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Course content

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.

Programme structure

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.

Learning outcomes

The MSc in Material Practice seeks to provide core learning outcomes:

  • To understand and develop further skills in materials technique and processes
  • To explore and develop cross disciplinary design and creative practice
  • To understand the evolving nature of material practice and digital fabrication
  • To understand explore contemporary issues and themes through material investigations
  • To formulate and undertake cross-disciplinary research in materials and material practice

Career opportunities

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.


Visit the Material Practice - MSc page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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