VA6005 - Professional Practice

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 Wednesday Lecture programme. At level 6 the Wednesday Lecture 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 Lecture Programme, the external placement and employability activities, you will gain a greater appreciation of how subject specific and transferrable skills can be applied in contexts beyond your programme of study. Through conversation and networked activities, you will learn and reflect upon a diversity of career pathways. Your External Placement will afford you a valuable ‘real-life’ learning experience that enables you to enhance your employability skills.
You will learn to understand and build a direct professional relationship with the artworld through discussion, intellectual enquiry and independent curiosity and through a live project. 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 discussion/workshops, and through the Wednesday Lecture programme, delivered by professional artists, writers and curators. These lectures introduce you to a diversity of first-hand professional research 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 Lecture. Your peer community enhances your learning as you are joined by all undergraduate levels, our postgraduate school and often by PhD students.

In your professional external placement, you will gain valuable first-hand work experience in a professional organisation. This is a ‘live project’ that 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, including the organisation of the Fine art auction; studio assistant; working with community groups; graphic / digital / architectural design studios; TV and media; Heritage and historical groups; schools and FE colleges; working on the fine art publication team . If you are interested in becoming a teacher, you may use the module to gain the mandatory experience required 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, advice on 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 Wednesday Lectures provide support in the acquisition of skills and understanding of aspects of the professional art world. The employability workshops/symposia will offer insight into 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 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 creative skills can be applied in different professional contexts.

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.
4. Evidence engagement, ambition and self-management in the realisation of an external project.

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

How will I be assessed?

Formative feedback will be offered on a group and individual basis through scheduled project supervision.
There is one summative assessment point.
Summative Assessment 001– EXTERNAL PLACEMENT REPORT Summative 100%
(MLO’s 1, 2, 3,4)

The 1,500-word external placement report will be a focussed document that evaluates and reflects upon a live professional project. The document will demonstrate your ability to critically reflect on what you have learned. You must include 4 high quality photographic images.
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 BlackBoard site.





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 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 a series of guest lectures, an employability event and 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

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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