02/12/2021

Arts Self-Study vs. Collaborative Study During Your Master's

Study alone or work with others? What’s more effective in an arts master’s?

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to finding the best study style in an art subject. Everyone is different, and there are benefits to both self-study and collaborative study. Plus, each art specialism is different, so how much time spent alone vs. working with others will depend on your chosen modules.

Here we look at the pros and cons, and how best to approach your master’s degree.

The benefits of self-study


If your master’s is focused on research, analysis and conceptualisation, such as fine art studies or art history, self-study is something you will need to become very good at. Working autonomously is an important skill, and it will come in handy in the workplace.

Arts self-study in itself can actually be a very good alternative to structured education, and it is recommended for all students to spend time teaching themselves outside of the classroom.

Here are the benefits of self-study:

- You can learn and discover at your own pace

- You have more time for self-reflection

- You can let your imagination run free

- It can encourage curiosity

- It can boost your confidence

- You can learn to work more independently

Branching out into collaborative arts

While self-study is important for art students, there are just as many benefits to collaborative study and joint art projects. This also applies to group study situations where you may share lecture notes.

By teaming up with others, or simply being creative in a group environment, you can bounce ideas around, draw inspiration from others, and create a supportive environment where everyone’s creativity is encouraged.

 

A master’s degree can be intensive, and it can get lonely if you don’t make connections. Unlike undergraduate degrees, postgraduate degrees require a certain level of autonomy. There’s also a bigger demand on students in terms of work, which means it can be harder to make friends.

So even if you’re not collaborating on projects together, it makes sense to do other things together. Go to art galleries, do cultured activities to find inspiration for your work, and make time for socialising too.  

If you get a chance, take on extra-curricular art activities to build your portfolio and gather more experience. You can develop a great sense of community through art, so get others involved in your ventures.

Finding the right style for you


A balanced approach is key when it comes to reaching your full potential in your arts master’s. Both self-study and group study can be useful in helping you improve your learning. Some courses or modules may have more of one or the other. But it’s up to you to decide what styles are most conducive to your personal learning.

Remember that group study settings aren’t always best for concentration. If you find yourself not benefiting from that sort of environment, try to find a quiet space to study.

As a leading Greater Manchester university with a range of arts degrees and postgraduate programmes to choose from, there’s nowhere better to enhance your creative journey. The Bolton School of the Arts has been established for over 150 years, providing art and design courses, as well as fine art degrees.

We also offer courses in animation and illustration, whatever arts specialism you’re interested in, we have the course for you.

Here at the University of Bolton, teaching quality is at the heart of everything we do and when studying with us, you’ll benefit from our small class sizes and passionate lecturers.

To find out more about arts degrees in 2022, use our online course search.

 

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