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Design for Cultural Commons - MA

Why study this course?

The Commons discourse is informed by an idea, which has been around for hundreds of years. In a contemporary context of much inequality, the Commons discourse introduces models of sharing. The Commons are about the assets that belong to everyone, forming resources that should benefit all, rather than being enclosed to just a few. You'll learn about how these shared assets are created, governed, used and distributed without overuse and abuse.

In the UK, commons, and co-production are referred to in government policies and tenders and are currently being discussed in the EU parliament. Beyond teaching you to initiate your commons projects and practice, you'll learn how to raise funds, and make your practice sustainable in the long term.

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This unique course teaches students the discourse of Commons, both historical and current. One-third of the course will focus on setting up student's future Commons practice. On completion of the course, students will have an operational practice/business. There will be an array of optional modules, ranging from public policies to social theories and citizenship, micro-economies and digital media. This is complemented with art and design teaching, from relational art, visual communication and performance to architecture and photography.

There is the opportunity to tailor your learning, to construct your own unique curriculum.

On this MA you'll develop projects and organisations, using Commoning as a model. You'll become pioneers in the emerging practices of cultural and urban commons. They will gain expertise in applying creative thinking towards asset sharing, mutual resources, self-governance and peer to peer economic models. Collaborating with cultural institutions and government agencies will enable you to develop related policies.

The course will support students in gaining membership to the International Association for the Study of the Commons. This will enable you to gain awards, as well as access international collaboration opportunities and platforms for knowledge exchange following your MA.


You will be assessed through individual and group presentations, case studies, reports, research proposals and a final project in the form of a practice portfolio and written thesis.

You will be required to have:

  • 2.1/2.2 honours degree (or equivalent) in any subject discipline
  • An up-to-date CV and copies of award certificates.

If you have low qualifications but a portfolio of substantial relevant experience in the field of Commons or similar discourse you will be asked for an interview to demonstrate your competency for a postgraduate course on the Commons.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Autumn semester modules:

School of Social Sciences:

History and Theory of Human Rights (Optional, shared module)

Social Policy Themes and Priorities: Local, Regional and Global (Optional, shared module)

School of Social Professions:

Multi-level Governance

Comparative Public Policy (Optional, shared module)

The Cass:

Histories and Theories on Commons (Core module)

Research and Methods: Commoning practices (Core module)

Spring semester modules:

School of Social Sciences:

Citizenship and Social Justice (Core module)

The Cass:

Economics of Place (Optional, shared module)

Theoretical Studies for Art, Architecture and Design (Optional, shared module) – MA by Project

Research and Methods: Commoning practices (Core module)

Summer semester module:

Project: Commons and their implementation – 60 credits (Core module).

Should students want to gain employment they will have opportunities in:

1) UN-Habitat agencies

2) Local Government

3) partners established during the MA

4) Organisations through European Commons network

5) Transition towns

6) Government research on future of cities


We're investing in an exciting, multimillion pound transformation of the London Metropolitan University campus, between 2016 and 2020. We’re moving all of our activity to one place, our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching locations of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2018. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

How to apply

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When to apply

You are advised to apply as early as possible as applications will only be considered if there are places available on the course.

Fees and key information

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