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Design for Cultural Commons - MA

Why study this course?

This MA will help you become a pioneer in the field of cultural and urban commons. You'll gain expertise through design shared values and assets, self governance, peer to peer economic models and working with government agencies to develop related policies. As a student you gain 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.

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On this MA you'll have access to renowned partnering industries and political institutions such as UN Habitat through its New Urban Agenda 2016 programme, Tate Modern’s Tate Exchange programme, the Greater London Authority’s London Curriculum and the Government Office for Science, advocating commons as part of Future of Cities research.

This unique course teaches you the discourse of commons, both historical and current. It teaches commoning practices in a live context. You'll learn about public policies and how they are made, social theories and citizenship, micro economies, as well as a range of art and design teaching, from relational art, visual communication and performance to interiors, architecture and photography. You'll have the opportunity to tailor your learning by choosing from many subjects to construct your own unique curriculum.

In the UK, commons and co-production are referred to in government policies and tenders. They are currently being discussed in the EU parliament. On this course you will become an expert in executing best practice. Beyond teaching you to initiate your own commoning practice, you'll also learn how to raise funds and make your initiatives sustainable in the long term.

We'll support you in applying for mentoring programmes following your MA, to develop your practice/initiative into a viable social enterprise.


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
  • GCSE Maths at level C or above (or equivalent).
  • An up-to-date CV and copies of award certificates.

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


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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This course is subject to validation.