Design for Cultural Commons - PG Dip

Add to my prospectus Why study this course? More about this course Entry requirements Modular structure After the course How to apply

Why study this course?

“The Commons” as a field of study is considered to offer a solution to current problems of social and economic inequality. If you’re interested in developing methods to instigate power shifts and uncovering the impacts of the discourse around Commons, this course will provide you with the context and skills to do just that.

This postgraduate diploma, adapted from our Design for Cultural Commons MA degree course, offers a unique opportunity to rigorously interrogate new forms of practice in line with Commons principles. You’ll challenge unequal power relations, question planetary resource extraction and tackle the inequalities of market-focussed capitalism. The modules and project on this course will put you well on the path to developing financially stable practices for delivering ethical services and products with impact on socio-political change. Your project module in particular will help you to learn and understand appropriate methods for projects specifically aimed at making counter culture, social transformation and new models of doing and acting in the city.

More about this course

Whether you’re already involved in socio-political art, architecture or design  practice, or looking to enter the field, this PG Dip course will facilitate careers development or careers realignment. The connection between history and theory and practice will complement  your own experiences, in turn providing a foundation for your future practice.

You may be:

  • An existing cultural 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 who wants 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 their role. Either to gain more agency, to have more impact or to develop a new socially responsible and Commons-based area within the institution or organisation.

This course has formal partnerships with the Design Museum, Tate Modern (Tate Exchange) 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 will 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.

To study a course at London Met, you must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. If you require a Tier 4 student visa you may need to provide the results of a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language 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 2020/21 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:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon

    This module is practice-based and vocational as well as creative and innovative in developing new forms of practice. It will enable students to either develop a fully operational practice initiative within the discourse of commons or develop an imaginary one using real practice models. The module has components in form of lectures and seminars and one to one design tutorials where the concepts and ideas of the practice are formed. Within tutorials students discuss the role of partnerships, collaboration and co-production and their relationship to supporting institutions. Students will be encouraged to publicly present their practice in real-life scenarios. The course will already have key institutional partners which may not be obviously commons but will act as support to the development of the students’ ‘Commons’ practices/ initiatives.

    The module aims to give students the power to imagine or create a practice within which to initiate their own commons projects, developing appropriate practice models based on the country and context in which they will be located. Students will devise appropriate practice policies related to equality, ethics and inclusivity and learn fund-raising skills. Students will gain a critical understanding of the role and position of their practice within the field of commons and as part of a larger global network. They will develop skills for co-operative and collaborative working and designing which sit within the commons discourse; and develop models to assess impact via monitoring and evaluation methods.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday morning

    This module sets the context, both theoretical and practical, around the commons discourse. It will cover its historical context and points of origin, towards its current manifestation and global movement. The module will comprise lectures by practitioners in the field as well as reading seminars covering a range of themes on cultural, knowledge, urban, digital, and economic commons. The students will become familiar with similar parallel discourses such as peer-to-peer models of creating common goods as well as cooperatives. The module aims to cultivate a solid ground for the students to develop their future practice. It enables students to develop critical thinking essential in development of such an emerging field. Students will be able to study alongside their peers on related courses and engage in productive discussion, debate and at times collaboration.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    The module builds on the students’ draft brief developed in the MA’s core module: History and Theory of Commons. This module supports students to develop their brief further into a rigorous project proposal. The project will be required to be live in its nature and embedded in a real context. This context can be institutions, other initiatives or practices, factories or places of cultural production, banks, farms and any other live context the students chose. The year long project will develop students’ skills to co-produce their projects, critically assess individual and collective authorships, explore critical approaches to design and its ethics as well as the meaning of the work and its materiality.
    The aim of the module is to enable students to have a high quality project developed within the discourse of the commons which enables them to revisit or continue following their MA qualification.

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After the course

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 lecturers, practitioners and academics on the course.

How to apply

You should apply directly to the University using the online application. Use the Apply now button to begin your application.

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.

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