MA Visual Arts (Designer Maker)
Project Proposal Structure guidance notes
(word count: 1500-2000 words)
1. Working Title
This should express the main area of investigation, implying its questions and potential argument or standpoint. While being a working title, which will inevitably change over time, it is important that you are as specific and precise as possible. The title should be brief and succinctly address the main question/hypothesis of the project.
2. Aims + Objectives
Define briefly your subject and the main concerns of the investigation, including a set of aims and objectives that will guide your research. Your proposal is primarily practice based, you should also use this section to describe your vision of your practice and the way in which you work in your practice on your preoccupations and concerns. After defining your subject, you might find it helpful to think about the main concerns of the project as questions you are asking yourself, to which you hope to find the answer. The aims and objectives are important because they, in a sense, declare the criteria for your investigation, against which the success or failure of your project can be assessed. If you find it difficult to articulate your aims and objectives you might find it helpful to think of your aim as the most significant questions or problems you hope to tackle. Your objectives are the steps by which you will meet this aim. Your proposal should normally have one or two aims, followed by a series of around 6 objectives. The idea is that by the time you have met all your objectives, you should have achieved your aim.
3. Context [Including Historical, Contemporary and Theoretical Contexts]
There is no single history that suits all investigations but you should identify the various strands of history that relate to your particular research. It may be a history of ideas and concepts that have influenced the development of a particular area of art and design, the history of the medium or technology in which you work, or a particular part of the history of Art or Design.
As far as you are able, define the contemporary work that relates to your field of investigation. You must do this for the following reasons:
• to demonstrate that you are aware of the field in which you are working
• to demonstrate that your proposed research will have distinct feature which will make it potentially original
• to form the basis of links with other research work to which you will contribute or on which you will build
You should be able to demonstrate the ways in which you evaluate your own work and that of others, and the sources you use to inform your evaluation. A theoretical context will help you avoid simply asserting a position and support you in the reflective approach. Three different kinds of theoretical context are outlined below (but these are not exhaustive and you may prefer a different model). They are defined with a bias towards a practice-based proposal. If your proposal is entirely theoretical and critical, only the first and possibly the second might apply:
Critical Theory – definition of the critical concepts and terms you will use in order to evaluate or critique your experimental work
Parallel Theory – definition of theoretical fields which may share concepts with your experimental work but there is no simple, direct relationship. This acknowledges that practice and theory are seen as distinct discourses.
Projective or Generative Theory – theory that is