The Royal Academy Schools offers the only three year postgraduate course in Europe. Successful completion of this tenure culminates in the award of the Royal Academy Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art.
The Schools places an emphasis on active participation and production, and potential applicants should be aware that the programme is a full-time commitment. It is important that students admitted onto the course are able to manage their time effectively in order to accommodate the expectations and requirements of the course and students must achieve a level of attendance commensurate with the requirements of the course.
The programme is focussed on studio-based practice across all contemporary fine art media. The studios accommodate a wide variety of disciplines, and each student is allocated their own studio space, which is changed with each year of the course. The studios are arranged to be as open-plan as possible, to allow maximum flexibility, as well as encourage working relationships between students.
A weekly schedule of group critiques and individual studio tutorials are organised to assist students in developing their studio work. Seminars that include students from all year groups are arranged – these might include medium-specific discussions, or a common ground based on theoretical or conceptual concerns. The core staff is complemented by a wide range of visiting artists, writers and critics. Students have the opportunity to engage with visitors to the Schools via the lecture programme, in addition to one-to-one tutorials.
The Schools staff also includes Professors in Painting, Sculpture, Drawing and Architecture, all of whom are Royal Academicians. The Professor in Chemistry can advise students on technical aspects, as well as conservation and archival issues relating to the production of work. Additionally, a Professor in Anatomy is available to students with a particular interest in this specialism. A full list of staff and visitors from the past academic year can be found here.
Tutorials and Group Critiques
One-to-one tutorials take place throughout the academic year and a diversity of contemporary artists are invited into the Schools to engage in one to one tutorials in addition to those that take place with core staff.
Group critiques are the core of the programme, and take place throughout the academic year. Overseen by the year tutor, students make formal presentations of their current work to their year group. These critiques provide an opportunity for deep consideration of each individual’s work within the peer group with a view to broadening discussion the understanding of the wider context of contemporary practice.
Lecture Programme & Artist’s Talks
The Schools week starts on a Monday morning with the weekly lecture. These reflect the current issues particular to the students working in the schools and address current concerns in contemporary art, whether theoretical, political or philosophical. The lectures are broad in reach, lecturers are drawn from academic institutions in the UK and abroad and lectures cover diverse academic disciplines. Examples of recent contributors include, Jeremy Gilbert Rolfe, artist and Professor at Art Center College, Pasadena, and author of Beyond Piety: Critical Essays on the Visual Arts and Beauty & The Contemporary Sublime, Esther Leslie, Professor in Political Aesthetics at Birkbeck College, Alexander Duttmann, Professor of Philosophy & Visual Culture at Goldsmiths College, Steven Connor, Professor of Modern Literature & Theory at Birkbeck College, Richard Sennett, Professor of Sociology at London School of Economics.
Talks given by prominent visual artists organised by students in their second year allows insight into disparate and individual approaches to studio practice. Elizabeth Price, Katharina Grosse, Jake Chapman and John Smith are examples of recent contributors.
Reviews of Work
A formal review of each student and their work takes place at the culmination of each year. The reviews provide students with an opportunity to reflect upon the achievements of the year. In exceptionally rare circumstances, a student may be required to submit further work following a set period of time, prior to the decision to continue study being approved.
The Schools is attended by two Visiting Professors, whose objective is to gain an overview of the course, to conduct one-to-one consultations with each student, and to advise the staff of the Schools. The Visiting Professors meet with students during their second year, and then again in the third year, prior to their graduation. This process enables the Visiting Professors to familiarise themselves with each of the students, and to reflect upon the development of their work and the effectiveness of the programme in an informed manner.
The written component of the course is used as a means to investigate and extend ideas that have arisen as a result of studio-based work. A short text is submitted during the first year as an opportunity to address some key concerns that inform each student’s practice. During the second year, students are assisted through tutorials to identify subjects and ideas relevant to their practice and to develop a c6000 word text. The text is intended to be a useful opportunity to enhance studio practice and the form of the text is a matter to be discussed in specifically allocated tutorials. The completion of this text is a formal requirement of the course.
Professional practice seminars are given by a variety of specialist professionals including accountants, copyright lawyers, gallerists, curators and critics. These sessions give practical advice and guidance on all aspects of an artist’s professional working life.
The Schools arranges teaching placements on undergraduate fine art courses for students in their third year. In most cases, students take on the responsibilities of a visiting artist to the host institution. This normally involves giving an artist’s talk as well as tutorials.
Contact details for further information
Telephone +44 (0)20 7300 5650