FAQS

Financial Aid Questions

How much is the program per year?
Current tuition is $9,760 x 4 semesters.

Do tuition payments include the residencies in New York and Berlin? Or will there be additional fees? 
There are no additional fees. Students are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation. 

Is there some form of financial aid available? 
There are some partial scholarships available. Please see the Financial Aid page for full details of payment options and a list of external funding resources for different countries.

Can Transart sign a Loan Deferment Form for me?
Loan Deferment Forms can be processed once you are a fully enrolled student in the program and according to the requirements of the lender. Loan Deferment Forms are signed by the Programme Administration Manager at Plymouth University. If you have a form you need signed please ensure all the information is correct and send a high-quality scan to Abigail Quinton at PU: abigail.quinton@plymouth.ac.uk

General Questions

What’s the age range of your students?
Most students are in their 30′s and 40′s, some are in their 20′s and a few are 50s and 60s. The program attracts many mid-career artists and artists who are currently teaching at other universities but there are also a substantial number of emerging artists and a few students come to us straight out of undergraduate art programs.

How good does my English need to be to participate in the program?
The program runs in English. Your English must be good enough to read critical texts and have discussions and attend lecture on this level at the residency. Students can work with their advisors in any language they choose. Students can do their research and write their papers in any language their appointed faculty person speaks. Currently we have faculty in German, Italian, Spanish and possibly French. All written work must also be presented in English since it must be available to the External Examiner. All administrative work including student evaluations and other paper work must be in English. If English is not their first language, students may be required to provide a TOEFL with a score (iBT) of 52 or better.

Can I start the program with the fall semester?
Students can only begin the program at either the summer or winter residency. That is, students who apply for a Fall semester entry will begin with Summer Residency. Those applying for Spring semester with one semester of Advanced Standing begin at Winter Residency (for details on Advanced Standing click here).

Will getting my MFA from you help me to qualify for teaching at the college level in the U.S.?
Yes. If you’ve explored the job listings of the College Art Association and the Chronicle of Higher Education you’ll find that an MFA is required almost without exception.

Are there artists in the program who also like to show in the white box aside from being outside of it?
Absolutely. There are many professional and mid-career artists and teachers in the program. More are interested in traditional venues than not. We do see an increased interest in non-traditional or non-corporate exhibition venues, partly due to a vital dialogue and exchange of ideas about audiences and intentions and the fact that there are several curators in the program who are also thinking about these issues in new ways. And many artists in the program are working in new genres or new combinations of genres where there isn’t an extensive presentation history i.e. animation, cyber art, digital and experimental media, gaming, robotics, virtual reality.

How is this program different from other MFA programs?
Transart Institute is the only low-residency fine art program which is open to all media genres. and the program is truly interdisciplinary. Our students are generally working professionals with wider world experience than students who have concurrently pursued undergraduate and then graduate courses of study. The low-residency approach, coupled with our unique intensive residencies, gives our students the opportunity for deeper academic experiences than are possible in a traditional context. The intensive residency format allows us to invite practicing artists, media specialists and theorists who would not be able to commit to a full academic program because of their career commitments. The program also allows for an individually tailored approach to learning. Each student creates his/her own educational experience through independent study, working one-on-one with individual faculty and advisors. Finally, students work in their own studios in their own environment. Traditional programs often necessitate working in temporary on-site studio spaces. Balancing making art, supporting a family and holding down a ‘day job’ is one of the more difficult challenges artists face. If students can establish a good, solid artistic praxis with the support of the program in their own environment, the chances are much greater the praxis will continue to flourish in the long term after the program.

Is this an interdisciplinary or new media program?
The MFA Creative Practice is not tied to any specific creative discipline or media. If anything, it is pan-disciplinary. The artwork itself, and the ideas, content, process and presentation which make it up are the focus of the program. The choice of media remains yours. It should be the media that best expresses what you have to communicate, or the one within which you find your thoughts flow most easily. New media is an open-ended term and is intended here to be inclusive of genres and media not traditionally considered “fine art”, as well as analog media like photography or film that do not necessarily involve digital processes. It also implies an awareness of current media and media practices. Although one needs to have some interest in contemporary art, it isn’t necessary to work digitally to reach the goals of the program. The program attracts as many (if not more) painters and choreographers as it does artists working with robotics and cyberspace.

I’m an artist, not an art historian or a writer, how much research work is involved in the program?
The main emphasis in the program is on studio art. Cultural studies, writing and research are undertaken to inform the studio project. In the first semester each year students read in preparation for their research and write an introduction to their paper. In the second semester students write a ten page paper. There are no grades given. An advisor is selected on the basis of the research topic in the first year by the directors. Students can normally choose their advisors in the second year. You can expect to spend around 5 hours per week on reading, researching and writing these two papers, though this may vary from student to student according to ability and experience.

Residency Questions (On-site)

What is the summer residency?
Three weeks of intensive on-site work consisting of workshops, seminars, presentations, lectures, talks, exhibitions and performances as well as individual meetings with faculty, alumni and students. These residencies take place at the beginning, middle and end of the program. Two semesters of off-site independent work occur between the summer residencies.

What sort of classes take place during the summer residency?
Practical workshops are either five days or one day in length and focus on developing non-medium specific strategies for re-thinking creative practice, often developed around a specific theme or set of ideas. Normally students do not work on their own practice in these classes but instead focus on developing individual and collaborative short term projects for the duration of the workshop and seminars 1-3 days. Also expect one-off events such as pecha-kucha sessions, as well as regular critique sessions, and guest artist, student and faculty presentations.

What is the summer residency environment like? 
Can I bring other projects to work on while I’m there? Summer Residencies are intense and exciting for everyone involved: events take place from 9 in the morning to 8 at night every day of the week. Unlike a traditional residency program where you attend classes but rarely run into other students or faculty between classes, at Transart almost everyone is away from their jobs and family and focuses instead on their praxis, projects and colleagues. Because of the nature of the residency, you are very strongly advised not to bring along extra projects and to avoid any and all simultaneous external creative or employment obligations during the residency period, as you will definitely need time for rest and reflection.

Can I bring my family or partner to the residency?
Bringing family or partners to a residency requires advance planning and may prevent you from benefitting fully from the intensive residency experience. The program is small, intimate, experimental and highly responsive to student and faculty suggestions, so please be aware that the schedule can change at very short notice, which may make planning around a family difficult. Family and partners are welcome at all public events but they cannot attend classes. Please do not bring them to Transart social events without checking first. The institute is unable to supply information on day care, babysitters or summer classes for children.

What is the winter residency?
Five days of intensive on-site work consisting of presentations, critique sessions and talks. Professional development workshops are available at some residencies. Each student installs work and/or brings documentation of work as applicable, presents their project and gets feedback on the work and the presentation. There are also visits to exhibitions and performances as well as individual meetings with faculty, alumni and students. These residencies take place between the fall and spring modules.

Do I need a visa to come?
Due to the low-residency nature of the program, if you do need a visa it can be a tourist visa. Transart Institute will write you a letter confirming your status as either an applicant or an accepted student if you need one.

Can I get a student visa for Germany or the US by becoming a Transart Institute MFA student?
This is not possible due to the short duration of the residencies. Normally a tourist visa is all that is needed. With some countries an official invitation may be needed to obtain any visa. The institute can help make these arrangements.

Do students bring their work physically or only virtually to the residencies in Berlin and New York?
Students are encouraged to bring physical work whenever appropriate or possible. For the third summer students participating in the MFA thesis exhibition will bring work selected by the MFA Thesis Exhibition and Performance Event as well as any other work they wish critiqued depending on the nature of the project and whether the student is documenting, performing or exhibiting the project. The form of your final presentation is determined in the project plan and finalized at the second fall residency where students try out their intended presentations in a New York gallery for presentation input. Wherever and wherever possible we encourage students to bring physical work whenever they can, as there is often no substitute for encountering the work face-to-face. Optionally students can provide documentation or evidence of their studio practice as part of the thesis they will submit.

Semester Questions (Offsite)

Where will I do the library research necessary for the program?
Via Plymouth University Transart Institute offers access to hundreds of periodicals and subscriptions via online licensed databases, as well as a wealth of library research opportunities and tools. Students receive a full induction into accessing this material at the first summer residency.

Does the advisor I choose to work with have to reside near me?
No, advisors are assigned to students based on academic compatibility, not geographic proximity. Communication is by telephone, or Skype, e-mail, postal mail, and in-person meetings at residencies.

How do I find an advisor?
Students choose their individual creative and research advisors based on the proposal, mutual topics of interests and availability. In the first year you will normally work experienced Transart advisors. You can work with one pre-approved advisor from outside of the program in your second year. Faculty, guest artists and lecturers are all good sources for suggestions. Transart has a pool of international advisors and can approve artists and curators outside of the program as long as they are qualified. You will have at least two critiques each semester with your studio advisor. An ever-growing list of available advisors and media specialists with their locations, bios, areas of interest and websites is listed on the website. For your research advisor in your first year you will be placed with Transart summer faculty and experienced Transart advisors. You can work with pre-approved advisors outside of the program in your second year. Again, faculty, guest artists and lecturers are all good sources for suggestions, or you can also work with one of your summer seminar faculty. Your advisor will support your research efforts with input by email at three stages of the process.

What is a guidance committee?
Your guidance committee consists of your research and studio advisors. You will have an initial meeting together at the summer residency. These meetings reaffirm the vital connection between the studio and research components of your project. Any member of the committee can call a meeting at anytime during the semesters if questions come up.

What opportunities are there for feedback from fellow students when I’m not at a residency?
Students engage in regular off-site critique sessions run by alumni via Skype. These conversations provide a way of staying connected with your fellow students and also help to hone your critical and presentation skills.

What if I can’t work 20 hours a week on my studio project?
Students need to work an average of 20 hours a week. We understand that you are active professionals and that your workload will not necessarily be evenly distributed over the weeks of the semester. Each person must find their own rhythm and process for this. 20 hours per week gives you an indication of the overall amount of work expected of you by faculty and advisor throughout the program.

With the distance, how is my progress evaluated?
Your studio and research advisors will send you and the institute evaluations of your project at the end of each module or semester. This is done on a pass-fail basis. There are no grades. Students also post monthly progress updates (‘evidence of process’) on their wordpress blogs hosted at Transart. For students new to blogging there is an introductory session as well as individual help at the residency and during the semester.