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Why study this course?

Our Public Art and Performative Practices 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 (formerly called Public Art and Performance MA) 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: City of London Corporation, London Festival of Architecture, Tate Modern, Artichoke, the ICA, Ca' Pesaro in Venice, RMIT in Melbourne, Fontys University in Tillburg, Public Space Academy, Fondazione Marta Czok (Rome/Venice), Museo Spazio Pubblico in Bologna, The Line (London's first dedicated Public Art Walk), Tower Bridge 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): 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.

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: Creating and Curating, 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 include contributions by special guests and practitioners from the Industry, giving you the opportunity to expand your professional network and your understanding of how professional projects are developed in this field.

Benefit from our external links

We run collaborations with national and international art organisations, including: 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

Boost your career prospects

The course is designed to develop career paths for artists, curators and facilitators interested in any creative medium, with a specific focus on developing public-facing projects

Learn from industry professionals

All tutors are internationally recognised industry professionals, approaching this subject from different angles and areas of expertise

Student reviews

Our real, honest student reviews come from our own students – we collect some of these ourselves, but many are also collected through university comparison websites and other nationwide surveys.

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

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

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

It has helped me think beyond my discipline, embrace other mediums and finally recognise that I spend most of my creative career as a multimedia artist, not only a filmmaker.

Magdalena Olchawska

The MA Public Art and Performance program at London Metropolitan University offers a captivating blend of art and community engagement. The curriculum encourages students to explore innovative approaches in merging art with public spaces, fostering meaningful interactions. The professors, including Jacek, provide insightful guidance, encouraging creativity and critical thinking. Jacek, in particular, brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion for teaching, creating an enriching learning environment that truly enhances the overall academic experience.

Pramodi AmarasinghaWhatuni

Course modules

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2024/25 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

Professional Focus 1: Public Art, Funding and Commissioning

This module currently runs:
autumn semester - Monday afternoon

(core, 20 credits)

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

Professional Focus 2: Project Managing Public Art

This module currently runs:
spring semester - Tuesday afternoon

(core, 20 credits)

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.

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Public Art Project

This module currently runs:
summer studies - Thursday afternoon
summer studies - Thursday morning

(core, 60 credits)

The Public Art Project module represents the culmination of the students’ journey on the MA Public Art and Performative Practices: it is thus designed to bring together creative, methodological, professional and academic skills developed in previous modules, applied to a context of work chosen by the student. Up until this point, projects worked on across the course will have been typically based on tutor-led briefs; in this module, the brief is now completely open for students to independently develop their creative and professional practice, according to their own interests and preferred contexts of work.

Already in modules like FA7057 Public Art: Creating and Curating, students will have been given opportunities to envision what work they may want to lead in the Public Art Project, so that this module is used as a reference point throughout the course for the students to work towards, as a stepping stone in progressing their careers as a result of the MA.

While the nature of the Project is intentionally open, this will typically consist of a range of artistic and/or curatorial outputs, activities and creative experiments, presented as one cohesive body of work, according to a chosen area of research. Through mentoring by the tutor, such outputs may be in any medium and may take place in any location chosen by the student during the Summer Term, to then be presented or documented in an exhibit as part of the Postgraduate Show in September.

The modules aims to:
• provide students with the opportunity to realise a major self-initiated and self-directed project;
• facilitate the development of professional skills and competencies in doing so;
• explore artistic, methodological and ethical questions in conjunction with the work pursued;
• encourage dialogue, exchange and experimentation in creative practice;
• develop confidence and rigour in independent creative practice and research.

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Public Art: Creating and Curating

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

(core, 40 credits)

This module establishes the core narrative of the MA Public Art and Performative Practices and is designed to provide you with a conceptual and practical journey through artistic, cultural and ethical considerations in creating and curating works of public art, performative and participatory practices. The module directly references the London and International art scenes, with a variety of off-site activities to public art sites, 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 inquiry
- directly relate 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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Public Art: Research for Practice

This module currently runs:
autumn semester - Monday morning
spring semester - Tuesday morning

(core, 40 credits)

This module focuses on research methodologies inherent to the fields of public art, performative and participatory practices, and curating public programming. It is designed to provide students with the necessary theoretical knowledge in order to frame their creative practice academically, drawing on the study of contemporary concerns and established and emerging practices in these fields. A particular emphasis is placed on the notion of ‘practice-as-research’.

In doing so, the module aims to:

provide a critical framework for the student’s own work

establish academic rigour in creative practice as research

foster an understanding of scholarly research, in terms of research questions, methodology, ethics, findings and impact

mentor the students on their developing practice, leading to the theoretical proposal of the project to be realised in their Summer Studies Period (FA7P02).

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Course details

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 (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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

"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.

Follow our School of Art, Architecture and Design on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with everything that's happening in our creative community.

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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