Diana Lindbjerg, This is an image (2017)
photo credit: Gard Aukrust
The International MFA program allows artists to spend two years of intense investigation developing a project and an artistic portfolio in a pre-professional environment. The program is not craft-oriented, but focuses on processual and discursive aspects of the arts. All art-making activities are considered serious intellectual endeavours. Students in the program concentrate on developing practical skills alongside developing their intellectual and critical abilities in working out their artistic positions.
The foreground of teaching focuses on artistic, practice-led research and a cross disciplinary approach, where critical reflection and debate are considered complementary to self-directed artistic research and practice. Individual mentoring lies at the core of art education, and is considered a backbone of the program. Students carry out research independently and work on projects under close guidance of supervisors. Projects evolve through stages of conceptual and material development towards formal and informal presentation and critical, constructive debate.
The program encourages graduate students to explore critical and innovative practices in both individual creative work and group projects. The curriculum is structured to expose students to diverse viewpoints and an array of professional practices that reflect contemporary issues, and is in dialogue with a global community of artists and thinkers. It offers students a wide range of educational modules including studio visits, tutorials, group critiques, workshops, courses in theory and practice, guest lectures, study trips, exhibitions, as well as student-led initiatives and projects.
KiT offers each MFA student a studio space and access to collaborative workspaces and workshops for wood, metal, plaster, printmaking, photo, video, sound and computer-based work. There are workspaces available for short-term project work that require larger spatial requirements.
The program culminates in a thesis project presented in a group exhibition, which is carried out in close collaboration with Trondheim Kunstmuseum, one of the major art institutions in Trondheim. The MFA thesis exhibition, a collectively produced show, must be displayed in a professional manner with a unified theme/concept. The student is required to submit a thesis paper, a written critical reflection that provides knowledge and insight to the artwork. Both final artistic project and written reflection must be successfully defending during an oral examination.
Successful completion of the exhibited project and passing the final exam are the requirements needed to earn an MFA degree.
Throughout the academic year the individual projects are combined with one main master course and elective courses, which are practice or theory based. Within the main course the program offers a broad range of pedagogical formats including group critiques, workshops, student-led seminars and projects, writing seminars, guest lectures, study trips, and visits to exhibitions.
Elective courses currently offered focus on the notions of public space and place with artistic, architectural and other creative practices, global approaches to aesthetics, theory, and criticism in the context of contemporary art, the relation of visual culture to technology and current tendencies of digital culture and art practice.
Advanced Artistic Work 1-4
The course concentrates on the development of individual artistic practice and the contextualisation of the studio work. The objective is to focus and develop an MFA artistic research project which is to be presented and defended in the MFA exhibition and final exam at the end of the two-year term. It covers the entire range from research and concept development, reflection, articulation and realisation. Teaching formats encompass lectures, student-led seminars, group critiques, reading of subject specific theoretical texts, visits to exhibitions, writing and exhibition strategies courses, and individual tutorials with main and second supervisors. Students must enroll in the course throughout their studies at KiT. Successful completion of each course is prerequisite for advancement to the next level.
Thematic Group Project
This course combines artistic practice and critical discourse through collective dissemination projects which relate to one or more key areas from the MFA course portfolio. Dissemination, in this sense, relates to formats of publishing and exhibiting as forms of learning. The course will provide insight into the relationship between practices in fine arts and their thematic integration and dissemination in various contexts and frameworks found within and outside the academy environment. The learning objective focuses on work on a group project. Students working around a common theme collectively develop research methods, artistic formats and techniques of documentation. Each project concludes with a public presentation of the research and artistic results.
This course is only offered in the Spring term of the 1st year of studies.
For all Masters students at NTNU it is also mandatory to participate in the inter-disciplinary course Experts in Team/(EiT) - a collaboration with other fields of study at NTNU. Students are advised to take this course in the 1st year of MFA studies.
Art and Common Space
The course takes as its starting point the necessity to re-imagine public space/place in relation to artistic, architectural and other creative practices. The course is partly theory-based, always mindful of practical situations and real-life scenarios, as well as creative possibilities for changing society, be it urban or closer to `nature`. It will cover historical theories of public space that have had particular relevance for art and architecture, but also current and innovative theoretical practices that have arisen out of the specific economic and environmental conditions that challenge us today. At the core of the practice-based work with art and public space will be a continual redefining, and intervention, in the concept and material reality of ‘common space. The term 'common' refers to the variety of spatial situations where people are meeting and communicating.
Key Concepts of Art Theory
The course concentrates on the role of theory and criticism in the context of contemporary art. It experiments and plays with a variety of different notions of theoretical praxis. In principle, art theory is understood as “the art of seeing art.” Rather than with an identifiable body of knowledge, the course operates as an open and flexible collaborative learning environment. It introduces and critically examines key concepts of contemporary art theory and explores their impact on the major movements in visual art from the early 20th century to the present day.
The course reflects on global approaches to aesthetics that have been developed in dialog with, in confrontation to or independently from the hegemony of Western philosophical traditions. It investigates historical and contemporary artistic practices based on cross-cultural exchange and new notions of modernity in the light of global transformations.
Art, Technology, Culture
This course explores unexpected and non-traditional approaches in making use of technology, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary art practices. This course focuses on aesthetics that are widely described by the term “post-digital.” The term implies that the digital revolution has become a rather trivial matter of fact and the digital has turned into the main condition of everyday life. The course concentrates on specific knowledge of aesthetic and conceptual approaches within the merging of technology, art and culture by focusing on central works of selected genres and current digital artistic and cultural practices.
Art and Ocean
This course investigates the role of art and the work of artists when it comes to addressing global challenges regarding the future of the oceans. Uncertainty, complexity, and fluidity within ocean research are challenging the borders of conventional forms of knowledge production. It opens up opportunities for interventions carried out within new alliances of agencies and collaborations. The production of knowledge across different fields of artistic practices and scientific research creates new understandings of the world we live in.
The Trondheim Academy of Fine Art (KiT) is a flexible and experimental educational and research institution and well known as the first art academy in the Nordic countries to offer education in media art. KiT is currently part of The Faculty of Architecture and Design at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). As Norway’s single largest university, NTNU has 14 faculties and 70 departments, with more than 100 laboratories. This unique environment encourages the MFA students to explore the potential for new practices across different disciplines and technologies.
The Academy of Fine Art is situated outside of the NTNU campus in a former factory building. It is well connected to a small but vibrant local art scene with artist-run galleries, exhibition halls and museums. KiT employs ten professors, five members of technical staff and three members of administrative staff.
The academic staff at KIT and the visiting artists come from diverse backgrounds. By bringing together different expertise resulting from practical experiences and distinguished artistic careers, the educational setting is designed to prompt students to challenge themselves and to push the boundaries of their artistic work and research.
Many of the MFA students at KiT come with undergraduate degrees from diverse fields, work experience, or even careers as independent artists. Students across both the BFA and MFA programs self-organize activities and projects, many taking place at Gallery KiT, and throughout Trondheim. Past and present activities include: an art fair, a book fair, a film screening programme, poetry slam and performance events. Students have also been involved in collaborations and exchanges between students of the Music & Technology and Dance departments.
The International MFA program is developed and carried out in an expanding network of partner institutions across Europe and beyond – with the goal of exploring a multiplicity of notions of contemporary art and in particular: how art inhabits concepts of the contemporary that operate in a “globalized” world.