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Art and Design: Interdisciplinary Practices - MA

Currently viewing course to start in 2022/23 Entry. Switch to 2023/24 Entry

Our MA Art and Design: Interdisciplinary Practices develops your professional practice while engaging with the hybrid nature of art and design in contemporary culture. You will apply art and design methodologies to challenge conventional viewpoints....

  • School Birmingham School of Art
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

Our MA Art and Design: Interdisciplinary Practices develops your professional practice while engaging with the hybrid nature of art and design in contemporary culture. You will apply art and design methodologies to challenge conventional viewpoints. A multidisciplinary team of expert staff encourages you to work across mediums, processes and working methods (such as photography, installation, print, digital media, sculpture, illustration, curatorial practice, textiles, drawing, sound, graphic design, site-specific art, participatory arts or 3D design).

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

This stimulating course offers you an education in contemporary art and design from an interdisciplinary perspective. You will be supported as creative individuals from a range of tutors and practitioners, with the aim of pushing your existing practice in new directions. The course helps you develop a wider contextual understanding of your practice, while gaining strong research skills in order to develop interdisciplinary projects underpinned by contextual and theoretical debates.

You will be encouraged to develop independent study in relation to different cultural perspectives and a range of contemporary art and design practices, such as fine art, curation, visual communication, fashion, product and interior design.

Our graduates progress into many different careers including graphic design, independent contemporary art practice, typography, gallery education, arts administration, event management, photography, community arts and education. Our course prepares you for life as a creative professional, a PhD researcher or work in other career areas.

There is scope to work on external live projects and our academic staff are highly experienced with national and international research profiles.

Programme leader, Demitrios Kargotis is a designer and artist that works and lives in Birmingham, UK. Since graduating from the Design Products course at the Royal College of Art, he established the design action group Dash N’ Dem in collaboration with Dash Macdonald. The wide-ranging participatory projects centre on political education and engagement. Ideas inhabit varied media and platforms as a vehicle for agitation, using co-creation as a form of activism that provokes diverse audiences to speak out and think critically and creatively. Their work is exhibited nationally and internationally and regularly develop public talks, workshops, events and summer schools.

He is also co-founder of Post Workers Theatre (PWT), a design troupe investigating the future of politically engaged performance, reimagining historic forms of creative resistance for a contemporary context. Working across a rich profusion of forms, using co-production to confront social issues and create a shared learning experience. The aim is to work with diverse groups to explore and express complex topics in accessible ways. Through performance and play PWT look to share narratives of hope and resistance.

Studying on the Art & Design Interdisciplinary Practices MA facilitated a huge depth of development in my own practice, with a real encouragement to extend practice boundaries alongside fantastic tutors, technical staff and a vibrant community of peers.

Jemma Mellor - graduated September 2021

Why Choose Us?

  • The course has a growing international reputation with alumni worldwide, with strong professional profiles and working in a range of institutions and organisations.
  • Birmingham School of Art is an internationally recognised (REF 3*/4* rated) centre of excellence for art-based learning and research.
  • You will become a valued member of one of Birmingham School of Art’s research centres.
  • You will have the opportunity to interact with students from other Master’s courses located at Birmingham School of Art and the wider faculty or university.
  • You will be supported by a highly professional staff team, doctoral researchers, technical demonstrators and artists in residence in a caring and supportive environment.
  • We have good external links with internationally recognised galleries (Ikon, BMAG, Tate) and organisations in the creative industries (ELIA) and the wider community.
  • Financial support may be available via the Postgraduate Loan initiative, Birmingham City University Scholarships, the Gertrude Aston Bowater Bequest and Mike Holland Trust.
  • Enhanced blended learning - which includes face to face studio and online learning.
  • Year on year our programme has achieved high rankings and favourable responses in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES). Overall full time student satisfaction in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) 2015- 16 for Art-based Masters programmes was 82%.
  • The school achieved high scores in areas such as staff enthusiasm and support, enhancement of academic abilities, research skills development, student experience and quality of delivery.
  • We also achieved high levels of achievement and success in other areas such as 42% of our students graduating with Commendation and 47% of our students graduating with Distinction. The survey results also reflected high levels of employment and employability as a result of studying the course.

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be an online event. Booking isn’t open yet. Register your interest below and we’ll email you as soon as booking goes live.

Next Open Day: Wednesday 25 January 2023

Register your interest

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements

BA (Hons) Degree in Art and Design, Fine Art, or other Arts-based Degree course, related subject. The minimum academic qualification required is a 2:2 award. Those with equivalent prior professional or life experience will also be considered.

IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands.

International Students

Entry requirements here

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MA

Starting: Jan 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 12 months
  • £7,900 in 2022/23
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £8,690 in 2022/23

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: MA

Starting: Jan 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 12 months
  • £16,300 in 2022/23
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £17,930 in 2022/23

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)

This course requires the purchase of safety equipment in order to use the workshop facilities.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

*Professional Placement option

The Professional Placement version of the course is optional and is offered as an alternative to the standard version of the course.

This will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market. Furthermore, by completing the Professional Placement, you will be able to develop and enhance your understanding of the professional work environment, relevant to your chosen field of study, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.

You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement. The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will also benefit from support sessions delivered by Careers+ as well as advice and guidance from your School.

Placements will only be confirmed following a competitive, employer-led selection process, therefore the University will not be able to guarantee placements for students who have registered for the ‘with Professional Placement’ course. All students who do not find a suitable placement or do not pass the competitive selection process will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.

Personal statement

Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.

Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Your passion and motivations

Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?

Why this course?

Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.

What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?

Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.

Relevant academic or work experience

Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?

You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

Course in Depth

Modules

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 160 credits):

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

Art and Ecologies 20 credits

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Download course specification

Download now

On this course, you’ll learn by taking part in a variety of activities, including:

  • Independent learning
  • One to one tutorial support
  • Group tutorials
  • Taught staff led seminar
  • Student led seminars
  • Studio seminar series (visiting artists/professionals’ talks)
  • Lectures and conferences
  • Library research/resources
  • Field trips (where appropriate)

Classroom activities

Teaching will be dynamic, collaborative and exploratory, providing a platform for the independent development of your practice.

You will be involved in group tutorials and student-led seminars that invite you to present your research and practical work for the group to consider and critically evaluate. The intention here is to share your ideas with other people who become critical friends to help you think through your work in new ways. 

Throughout the course, students are encouraged to make public exhibitions and events, opportunities to test and to showcase work. Alongside this, students are invited to contribute to the Interim Show as well as the Final Masters Exhibition. These are well-attended public events that attract people from all over the region and further afield. 

Our students have a reputation for being ambitious and year on year our shows are exciting and thought provoking. All of our students work towards the shows with support of the technical support team and you will be enabled to test out your work and gain feedback from your peer groups, academic staff and the public.

As a result of the final shows numerous students have gone on to establish their profiles internationally.


Student stories

Claire Hickey profile

Claire Hickey

Visual artist Claire Hickey makes self-responsive sculptural objects, installations and multiples. Her residency and exhibition venues have included AirSpace Gallery; RBSA Gallery; Kingshurst Arts Space; National Trust’s Croome Court; Women’s Art Library and the Museum of Motherhood. She co-founded Make/Shift/Space, a portable structure hosting artists’ public projects.

Employability

Enhancing employability skills

While most artists are self-employed many already have or wish to gain employment in a range of related professions across the creative industries. Some people are looking for ways to enhance their skills set, some are seeking ways to advance in the profession they already have whilst others are seeking a change in direction enabling them to do what they have dreamed of.

The acquisition of transferrable skills: creative problem solving; communication and presentation skills; adaptability and flexibility; independence and teamwork and good time management is important. Specific modules have been designed to address employability e.g. Managing Arts Events and Projects; Technical Methods, Workshop Practice and Learning; Small Arts Business Set Up and Creative Publishing and Public Dissemination.

From the sample detailed in the employability section a significant number of our graduates have become highly successful arts professionals. Numerous others have been employed in a number of other professions including:

  • Conference/ exhibition organisers
  • Web designers
  • Health professionals
  • Graphic designers
  • Business professionals
  • Insurance underwriter
  • Industrial relations officers

A significant number of our graduates have been appointed in Higher Education Institutions nationally and internationally. 

Placements

Placements are one of the possible ways of fulfilling your Research in Practice module and numerous students across the ABM Programme have chosen this route. There is scope for placements with a number of organisations in the city and beyond, however it is your responsibility to plan and organise your placement with the organisation you wish to work with. Placements can last for a few weeks or last for a longer period of time. They provide you with a great opportunity to gain insight into how an organisation works and your reflection on their activities can be useful to them as you develop your research. You will also find that this is a great way to meet and network with people in the creative industries. Our members of staff are able to guide and support you through this process.


Graduate stories

Flora Kay profile

Flora Kay

Flora works at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham in the Learning Department. Her art and design practice involves printmaking, visual communication and spatial design. Flora’s BA(Hons) was in Visual Communication and Illustration.

Flora’s practice considers the changing role of Art and Design education and emerging interdisciplinary course structures. She explores how practitioners use space within art institutions and how the functionality of space has evolved to reflect the needs of practitioners and art educators. Flora asks what this means for the future of the Art School. Her interdisciplinary practice uses illustration and printmaking to design a flat pack style, functional workspace that reflects the professional reality of today’s artists and designers – encouraging social awareness and trans-disciplinary or collaborative projects. 

Flora Kay- student work 3 Flora Kay- student work 2
Images: Flora Kay (2016) / Flora Kay (2016)


Jo Newman profile

Jo Newman

Jo is a visual artist, illustrator and costume designer. She teaches on the BA (Hons) Illustration course at BCU and her previous collaborations have included clients such as Royal Shakespeare Company, Crafts Council, Welsh National Opera, ITV London, Tatler and Cosmopolitan.

In 1993 Saddam Hussein systematically converted 6000 square miles of wetlands in Southern Iraq into a desert, removing all natural life and reed beds. This displaced the Nomadic Marsh Arabs known as the ‘Ma‘dan’, completely annihilating a 5000 year old culture. Jo says of her work, “I aim to challenge how people think about the every day life of the ‘Ma‘dan’ with the aim of preserving and protecting this unique community of nomadic craftsmen and women”.

Jo Newman- Wandering Habitats 2 Jo Newman ‘Nomadology: Wandering Habitats 1’
Images: ‘Nomadology: Wandering Habitats 2’ (2016) / ‘Nomadology: Wandering Habitats 2’ (2016)

International

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

The Art Based Master’s Programme is an international community of aspiring researchers and professionals and the programme attracts candidates from all over the world including: Africa, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and the USA. This diversity provides you with an opportunity to study with people from diverse social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and who bring a wealth of experience to the programme. This gives the ABM programme a dynamic energy that enriches everyone’s educational experience.

Facilities & Staff

Margaret Street exterior

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 million on new learning facilities.

Birmingham School of Art (an impressive purpose built Grade 1 listed example of Venetian Gothic architecture) was the first major renovation project undertaken by the university (£5.5m refurbishment). The School provides an incredible resource for the production of art and its associated fields of study. The building has a range of facilities available including studios, workshops, specialist art and design library, bookable spaces and lecture/seminar rooms.

Our staff

Demitrios Kargotis

Course Leader: MA Art and Design Interdisciplinary Practices

Demitrios Kargotis works as part of the design action group Dash n’ Dem. Since 2010, their wide-ranging participatory projects centre on popular education and critical and creative citizenship participation. The open-ended, collaborative structure of their practice explores how co-creation can act as a form of activism that empowers...

More about Demitrios

Steve Bulcock

Head of Undergraduate Studies

Steve Bulcock works across a range of digital media including animation, motion graphics and digital drawing systems. He is Head of Undergraduate Studies at Birmingham School of Art. His research interests are concerned with challenging the notions and expectations people have in relation to their interactions with digital technology. Recent work...

More about Steve