Why study this course?

Do you find yourself concerned by current problems of social and economic inequality? Are you seeking a solution which could support methods to instigate power shifts? “The Commons” as a field of study is considered to offer this very solution.

This postgraduate certificate offers a unique opportunity to rigorously interrogate new forms of practice; to challenge unequal power relations; to question planetary resource extraction and to tackle the inequalities of market-focussed capitalism. Modules for this certificate examine the history and theory of commons and a detailed look at commoning practice. If you’re looking to develop financially stable practices for delivering ethical services and products, the modules on this course will put you well on your way. This course also enables you to interrogate or intervene in an existing organisation/institution.

More about this course

Whether you are already involved in social or political practice, or looking to be, this PG Cert will help you to uncover the history and theory of Commons, and to apply this to your own experiences, in turn setting the brief for your own practice.

You may be:

  • An existing practitioner who wants to critically reflect on their practice and analyse where to go next using the Commons as a tool for analysis or as a way to frame your practice.
  • An artist, designer, architect or urban designer interested in developing innovative new forms of social and ecological practice that are not offered in the conventional training of your discipline. You will learn to articulate a social, ethical and Commons-based practice which is financially sustainable.
  • An employee in an institution or organisation who wants to reflect on your role. Either to gain more agency, to have an impact or to develop a new socially responsible and Commons-based area within the institution.

Most of our students are mid-career practitioners looking to change the direction of their career, often finding their current work environment at odds with their beliefs and interests. If you are looking to embark on a new career path working with communities and in the public sector, the course material will help you to mediate between these worlds and learn best practices for working with communities. The course’s methodology will support you to undertake mapping exercises based on your skills, career path and interests. In turn you'll work to draw out a unique new organisational model tailored to your passion, analysing your needs against the modern macro-political context.

In this supportive, mentoring environment, your modules will act as laboratories for innovating fair, ecological and democratic forms of cultural practice relevant to the networked, decentralised and interconnected (glocal) world of tomorrow.

Gaining this PG Cert qualification can also support the development of Mphil and Phd proposals if you are keen to pursue a further qualification. 

This course has formal partnerships with the Design Museum and Design Exchange Magazine, as well as other informal partnerships with numerous community organisations, local government agencies/ authorities and charities.


You’ll be assessed through a written essay, a public talk, coursework and a presentation.

Fees and key information

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Entry requirements

You’ll generally be required to have one or a combination of the following:

  • an honours degree classification of 2.1/2.2 (or equivalent) in any subject discipline
  • practice experience in any field, with some understanding of working within NGOs or other third sector organisations.
  • an up-to-date CV and copies of award certificates

If your qualifications don’t meet the requirements above but you have a portfolio of substantial relevant experience in the field of Commons or a similar discourse, you’ll be invited to an interview to demonstrate your abilities for a postgraduate course on the Commons.

As well as the above, you’ll need to present a portfolio of work or a clear proposal for postgraduate study within the subject area.

Accreditation of Prior Learning

Any university-level qualifications or relevant experience you gain prior to starting university could count towards your course at London Met. Find out more about applying for Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL).

English language requirements

To study a degree at London Met, you must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. If you require a Student visa (previously Tier 4) you may need to provide the results of a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. This course requires you to meet our standard requirements.

If you need (or wish) to improve your English before starting your degree, the University offers a Pre-sessional Academic English course to help you build your confidence and reach the level of English you require.

Modular structure

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2023/24 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

This module currently runs:
  • autumn semester - Monday evening
  • spring semester - Wednesday evening

This module introduces the latest theories and best practice for community engagement using socially-engaged art methods and creative co-production in ‘New Commons’ thinking. The module asks you to critically engage with issues of social justice and care and to question engagement models that are conventionally municipal and managerial.

A key aim of this module is to learn how to engage to empower beneficiaries and stakeholders to have influence rather than simply to consult. Whilst the former is about enabling a shift in systems the latter is utilised to maintain a system. The module is delivered through a series of lectures encompassing a range of disciplines and community engagement methods in citizenship, socially-engaged art and design and theory of change. The seminars and workshops that follow the lectures put the theories learned into practice. This can be a challenge to professional students who may not have such projects at hand at which point we can place you in a project at the start of the module. Within the workshops you will discuss and design your role, methods of collaboration and co-production and your relationship with potential partners and institutions. You will be encouraged to publicly present your methods in real-world scenarios.

You will be asked to visualise your methods through appropriate media to communicate key findings in the engagement process. As your projects will be embedded in social contexts you will learn about ethical dilemmas and the ethics of care. Readings on social psychology and concepts of inclusion will support an understanding of how to design situated and specific engagement methods. You will develop skills for cooperative and collaborative working that can lead to social impact inside and outside the classroom. You will be taught to assess impact through simple monitoring and evaluation methods. The final conceptualistion of community engagement and its impact analysis is done through the framework of the New Commons.

The module’s aim is to enable you to deliver community engagement for organisations that may range from private companies to public and third sector organisations. The community engagement methods can also be applied within teams at work situations. Community engagement is a craft that is individual in style and is perfected the more it is practised, reflected on and improved.

This module currently runs:
  • autumn semester - Thursday evening

This module reveals how products - be they art, architecture or design - and services can be conceptualised to prioritise social benefit, agency and planetary care. You will learn what it means for artifacts to be part of a localised supply and demand chain to reduce their carbon footprint and consequent impact on social equity. These artifacts will focus on the type of human and non-human relationships they produce whilst being made, exchanged and used. The qualities of relationships produced in services provided by public and third sector will be interrogated.

The raw materials, means of production, artists’ and designers’ intentions, the social production of relationships and systems of exchange (money or otherwise) will all be considered as part of the usefulness of the goods produced. You will become able to look critically at the relationships of labour, power and empowerment as an integral part of the function and usefulness of both the artefact and the service. The design of those socially beneficial products and services will be conceived as a collaborative and inclusive process as well as being financially and environmentally sustainable. Service design and delivery is here being positioned as part of an artistic and practical practice rather than as abstract and universal policy.

The module aims to enable you to:

• Be critical in designing contemporary goods and services that benefit society and the planet;
• Assess and analyse existing designing, making and production practices;
• Understand where design problems occur in services;
• Gain a deeper understanding of the impact of our material culture and aesthetics.

This module currently runs:
  • spring semester - Monday evening

This module is primarily practice-based, however the curriculum has theoretical element intended to be applied to the practice of a real-work system. This module offers knowledge and experience of system and institutional design theories combined with creative practices in art and design. ‘New Commons’ principles and related theories will be used to integrate the learning with a contemporary network society. This interdisciplinary approach enables innovation and imagination with a wider understanding of the environment within which we produce work for a socially equitable environment. These may range from localized supply and demand chains of products to the design of localised informal and institutional infrastructures.

For the module’s system design skills, you will choose and map a system that affects your field, institutional context, site and practice. You will critically analyse the wider system that impacts your subject field of study to assess how it is aiding or hindering planetary or social justice or injustices. This module looks at broader national and global systems that impact specific problems. You will also learn about the human and non-human relationships that such systems create, produce and institutionalise as cultural norms. These systems may relate to cultural, economic, political, ecological and community issues and values, or power structures, access to housing markets, or other.

For the module’s institutional design skills, you will learn about the governance of the system. Topics covered by lectures will include inclusive institutional design, collaborative governance models and organisational aesthetics. You will be asked to analyse specific governance and institutional case studies to ascertain the inequalities to be designed out.

The module aims to provide you with the knowledge and skills to understand how to imagine new forms of infrastructure within which you can initiate your own projects and future practice. You will be exposed to policies related to equality, ethics and inclusivity and will learn the fund-raising skills necessary to pursue them.

Where this course can take you

This course can help you to gain a new or higher position in an existing job or help you set up an organisation if you want to start your own practice. You’ll rigorously and factually develop your future career with confidence and support from the expertise of the lecturers, practitioners and academics who teach on the course.

Important information about this course

We're committed to continuously improving our degree courses to ensure our students receive the best possible learning experience. Many of the courses in our School of Art, Architecture and Design are currently under review for 2023-24 entry. We encourage you to apply as outlined in the how to apply section of this page and if there are any changes to your course we will contact you. All universities review their courses regularly and this year we are strengthening our art, architecture and design courses to better reflect the needs of employers and ensure you're well-equipped for your future career.

Important information about the teaching location of this course

We currently have three locations in Holloway, Aldgate and Shoreditch. As we evolve as a University, we'll be reviewing the use of these spaces to ensure all our students have access to the facilities and study areas they need to succeed. This means the campus where this course is taught may change over time.

The experience of our students will always be our top priority and we'll notify applicants and students of any changes to their teaching location at the earliest opportunity.

How to apply

Use the apply button to begin your application.

If you require a Student visa and wish to study a postgraduate course on a part-time basis, please read our how to apply information for international students to ensure you have all the details you need about the application process.

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.

To find out when teaching for this degree will begin, as well as welcome week and any induction activities, view our academic term dates.

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