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MA Visual Communication

Course Description

Cities are sites of cultural, business and political exchange. Visual communication is a principal mode by which this exchange occurs. From large urban structures, through to an individual’s footprint, the visual connects distinct facets into a particular and personal experience.


The MA Visual Communication is an innovative and accessible program with three specialist routes in Graphic Design, Illustration and Photography. The program will examine urban context through three international cities, where students will generate both individual and collaborative responses. The course is distinctive in its structure. Its students will gather at four week-long residential sessions, at Bath Spa University and in two other international cities. The destinations will vary and may include New York, Bangalore, Chicago, Tokyo, Las Vegas, Bangkok and others.

There will be programmed lectures, presentations and frequent opportunities to explore each city. A great advantage of the course structure is its collaborative workshop sessions — Charrettes — in which students will share concentrated periods of intense study, designed to help the development of ideas. The residencies will be social, as well as educational.

Following each residency, individuals will develop their projects with online or onsite tutorial support. Collaborations and discussions with peers will continue through blogging and video conferencing. Students can also have access to workshop, darkroom and print facilities should they require it.

The flexibility of this course will allow MAVC students to work anywhere; you will not need to re-locate in order to study. The course is therefore ideal for emerging as well as established practitioners. In addition the course offers great potential to develop working relationships with those sharing a common interest, from a variety of countries and cultures across the world.


Research Methodologies:
Part One introduces generic research methodologies with Part Two considering subject specific material, analysis and evaluation techniques. This will be delivered online or onsite at Bath Spa University.

Developing Practice:
1. Survey: a charrette examining aspects of the city of Bath in the context of its history and contemporary culture which will be approached using your specialist route.
2. Presentation: an exposition of your work approach and practice to the group.
3. Planning: a focused workshop that will examine, critique and then supplement your current research methods.

Practice in Context:
1. Survey: a charrette examining aspects of the host city for this trip. This should be done in the context of its history and contemporary culture and in relation to the outcome of your previous research in Bath. You will develop work in collaboration with other students.
2. Presentation: individual presentation of work from the Developing Practice module.
3. Planning: further development of research skills and presentation of initial outline proposal for the master’s project.

Practice in a Global Context:
1. Survey: a charrette examining the host city for this trip, by making contextual links with organisations in the city. You will work on a project of your own design. This may be collaborative but must contribute to your final MAVC Show.
2. Presentation: collaborative presentation of work from the Practice in Context module.
3. Planning: detail for the Master's Project.

Master's Project:
A synthesis of your experiences based on the cities visited. Create an independent or collaborative piece of work based on a proposal agreed with your tutor in advance.
1. Installation: preparing work for presentation and exhibition.
2. Presentation: sharing outcomes with staff and students.
3. Exhibition: public display of work.


Teaching will be concentrated in four, week-long residences, during which there will be workshops and lectures led by staff and visiting professionals. Students will use these forums to examine and develop their work practice. They will participate in group charrettes, discussion and analysis and by making presentations of their work.

Between the residences tutors will provide students with individual and group tutorials. These will be delivered either online or onsite at Bath Spa University. There can also be access to university’s facilities including dedicated photographic studios, conventional darkrooms, etching and screen printing workshops as well as digital editing/printing suites.


Assessment of modules is by written submission, presentation and a final exhibition. A dissertation is optional and can be negotiated on an individual basis. It can form a part of the final exhibition and will be assessed at the same point.


The purpose of this course is to enable each student to question, re-establish and define their own professional practice. This will enable individuals to control their career trajectory with a view to working in the creative industries internationally. This may include working for design agencies, gaining freelance commissions and initiating commercial opportunities.

Visit the MA Visual Communication page on the Bath Spa University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

The usual requirement is a good first degree (2:1 and above, or the international equivalent) in a related subject area, in addition to a portfolio that demonstrates your visual ability. You may be selected based upon your particular work background, and your aptitude to the course. If your work experience is in a parallel field, appropriate to the course, we will consider your application.

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