Why study this course?
Our Public Art and Performance MA prepares artists and art professionals for the increasing demand in the sector to develop publicly interactive, performative and immersive work.
This MA degree course encourages a practical and industry-minded approach to exploring how contemporary art experiences engage with the public. It runs collaborations with national and international art organisations, which so far have included: Tate Modern, City of London Corporation, Artichoke, the ICA, Ca' Pesaro in Venice, RMIT in Melbourne, Museum of Public Space in Bologna and The Monument to the Great Fire of London. This MA programme is one of the founding members of the International Masters Network for Art in Public Space, developing links with leading masters in this area, across the world. The course also enjoys a unique connection with CREATURE (London Met's own research centre for Creative Arts, Cultures and Engagement), particularly with its strand Public-Face: through this, our MA graduates are invited to continue to be part of our thriving research community.
The course is designed to develop career paths for artists, curators and facilitators interested in any creative medium (visual art, performance, video, installation, sculpture and digital art), with a specific focus on developing public-facing projects.
With funding bodies such as Arts Council England demanding that inclusivity and audience engagement are championed, the course also delves into the question of arts funding and how to gain commissions and promote yourself as an art professional.
All tutors are internationally recognised industry professionals, approaching this subject from different angles and areas of expertise. The course leader is also offering anyone interested in this MA degree course a complimentary portfolio/project review session to ensure you're ready to showcase the best of your work at the interview stage.
More about this course
During this course, you’ll take a detailed look at the performative relationship between artworks and their viewers/participants, whilst developing new interdisciplinary projects in this respect.
With public engagement at the core of current programming by art institutions worldwide, museums and galleries are increasingly experimenting with innovative ways to make the public directly involved in their experiences. Funding bodies like Arts Council England demand that their supported artists and institutions champion inclusivity and audience engagement. Joining this master’s programme is your chance to be at the forefront of this movement.
This course places a strong emphasis on the idea that all public art can be seen as performative, regardless of the disciplines an artwork entails. The ideas of public work and performativity will therefore represent interdisciplinary stimuli for a variety of tasks and topics.
In the autumn and spring terms you’ll follow the module Public Art and Performative Practices, which will provide an overall artistic and conceptual path for your learning. With regular visits to London art galleries, you’ll have the chance to explore the artistic and cultural potential of developing public art works, as well as making professional contacts in the process. Practical projects and workshops in studio will complement these, enabling you to creatively test the ideas you have explored.
The Research for Practice module will support you through this creative journey, helping you develop your research awareness and providing you with a greater understanding of the implications of developing methodologies and academic inquiries. In turn, this will inform your artistic perspectives with theoretical and methodological rigour.
The above modules are complemented by two Professional Focus units. In the autumn term, Professional Focus 1: Public Art Funding and Commissions will give you inside knowledge into aspects of public art such as fundraising, searching for commissions and promoting yourself as an artist / art professional.
The spring term will see you delve into the logistic implications of public art experiences as you undertake Professional Focus 2: Project Managing Public Art,. Here, you’ll explore best practice in project management and learn technical skills, including risk assessing, public liability, access and inclusivity.
All four modules will inform your final project during the summer term. At this point you will conceive and produce a work of public art to professional standards and exhibit this in our MA show and/or in a chosen public location.
Based at our School of Art, Architecture and Design, you’ll have the wonderful opportunity to study at our renowned school of art in the heart of London, a global hub in the art world, home to hundreds of art galleries and museums, art events and a range of other artistic institutions and businesses. Along with our team of expert academics, your teaching will partly be conducted by the public art events company Artichoke.
You will be assessed through individual and group presentations, practice-based activities, written assignments and a final project made up of a practical assignment and/or written thesis. All assessments are designed to draw on relevant industry standards and on the current discourses in the related research area.
Fees and key informationApply now
You will be required to have:
- a minimum of a 2.2 honours degree (or equivalent) in any subject discipline
A full university application form will need to be submitted, which includes a detailed statement to support your application to the course. You should also submit an up-to-date CV and copies of award certificates.
You will be invited for an interview, for which you need to prepare either a portfolio of work or a detailed example of a subject-related project. Should you want to, you can also choose to have a portfolio/project review session prior to the interview stage.To find out more please contact Dr Scarso.
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 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.
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 afternoon
This module provides a practical and industry-orientated exploration of the competences needed to propose, produce and develop art commissions and public-facing projects across art disciplines. It draws on real-life knowledge and current practices in the professional sector and is designed to equip students with key skills to sustain a career in the industry.
In doing so, the module aims to:
- promote an insight into how art projects in public and institutional contexts are initiated and carried through;
- develop an understanding of the funding systems and commissioning programmes behind public art;
- draw on real-life case studies to foster a direct understanding of the subject;
- outline best professional practices and apply these to the students’ individual projects.
- This module currently runs:
- spring semester - Tuesday afternoon
This module equips students with the practical and professional skills necessary to project manage public experiences. It prepares students for key practices, such as risk assessment and public liability. Alongside providing technical knowledge, it encourages a creative exploration of how to manage, predict and encourage public interactions in artworks. It progressively develops into curatorial organisation and project management, with a specific focus on logistical and pragmatic solutions.
In doing so, the module aims to:
- provide an insight into the formal safety requirements in public art experiences;
- inform students on formal and legal regulations in terms of public access, inclusion and safeguarding;
- provide exploratory and creative strategies to complement logistical needs;
- provide students with an understanding of project management in staging and curating public experiences.
- This module currently runs:
- summer studies - Thursday
FA7P48 Project as Professional Practice frames the culmination of the students’ output on the MFA and the MA Public Art and Performance, enabling students to balance creative and intellectual ambition with the rigours of professional practice and academic research expectations.
The main focus of the module is the production of a major body of work that has evolved from their proposal. It is based upon a programme of research and contextually informed practice and practice-based enquiry at an advanced level.
This module supports the evolution of the students’ subject specific and professional expertise and develops a sustainable practice in the light of external fields of research and engagement. Students build upon previous projects, processes and explorations and continue to contextualise their work through presentations, tutorials and group critiques.
The outcome of Project as Professional Practice is intended be a significant body of work that will enable graduates successfully to progress their careers.
The module aims to:
• develop students’ independence and self-confidence, to enable them to question conventions and set their own agendas as resourceful and innovative practitioners;
• encourage dialogue, exchange, experimentation, heuristic learning and professional practice;
• enable students to achieve or exceed their ambitions and to develop and display the skills and confidence required to go on to further study and/or professional practice;
• prepare students with the necessary reflective skills to tackle the challenges and demands of the changing nature of art and technology;
• provide students with an educational framework from which they can explore and understand the social, ethical and sustainable responsibilities associated with their work.
The overall aim of the module is, to provide students with the opportunity to expand their practice, to realise a major self-initiated and self-directed professional project. It aims to equip students with the knowledge and practical, theoretical and conceptual skills and competencies required for them to function effectively as professionals within the expanding sector. It is based on the preliminary project work undertaken in other modules and provides students with a focused period of time to pursue their professional project. The students will develop the relevant links with external bodies in order to achieve a sustainable practice.
- This module currently runs:
- all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon
This module establishes the core narrative of the MA Public Art and Performance course and is designed to provide students with a conceptual and practical journey through artistic, cultural and ethical considerations in creating works of public art and performative practices. The module directly references the London and international art scenes, with a variety of off-site activities in public galleries and institutions.
In doing so, the module aims to:
- provide a practical and cultural framework in public art and performative practices, to be applied across the MA;
- encourage an interdisciplinary approach to public art, based on both creative practice and cultural enquiry;
- relate directly to case studies within the art scenes in London and internationally;
- draw on current discourses in the subject of public art and performances, exploring artistic, cultural and ethical questions.
- This module currently runs:
- all year (September start) - Monday morning
The module supports students’ practice-based research to identify research questions and methodologies appropriate to their practice. Through seminars, lectures and tutorials, postgraduate students interrogate and discuss their self-directed research project. The research for, and testing of, practice undertaken during the module, is intended as both preparation for and complementary to work on the project modules and will explore connections between research, thinking and making with an emphasis on locating critical contexts for study through practice.
The module aims to:
• prepare students with the necessary reflective and research skills to tackle the challenges and demands of their project work;
• develop students’ independent and individual research-led working strategies;
• provide students with an educational framework from which they can explore and interrogate the critical context associated with their field of practice;
• provide students with the opportunity to develop subject-related theoretical understanding in their practice facilitating their development as independent practitioners.
The overall aim of the module is to support students to develop the necessary conceptual, research and practical skills to inform and frame their practice to support the development of an ambitious project.
What our students say
"The highlight has been really delving deep into the professional side of making art, rather than focusing solely on the creative aspects. [This MA] has helped me to define my practice without limiting me. I also feel supported because I know I can always drop my tutors an email and ask for advice, even after graduation."
Boyana Aleksandrova, Public Art and Performance MA student, 2021. Read more about Boyana's experience on the course here.
"Coming from a commercial visual arts background, I was drawn to this MA as it offered a completely new approach to artmaking. The course has allowed me to expand my practice in ways that I hadn't even considered. It has a balance of theoretical and practical modules, which has given me more confidence in applying my skills both conceptually and in project development. Enrolling on this course has honestly been one of the best decisions I've made, both for myself and my artistic practice."
Anna Masters, Public Art and Performance MA student, 2021. Read more about Anna's experience on the course here.
"We had some very interesting leaders in the field as visiting lecturers in various master classes. This is one of the many great aspects about this MA. It's expanding my field of interest and has exposed me to many different ideas, artists and a better understanding of contemporary art institutions as well as the current shifts in public art."
Mae Shummo, Public Art and Performance MA student, 2021.
Read more about Mae's experience.
Where this course can take you
Build your knowledge of the art world and discover careers in a growing field within the industry. Career opportunities include:
- professional artists, whose work explores the idea of public engagement, communicated in any medium, including visual art and performance
- performance practitioners, exploring audience interaction and participation
- project leaders and facilitators in the field of public engagement, working creatively with teams and partners
- managers and administrators in public art, outreach and participation
- curators of public programmes and events
- academics and communicators in the field of public art and public engagement
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.
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.
20% Alumni discount
If you've previously completed a course at London Met, such as your undergraduate degree, you could be entitled to a 20% discount on postgraduate study! Visit our Alumni discounts page to find out more.
Meet the course leader
"Whether we're inspired by images, performance, film, music (the list really is endless here) – art is not an optional add-on, it is a public need. My colleagues and I have designed a programme that directly responds to the global art world: an ever-changing sector that sees the public no longer as simply a "viewer", but as an immersed participant, an active contributor, a co-creator. We want to provide our students not only with exciting creative challenges but also with real life models of how this industry is evolving."
Dr Jacek Ludwig Scarso, course leader and Reader in Art and Performance
The course leader is offering anyone interested in this MA degree course a complimentary portfolio/project review session to ensure you're ready to showcase the best of your work at the interview stage. To arrange a review session or find out more about the course, please contact Dr Scarso.
Important information for international applicants
Due to unprecedented demand for our courses for the autumn 2023 intake, international admissions are now closed for this course. Any future intakes that are already open to applications can be found in the fees and key information section of this course page. If no future intakes are available, please check back at a later date.
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.
Apply for this course
Please select when you would like to start:
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Meet the team
Dr Jacek Ludwig Scarso
Course leader for Public Art and Performance MA. Reader in Art and Performance at our School of Art, Architecture and Design.
Professor Wessie Ling
Professor Wessie Ling is a professor in transcultural arts and design at our School of Architecture, Art and Design.
Dr Galia Kollectiv
Dr Galia Kollectiv is an artist, writer and curator whose collaborative work with Pil Kollectiv encompasses performance, film and music.
Dr Anna Marazuela Kim
Dr Kim is the Research Projects Manager in the Research and Postgraduate Office.
Andrew Siddall is a maker and production designer who specialises in work directly engaging young people.