Students on this course cultivate an innovative view of surface design. They are challenged to ruthlessly explore pattern and decoration, reflecting on the social, cultural and aesthetic context for surface pattern design in the 21st century. New relationships like that of surfaces and light are being investigated, while new materials and technologies continually challenge designers to develop fresh ideas and methods. Students get to research and experiment with lots of materials and new technology to decorate ceramics, plastics, cloth, glass, wood, metal and paper. They use our cutting edge digital equipment to develop designs for wallpaper, tableware, floor coverings, interior products, garments and jewellery. We help our students find their own creative process and to develop their own direction and style which enables them to choose a rewarding career.
LEARNING ENVIRONMENT AND ASSESSMENT
Practical work is carried out within our extensive and very well equipped studios and workshops. A programme of guest lecturers and visits to exhibitions, workshops, manufacturers, etc. further supports study.
A special feature of this course is the blend of practice and theory which underpins the student projects. As a student on a MA course in the School of Art, Design and Performance you will belong to a postgraduate design community. You will study some modules alongside students from other design disciplines. Through participation in a common programme, you will experience a strong sense of community, sharing of knowledge and access to a wide range of staff skills and resources.
Practical and theoretical elements will be assessed both during and at the end of each module. Assessment strategies for the Practice modules will usually involve portfolio assessment, presentations, summaries of reflective journals and the learning agreement. There are intermediate exit awards at appropriate stages.
Surface pattern designers work with many different products, processes and materials. They may practice within conventional design studios in traditional industries as well as in the smaller creative industries. The student will be expected to develop a personal focus of research and design or craft practice, which should lead to a package of research activities (live projects, placements, competitions, attendance at exhibitions and trade fairs, etc.) appropriate to their field of study. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to pursue a critical enquiry alongside the physical development of work. They should move toward developing concepts and understanding context.
The core belief of the MA degree is that understanding for the Design Practitioner can only be achieved through doing, making and creating. Thus a central theme of the course is that of 'Reflective Practice' where academic and theoretical issues arise out of Practice itself and where the Practice is informed by the theoretical considerations. Students will be asked to keep a reflective journal to record their thoughts, ideas and discoveries.
The MA exists in the framework of the University modular scheme. The first step for every new student is a two to three week induction block in which the student's proposed area of study is discussed, negotiated and formulated with their supervisor into a learning agreement. Following this induction and diagnostic phase, students continue to develop their physical work in Surface Pattern Practice 1. In Semester 2, they undertake Practice 2, which involves the opportunity for field study or external placement. Running parallel with, and complementary to the practice modules, are two Research for Creative Design Practice modules, one studied in semester 1 and the other in Semester 2.
The course is concluded in Semester 3 with the Postgraduate Project/Dissertation and Surface Pattern Practice 3 modules. In the Practice module, students continue their investigation into a particular personal area of study, leading to a final assessment presentation or public body of work.
Fundamental to the philosophy of the course is providing the opportunity for students to explore and realise their individual aspirations and potential, creating a framework for developing as skilled and informed professional practitioners.