically reflect on achievements and transferrable skills acquired through the external placement learning experience.
3. Demonstrate the ability to produce a written and visual document that meets professional levels of presentation.
Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA)
4. Evidence engagement, ambition and self-management in the realisation of an external project.

How will I be assessed?

There are two summative assessment points.
Summative Assessment 001– EXTERNAL PLACEMENT REPORT Summative 60%
(MLO’s 2, 3,4)

The 800 word external placement report will be a focussed document that evaluates and reflects upon your activities. The document will demonstrate your ability to critically reflect on what you have learned. You must include 4 high quality photographic images, utilising the skills developed for the Exhibitions in Year 2.
Written feedback on your summative assessment will be provided within the time-frame mandated by the university, which is currently 20 working days. Feedback will be provided electronically via the module BlackBoard site.

Summative Assessment 002 – CAGL REPORT Summative 40%
You will submit a written reflective summary relating to the Contemporary Art Guest Lecture Programme (CAGL) including references and 4 example images of work. You will be assessed on your ability to contextualise and understand how artistic ideas intersect with the structures, institutions, economies and networks that constitute the professional context of contemporary art. MLO 1, & 3

Written feedback on your summative assessment will be provided within the time-frame mandated by the university, which is currently 20 working days. . Feedback will be provided electronically via the module BlackBoard site.


VA5002, VA5003, AH5009 or evidence of equivalent learning.


VA6003, AH6008

Module abstract

This module represents the culmination of your professional practice study as an undergraduate, but it also marks the beginning of your ongoing journey as a professional, creative and active citizen. The key aim of the module is to provide you with knowledge and transferrable skills that will benefit you in your professional life. The overarching theme for Professional Practice 3 is Lifeworld – Art worlds. If lifeworld is a term that describes the state of affairs in which the world is experienced and lived, the art world is a term that describes diverse networks of institutional, economic and social systems, both formal and informal, that constitute a kind of ecosystem in which artists operate, conversations happen, art is made, distributed, bought and sold, experienced and talked about. The aim of the module is to gain an understanding of the art world as a backdrop against which students can explore and reflect on future career pathways or professional opportunities. This is supported through an External Placement, whereby each student has the opportunity to research, source and carry out a placement in a professional context.

Course info

UCAS Code W100

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Arts

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2019 or September 2020

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