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Course content

Glass has remarkable properties; its transparency, durability and versatility have been explored in architectural and artistic contexts for thousands of years. Recent technological advances provide continuing opportunities for creative application. Its unique properties of transparency and interaction with light gives MA Glass students the opportunity to explore new possibilities and build specialist knowledge as a material for the future.

Course Overview

The MA Glass programme within the Contemporary Dialogues portfolio offers an exciting and innovative re-thinking of Postgraduate provision that reflects the strategic thinking of Swansea College of Art. The portfolio facilitates migration between diverse thematic disciplines, exploring new ideas and conceptual approaches to allow young artists and designers to confront the issues that face society today and into the future.

The portfolio’s ethos of collaborative dialogues through material practices provides an innovative model of design, fine and applied arts education. This development allows students from all pathways to experience and share creative practices and innovative mind-sets through inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary dialogues. This ethos is enhanced within each programme to stimulate ‘collaborative’ practices and experimentation across a broader spectrum of specialist fields, developing graduates with the contextual awareness, creative thinking and technical skills to operate at the forefront of their discipline.

During the course of your studies you will be supported by specialist staff, leading professionals and practicing artists through lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. We have exceptional traditional and digital facilities, housed in spacious purpose-build workshops. Through these, we encourage creative freedom within all of our students and support you in challenging conventional thinking and established practices and facilitate new technological advances across a broad range of disciplines. We have found that through collaborative experimentation and innovative design thinking our students are able to produce work that meets the challenges and respond to the demands of the 21st century.

Facilities include:
-Firing kilns for glass and ceramics
-Printmaking, Screen Printing and Digital Textile Technologies
-Traditional and Digital Stitch
-Wood, Metal, Clay
-Cutting Etching and Engraving Technologies - Waterjet, Laser, Plotter
-3D Printing and CNC
-Chemical and Digital Darkrooms
-Specialist computer facilities with commercial standard software

Modules

-Collaborative Dialogues (20 credits)
-Co-Existent Perspectives (20 credits)
-The Thought Experiment (20 credits)
-Explorative Research Praxis (60 credits)
-Confirmative Praxis (60 credits)

Key Features

Students use the Master's Programme for all kinds of reasons; to gain an extra qualification, to achieve a higher and more sophisticated level of practice, as well as to have supported research and development time in order to elevate themselves to a more professional plateau with their artwork.

In this century, glass as a material offers a unique place in design and architecture and there are very few institutions that offer the opportunity to explore this material, with particular reference to its applications in architecture. Swansea glass department has a long established reputation for glass and strong industrial links help underpin the educational experience for students. The history of the department enables a broad spectrum of approaches that draw on the historical, cultural and technological uses of this material. Glass in its many forms; mosaic, glaze, enamel and window façade covers a broad association of surfaces, which offers for the maker a rich and varied pallet. This is a hands-on course!

The main strands of the programme are: design and philosophy, material innovation and glass design. These themes are considered in the context of glass for the environment, to fulfill the need to develop innovative, sustainable and possibly universal solutions for a variety of architectural, public and private spaces.

The programme prides itself in newly equipped workshops that provide excellent specialist facilities including sandblasters, acid etching bay, cold working machinery, screen printing facilities for glass and an extensive range of glass and ceramic kilns for casting and decorative processing. Beyond this specialist equipment, you will also have access to an extensive range of facilities including an excellent library, open-access computer suites and workshops in other areas within the art school such as wood, metal, ceramics, 3D printing and water jet and laser cutting.

The teaching team consists of highly experienced glass artists and designers who are either engaged in professional practice or are research active, supported by industrially trained technical staff. This ensures that the course delivers a qualification and experience that is highly relevant to the changing needs of the industry and wider architectural glass community.

The department works closely with the Architectural Glass Centre, which often supports and advises the students on live commissions and commercial work. We also work with the CIRIC research centre within the faculty, with 2 members of this research centre specialising in glass. This provides research opportunities and access to high technology resources giving the students opportunities to link with creative industries infrastructure in the region as a potential starting point for future employment.

With an eighty year history the glass department benefits from strong support from Alumni and the local glass community as well as networks and connections from world-renowned glass artists.

Assessment

The main modes of assessment used on this programme are; studio projects, written assignments and seminar presentations.

Assessment at postgraduate level is reflected by your ability to reformulate and use relevant methodologies and approaches to address problematic situations that involve many interacting factors. It includes taking responsibility for planning and developing courses of action that initiate or underpin substantial change or development, as well as exercising broad autonomy and judgement. It should also reflect an understanding of the relevant theoretical and methodological perspectives and how they affect your area of study or work.

Career Opportunities

Students from the Master's Programme have gone on to many varied careers within the Architectural Glass Industry, Glass Studios, teaching and lecturing positions, in community arts and the cultural industries in general. Many have continued to practice as designers and artists and some have progressed to PhD study.

Possible career pathways have included:
-Establishing yourself as an artist, designer or maker
-Setting up a studio as a sole supplier or in a partnership with others
-Employed in specialist glass studios
-Engaging in freelance work on architectural and interiors projects
-Designing for industry or working in the glass industry
-Working on private and public commissions
-Working on art projects and community projects
-Other opportunities include arts administration, curating, teaching and mentoring, community work and arts editorial
-Continuation of studies to postgraduate level on our MA programme
-Further academic research leading to MPhil, or PhD is available

Visit the Glass - MA page on the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David website for more details!

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