The Animation programme is a world leader in practice and research, with a commitment to broadening the understanding of our complex discipline. Established over 30 years ago, the programme has an international reputation that places it at the forefront of the discipline. Within the programme there are three distinct pathways: Documentary Animation, Experimental Animation and Narrative Animation, one of which students select as part of their application.
The programme’s location within a visually sophisticated, multidisciplinary art and design school, rather than a film school, is crucial in the development of creative and critical thinking, research skills and expanded discipline expertise that’s applied to ideas, styles, genres and technological approaches. Both the MA and research degrees attract artists and makers from a broad background of disciplines: science, maths, architecture, literature, art history, computing and fine art, as well as communication.
We offer a unique learning and teaching environment, developing the creativity and skills required in an age of rapid cultural and technological change. Our students contribute to this expanding and maturing field of moving image, with core skills centred around directing, narrative and production. We offer an exceptionally stimulating multidisciplinary environment, complemented by the College’s award-winning programmes in art and design. The curriculum allows students to explore the creative slip between diverse forms of moving image: animation, documentary, fiction, process and interactivity. Through innovative, practical research and an understanding of different contexts, traditions and histories, students learn through a potent combination of workshops, lectures and tutorials, while developing their own practice, individually and collaboratively.
Leading practitioners on the programme bring a wide range of practice and research, their excellence of teaching supported by a wide variety of visiting established filmmakers/artists of international reputation. Recent visiting artists have included Stephen Quay, Suzan Pitt, David O’Reilly, John Smith, Nina Sabnani, Hiraki Sawa, Peter Blegvad, Asif Kapadia, Philip Hunt, Nick Park and Jonathan Hodgson.
The Animation programme has a world-leading research environment, attracting funding from, among others, the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, and the Medical Research Council.
Students are encouraged to develop a critical discourse around their subject, as well as building on and challenging notions within their own personal areas of interest or specialism. The programme has an ongoing relationship with the most successful and innovative sectors of the UK animation industry – Blink, Nexus, Studio AKA, Passion Pictures and Hornet – which allows students’ work to be placed within a wider professional context.
The programme offers excellent facilities supported by knowledgeable technical staff, including shooting studios for stop-frame/green screen, sound recording/mixing, digital and film cameras/editing, Cintiqs and an individual desk space for each student in mixed studios within the School of Communication.
The MA programme and research degrees offer a holistic environment that prepares animation artists for a number of roles within gallery- and industry-based animated filmmaking, and provides innovators to the animation professions.
Current students and graduates continue to have a ‘real-world’ impact on animation, pushing the forefront of the practice and producing innovative and highly accomplished work. Much of this has been demonstrated through the accolades bestowed on the programme, as well as by individual student achievement through winning awards such as 5 BAFTAs, the Royal Television Society, the Adobe Achievement Award, and Jerwood Moving Image Drawing Prizes. Exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide, together with film screenings at festivals and broadcast licenses with television and Internet channels, allow students to increases their professional profile.
The core of learning is project-based according to a unit system made up of eight architectural design studios (ADS) with a unique set of concerns, methods and critical frameworks. Each ADS has approximately sixteen students with first- and second-year students working alongside each other.
First year students work on a live project, and a studio project within a pedagogical framework established by studio tutors. These projects form the foundation for the technical studies course and fulfil RIBA GC1, GC8 and GC9. The studio is complemented by history & theory and media studies courses. The College-wide CHS course provides a broader social and cultural context related to the design disciplines and fine arts.
Second-year students work on a project-based thesis compromising a design brief and design project. The year culminates with an exhibition of work at the degree show.
The RCA provides a unique environment for postgraduate art and design students to reflect upon their own practice, and to engage with students from their own and other disciplines. The role of Critical & Historical Studies (CHS) is to support the studio programmes in enabling these critical engagements to take place. The courses offered by CHS to first year studio-based MA students propose an intellectual framework within which they can begin to establish a coherent relationship between theory and practice.
In the autumn and spring terms there are a series of College-wide seminars and lectures. The autumn term series will relate to your particular discipline (though it is possible to elect to join a series being offered to students on other programmes) whereas the spring term series will be more broad-based and cross-disciplinary in nature.
In the spring and summer terms, a CHS tutor will give you individual tutorials to support the development of a dissertation which is submitted *at the end of the Summer Term.* The dissertation should be between 6,000–10,000 words in length – this is a major piece of work and you will be not be able to submit for the Final Examination until you have passed this assessment.
The School of Architecture currently provides research specialism in the areas of Architecture & Media, City Design, Social Movements and Future of Work, which are seen as essential to contemporary architectural and urban research. However, the programme welcomes strong applications for other fields of interest as well as traditional academic research.
The Master’s of Research (MRes) RCA is a full-time, one-year programme that offers early-career research students the opportunity to develop and demonstrate mastery in the theory, methods and practice of research within an art and design environment. MRes RCA degrees are offered in four Schools (Communication, Design, Fine Art and Humanities) and are designed to provide early-career researchers with the intellectual, technical and professional tools with which to complete high-quality research projects, whether at doctoral level or within the cultural and creative industries, working across traditional sociocultural, disciplinary and sectoral boundaries.
MRes RCA programmes are delivered through a combination of: structured learning, comprising of lectures and master-classes by practitioners and senior academics; workshop classes based around a set task (a ‘brief’); tutorled seminar classes where students will be asked to reflect on material that they have read or studied in advance; and project assignments that support the structured teaching programme.
The programme provides students with the intellectual, technical and professional tools to pursue their own independent research within academia or industry, drawing on the experience and expertise of world-leading researchers across the College. The ethos of the programme will be collaborative, so students should be prepared to engage fully within their peer group, and with established and emerging research communities throughout the College.
In the development of intellectual engagement, students will be encouraged to demonstrate an advanced understanding of the principles of scholarly research within art, design and the humanities; identify robust research questions that interrogate fundamental questions of knowledge creation and exchange; critically analyse and evaluate complex research data; and situate their own research questions in the wider academic context of their field, understanding how their own research builds on and contributes to existing knowledge.
In the development of technical skills, students will be encouraged to: demonstrate an advanced understanding of the tools, methods, theories and techniques of research in Art and Design; experiment in the development, evaluation and presentation of complex research projects; effectively communicate the aims, methodologies and outcomes of their research to a range of different audiences; and effectively explore and articulate the potential of their research to achieve impact beyond the academic sphere.
For professional development, students will be encouraged to: take responsibility for directing their studies through setting goals and managing time and resources effectively; participate as an active, thoughtful and responsible member of a research community; demonstrate an understanding of and sensitivity to the principles and policies of ethical research; effectively plan and manage a complex research project; define their professional identity through self-reflection informed by theoretical, social and cultural awareness; engage constructively with research partners in order to form collaborations that benefit both their research and the partner organisation
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:
City Design is a new 15-month MA programme starting in September 2017. The programme is aimed at a new generation of architects and urban designers interested in the radical transformation of cities and the societies that are shaped by them. It proposes a new multi-scalar approach to urban design education that unites architectural, technological and scientific research.
Project-based studio work forms the core of activity for the the first three terms, with complementary technical, historical, theoretical and case study seminars occurring in parallel. Group work is encouraged and considered an important introduction to the inherently collaborative process of city design. During Term 4 students complete an Independent Research Project (60 credits) as an individual submission where they will have the opportunity to work with and get feedback on their detailed design proposal/thesis from urban and city design practitioners. Workshops focus on new spatial epistemologies, especially systems of representation, visualisation and calculation. History theory subjects examine alternative models for the city throughout history, focusing on the way social and political ambitions have become spatialised.
The MRes RCA Communication Design Pathway will introduce students to practice-led interdisciplinary and experimental research processes, methods and methodologies that inform and underpin communication design research. It will also help to position a student’s research proposal within a social, historical, cultural and theoretical discourse through evidencing primary research, proven research methods including visualisation, and engaging critically with reflective practice and evaluation.
The focus of the Pathway is to explore the nexus between social science, art and design methods – such as those found within social semiotics, discourse analysis, visual ethnography, multi-modal analysis, narrative analysis and storytelling, reception theory – and the ways in which they might be applied to independent research proposals, R&D consultancy or ‘live’ project briefs. Communication theory is at the core of this offer, engaging critically with different perspectives and sensory (e.g. visual, aural and haptic) forms.
Students enrolled on the MRes RCA Communication Design Pathway will join a vibrant and dynamic research community situated within the context of a burgeoning research and knowledge exchange (RKE) culture in the School of Communication. Our RKE in the School is focused on broad thematic areas of the transformation of publishing, the shaping of experience, and the construction of identities. Linked to these are internationally renowned innovation research labs and hubs, such as the Creative Exchange Hub and the Book Futures Lab, which also build on the School’s robust industry networks. In addition to drawing upon the School’s core Master’s programmes in Animation, Information Experience Design and Visual Communication, students will engage with the broader context of the RCA’s leading research and will be exposed to the range of cutting edge art and design research undertaken by our staff and MPhil/PhD students.
Led by Dr Mel Jordan, Reader in Art & the Public Sphere, the Contemporary Art Practice programme has specialist pathway leaders in order to facilitate a distinct engagement with specific areas of contemporary art practice. The programme is delivered through four pathways: Critical Practice (led by Jeremy Millar), Moving Image (led by Jane Wilson), Performance (led by Professor Nigel Rolfe) and Public Sphere (led by Mel Jordan).
The Contemporary Art Practice programme enables us to incorporate practices that exceed the specificity of the well-established disciplines of Fine Art at the Royal College of Art. Contemporary Art Practice engages with contemporary modes of art production, dissemination and debate. It facilitates specialisation through its pathway structure enabling students to engage with a particular approach to developing their own art practice. The teaching methodology we employ is not technologically or materially determined however students are expected to utilise appropriate and specific means in which to manifest their ideas. Contemporary Art Practice students have access to all facilities within the School of Fine Art.
Critical theory has emerged as an essential intellectual framework for art criticism but what is its potential as a tool within the production of contemporary art? Studio-based and primarily focused on supporting the development of the artistic practice of its students, the Critical Practice pathway offers regular seminars exploring emerging ideas and bodies of theory as well as opportunities to work with organised forms of knowledge such as public archives and institutions.
Moving Image is aimed at artists using film and video, and practitioners working in the areas of documentary film, film and fiction cinema as well as practitioners who wish to draw upon, challenge and re-map established realms of Moving Image based practices. The diversity of approaches employed in the Moving Image pathway reflects the new reality of contemporary moving image.
Performance happens in the ‘here and now’ and not the ‘there and then’. Unlike many practices, where time is historic, and the image presented is necessarily an archive or record, ‘being and doing’ are more immediately significant in live time, and the expectation is that – in the contemporary – artists are often presenting work that is not made in advance but rather happening now!
Public Sphere is a major research area in the School, and the pathway supports expanded engagement with art and its publics as well as art’s social function. Social art practices have featured as a key force in the rise of the global biennale as well as being utilized by the Occupy Movement. Therefore questions about public space, participation, collaboration and collective action are becoming essential principles within the production of contemporary art both in terms of practice and theory.
Your application should be for MA Contemporary Art Practice and you will have to specify in which Pathway you wish to study: Critical Practice, Moving Image, Performance or Public Sphere.
The programme offers:
The Critical Writing in Art & Design MA programme in the School of Humanities provides unique opportunities for postgraduate students to develop high-level writing, research and analytical skills in the setting of one of the world’s most dynamic art schools. Combining workshop models of teaching and learning, and ‘live’ projects with leading arts organisations, the MA provides the skills required for a successful career in the arts or a research degree. For 2017/8, we are introducing some exciting new areas of specialisation within the programme.
The programme is committed to the idea that writing – of all kinds – is a creative practice that requires imagination as well as good literary skills and expert knowledge. Students on the MA are presented with many opportunities to develop and apply the skills required by various writing formats from the review and catalogue essay, to fiction and other forms of speculation. The unique structure of the programme allows for specialisation and the freedom to explore novel approaches to writing.
The Critical Writing in Art & Design programme combines lectures, specialist writing workshops and ‘crits’ as well as live projects with external partners. Previous partners have included the Royal Opera House, Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge and Turner Contemporary in Margate. Recognising that the media is undergoing considerable change, the MA also offers opportunities to work with professionals working print and online publishing, broadcasting and podcasting. Students on the programme enjoy opportunities to share classes and to work on shared projects with other students across the RCA including our sister programme, the Critical Practice pathway in the Contemporary Art Practice programme in the School of Fine Art.
Founded in 2010, the Critical Writing in Art & Design programme will launch a set of new specialisms in autumn 2017: Publishing and New Media; Creative Writing; and Art Theory. Students follow a shared, core programme as well as their chosen specialism. This will enable students to develop focused and expert skills within the RCA’s new 15-month MA framework. The specialisms allow a close focus on the particular needs of individual students, delivered through small group seminar teaching and one-to-one tutorials.
Graduates of the Critical Writing in Art & Design programme have published their MA work as books for publishers around the world including MIT Press, China Machine Press, and Zero Books. Others write regularly for the art press (including titles such as Art Monthly, Frieze and Eye Magazine). Some graduates of the programme have gone on to doctoral study at the University of Oxford, the University of Manchester and Goldsmiths. Others work in editorial positions in art and design magazines, or as curators and programmers in galleries and museums and other arts organisations in Europe, China and North America.
Critical Writing in Art & Design students have a strong track record of producing ‘live’ publications with the support of the programme. These include the Albertopolis Companion produced by the graduating class of 2015 or ARK: Words and Images from the Royal College of Art Magazine 1950–1978, an anthology from 2014. Other live projects include Of and For Turner Contemporary, a series of texts exploring a remarkable building on the Kent coast. Students on the programme are encouraged to publish their writing on a dedicated Critical Writing in Art & Design website during their studies.
From 2017, the programme is primarily located in the RCA's newest facilities in White City.
Established 25 years ago and led by Professor Victoria Walsh, the MA Curating Contemporary Art (CCA) programme is recognised both as an international leader in its field and for its commitment to collaborative group project-based work that integrates theory and practice throughout the two years of the curriculum. For 2017/18, we are introducing new areas of focus in response to the expanded field of curating and the widening professional opportunities for curatorial practice and research in a global context. These will include:
Exhibitions and Programming practice focusses on curating, commissioning and programming within the physical and defined setting of the gallery/museum space providing critical, theoretical and practical understanding of the histories and opportunities within this form of curatorial practice.
Urban practice focuses on curating and commissioning within the urban context of the global city, with particular emphasis on the expanded role curators play bringing together architects, designers, urbanists, and public and private organisations with communities and artist practitioners to create new spaces of creative opportunity, encounter and public value.
Digital practice focuses on the expanded field of artistic and curatorial practice that is rooted in and defined by digital media, online production and networked distribution. It will examine the differences and commonalities between digital and analogue forms of artistic production and curating; and experiment with new curatorial models that bridge on and offline networked cultures and audiences.
The CCA programme approaches the field critically, theoretically and through best practice in commissioning, curating, and programming with London-based and national arts organisations and spaces ensuring that the knowledge and understanding of these practices is grounded in the context of public audiences, urbanisation and the digital. In the increasingly complex cultural environment in which curating takes place, our research-led and practice-led teaching by staff and visiting tutors ensures the curatorial and artistic significance, intellectual value and critical vitality of the MA programme.
Curating Contemporary Art is a two-year, full-time 240-credit ‘enhanced’ RCA MA that runs from September 2017 – June 2019. From 2017, the programme is primarily located in the RCA's newest facilities in White City.
The School of Design offers a practice-based MRes pathway built on the wide range of our design research exploring the space between society and technology supported by expertise spanning Innovation Design Engineering, Global Innovation Design, Design Products, Healthcare Design, Service Design, Vehicle Design and Intelligent Mobility.
The pathway welcomes a broad approach to design research and encourages experimentation in practice-based methods supported by experienced researchers. Approaches can range from User Centred Design, Ethnographic, Anthropological, Action Research, Participatory Design Research, Cybernetics, Grounded Theory, to Transformation Design, Speculative, and Critical Design. We encourage diverse candidates who want to focus on commercial research, to prepare for doctoral studies and a future career in academic research or use the programme for career change to develop new skills and identify new research interests. Students will be introduced to relevant design research tools, methods, methodologies, theories and epistemologies aimed at supporting the development of a personal research approach. Applicants to the MRes Design pathway will benefit from an advanced practice-based design research culture and enjoy the freedom and autonomy that a self-directed research journey allows.
The School of Design has a long history of design research that can be traced back to Bruce Archer and the NHS hospital bed design in the 1960s through to today’s researchers who are internationally engaged in a broad range of areas from intelligent mobility through to citizen science, the future of making, socio-cultural design, experimental design, design for safety, design policy, service design and artificial intelligence and robotics as well as providing strategic advice to government and agencies. Recent commercial research funding partners have included Huawei, Tata, Airbus, Microsoft, and Intel amongst others with grant-maintained funding from the AHRC, EPSRC and the Lloyds Register Foundation.
We also have an excellent set of visiting experts and a global network of research collaborators that we draw on in our integrated School-wide research culture. These also bring strong synergies with the other RCA Schools and expertise areas including the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design combined with a strong local set of collaborations with the Science Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Design Museum and Imperial College London with whom we share three of our master’s programmes.The pathway encourages experimentation in practice-based research, supported by experienced researchers working on both commercial and grant maintained projects across the School’s major research themes, in areas including mobility, healthcare and the future of making. The training we provide through designing research and researching through design will be suitable for both commercial and academic careers as a stand-alone qualification and act as an accelerator to prepare for doctoral studies.
The School has an excellent set of commercial partners and a global network of research collaborators that we draw on in our integrated School-wide research culture. These also bring strong synergies and collaborations with the other RCA Schools and expertise areas including the Helen Hamlyn Centre and Sustain. Commercial research projects include working with Huawei, Tata, Airbus, Microsoft and Intel amongst others. We also have a strong local network that includes collaborations with the Science Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Design Museum and Imperial College London, with whom we share two of our masters programmes. Applicants to the MRes Design pathway will benefit from an advanced practice-based design research culture and enjoy the freedom and autonomy of a self-directed research journey.