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Creativity, Making and Innovation Practice - MA

  • Level: Postgraduate Taught
  • Starting: September 2021
  • Study mode: Full Time
  • Location: City Centre

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. Any arrangements put in place by the University for the 2021/22 academic year 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.

MA Creativity, Making and Innovation Practice is a creative, future-thinking Masters course. It is designed as a multi-disciplinary practice-based programme that combines creativity, innovation, technology and enterprise.

Addressing challenges on a range of societal issues, you will research and develop concepts and prototypes. Working collaboratively, in an open lab environment, you will be supported by technical and innovation experts.

Students on the course will apply their previous experience in creative, artistic, design, making, engineering or computing backgrounds.

What's covered in the course?

The emphasis in this course is on the application of creative thinking to technology in the development of innovation concepts. You will work collaboratively across disciplines, supported by lecturers, technical and enterprise specialists to develop working prototypes, service designs and business concepts.

Teaching will be through workshops, masterclasses from subject experts, tutorials and technical instruction. During the course you may, depending upon your project and availability be given access to facilities at BCU’s innovation space, STEAMhouse. These include rapid prototyping and manufacturing such as CNC, laser cutting, 3D printing, metal work and print technologies

At the end of the course, participating teams will produce working protoypes and demonstrate how these will be taken to market.

The Creativity, Making and Innovation Practice Masters will bring opportunities for employment in innovation in areas that include; technology start-ups, the creative industries, innovation teams in global businesses and governments or NGOs.

Why Choose Us?

  • As a multi-disciplinary programme you can bring your existing skills and develop new ones - it is an ideal programme for curious people who are keen to take creative risks.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to take part in two one-week Open Innovation Labs focussed on innovation practice.
  • Become part of a wider community of makers, creatives and innovators.
  • Our course will provide you with the skills, qualities and a portfolio of work that leads to employment in a range of innovation roles – from start-ups to large businesses or governments.
  • 96% of BCU's postgraduates find work or further study within six months (DLHE 2016/17).

Students outside Millennium Point

Open Days

Our Open Day for this course will take place in Spring 2021. Register now and we will contact you when the booking form goes live.

Register your interest

This course is open to International students

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Discover School of Games, Film and Animation

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

New £10,906 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,906 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements 
Essential

MA Creativity, Making and Innovation Practice is open to all applicants who hold an Undergraduate Degree or equivalent. 

International Students

Don't meet our entry requirements? You could apply for courses at our International College.

Apply now

  • UK students
  • International students

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £9,800 per year
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • TBC

Award: MA

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 1 year
  • £14,500 per year
  • Full Time
  • 18 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • TBC

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. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

*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.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items.

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials. All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

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.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £11,222 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans

What's included in your course fees? 

Travel and accommodation costs for the overseas Lab are included, but you will be required to cover subsistence costs. Making materials and some technology (such as sensors, Arduino, Raspberry Pi) are included, however some projects might require further expenditure by students.

Modules

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules:

20 credits

Comfort is your Enemy!

This module provides an introduction to the Masters course and develops techniques in creative thinking. These will be used as a foundation for the development and application of innovation concepts and prototypes. The ability to develop creative ideas also means taking creative risks, in which you are encouraged to explore and expand your thinking, moving out of your comfort zone. This approach is integral to the very concept of innovation. The module will introduce you to a variety of creative thinking models. Through these, you will explore and use divergent and convergent thinking to develop your concepts. By gaining familiarity with the creative thinking models, they will become tools that you will apply throughout the programme in the process of innovation.

40 credits

This module will introduce you to the theories that will help you to enable the process of innovation. Examples may include STEAM Thinking, Design Thinking, Action Research and project management approaches such as Agile/Scrum. Based on a broad set of challenges, you will apply these methodologies to evaluate specific narrower problems. Through a user-empathy approach you will demonstrate how you have understood the challenges and begin to apply the creative thinking models from Module 1 to identify solutions.

60 credits

This module will build on your previous learning to further develop your practice of innovation. This module will provide you with a range of options to explore innovation within different settings. This may take the form of, but is not exclusive to Open Innovation Labs, work placements, master classes, and field trips. You will take a constructed learning approach to identify and agree your own Learning Plan with reference to suggested learning pathways. At the end of this module there will be a second Open Innovation Lab that will focus on the development of prototypes. Assessment for this module will be a portfolio that demonstrates the learning achieved and a reflection on this, and the team working process.

60 credits

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.

Underpinning this course is an aim to create prototypes and concepts that address key societal issues in areas such as health, sustainability and urban development. Taking these as broad challenges, you will identify specific problems and apply creative thinking to find solutions. 

You will participate in workshops, tutorials and master classes on themes covering creative thinking, problem framing, user empathy, rapid prototyping, innovation and enterprise. Additionally, through a self-directed study programme, there will be opportunities to develop specific skills in technology and making, supported by technical experts.

At the end of the course, you will have developed a prototype of your concept and will demonstrate how it can be taken to market.


STEAMhouse

You’ll have the opportunity to make use of our exciting innovation space, STEAMhouse. It is aimed at encouraging the collaboration of the arts, science, technology, engineering and maths (STEAM) sectors, and is generating incredible opportunities for the West Midlands.

STEAMhouse helps businesses, start-ups and sole-traders to develop new ideas, skills, products and services by providing free business support, access to makerspace workshops and co-working space, and a programme of STEAMlabs and events led by industry experts from many different sectors.

Trips and visits 

There is the possibility of working with partners in Europe in the context of the Open Innovation Labs.

There will be occasional one-day visits to innovation spaces and companies in Birmingham and London.

Enhancing your employability skills

Courses within the School of Games, Film and Animation are built upon workplace simulation and industry-standard work, ensuring you behave less like a student and more as a professional, gaining the workplace experience and attributes you need. The aim is to produce confident, work-ready graduates.

At the end of your studies you’ll complete a Major Project. This project may lead you to working directly with a client depending on individual aspirations. This direct contact will give you the experience, confidence and freedom to put into action all you’ve learned on your studies. Aligned with this course-specific experience, you will also have access to a range of support staff and services from the University’s Careers Service, who can help with:

  • Reviewing CVs, covering letters and application forms
  • Career planning and decision making
  • Preparing for interviews and assessment centres
  • Developing portfolios
  • Networking with employers
  • Advice about self-employment and entrepreneurship

Links to Industry

The course connects with a number of organisations in the creative industries including local and national companies.


Placements

Whilst there is no formal programme, students will be able to undertake short placements in companies developing innovation during the second and final semesters.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

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.

The course enhances employability by developing a broad set of creative, technical and enterprise skills, or T-skills, in addition to specific knowledge in innovation, technology and enterprise. This will be shown through your own portfolio of work that will create demonstrable skills.

Graduate Jobs

Graduates from the course will be suitable for employment in one of four areas; technology start-ups; the creative industries, that include advertising, technology, product design, media, digital content, entertainment, industrial design, software, music and games; government or NGO innovation programmes; larger enterprises using a disruptive innovation model.

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:

As a creatively-driven course, we positively encourage students to bring their direct experience from their own countries and cultures to their creative thinking, problem framing and innovation solutions.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Parkside and Curzon Buildings
NTI-facilities-2
NTI-facilities-3

Our School of Games, Film and Animation is based in the Curzon Building, a £63 million development, located on our City Centre campus.

We help you learn a specific discipline such as digital marketing, programming or art and put that discipline into practice by offering flexible teaching space, dedicated development studios and open access work areas for group projects, as well as course-specific facilities.

Staff Introduction

As a practice-based course, staff will bring a wide range of contemporary experience in making, technology and innovation. The team will also be undertaking their own projects that will demonstrate the journey that you will take during the course. Above all, you will find the staff to be knowledgeable, enthusiastic and supportive to all students.

Mark Brill profile

Mark Brill

MA Creativity, Making and Innovation Practice Course Leader, MA/MSc Future Media, BA Digital Marketing Senior Lecturer

Mark Brill brings over 25 years experience in digital channels, creative innovation and emerging technologies. He is a leading innovation strategist working with global brands, start-ups and third sector organisations. Mark’s focus is on the creative application of technology, in which he is researching and developing concepts for the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. This has led to projects in creative innovation (STEAM Disrupt Lab), music and dementia (Memory Tracks) and sustainable, circular fashion (The Connected Wardrobe). Mark leads Maker Monday, a monthly creative inspiration event that is part of BCU’s STEAMhouse programme. He is also a STEAM Fellow working on an initiative to develop simple, contextual objects called The One Pixel Project. Hs is also thought leader, media commentator and regular keynote speaker at events worldwide.

Read Mark's full profile

Oliver Williams

Deputy Head of the Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts

Oliver is Associate Director at the New Technology Institute (NTI), an industry-facing school within Birmingham School of Media that specialises in developing industry-led academic courses. He is also the Studio Director for Gamer Camp, a Masters-level video game development programme.

Oliver’s 16-year career spans product development, project management, software development, marketing, management and solution selling. He is an expert in project managing complex interactive media products.

Read Oliver's full profile

Additional Facilities

In addition to classroom facilities, you will be able to access digital, print, wood and metal making tools available at STEAMhouse and elsewhere within the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media.