VA6010 - Professional and Self-Organising Practice

What will I learn on this module?

The module is delivered in three-hour seminar sessions that blend lectures, discussions, readings and group exercises. After an introduction to contemporary cultural production and self-organising, every two weeks a new topic will be introduced with a practice-led and theory-led seminar on each. These subjects may include: ways to make your work public, ways to write professionally about your work, how to organise artist-led culture, different aspects of professional production, what independent and institutional curators do, how to cultivate a supportive network, and how to integrate care-led perspectives to your professional practice. Woven throughout these themes is a consideration of regional institutions and culture in the North East, budgeting and writing for diverse audiences, and your use of both physical and digital platforms. In addition to equipping you with practical knowledge and professional skills, the module’s intellectual enquiry is underpinned by a engaged understanding of self-organising, entrepreneurialism, and exploitation in the contemporary cultural sector.

How will I learn on this module?

The module is organised through responsive thematic seminars delivered by artists, curators, historians and critics in the Arts Department. Students will be expected to complete set readings, contribute to seminar discussions and participate in activities, which may include group debates, film screenings and writing workshops. A familiarity with local galleries in your vicinity will be encouraged and helped, and visiting speakers will discuss their experiences and methods of developing their practices post-university. These informative and participatory seminars will lead to Summative Assessment via two professional outputs. In the final weeks of the module students will self-organise in small groups to reflect, plan and prepare assessed group presentations. In addition, each student will submit a 1000-word report that outlines future ambitions and professional goals, contextualising these in relation to one text/artist/organisation/theory introduced in the module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported by the module leader who will provide you with your timetable, module guide, learning resources including key texts, and guidance for your Summative Assessments. All information will be posted on the eLearning Portal and you will be notified of key dates via your Northumbria email. You will receive formative advice and feedback from academics through the weekly seminars. Feedback will be provided in-person after the summative presentations, while written feedback on the summative report will be provided within 20 working days after submission.
You will be encouraged to actively engage with Graduate Futures 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 Demonstrate an understanding of how artist-led organising and professional networks are essential to sustaining a career as an artist.

2. Demonstrate an understanding of the history and critical theory of artists’ working practices.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. Demonstrate the ability to produce a written document that engages with historical, theoretical or artistic materials and meets professional levels of presentation.
4. Evidence engagement, ambition and self-management in the realisation of a collaborative presentation.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA)

5. By learning about collaboration, self-organising, and care-informed approaches to professional practice, you will develop a better understanding of the ethics and politics underpinning a graduate art career.

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment:

To prepare you successfully to undertake the summative assessment(s) on this module, formative assessments will be set by the module team. These may take the form of in-class tasks or projects, developmental activities undertaken between classes, or learning exercises/activities set over a longer period. Feedback (written and/or oral) will be provided to help you learn from, reflect on, and develop in light of these formative assessments.

Summative Assessment:

This takes the form of 1) a self-organised group presentation on a subject relating to the module, in which you will be assessed on your ability to organise, collaborate and plan the presentation, as well as content and delivery and 2) a 1000-word report outlining your ambitions for the twelve months following graduation; you will be expected to frame this discussion in relation to one of the critical texts, artworks, organisations or practices discussed in the module.

Summative Feedback
Written feedback on your summative assessment will be provided within the timeframe mandated by the university, which is currently 20 working days. Feedback will be provided electronically via the module eLP site.

The assessment task tests all of the MLOs.





Module abstract

The module blends practical, historical, and theoretical seminar sessions to support you in developing a critically-informed professional toolkit for your practice. As a graduating professional artist you will work both with existing cultural organisations, curators and funders, and initiate self-organised projects. You may work with other artists to generate spaces and programming to exhibit and discuss your practice. Whether self-initiated, collaborative or institutionally-led, you will need to cultivate administrative and organisational skills such as raising money, organising exhibitions, participating in group networks, writing press releases, and cultivating a support structure of artists, galleries, curators and critics. This module will provide an essential foundation as you start to look beyond your undergraduate degree and consider future ambitions.

Course info

UCAS Code W105

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 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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