Graduate insights with MA Contemporary Art Practice

Our postgraduate students go on to secure rewarding work opportunities that push the boundaries of their art practice.

See what’s possible and read about some of our successful students:

Sue Austin

Amy Shelton

Amy won an Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust – one of the world’s leading charitable foundations – for her ongoing Honeyscribe project in 2011.

The project

An artistic investigation into the life of the honeybee, Honeyscribe finds ways to communicate the fundamental relationship between the honeybee and human health. Emphasising communication, exchange and diversity, Amy collaborates with scientists, medics, artists, poets, activists, beekeepers, musicians, children and shamanic practitioners to inspire and invigorate her artwork.

“Without the MA Contemporary Art Practice at Plymouth, I wouldn’t have been able to win the award,” she says. “It made me step up to the rigours of how you have to talk about your work, as well as giving me the tools to write a proposal and contextualise my work. I thought the course was exceptionally good.”

Read more about Amy and her Honeyscribe project on Amy's website.

“Without the MA from Plymouth, I wouldn’t have been able to win the Wellcome Trust award.” – Amy Shelton, MA Contemporary Art Practice graduate

Sue Deakin

Sue’s MA project – a book called Oak Primer – was awarded an honourable mention by the European competition Artists' Books on Tour. Beating 924 other projects across Europe, her book was shown as part of a travelling museum, visiting Vienna, Prague and Ljubljana between October 2011 and May 2012. 

A commission while on the course

Whilst studying her MA, Sue was also commissioned to create artwork for a new GP surgery building in Devonport – one of Plymouth’s most deprived areas.

“The challenge and responsibility of public funding require a considered response that keeps its feet on the ground. Surgery users will include the medical staff as well as thousands of patients living in one of Plymouth’s most underprivileged districts. I need to take all this on board as I develop my ideas for this commission.”

With her MA project focusing on oak trees and their ecology, Sue’s research for the course formed the basis of her artwork for the new building. Her creative plans include a run of photographs of the seasonally changing tree with a series of frames, each concerned with a particular group of tree inhabitants from moths, beetles and fungi to birds and mammals.