Spring 2022 - CA 891 G100

Professional Practices Seminar II

Class Number: 7873

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    GCA 4390, GOLDCORP

  • Instructor:

    Peter Dickinson
    1 604 908-0993
    Office: GCA 3855
    Office Hours: By appointment
  • Prerequisites:

    CA 890.



A non-credit course for graduate students working in contemporary arts that foregrounds professional aspects of the discipline. Includes workshops on academic writing, research skills development, pedagogy, proposal and grant writing, peer critique, artistic production and management, academic and public dissemination of work, and presentations of works in progress. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.


This required non-credit course continues the work of CA 890, providing graduate students (MA, MFA, and PhD) working in contemporary arts with further insight into professional aspects of the discipline. Weekly meetings will be organized around discussions of issues pertinent to our field (e.g., sustainability in the arts); specific professional development and skills-based sessions (e.g., applying for artist residencies or academic fellowships); and the workshopping of material related to course and program requirements within the respective graduate cohorts. As with CA 890, panels and invited presentations by SCA faculty, staff, and community experts will be a key feature of this course.


Consistent with SCA’s program-level Educational Goals, adopted in the fall of 2018, at the end of this course students will have developed:

  • A better understanding of the place of art in the world, and in their own scholarly and creative practices: through the discussion of seminar readings, an engagement with field experts, and oral and written presentations on their work;
  • The skills to work at an advanced level within their chosen area of study, and to communicate their ideas in a variety of forms: through in-class and take-home research and writing exercises;
  • The ability to collaborate and communicate across disciplines with their peers: through regular critique and feedback sessions on presented work;
  • A receptiveness to new knowledge paradigms and opportunities: through guest panel presentations and other community-engaged learning opportunities;
  • Professional independence: through the development and contextualization of artistic and critical position statements, and the planning, management, and execution of related projects.



  1. Regular attendance and active participation
  2. Research presentation to School
    • All incoming MA, MFA and PhD students who did not do so as part of CA 890, will be required to make a short presentation on their research to faculty, staff, and fellow students.
    • As in CA 890, these will take place monthly, following regular School meetings.
  1. End-of-semester precedent analysis and artist/critical position statement
    • A precedent analysis is frequently used in architecture, design, and law as a means to take stock of past practices that inform, influence or provide context for current practice.
    • For artists in the fine and performing arts, precedent analysis is a way of making otherwise implicit choices explicit through analysis in terms of concept, technique, process, etc.
    • For scholars working in visual, performance, cinema and comparative media studies, a precedent analysis is equally useful in taking stock of the aesthetic and other theories (e.g. phenomenology or feminism) that have helped give shape to your own critical perspective.
    • This assignment asks you to initiate the process of looking at and taking account of the work of others (broadly defined) who have informed or might help enlarge your own creative or scholarly research. This might be at the level of technique and medium, at the level of concept or project or theoretical approach, or it might be at the level of a school, style or period.
    • The outcome of this exercise will then form the basis for you to go on to situate your own work in your artist/critical position statement.
    • Ideally, the precedent analysis should include: i) an effort to locate your touchstone artists, movements, theories historically, culturally, etc.; ii) an effort to consider the core concepts (technical, material, theoretical) underpinning the work that has influenced you—and that you find useful in interpreting this work.



All course readings will be posted to Canvas.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.