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Study information

Dissertation

Module titleDissertation
Module codeAHVM005
Academic year2024/5
Credits60
Module staff

Professor Tom Trevor (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks

1

11

Number students taking module (anticipated)

20

Module description

The dissertation requires you to conceive, plan, research and write-up a research project orientated to the contemporary art world. The dissertation provides you with the opportunity to test your learning, display your subject knowledge and methodological skills, and explore in detail a topic that interests you.

The subject of the dissertation will be negotiated between you and your course tutor. It must be orientated to a subject that falls within the area of study of the International Contemporary Art MA. It will either take the form of an extended academic essay or a portfolio of texts for a hypothetical exhibition. The portfolio must contain the following three elements:

1)     the rationale for the exhibition and its relevance to contemporary curatorial, critical and/or artistic practice;

2)     the introductory catalogue essay for the exhibition;

3)     catalogue entries for a selection of exhibits.

The general form of the submission in either case must be agreed with the dissertation supervisor well in advance of the project – and will be included as part of your dissertation proposal.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The dissertation is the culmination of the Masters programme. The aims of this module are to provide you with opportunities to:

  • Demonstrate your capacity to sustain a self-initiated and autonomous research project
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of and critical engagement in the field of contemporary art, in a global context

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate an advanced ability to formulate a research proposal and to plan and execute advanced research
  • 2. Demonstrate an advanced ability to critically evaluate and analyse current research and/or curatorial practices in the contemporary art world and in your chosen area of enquiry
  • 3. Demonstrate an advanced ability to use and apply a range of research techniques and methodologies and/or curatorial practices appropriate to the discipline and to your chosen area of enquiry
  • 4. Demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate and to revise your own academic work and vocational practice in the light of feedback from the supervisor and peers

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Demonstrate an ability to make a contribution to a particular scholarly field and body of research in relation to contemporary art and the contemporary art world
  • 6. Demonstrate an advanced and autonomous ability to research and analyse relevant theoretical ideas, along with historical materials, and to apply these ideas to contemporary art and the contemporary art world
  • 7. Demonstrate an advanced ability to digest, select, and organise interdisciplinary material and to trace the development of debate across disciplinary boundaries

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Through the planning and organisation of a research project, demonstrate independence of thought and confidence in developing ideas and formulating questions
  • 9. Through the writing of a research project, demonstrate an ability to construct work of substantial length, detail, and some originality
  • 10. Through responses to constructive feedback, demonstrate an advanced and intellectually mature ability to reflect upon and strengthen written and other work

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary, it is envisioned that the schedule will cover some or all of the following stages:

 

  • You are encouraged to begin to think about potential topics for your dissertation early in Term 2. You should do this in discussion with your course tutor.
  • You will be required to develop and submit an initial dissertation proposal of 500-700 words mid-way through Term 2. Once the initial proposal has been submitted, you will be assigned to a supervisor with interests and knowledge appropriate to the chosen topic.
  • You are also required to present your proposal at the dissertation symposium that takes place at the start of Term 3.
  • You will then work closely in Term 3 with your allotted supervisor to develop and bring your project to completion. 
  • Supervisions (up to five in total) should take place: early in the process to discuss the focus and direction of the research; following the evaluation of the dissertation proposal, to set out a plan of work and to discuss major conceptual and methodological issues relevant to the project; and at later stages in the process to discuss progress and receive feedback on the draft of the critical essay. Dissertation supervision can take many forms, including face-to-face office meetings, telephone conversations, skype (VOIP) calls or e-mail. You are responsible for working out an agreed plan for supervision early in the process.
  • You will submit your final dissertation by the deadline agreed with your course tutor

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad
155850

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching 15Two workshops and five supervision sessions, of between 30-60 minutes, to be agreed in advance, plus email and other forms of feedback on drafts
Guided Independent Study585To include reading, viewing and writing preparation for workshop and supervision sessions. Archival research, development of dissertation proposal and drafts, prior to writing up of the final dissertation.

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Dissertation proposal500-700 words1-3, 5, 6, 8Written feedback will be provided by dissertation supervisor
Individual presentation of the proposal at the dissertation symposium10-15 minutes1-10Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutor follow up

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams
10000

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Either: extended essay relevant to the contemporary art world10020 000 words1-10Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutor follow up
Or: a portfolio of texts for a hypothetical contemporary art project 020 000 words comprising: 1) the rationale for the exhibition and its relevance to contemporary curatorial and/or artistic practice (8000 words) 2) the introductory catalogue essay for the exhibition (6000 words) 3) catalogue entries for a selection of exhibits (amounting to 6000 words in total). 1-10Feedback sheet with opportunity for tutor follow up
0
0
0
0

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
extended essay relevant to the contemporary art worldextended essay relevant to the contemporary art world1-10Referral/Deferral period
a portfolio of texts for a hypothetical contemporary art exhibition a portfolio of texts for a hypothetical contemporary art exhibition 1-10Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

  • Biggam, J. Succeeding With Your Master's Dissertation: A Step-By-Step Handbook(Maidenhead: OU Press, 2014)
  • Cooper, J. Dissertations (Richmond: Trotman, 2011)
  • Cottrell, S. Dissertations and Project Reports: a Step by Step Guide (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)
  • Ridley, D. The Literature Review: A Step-By-Step Guide For Students (London: Sage Publications, 2012)

Students who elect to submit a portfolio of texts for a hypothetical contemporary exhibition are advised to follow the catalogue format of published exhibition catalogues appropriate to their thesis topic. Catalogues published by major galleries (e.g. Tate Modern) provide good exemplars.

Key words search

Contemporary art; visual art; art curator; curatorial practice; galleries; museums; art collections; collectors; art fairs; auction houses; biennials; art critic; art review; art catalogue; art blog; critical theory; art theory

Credit value60
Module ECTS

30

Module pre-requisites

None

Module co-requisites

None

NQF level (module)

7

Available as distance learning?

No

Origin date

16/09/2019

Last revision date

29/04/2022