The school of the arts launched a new, interdisciplinary arts program this fall

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Julio Diaz / Multimedia Assistant

McMaster introduces new iArts program reflecting diversity among artists and the arts with the first cohort of students having started classes this fall

This fall, McMaster University launched their new Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Integrated Arts (iArts), a level I direct-entry program for students wishing to pursue the arts from an interdisciplinary perspective. The new program allows students to explore the history and theory underlying the arts, from visual arts to performance, media and design and it aims to bridge skills across the arts to provide students with a truly integrated and comprehensive fine arts education.  

The program is designed intentionally to explore diversity among people and how this is reflected in the arts by combining techniques, approaches, theories and practices from all domains of the arts. Upper-years in this program will be able to take courses in a variety of artistic disciplines to hone their craft, including classes in acting, devising, drawing, film studies, video production, contemporary art histories, curatorial studies, sculpture, ceramics, painting, mixed-media and printmaking. 

The new iArts program also emphasizes a collaborative approach on creating space for both individual artistic expression and exploration of issues in social justice as well as a layered approach to the meanings and histories of the arts on a local, national and international level. It hopes to prepare students for professional careers in the arts by also equipping them with the necessary entrepreneurial skills to enter this broad and competitive field.  

This program will allow aspiring artists to build a portfolio reflecting the diversity of their experiences and expertise in a structured yet flexible way, to grow and evolve with the artist. 

Students applying to iArts must meet the academic requirements for admission to the faculty of humanities in addition to completing a creative submission selection process. Creative submissions is an electronic submission of the student’s creative work compilation, featuring art they created or developed through their education, at home or in the community.  

The art submission may be likened to a portfolio for visual artists or an audition reel for performance artists, but it can also contain works from a multitude of disciplines, as it is not bound to one singular representation of the student’s capabilities. 

The iArts has been intentionally designed around the needs of its prospective students. The program’s first cohort of 40 students began classes this past September.

iArts hopes to further develop and expand arts education at McMaster, providing students with a well-rounded and comprehensive experience in a range of disciplines tailored to the student as an individual and as a collaborator. While McMaster is known for excellence in science and medicine, this new program is one that demonstrates the diversity and multi-faceted nature of the school and its students, both current and prospective, and may create more space and funding for the arts at McMaster. 

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