Arts and Project Management - MA
Our MA Arts and Project Management course helps you explore how arts organisations, cultural spaces, and visual and performing arts projects are managed in different social and economic environments. You will be introduced to arts policies in different regional and national and circumstances while gaining advanced organisational, planning and marketing skills....
Studying with us in 2021/22
It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Information about the arrangements the University has put in place for the 2021/22 academic year in response to Covid-19 and the emerging variants can be found here.
Should the impact of Covid-19 continue in subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
Our MA Arts and Project Management course helps you explore how arts organisations, cultural spaces, and visual and performing arts projects are managed in different social and economic environments.
You will be introduced to arts policies in different regional and national and circumstances while gaining advanced organisational, planning and marketing skills. This prepares you for life as a professional project manager, a PhD researcher or to work in other career sequels.
This stimulating course offers you a specialist education in Arts and Project Management. You will be encouraged to develop your knowledge and understanding in order to be effective in managing and marketing the arts within contemporary culture.
What's covered in this course?
This stimulating course offers you a specialist education in Arts and Project Management. You will be encouraged to develop your knowledge and understanding in order to be effective in managing and promoting the arts within contemporary culture.
There is scope to work on live projects with external clients such as Selfridges and you will benefit from our close links with Ikon, Eastside Projects, New Art Gallery Walsall, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and the lively alternative arts scene including: The Lombard Method, Grand Union, Trove, Stryx and MSFAC.
Our academic staff team is highly experienced. Programme leader, Beth Derbyshire has 20 years’ experience working in the creative industries as an inter-disciplinary artist and Creative Director in Design and Brand Development.
The staff team has national and international research profiles including the artist/curator, Mona Casey who has extensive experience in the creative industries and Kathryn Burns who supports entrepreneurs and small arts businesses.
You will be located at Birmingham School of Art (Margaret Street), a fine example of Venetian Gothic architecture and an impressive purpose built Grade I listed art school.
Why Choose Us?
- Birmingham School of Art is an internationally recognised 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.
- MA Arts and Project Management has a growing international reputation with alumni worldwide, with strong professional profiles and working in a range of organisations.
- Professional exposure has led to employment with companies: Burberry, Cadbury, Channel 4, Fused, Games Faction, Saatchi & Saatchi, TBWA and The Mill.
- You will have the opportunity to interact with students from other Master’s courses in the School and the wider faculty/university.
- You will be supported by a highly professional staff team in a caring and supportive environment.
- We maintain excellent connections with major city centre institutions such as Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery (BMAG), Selfridges, Birmingham City Council and the Lunar Society, to name but a few, and are members of the Colmore Row Business District.
- Financial support may be available via the Postgraduate Loan initiative, Birmingham City University Scholarships, the Gertrude Aston Bowater Bequest and Mike Holland Trust.
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.
BA (Hons) Degree in Fine Art or Art and Design, or other Arts-based Degree course or related subject. The minimum academic qualification required is a 2:2 award. Those with equivalent prior professional or life experience will also be considered.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 1 year
- £7,700 per year
- Full Time
- 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
- £8,500 per year
- Part Time
- 2 years
- £3,900 per year
Starting: Jan 2022
- Full Time
- 1 year
- £7,700 per year
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 1 year
- £13,200 per year
- Full Time
- 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
- £14,520 per year
Starting: Jan 2022
- Full Time
- 1 year
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.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
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.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
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.
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
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 160 credits):
This module will introduce you to the central role of Marketing within an arts arena the importance of understanding and reaching audiences. The module will introduce you to: Strategic approaches in marketing for the arts considering these topics: understanding of the importance of the different unusual contexts to arts organisations, how to identify new markets and market awareness, contemporary brand awareness, marketing strategies, segmentation and market research. You will gain knowledge of marketing communication skills and marketing communication channels.
This module will enable you to develop planning skills and inform you about the practical processes of arts event and project planning. From identifying the initial project idea to the project evaluation this module is designed to equip you with the tools to enable you to successfully run a project in an arts context. This module will also enable you to examine concepts and topics in event and project management such as: identifying the cultural context of an event, selecting venues, audience development, developing strategic partnerships, integrating multiple sub-events, stakeholder management, event promotion, planning tools and techniques, managing ongoing project processes and evaluating events and projects. You will learn how to write a detailed event plan.
The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practical outcome with accompanying reflective, critical and contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to your programme and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.
Research in Practice 20 credits
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.
This module, Contemporary Philosophy & Aesthetics explores how Fine Art is made and understood conceptually. How thinking in Fine Art works. This may inform research into practice via the meeting of philosophy, visual culture and social contexts within Fine Art practices. We may look at exhibitions artists and cultural discourses. For example: texts, films, music, fashion and events. It sets the stage for developing your own critical knowledge of the complexities underlying modern and contemporary life and in so doing, building your concepts and language, in your own practices.
The purpose of this module is to introduce you to contemporary curatorial thinking. Throughout the module, you will encounter a range of concepts, themes, approaches and methodologies relevant to your discipline including the role of the curator and exhibition making; the museum and gallery as context and framework; the role of the artist-curator-artist, curating for new media and technologies and curating global exhibitions. You will be supported to develop skills in confidently articulating your knowledge in verbal and written forms.
This module attends to both historical and contemporary models of practice in relationship to the emergence of queer theory. We will explore a range of art practices and queer methods that critique or subvert dominant modes of representation and operation. Focus is given to the following areas: Introduction to queer theory, Art beyond representation, Queer Speech, Queer horror, Education and transgression, Queering the Archive; Care; Queer reading.
This module provides you with an insight into entrepreneurship and small business start-up within the arts and related sectors. Its focus is an exploration of the practicalities of starting-up a creative business. It also covers the nature of the creative industries as a whole as well as the significance of entrepreneurship within the arts and society as a whole.
The acts of photographing and researching are intrinsically linked. They are both activities concerned with expansion and contraction. If we imagine a photograph as a means to isolate a sphere of reality (with all of the caveats this statement demands) that are rendered, most often, in fractions of seconds. Then we could think in a similar way about research. An effort to know more and more about less and less.
This module will explore publishing as a dynamic contemporary art form, a vehicle for the dissemination of ideas and an exploration of radical formats for bringing your art to a wider public. You will be introduced to artist-made books, self-publishing, digital publishing and other non-gallery modes of sharing and communicating art.
The module will be based on a specific workshop process (e.g. for example in the print room this might be etching, screen-print or lithography etc.), technical method (e.g. for example this might be around casting techniques, film and video making, 3D modelling etc.) or material (e.g. for example this might be an investigation into the material properties of clay, stone, a textiles material, etc.). You will independently identify and investigate your chosen line of enquiry to enable you to engage in practical hands on experience of a fabrication/production process.
The module examines art as a social practice, its relationship with our present time and links to historical works and contexts. You will be introduced to key examples and debates within Social Practice with focus given to the following areas: Activism, Antagonism, Participation, Collaboration, Community, Environmentalism, Relational Aesthetics, Socially Engaged Practice, Dialogical Art & Institutional Critique.
This module provides a grounding in arts and transcultural communication, using artistic practices and discursive frameworks to highlight and examine issues related to communication. Communication, but also translation and interpretation intended from a linguistic, visual, cultural, artistic and curatorial perspective, are crucial when working internationally (and locally) with different communities. This module is for those students who aim at working and researching in a transcultural global environment more critically and effectively.
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.
As an MA Arts and Project Management student you will be supported by both the staff team and also have access to visiting professionals working in the creative industries.
Learning strategies include:
- Independent learning
- One to one tutorial support
- Group tutorials
- Taught staff led seminars
- Student led seminars
- School of Art Public Talks Series
- Lectures and conferences
- Library research/resources
- Field trips (where appropriate)
Classroom activities and projects
The programme begins with an evening induction event culminating in a meet and greet with drinks and nibbles. You will join our Pecha Kucha sessions where you will be invited to present your work. This is a fun and light-hearted way of introducing you to each other.
You will be involved in group tutorials and student-led seminars that invite you to present your research 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. This is part of the developmental and evaluative stage in term 2 two for full-time students and terms three and four for part-time students.
The course benefits from established working relationships with national organisations with students often being able to work on live projects or in placements alongside the taught content in the modules. Recent students were able to work on live projects such as the Longbridge Light Festival and students in the school as a whole worked on a project showcasing the School of Art and regional talent at Selfridges.
Through our placements we create strong links across education, industry and retail which enable and benefit students through exciting opportunities to flourish and share their research and work with our external communities at a national level alongside cultural leaders.
Students on the MA Arts and Project Management course will learn through practice based learning. Lectures will involve an engaging mix of theory, debate and group exercises that wherever possible are connected to live projects.
The course benefits from the sharing of knowledge from real life experience, a diversity of case studies and students working on live projects, integrated working within local and national networks, gaining practical tools and insider knowledge from industry experts.
Enhancing employability skills
As you study this course you will develop a set of transferrable skills such as creative problem solving, communication and presentation skills, adaptability and flexibility, independence and teamwork, and good time management.
Specific modules have been designed to address employability, for example; Managing Arts Events and Projects, Technical Methods, Workshop Practice and Learning, Small Arts Business Set Up, and Creative Publishing and Public Dissemination.
Graduate employment is high. In the 2014-2015 DLHE survey 100% of full time and 87% of part time students who joined the Art-based Masters programme graduates were in employment with graduates from 2013-2015 earning between £20,000 and £35,000 per annum. A high number of 2014-2015 graduates reported that the programme prepared them well or very well for employment.
Placements are one of the possible ways of fulfilling your Research in Practicemodule 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 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 – Alex's story
Alex Laight graduated from this MA with a Commendation.
Links to industry
With our partners, New Arts West Midlands and Eastside Projects, our students are actively linked with up-to-date local and regional opportunities. We maintain excellent connections with major institutions such as Ikon Gallery, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Selfridges, Birmingham City Council, the Lunar Society, the Longbridge Light Festival, Birmingham Hippodrome to name a few. We are also members of the Colmore Row Business District.
The School works with Savills, Capsticks, Associated Architects and Deutsche Bank who sponsors of an annual award (£10,000) to support artists’ career development. Numerous graduates have achieved excellent profiles as professional artists in the sector.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Our OpportUNIty students
OpportUNIty gives you the opportunity to fill one of many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments.
Two Art Based Master's students, Jodie Wingham (MA Fine Art) and Tadas Stalyga (MA Radical Media Arts Philosophy) have been employed as workshop mentors.
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:
Our international students
This course is ideal for students coming from Asia, from countries such as China, Africa, Korea and Taiwan, as many new arts organisations and networks grow in these regions. The course will equip you to become cultural pioneers as well-informed and dynamic arts professionals.
Facilities and Staff
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.
Course Leader: MA Art and Project Management
Beth is a practising artist who has been working largely in the public realm for over 22 years. Her practice explores the diverse nature of human presence and expression within social and historical registers. Themes have been: silence in society, conflict and collective memory, nationality and identity. Recent works have investigated cultural, social and political relationships to nature through a synthesis of voice, music, words and image. These multi-disciplinary projects use the metaphors of landscape, the sea and song to explore ideas around territory, nationality, identity and language borrowing from sources such as national anthems, myths, scientific terms and place names.
Beth’s experience of working across a wide range of contexts and on national and international platforms helps create an environment that teaches students how arts organisations, cultural spaces, visual and performing arts projects are managed in different social, political and economic environments. The course atmosphere is supportive and rich in a diversity of cultural pursuit, research and entrepreneurship.More about Beth
Course Leader: MA Fine Art
Mona Casey is MA Fine Art Course Director and Birmingham School of Art International Lead. She is also module leader for the MA programme Models and Methods of Curatorial Practice.
Mona was born in Ireland and currently lives in the UK, where she works as a curator, artist and researcher.
Mona directs and has initiated a range of projects including; ARTICLE, which collaborates with curators to explore artist-led curatorial models in exhibition making, co-developed ‘The Museum of [ ] Objects’ an alternative, temporal model for a Museum collection, which arose out of a framework, developed at mac Birmingham, and was co-founder and curator of COLONY an artist-led exhibition space based in Birmingham, which operated for a four-year period and represented artists at ZOO Art Fair at the Royal Academy. Between 2006 – 2011 she was co-director/steering group member of The Event, a bi-annual presentation of artist-led galleries and projects. She also collaborated as artist duo, Casey & McAree, who were represented by The Agency Gallery in London.
Currently Mona is working with Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s Pre-Raphaelite collection as part of a commission by mac Birmingham. She is also collaborating on a project titled – Silent Stage, based in Lithuania which investigates the site of the exhibition as a staged environment.More about Mona
For over 12 years, Kathryn has led a number of publicly funded projects which primarily aim to help small and medium sized enterprises to improve innovation and economic performance through the strategic use of design, product development and marketing. This has involved working with over 300 companies and using various project models to develop mechanisms for design knowledge transfer, exchange and capture.
Key to the success of this work has been the development of services that are relevant to company needs as well as building the confidence and capacity for change. These have included:
- websites of design information
- individual reports tailored to company needs and covering topics such as marketing strategy and planning; competitor analysis; the use of trends for product development; as well as design audit and process
- workshops to help companies realise strengths and weaknesses and build networks for growth
- creation and support of collaborative groups of companies providing mutual support to realise economic benefits
Prior to joining the University, Kathryn spent 15 years in industry, primarily in manufacturing companies ranging from SMEs to multinationals, and encompassing roles in software engineering; project management; product management and marketing. She was also a part-time tutor for the MA Information Management programme at Sheffield University.
Kathryn has a BSc and MPhil in Chemical Engineering from the University of Leeds and a Master in Business Administration from the University of Bradford.
Kathryn is Project Director at Interiors and Lifestyles Futures.More about Kathryn
Dr Sian Vaughan
Reader in Research Practice
Dr Sian Vaughan is Reader in Research Practice with expertise in doctoral education and creative research methods. She has previously worked in museums, galleries and archives as well as teaching in further and higher education.
Broadly her research interests concern the pedagogies that underpin research in art and design, and the modalities of interpretation and mediation of public engagement with contemporary art. Her art research focuses on artistic practices with archives, history, and institutions with a particular focus on creative research methods as knowledge generation. Her educational research is focused on the practices and pedagogies of doctoral education and particularly in how these are responding to creative practice in research. She enjoys working collaboratively and across disciplines.More about Sian
Dr Martyn Brown
Senior Lecturer in Organisation Studies and Coordinating Director of Post Graduate Framework Degrees
Dr Martyn Brown has a background in engineering but also spent four years as a professional musician. He has worked in engineering consultancy and events management in the voluntary sector and has carried out marketing consultancy on the West Bank. He holds an MBA from Aston University and a PhD examining the rise in interest in spirituality in the workplace.More about Martyn