Courses in

Creative Arts and Media

St. Mary's Hall - Mayo Campus, venue for BA Contemporary Art Practices

BA in Contemporary Art Practices - Advanced Year 2 Entry

A four year part-time flexible degree in contemporary art practices - advanced year 2 entry 2021

Discipline: Creative Arts and Media

Location: Mayo

NFQ Level: 7

Programme Duration: Four years

Mode of Study: Full time

Application Route: Apply direct to GMIT

Entry Requirements: Entry will be in accordance with the current GMIT admissions policy.

Places: 24


The course fee per annum is €2,350 (self-funding).  The programme is not eligible for funding under SUSI.  An instalment plan which is designed to give students the flexibility in paying their fees will be offered (please contact for further details). 

Why Study?

This course is designed to prepare students for professional art practice and to enhance the student’s employability options.

The purpose of this part-time programme is to provide students with:

Specialised education in contemporary art practices as a basis for a long-term professional career

A broad range of creative and community contexts. 

A basis for further academic and professional education.

This programme aims to equip the student with the knowledge, skills and competence required for both autonomous and semi-autonomous working practices in a broad range of art and community contexts.

It also aims to provide students with critical engagement with the contemporary visual culture in the West of Ireland. The course will also allow students to embed the visual arts into the culture of the region, creating an innovative model of arts education in a rural context.

A primary concern will be to foster a person-centred philosophy as the basis for practice, and to equip students with the skills necessary to engage in authentic creative relationships and become both professional artists and cultural agents in the wider community.

Programme Modules


  • Core Visual Studies 1 (20 credits)
  • Art History 1 (5 credits)
  • Introduction to Sociology & Psychology (5 credits)
  • Learning to Learn (5 credits)
  • Introduction to New Media (5 credits)
  • Technical Applications (5 credits)



  • Core Visual Studies 2 (20 credits)
  • Art History 2 (5 credits)
  • Introduction to Contemporary Art Theory (5 credits)
  • Digital Media (5 credits)
  • Print (5 credits)
  • Contextual Studies (5 credits)


YEAR 3 (Semester 5 [to Exit Award Higher Cert Level 6] – 120 credits)

  • Core Visual Studies 3 (10 credits)
  • Representing the West (5 credits)
  • Professional Art Practice (5 credits)
  • Arts Facilitation Skills (5 credits)
  • Introduction to Marketing (5 credits)


YEAR 3 (Semester 6)

  • Advanced Visual Studies (10 credits)
  • Contemporary Art Theory 1 (5 credits)
  • Community Cultural Development (5 credits)



  • Self-directed Project (15 credits)
  • Community/Context-based Project (10 credits)
  • Art and the Public Sphere (5 credits)
  • Contemporary Art Theory 2 (extended essay) (10 credits)

Learning Outcomes: 

  • Have a specialized knowledge and understanding across the broad range of inter-related topics, applications, practices and skills encompassed by contemporary art practices.
  • Have a developed knowledge and understanding of the nature and evolving environmental context of contemporary art practices and the issues and challenges faced locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Have a thorough knowledge of health and safety issues and good working practices for contemporary artists.
  • Have a comprehensive and integrated knowledge and understanding of the key theoretical concepts and relevant regulatory frameworks underlying contemporary art practices, both nationally and internationally.
  • Have developed and expanded capacity to work with materials and to make informed choices concerning visual qualities.
  • Have a nascent critical awareness of the sources and limitations of current knowledge, practices, developments in theory and applications, change drivers and possible future directions in contemporary art practices, both nationally and internationally.
  • Have sensitivity to the composition, value and limitations of applied social theory and an appreciation of its inter-relationship with contemporary art practices.
  • Be able to demonstrate a specialized range of visual art skills, including technical, procedural and conceptual capacities in both fine and socially-engaged art practices.
  • Demonstrate the capacity to communicate effectively with curators, commissioning bodies, peers, clients and other stakeholders.
  • Have an orientation, disposition and emergent ability to engage in authentic creative relationships.
  • Have the conceptual knowledge and understanding necessary as a framework for the adaptation of specialist know-how relevant to particular situations.
  • Be able to demonstrate an ability to respond to a set brief in an original/personal way and to develop critical skills in terms of personal work and in a broader creative sphere.
  • Be able to exercise appropriate judgment in application contexts, drawing on relevant theoretical frameworks, know-how and practical skills in doing so.
  • Be able to demonstrate a systematic and professional approach to resolving issues and structured problems arising in practice.
  • Be able to demonstrate an awareness of issues related to non-structured and ambiguous scenarios and an awareness of the abilities required to deal with such situations.
  • Demonstrate an ability to articulate an internalised, personal world view, encompassing values and norms relevant to contemporary art practices.
  • Demonstrate a capacity to show solidarity and empathy with others.
  • Demonstrate an ability to mediate and effectively reflect the views of others.
  • Demonstrate an ability to negotiate with and advocate on behalf of others.
  • Have an appreciation of current issues and trends in contemporary art, and a confidence to formulate and express opinions in these regards.
  • Understand the contested nature of issues of identity, community, nation, land and power in the West of Ireland.


Syllabus is available on request. 

Career Opportunities

Graduates will have opportunities to work as practitioners in a variety of art practices:

  • The fine artist, who solely practices their art
  • Artists working mainly in community settings, including public art commissions
  • Artists working in arts-based community development, where visual art is a tool to achieve community development

Follow-on Studies: 

Upon successful completion of the BA in Contemporary Art Practices degree (NFQ, Level 7), students will be eligible to progress to the existing part-time Level 8 add-on programme at the GMIT Centre for Creative Arts & Media in Galway.  Plans are underway to offer this two-year course in the Mayo Campus in the near future.

Graduates will also be eligible to progress to cognate Level 8 awards at other Irish Institutes and Universities, including the Graduate Diploma in Community Art Education at the National College of Art and Design.

Post-graduate Studies: 

There are opportunities for successful graduates in Ireland at NFQ Level 9, including the MA in Art in the Contemporary World at the National College of Art and Design, and the MA in Social Practice and the Creative Environment in Limerick Institute of Technology.

International opportunities include the European Master in Arts, Culture and International Management at the University of Lapland.

Graduates with an existing Level 9 qualification may also progress to Level 10 programmes in Ireland and abroad. Examples in Ireland include the practice-based PhD programmes at the National College of Art and Design, and the PhD in Philosophy of Art and Culture at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Essential Information: 

Have you completed an Art course (FETAC, Level 6) at a College of Further Education & Training Board (ETB)?  If so, there are opportunities to advance onto year 2 of this programme.


Start Date
September 2021


How to Apply

***Applications for September 2021 are no longer being accepted.*** 

If you have any queries on this please email

Recognition of Prior Learning may be used to gain access to this programme in accordance with GMIT’s Recognition of Prior Learning policy.  For more information on the RPL policy, please visit 

Contact Us

Dr. John Mulloy (Programme Coordinator)

Email: Dr. John Mulloy