module specification

FA7P48 - Project as Professional Practice (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Project as Professional Practice
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 60
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Total study hours 600
504 hours Guided independent study
96 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   Project Evaluation Report (2,000 words)
Project 80%   Project as Professional Practice
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Summer studies City Thursday Morning
Summer studies City Thursday Afternoon

Module summary

This module frames the culmination of the students’ output on the MFA, enabling students to balance creative and intellectual ambition with the rigours of professional practice and academic research expectations. The module builds upon and extends skills and knowledge developed through the ‘Project Development’ and ‘Research for  Practice’ modules.

The main focus of the module is the production of a major body of work that has evolved from their proposal. It is based upon a programme of research and contextually informed practice and practice-based enquiry at an advanced level.

This module supports the evolution of the students’ subject specific and professional expertise and to develop a sustainable practice in the light of external fields of research and engagement. Students build upon previous projects, processes and explorations and continue to contextualise their work through presentations, tutorials and group critiques.

The outcome of the Major Project is intended be a significant body of work that will enable graduates successfully to progress their careers.

Prior learning requirements

FA7044 Research for Practice
FA7045 Sustainable Practice
FA7046 Networking
FA7047 Project Development

Module aims

The module aims to:

  • develop students’ independence and self-confidence, to enable them to question conventions and set their own agendas as resourceful and innovative practitioners
  • encourage dialogue, exchange, experimentation, heuristic learning and professional practice
  • enable students to achieve or exceed their ambitions and to develop and display the skills and confidence required to go on to further study and/or professional practice
  • prepare students with the necessary reflective skills to tackle the challenges and demands of the changing nature of art and technology
  • provide students with an educational framework from which they can explore and understand the social, ethical and sustainable responsibilities associated with their work

The overall aim of the module is, to provide students with the opportunity to expand their practice, to realise a major self-initiated and self-directed professional project. It aims to equip students with the knowledge and practical, theoretical and conceptual skills and competencies required for them to function effectively as professionals within the expanding sector. It is based on the preliminary project work undertaken in other modules and provides students with a focused period of time to pursue their professional project. The students will develop the relevant links with external bodies in order to achieve a sustainable practice.


Students will further progress their self-directed work, based upon a developed and updated proposal that sets out to build upon and refines their research and exploration.

During the module, each student will advance their specific approach to making work, employing a bespoke set of skills and technical applications relevant to their particular intentions. Students will engage in evaluation and analysis of their practice, through discussion and presentation as well as contextual research. In this way they will expand their critical understanding and knowledge of their practice.

There will be a focus on planning to ensure successful and on-time completion of the project.

Learning and teaching

The Learning and Teaching strategy for the module is to base learning upon the student’s evolving work and practice. There are a range of learning and teaching methods employed including:

Preparation will enable students to develop project management skills, negotiation and collaborative working skills while developing their own approach to working in public contexts.

Peer review and critiques will encourage students to analyse and critically evaluate and engage with their own work and the work of others and develop advanced communication and presentation skills.

Student presentations support students to interrogate their own practice and develop presentation skills and also provide a platform for debate and engagement in the wider world of art and culture.

Self-directed study is core to the module and used as the basis for tutorial discussion and critique. Students will be encouraged to engage with personal development planning (PDP) to enable them to reflect on, plan and review their own personal development as an ongoing process.

Access to technical facilities enables students to test out and produce work in an appropriate medium based on their own research plans.

In addition, students are encouraged to make maximum use of the resources available to them in terms of the IT provision, both within the School and the library. Blended Learning /Weblearn includes the provision of course and module information on the web, lecture notes, feedback, and blogs are used to enhance independent learning.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, the student will be able to:

  1. plan, carry out and record and ambitious and innovative postgraduate level project, managing time, tasks and relationships successfully
  2. reflect realistically on the progress and success of the art, photography or design project and revise tasks and priorities accordingly
  3. articulate and defend clearly to clients, commissioners, peers and related professionals the intentions of art, photography or design proposals produced and the rationale underpinning their development and production
  4. locate and present their work in the professionally recognised contexts and to the professionally recognised standards

Assessment strategy

The final summative assessment will be the realisation of a body of work presented to a public supported by the documentation (evaluative report, 2000 words). The submission of the body of work will be in a medium and format appropriate to the subject and will also be presented as part of the published web portfolio initiated in FA7045 Sustainable Practice.

Work will be assessed against the learning outcomes in relation to the following criteria:

  • appropriate use and understanding of relevant research
  • understanding of the developing technological requirements to achieve a sustainable practice
  • subject knowledge and relevance
  • quality of communication and presentation
  • appropriate technical competence
  • appropriate use of problem solving, testing and experimentation
  • management of own learning and personal professional development
  • effective professional collaborative and/or independent working methods


Key shared texts for art or design students are:

Airey, D. (2011) Work for Money, Design for Love: Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Starting and Running a Successful Design Business, San Francisco: New Riders
Allen, J. and Chudley, J. (2012) Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences, Chichester: John Wiley and Sons
Ambrose, G. (2015) Design Thinking for Visual Communication (Basics Design), London: Bloomsbury
Armstrong, H. (2009) Graphic Design Theory: Readings From The Field, New York: Princeton Architectural Press
Brook, T. and Shaughnessy, A. (2016) Lance Wyman: The Visual Diaries 1973 - 1982, London: Unit Editions
de Bono, E. (2009) Lateral Thinking: A Textbook of Creativity, London: Penguin
Knowles, G. and Cole, A. (2008) Handbook of the Arts in Qualitative Research: Perspectives, Methodologies, Examples and Issues, California: Sage
Kress, G. and Van Leeuwen, T. (2015) Reading images : The Grammar of Visual Design, Abingdon: Routledge
McQuiston. L. (2015) Visual Impact: Creative Dissent in The 21st Century, London: Phaidon
Shaughnessy, A. (2009) Graphic Design: A User’s Manual, London: Laurence King
Shaughnessy, A. (2012) How To Be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul,  London: Laurence King
Taylor, F. (2013) How to Design a Portfolio and Get Hired, A Guide for Graphic Designers and Illustrators, 2nd Edition, London: Laurence King
Zeegen, L. and Roberts, C. (2014) Fifty Years of Illustration, London: Laurence King

Reading and resources for art and photography students include:
Barrett, T. (2011) Criticizing Photographs, 5th Edition. New York: McGraw Hill Publishing
Bishop, C. (2012) Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, London and New York: Verso
Ritchen, F. (2009) After Photography, NY and London: W.W. Norton and Co
Warner Marien, M. (2012)  Photography: A Cultural History, (Oxford History of Art), New York: Cambridge University Press
Warner Marien, M. (2011) Photography and its Critics: Cultural History 1839-1900, New York: Cambridge University Press  (Arts Council Web Site with links to major galleries)  (British Council information on funding policies and projects they have supported), (biographies of contemporary artists) (artists’ newsletter website with opportunities and advice for artists) (the complete archive of artlaw articles published by Art Monthly) (public/contextual art project commissioning agency), (UK listings for exhibitions and projects) (UK artist run studio space) (Institute of International Visual Arts) (Photography and the Archive Research Centre) (cultural identity and human rights) (The Postgraduate Photography Research Network) (Picture Research Association)

Relevant publications and journals include:
October; Afterall; Parkett; Art Monthly; Artists Newsletter; Frieze; Activate; Aperture; Source; Photography and Culture; Text and Work; British Journal of Photography etc