Public Art and Performance - MA

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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.

In association with Tate Exchange at Tate Modern and in collaboration with national and international art organisations and institutions, this MA degree encourages a practical and industry-minded approach to exploring how contemporary art experiences engage with the public.

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 and an association with Tate Exchange, 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.

Assessment

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 information

Course type
Postgraduate
Entry requirements View
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Entry requirements

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.

To study a degree 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:
    • 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.

    Read full details
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Monday 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.

    Read full details
  • This module currently runs:
    • summer studies - Thursday afternoon
    • summer studies - Thursday morning

    The FA7P48 Project as Professional Practice module frames the culmination of the students’ output on the MFA, enabling students to balance creative and intellectual ambition with the rigours of professional practice and academic research expectations. The module builds upon and extends skills and knowledge developed through the ‘Project Development’ and ‘Research for Practice’ modules.

    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.

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  • 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.

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

    The module is delivered in the context of a thematic studio, related to key themes associated with areas of art, photography or design practice that are varied annually. These establish the professional, creative and intellectual framework through which students’ projects develop.

    There is a heuristic and practice-based approach to research, where postgraduate students are supported to interrogate and discuss the research processes and methodologies involved in their field of practice through seminars, lectures and tutorials. 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 study through practice.

    The module aims to:

    • prepare art, photography or design students with the necessary reflective and research skills to tackle the challenges and demands of their project work;
    • develop students’ sustainable independent and individual research-led working strategies;
    • provide students with an educational framework from which they can explore and interrogate the social, ethical and sustainable responsibilities associated with their field of practice;
    • enable students to test technical and material approaches to support their project work both individually and in collaboration;
    • provide students with the opportunity to develop subject-related theoretical understanding and professionalism in their practice facilitating their development as independent practitioners.

    The overall aim of the module is to support art, photography or design students to develop the necessary conceptual, research and practical skills to inform and frame their practice to support the development of an ambitious Project.

    Read full details

After the course

Build your knowledge of the art world and discover careers in a growing field within the industry. Career opportunities include:

  1. professional artists, whose work explores the idea of public engagement, communicated in any medium, including visual art and performance
  2. performance practitioners, exploring audience interaction and participation
  3. project leaders and facilitators in the field of public engagement, working creatively with teams and partners
  4. managers and administrators in public art, outreach and participation
  5. curators of public programmes and events
  6. academics and communicators in the field of public art and public engagement

Additional costs

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.

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.

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How to apply

Use the apply button to begin your application.

Non-EU applicants looking to study part-time should apply direct to the University. If you require a Tier 4 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.

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