Research at The Cass

Image from The Art Party, Bob & Roberta Smith

Cass research

The research strategy at The Cass reflects our core values and commitment to social engagement and local communities. We have added to this commitment a more specific understanding of our city, London in particular, as a topic in its own right. This has already inspired cross-disciplinary projects and resonates with practice across the three Schools of Art, Architecture and Design.

Cass research links closely with our unique studio delivery model, bringing together students and our practitioners, industry leaders and researchers under thematic programmes, supported through projects, exhibitions, screenings and public lectures that share each studio’s research focus. This embedded connection between research and teaching, positions our expertise at the heart of curriculum design and delivery.

The Cass continues to explore and develop its role in consultancy and advocacy for our subjects and research territories. We directly interrogate the potential for art, architecture and design to transform lives, regenerate communities, and question and draw out meaning from our shared material cultures in both national and international arenas.

Scroll down to see our highlighted projects for key examples.


Each research group or theme provides the intellectual and practice-based expertise and discourse to support The Cass’s thematic studio model and the supervision of our MA by Project and PhD students. It fosters innovative practice and an emphasis on live projects, facilitated by Cass Projects.

Cross-faculty discourse and collaboration has proved highly effective in building on best practice to ensure a coherent, proactive and outward-facing research and enterprise culture that has a profound impact on the immediate learning environment, the east London locale and wider communities (for example Mumbai, Sierra Leone and Moscow).

Research themes

Critical Curation

Actively testing the expanded notion of what constitutes an exhibition

A research theme that explores important questions about the purpose and impact of curatorial activities on culture and society.

Critical Materiality

Exploring relationships between materials and processes

This inter-disciplinary area of research brings together artists, designers, architects and writers.

Design: Sites | Histories | Theories

Design and its sites as material and imagined

An inter-disciplinary research group embracing a range of methodologies to explore and interrogate design as object, image, process and intention, historically and now.

Music Technology, Theory and Practice

A critical and innovative approach to the relationships between aspects of music and its technologies

This theme draws together musicians and theoreticians in the Faculty engaged in a reflective and critical approach to the relationships between music and its technologies.

Pedagogic Research

Enquiry through teaching practice

The Cass has developed a unique approach to teaching across all subjects based on the studio system and an emphasis on live projects.

Public Acts

Social engagement, participation and collaboration

This theme draws together artists, architects and writers who are engaged with the examination of public space.

Spectatorial Dramaturgy

Artists, musicians and theoreticians engaged in a reflexive and critical approach to dramaturgy, spectatorship and context

A spectator may be defined as "a participating-knowing observer of an event". Music, art and performance need an aware recipient or addressee (spectator/listener) to fully exist.

Research groups

Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources (ARCSR)


An emergent academic research area investigating low income settlements in urbanised environments from degree through to PhD

Architecture Research Unit

An architectural design laboratory in The Cass, pioneers of 'design as research', lead by Florian Beigel and Philip Christou.

ARU is an architectural design laboratory primarily concerned with the exploration of ideas about space.

The East End Archive

Online resource focusing on the physical and conceptual East End of London

Online resource focusing on the physical and conceptual East End of London

Cass Cities Research

Some urban research we are busy with

Cass Cities champion the rich array of urban research that happens here at Aldgate.

Urban Research Projects

Situated within The Cass Faculty of Art

A team of designers and social scientists that undertake new research, and work with other researchers within the university and outside, to record and disseminate existing research and its influence.

Research News

Research degrees

MA by Project

An innovative research-based degree

This unique research degree is tailored to opening new opportunities in creative practice as well as professional and academic fields. The course is run by our research units.


Research courses at The Cass

We offer expert supervision by academics researching in a wide range of disciplines. Our students' research areas include critical curation, music technology, cities and rapid change.

Showcase of Cass research

Reader in Photography and Course Leader for MA Photography, Director of the East End Archive, teaches in to BA (Hons) Fine Art.

Teaches on Professional Diploma in Architecture - RIBA Parts 1 and 2.

Architect who has concentrated for twenty-six years on urban projects and nurturing the evolution of places.

Teaches on BA (Hons) Fine Art studios and MA Fine Art.

Maurice Mitchell is Professor in the CASS Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design at London Metropolitan University where he teaches Diploma Unit 6 with Francesca Pont.

Nicolas de Oliveira is a writer and curator.

Dr Elaine Thomazi Freitas is a composer and media artist.

Recent news from The Cass

MA students build flat-pack educational space

Learning by play

A group of cross-disciplinary students explore play through design and discovery.

Alumni directs his second feature film, Scales

"How Do You Weigh Trust?"

Film and Broadcast Production BA alumni Nathan Hannawin is directing and crowdfunding for his second feature film, Scales.

On the water in Hayes

Studio 3 go kayaking.

Architecture students from Studio 03 continue working in Hayes.

Recent Film Successes

News from London, Italy and LA

Current students visit London Film Festival and Cass Alumni find success abroad.

Open Field: Louise Sayarer

31 October – 3 December 2016

Second residency announced in new fine art residency programme at The Cass.

Unseen Radiohead portraits

Exhibition by photographer and The Cass technician Sebastian Edge includes unseen portraits of Radiohead.

Tak Tak Tak – Built

Fundraising campaign success

Calais Kids Space for unaccompanied children completed by Tak Tak Tak team.

Fuzz photography exhibition

4 - 6 November 2016

A photographic show by Cass alumni that presents work somewhere between completely true and completely false.

Cavespace in Pimlico

Crowdfunding for new project and gallery space

Fine Art BA alumna Karen Turner is crowdfunding for Cavespace.

Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities

10 to 12 October 2016

Senior Lecturer, Gina Pierce, will be presenting a paper at the Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities Conference at the Lowry Centre in Salford this month.

Young talent recognised

Winner to be announced 28 October

Cass student Shenpei Ha is shortlisted in the international Young Talent Architecture Award (YTAA).

Festival success for The Cass

17-24 September 2016

Hundreds attend exhibition of work by Cass design graduates and alumni for London Design Festival 2016.

Film production collective head to Poland

Find out how to support the project

Final year Cass Film students are crowdfunding their graduation film set in Poland.

Stirling Prize 2016

Sucess for Cass Tutor's Practice

The gallery designed for Damien Hirst by The Cass tutor Peter St John's practice Caruso St John has won the prestigious Stirling Prize 2016.

Cass tutor's practice is shortlisted for the Stirling Prize

The gallery designed for Damien Hirst by The Cass tutor Peter St John's practice Caruso St John is shortlisted for the prestigious Stirling Prize 2016.