Glass is a medium that crosses a range of disciplines and is used by artists, craftspeople and designers alike. This award-winning programme explores glass as a design tool that encourages process-led risk and play, in parallel with the prototyping and resolution of designed objects.
Courses cover contemporary design issues including material narratives, interdisciplinary crossover and post-digital practices, as well as studio and client-based projects.
You will focus on the materiality of glass, explore new boundaries through the integrated relationship between process and theory, and be encouraged to position yourself within and beyond the disciplines of glass.
This programme is unique in Scotland and ECA is one of the few centres of excellence in this discipline in the UK. Comprehensive glass and plaster workshops are complemented by state-of-the-art digital fabrication labs, woodwork, metalwork and bronze foundry, enabling you to experience the complete design journey from conception to the production of glass at the highest level.
You will benefit from visiting professional practitioners and lecturers and will have the opportunity to participate in live projects and competitions. The curriculum combines programme and student-led activity, delivered through workshops, group seminars and individual tutorials.
You will negotiate and develop a programme of study based on personal areas of practice-based research. We foster interdisciplinary collaboration with other departments creating a unique student experience and rich opportunities for learning.
This programme combines directed and self-directed practice-based studio projects with theoretical and written studies, including professional practice elements to prepare you for employment in the industry, and a lecture/seminar series to examine the wider context of your studies.
The programme focuses on providing the tools of craft and design through comprehensive professional practice workshops, focused on the specific requirements of the designer maker. You will produce a body of practical and written work on an agreed, self-initiated project. MFA students produce an additional extended body of work.
As a graduate you will discover a diverse range of career opportunities. Alumni have worked within the production of individual designed objects, as lead designers within industry, as gallery representation, on commissioned major public artworks, and in teaching and leading positions within creative practices.
The spirit of Ceramics & Glass at the RCA springs from the heart of those media, and a belief in the transformative power of material thinking, research and making to enrich our world in imaginative and meaningful ways. The programme is a site for contemporary discourse where personal concerns and global perspectives intersect. We seek those with passion to extend the possibilities and perspectives of ceramics and glass within and beyond traditional limitations, informed by their rich provenance of materials and practices.
The Ceramics & Glass MA at the RCA provides outstanding opportunities to develop a dynamic, informed and connected practice in a study environment that embraces diversity and depth. We believe in interrogating practices and challenging conventions.
Our hyper-material age presents exciting and critical opportunities to explore cultures of production; to ask questions about what, why and how we make; to express ideas through the symbolic modes of things and transformative character of substances, and to consider how our work can influence physical, personal and psycho-social environments. We challenge and encourage you to stretch your imagination, expand your potential and find your voice.
The MA spectrum of enquiry includes art and design works, design for manufacture and the built environment, emerging experimental practices and applications. Curiosity is nurtured through the imaginative exploration of concepts, the investigation of material properties and technologies, the potential of interdisciplinary practice and collaboration. Making, thinking and writing skills are integrated to develop critical perspectives of practice and purpose, and to foster new understandings of our interaction with ‘things’.
The exceptional ceramic and glass facilities at the Royal College underpin a dynamic study environment led by outstanding teachers and technical experts, supported by contributions from peers, acclaimed visiting lecturers and graduates, who have shaped the programme’s leading research and international standing over many years.
The MA study experience integrates studio-based project learning with a formal dialogue in Critical & Historical Studies, scaffolded by the rigour of enquiry and reflective practice. Workshops, lectures, visiting experts and collaboration opportunities are supplemented by seminars and personal tutorials to provide guidance, foster critical reflection and encourage the development of individual trajectories and ambitions.
The programme offers:
We live in a material world, materials form the spaces in which we live and the objects that we use. Materials create and, unfortunately, may destroy the environments that we inhabit. Even in an increasing digital age in which the global economy and market continues to expand, the physical nature of materials is always present but it changes and is subject to contextual particularities, such as traditional practices, availability of resource and skills, emerging materials and technologies such as digital fabrication.
The programme focuses on process; the direct experience of using and making with materials; how materials are used in creative works, design and production; how new opportunities and ideas may evolve through reflective practice.
The programme employs a cross disciplinary approach and uses the workshops and expertise across Edinburgh College of Art. You will work with many materials including glass, textiles, metals, timber and concrete. You will also access and use various methods of digital fabrication such as additive manufacture and CNC routing and laser cutting.
The programme addresses directly important contemporary issues of economy, inclusion and sustainability, through the practical, collaborative and individual projects.
The programme is available to students from a variety of design and creative material practice, art, design, craft, and architecture backgrounds and from more traditional technologically based disciplines, such as engineering, looking to expand their skills and understanding in both material techniques and collaborative practice.
The programme is largely workshop- and studio-based. You will gain experience and expertise from a variety of tutors, support staff and technicians.
Periods will be spent in different workshops of the ECA, to explore materials and technique including: metals, glass, textiles and architecture.
As you progress through the programme you will acquire both skills and understanding of various materials, apply these in a series of projects that consider contemporary issues, culminating in a self-directed project, developed from your own experience.
The MSc in Material Practice seeks to provide core learning outcomes:
Opportunities exist with the many and various cross-disciplinary practices that operate in design professions such as product design, manufacturing, architecture and art practice.
Graduates can direct their career, having furthered their skills, explored and developed cross disciplinary design and creative practice and explored contemporary issues and themes. During the programme there will be opportunities to meet with other designers and industries.
The programme will also help those that wish to develop their own practice as fabricators, designers. artists or contractors.