The international MA Programme at the Iceland Academy of the Arts supports your individual and progressive art practice. There is an emphasis on art practice and research with a view to strengthening insight into the complexities of contemporary art contexts. We look for flexibility and specialization in materials and methods requiring you to be able to position yourself, to critique and challenge problems and situations within the field.


You will be joining an artistic and intellectual community committed to contemporary art and art education. You will be placed in the city of Reykjavik in proximity to a growing but vibrant art-scene across a variety of art disciplines. One of the unique features of the Iceland Academy of the Arts is the students’ proximity to other disciplines in the arts. Collaboration is encouraged across various arts disciplines on an individual basis as well as through workshops and specific projects.

Programme director

"I went from being an artist who makes things, to being an artist who makes things happen."

The statement above by the British artist Jeremy Deller references not only a shift in his art practice in which the artworks, that often have a socially engaged and participatory dimension act as a catalyst for change, but is also indicative increasingly of the role art can have in contemporary societal affairs. Nato Thompson the chief curator at Creative Time in New York explains that this way of working is not about denying the role of the object in art but a statement of a way of working that, privileges a lived experience be it through human or non-human matter. When the artist Tania Bruguera proposes, that “it’s time to put the Duchamp urinal back in the restroom” she references a different outlook on the role of art and possibly the variety of places from which art now speaks 1. But what happens when the urinal is put back in the restroom – is it still art? In this setting, the blurring of boundaries between art and life are foregrounded, requiring us to engage differently - to approach meanings associated with the work in an alternative way. Thompson has suggested that we reframe the common but outmoded question “is it art?” in such a way that the focus is on the methods used to understand the effects, affects and impact of art.2 The emphasis on process-­‐based art practice away from the ‘autonomous’ art object has changed the ways artists experience and engage with the world and for both artist and audience, the role of art as a tool for knowing has consequently undergone a reappraisal. Knowledge is perhaps not something one possesses but is registered in action – for instance, to ‘know,’ as a ‘doing’ word moves in opposition to knowledge as an immutable thing to be held. The scientific worldview, with its emphasis on information, data and the establishment of facts, often seems to deny or suppress sensory interaction with the environment. Art on the other hand values and cultivates this as being central to its currency and effect.

Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir

Learning outcomes


The student has knowledge in the field of fine art. This includes that the student:

  • knows professional subject matters in the field of fine art and related issues of debate,
  • has acquired knowledge through research and the creative art process,
  • knows the main currents, theories, methods and works of contemporary art,
  • can bring his/her knowledge to support arguments that justify his/her resolutions,
  • knows research methods within the professional field of visual art,
  • understands the ethics of research and art creation.


The student is able to apply the methods and approaches of the field of fine art. This includes that the student:

  • has developed responsible and independent working methods in the creative art process,
  • has the ability to synthesize knowledge, tackle challenging tasks and present his/her viewpoint in his/her work,
  • is able to apply his/her knowledge and comprehension to the professional work and working environment of the fine arts,
  • has mastered appropriate methods and techniques in the implementation of work and tasks,
  • is able to collect, analyse and assess resources during the research and creative processes,
  • shows originality and insight into the development and execution of work,
  • can use his/her knowledge, comprehension and problem-solving skills in the novel and unknown situations, and in a cross-disciplinary context within the fine arts,
  • is able to develop projects and place these in the context of the professional field´s theoretical framework,
  • is able to develop and use research methods during the creative process,
  • is able to read his/her own work and those of others from a professional perspective.


The student can apply his knowledge and skills to work and/or further study. This includes that the student:

  • has developed the necessary study skills and independence in art creation to undertake further study and/or work,
  • can initiate visual art projects, direct them and shoulder responsibility for individual and group work,
  • can present a detailed action plan and implement it in a responsible manner,
  • can present complicated subjects in art creation and communicate this on professional grounds, individually, or in cooperation with others, in the presence of specialists and the public,
  • has the skill to present and describe the professional subjects of visual art, in oral and written English,
  • can make independent, professional decisions and rationalize these,
  • can independently assess when and where different analytical methods applied in the process of research and art creation,
  • has developed a critical consciousness and can make use of critical discussion for creative work,
  • has acquired the ability to function within the international context of fine art.
Program taught in:
Iceland University of the Arts

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Last updated December 17, 2018
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Aug 19, 2019
2 years
420,000 ISK
per semester
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Start Date
Aug 19, 2019
End Date
Application deadline

Aug 19, 2019

Application deadline
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