Study interaction design at an advanced level and explore new approaches to design creating dynamic proposals that respond to the needs of our rapidly changing society.
At Sheffield Institute of Arts interaction design is cross-disciplinary and investigates human-technological futures via design related interactions that lie between the digital and the physical. Using a practice based approach you explore the designing of interactive digital products, environments services and systems.
Interaction design is most often studied by graduates from a variety of backgrounds including • interaction design • digital media • fine art • product design • graphic design • furniture design • architecture • computer science. Your projects are supported by lecturers who are design specialists, researchers and practitioners. Modules are supported by lecturers who are design specialists in areas as diverse as • exhibition design • HCI • medical products • materials development • design thinking • social design • design anthropology.
During the course you work with experts in other departments as well as outside of the University.
As a postgraduate design student you join an established network of creative people that encourage and support you to drive your studies to the next level. Our postgraduate framework of design courses has been designed to allow you to come together with students from different disciplines, backgrounds and cultures to share teaching and learning experiences and explore your creative identities through dialogue and practice.
The primary intention of the programme is to allow you to achieve your personal employment ambitions, whether as a design professional in the creative industries, or in related areas such as marketing or research. You are also well placed to go onto further study at PhD level.
The course has a strong vocational focus to prepare, encourage and develop your confidence for employment.
The MA/MFA programme has a strong relationship with the University’s Art and Design Research Centre (ADRC), who take an active part in engaging MA Design students in research, knowledge transfer and live projects. You are also encouraged to seek industrial sponsors or collaborators for your individual project work and are given advice and support in doing this. This long established link with our Research Department supports a continuing tradition of graduates from the MA/MFA working as research assistants and/or continuing their studies to PhD.
If you are a part-time student in relevant employment or on sabbatical, you have the opportunity to plan course projects based in your workplace and relevant to your own and your employer's aims. This brings real-world experience to the course. You may go on to work as a professionally employed designer or design manager, work independently as a designer/producer or work as a researcher in design or new product development. You may also wish to go into teaching design in further and higher education.
You choose your own project content and this is supported by lectures and seminars dealing with professional practice issues and reviewing your progress. You also take part in regular group and individual tutorials.
Your final major project is the culmination of your research and studio-based design practice. It demonstrates that you can deal with difficult contemporary questions and take a leading role as a design professional.
We are one of the oldest established art and design institutions in the UK, renowned for producing internationally recognised research. Your projects are supported by lecturers who are design specialists in areas as diverse as medical products, materials development, furniture and sustainability.
Vibrant and supportive learning environment
During the course you regularly take part in constructive critical debates about your own work and that of your peers. You need to communicate your research, ideas and designs in ways that are appropriate to professional leadership.
You study alongside MA and MFA Design students for part of your course and benefit from a vibrant, international, collaborative and supportive postgraduate environment.
Excellent facilities and creative resources
You have access to a huge range of creative resources to experiment and engage with including • 3D printing for rapid prototyping • state-of-the-art hardware and software • photography studios • a creative media centre • a gallery • well-equipped workshops.
You also have access to our award-winning learning centre featuring a specialist art, design and media library and extensive online resources.
MA and MFA study
MA and MFA students complete the same modules during the course except that MFA students complete an extra project module. The MFA project encourages you to develop professional skills that help you to identify, instigate, and deliver projects with external partners, such as communities, galleries or businesses. You find a project partner, agree a brief and then deliver the project to a professional standard.
This course is part of the Sheffield Institute of Arts (SIA), an amazing, diverse community of makers – where staff, students and partners work as equals to deliver real innovation and creativity. SIA opened in 1843 and is one of the UK's oldest Art and Design Schools. We have recently moved into the Head Post Office, a redesigned Grade II listed building. It includes state-of-the-art workshops which provide you with a unique studio-based learning environment in the heart of the creative community.
• project 1 • theory supporting practice
• project 2 • negotiated project
• major project
Semester four – MFA students only
• MFA project
Semester one (year 1)
• theory supporting practice • negotiated project
Semester two (year 2)
• project 1 • project 2
Semester three (year 3)
• major project
Semester four – MFA students only (year 4)
• MFA project
Assessment and feedback are vital parts of the learning process in creative disciplines. Most assessment is through individual project work which combines research and creative practice. Assessment calls for both excellent creative work and well-documented research.
As a graduate from this course you might become a • creative technologist • experiential marketer • interaction designer • artist • designer • maker • product designer • design researcher • interface designer • systems designer • UX designer • design academic • PhD student.
Digital Direction is a new 240-credit, 15-month Master’s programme starting in September 2017.
Digital Direction addresses media and storytelling in the digital era, assessing emerging issues associated with contemporary digital communication and the creative economy, training new creative leaders who are responsive to continually changing contexts, infrastructures and technologies and engendering a new wave of creative leadership. Graduates will develop a deep understanding of critical and experimental communication/media production, creation and design practices, and through applied innovation will address current and future contexts.
The programme prepares students to evolve and lead new approaches to media and storytelling through predictive innovation, enabled by rapidly changing cultural and industrial practices, plus uses of, and developments in, digital technologies. Centring on the interrelated domains of broadcasting, film and experience/brand, the programme addresses knowledge and skills gaps in four key areas of practice: production, direction, content development/making/writing and communication/digital media design.
The programme proposes new imperatives for storytelling in an age of alternative facts and fictions; challenges associated with multiple media forms and systems; and methods for engaging publics as audiences, users, consumers, (co-)creators, stakeholders and participants.
Established approaches to production, direction, content creation and communication/digital media design are transforming at an exponential rate, employing innovative forms of storytelling and narrative experience to engage audiences in new ways. The programme is informed by associated transformations in digital technologies, including the prevalence of post-broadcast models of On Demand media; the proliferation of networked forms of production and distribution; source- and platform-agnostic, multi-cast, multi-access and multi-layered, multi-linear media; cultures of openness and control; and the primacy of interactivity.
The programme acknowledges human adaptations to living with digital technologies. Contemporary media platforms are mobile, embedded in multiple types of environments, infrastructures and products, and user-controlled with an engagement in more democratic forms of content generation and curation. In parallel, core discrete professions within the media and communication design industries are being challenged and broadened by increasingly transdisciplinary requirements. .
The programme equips students with the knowledge, understanding and skills to engage productively with the creative, design and commercial demands of this emerging and rapidly evolving multi-platform and multi-layered world. To match, a transdisciplinary approach is demanded with a strong narrative sense and a honed instinct for communication. Our contemporary uses of new digital technologies have prompted a reconsideration of communication borders and different types of responsive modes; and content developers and distributors are, in turn, converging within an increasingly fluid space.
Traditional skill sets involving narration, scriptwriting, production design, direction, set design, casting, photography, filming, lighting, and sound recording, for example, are now increasingly accompanied and informed by hitherto unrelated practices such as coding and programming, interactive design, AI, cross-platform and cross-media integration (e.g. transmedia), data visualisation and analytics, visual design, gamification, virtual/augmented reality and social media. Digital Direction addresses the demands of this new world – for example, by enabling designer-directors to produce and create content for social videos with an accompanying strategy for ensuring delivery to their target audiences, including deployment of mechanisms for openness and input.
The programme draws on six key principles from the School of Communication – conceptualisation, experimentation, expression, information, contextualisation and interdisciplinarity – which are in turn supported and developed through strategic research clusters based on the broader themes of identity, experience and publishing.