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MA Contemporary Crafts — Overview

Housed in our craft and design centre, this programme will help you to develop new ways of thinking and making, deepening your knowledge of specialist processes, techniques, materials and cultures. 

Whether you’re a recent graduate or are more established in your practice, our Masters in Contemporary Crafts programme gives you a focused period of self­-directed learning, enabling you to develop your skills and deepen your experience in the areas of glass, ceramics, textiles, small­scale metalwork and jewellery, bookbinding, print and multimedia.

Rebecca Walklett, MA Contemporary Crafts.

The physical act of making engages the body, hand, mind and heart. If this kind of profound creative involvement is important to you, and you have the imagination and motivation to take your practice in new directions, then our programme will engage and challenge you – our studios and workshops will become your laboratory for research and experimentation.

Students have access to all our facilities including our well-equipped ceramics studios.

Craft also has an important role to play in our transition as a society to a sustainable future. We encourage our students to question mass production and consumerism and find alternatives to them, generating new practices that reshape our assumptions about form and function.

'World War Me' by student Kelsii Burns

Through expert tuition and access to our outstanding facilities, this programme will support you with structured research, intellectually stretching theory and innovative practice. We welcome highly motivated applicants from backgrounds across contemporary and traditional design and craft practices, including glass, ceramics, textiles, metalwork, jewellery, bookbinding, print and multimedia.

Find out more about the Graduate School.

MA Contemporary Crafts — Modules

The comprehensive Masters structure, which is shared across our specialist programmes, enables our postgraduate students to focus on creative strategies and processes. Through three sequential phases or modules, we support our students in investigating, testing and developing their ideas in depth.

The core tuition includes advanced training in specialist disciplines, research methods, critical thinking, research ethics, project design, professional codes and conceptual frameworks, and an opportunity for negotiated study under specialist supervision. All of our programmes have access to our outstanding workshop facilities.

By combining our generic modules with specialist assignments and personal project proposals, we provide depth and specialisation within each subject area, while also equipping you with robust approaches, methodologies and techniques that can be applied across the commercial, social and public sectors.

All students are asked to submit an initial research proposal on application to the course. This proposal should explain the kind of work that you want to create in the course of the MA or MFA programme, and identify your key professional aims. Of course, we understand the creative practice is all about change and development, so you won’t be stuck with these initial ideas. Instead, they will form the starting point for a dialogue with your tutors about your work.  

The first module on the MA examines the role of research methods in creative disciplines. The focus will be upon refining your research proposal through a process of making to ensure that it can act as a robust framework for your study. The second module supports you to identify the kinds of collaborations and public-facing opportunities that will strengthen your identity as a creative practitioner.  The final module of each programme may be submitted as a dissertation or as practice, depending on which pathway best suits your concerns as a creative practitioner.

Find out more about the Graduate School.

MA Contemporary Crafts — Staff

The staff listed on this programme are correct at the time of writing. Students will be notified if there are any changes to key staff (i.e. Programme Leaders and Lecturers).

MA Contemporary Crafts — Student Work

MA Contemporary Crafts — Students Say

MA Contemporary Crafts — Careers & Alumni

Alumni of our Graduate School pursue careers in the fields of fine art, craft and design, as practising artists, teachers, curators, and as gallery, theatre and technical professionals. Others go on to prepare for doctoral study, and set up viable projects as socially engaged and community-based practitioners.

Our programmes offer professional skills development to support our students as they progress within industry, self-employment (in the Creative Industries sector) and further Level 7 and 8 studies. The second module offers an opportunity to test out the practices being investigated by individual students within an appropriate, live setting.

Case studies

Petra Cerna

In her expanded approach to product design, Petra Cerna questions the underlying principles of commercially and aesthetically driven design practice. Petra’s research and development grows from the concept of social value, rejecting consumer-based design and the associated norms of obsolescence and waste. In her current maternity jewellery range, Petra has found meaning in responsible design with a positive social impact. The project is founded in collaboration with a social enterprise group in the Czech Republic, which supports a community of young, disadvantaged women in developing their creativity, confidence and self-esteem via a sustainable livelihood.

Through personal interest in the role of women in today’s society, and in particular at this life stage, Petra has designed a sound-producing necklace which can be heard by the baby inside the womb. When the baby is born, the necklace can also be used to soothe and calm them, and to support bonding.

Find out more about the Graduate School.

MA Contemporary Crafts — Entry Requirements

MA Contemporary Crafts — Resources

We continue to invest in our resources, workshops and studios, having spent over £12 million in the last five years on capital projects alone. We have recently invested £8 million in integrating 21st century and traditional creative techniques and processes within an outstanding craft, design and fabrication workshop complex. This new facility offers Computer Aided Design and Manufacture (CAD/CAM) within our FabLab, alongside Printing, Printed Textiles, Ceramics, Glass and Small Metals workshops.

In addition, computers campus-wide are installed with graphics, media and design software. We offer dedicated Painting, Drawing, Fashion, Photography, Film and Animation studios. We also house a public facing Gallery on campus, with national and international exhibitions and a programme of visiting artists.

Our Library provides specialist Media, Art and Design and Fine Art materials, and our intranet-based Managed Learning Environment gives you access to online support and information.

Facilities include:

Animation, Film and Photography Studios

Our students make full use of our industry-standard dedicated studio spaces – including our infinity cove, green screen, and specialist sound studio (with Foley pit and vocal recording booth) – plus our stop-motion suite, our darkrooms, and plenty of individual edit suites, all up-to-date with the latest industry-standard software.

Ceramics and Glass Workshops

With a glass furnace that works at 1,100 degrees, 10 potters wheels, resources for hot, warm and cold glass processes, a plaster room for mould making, 16 kilns, a well-stocked glaze mixing area and individual studio space, our Ceramics and Glass Workshops have a real ‘wow’ factor, rivalling any art school around the country.

Our Photographic Studios.

Drawing Studios

With north-facing windows, a ‘methods and process’ area, individual studio space and a specialist life-drawing studio, our impressive, open-plan, triple-height Drawing Studio is a huge space, perfect for many different activities and specialisms.


Our ‘fabrication laboratory’ is kitted-out with the latest in digital design technologies – from 3D printers to 3D scanners, a vinyl cutter, CNC milling machine, CNC router and laser cutter. It adds a whole new level of opportunity for students across all creative walks of life.

Fashion Studios

This large professional studio offers a real-life fashion experience in a fabulous space with sea views. Specialist industrial and domestic sewing machines, a range of knitting machines and a wide stock of fabrics and knitting yarns sit alongside a media and marketing Mac suite, a fully operational CAD cutting facility, and a library of designer garments to inspire.

Our Glass Studio in our Ceramics and Glass Workshops.

Fine Art Printmaking Studios

A fantastic facility supporting fine art printmaking, our dedicated space caters for a wide range of programmes and processes. You’ll get access to a 150-year-old Columbian press, an Albion press, an historic and rare wallpaper press, and an automatic FAG proofing press, plus a broad selection of metal and wood type, vacuum screen-printing beds, and four etching presses.

Jewellery Design Studio

Housed in our fantastic new Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops, this stunning space provides everything for contemporary and traditional techniques in jewellery design, including benches supplied with gas and oxygen, in-house metal casting resources, hand and machine-forming tools, facilities for vitreous enamelling, and a separate chemical room for etching, anodising and patternation. We also have larger metalwork equipment for welding, brazing, cutting and grinding.

Textile Studios

With views out to sea and 35 metres of print tables to encourage experimentation, our Printed Textile Design Studios also boast a fantastic Mimaki fabric printer, digital embroidery resources, industrial sewing machines, sublimation printers, a dye lab, heat presses, a tufting gun and a Mac suite. It’s got to be one of the best printed textile workshops in the UK.

Our Drawing Studios.

The Print Lab and Equipment Resource Centre

The Print Lab offers affordable and quick print services for all our students who are looking for anything from large-format or solvent printing, to photo printing, scanning or vinyl cutting, and a wide range of finishing services. And our highly experienced Equipment Resource staff can advise you on which of our 6,000 pieces of industry-standard kit – from underwater cameras to traditional large format cameras and all free to hire – will best meet your needs.

Woods and Plastics Workshop

Alongside the latest in new technology, we value the long-standing traditions of making in wood and plastics – and have developed an excellently-resourced workshop that is open to all our students. It boasts a wide range of kit, including an impressive CNC router, plenty of saws and lathes, and strip-heaters, as well as greenwood-working facilities.

Our FabLab.

CNC Milling Machine in our Woods and Plastics Workshop.

Our Fine Art Printmaking Studio.

Find out more about the Graduate School.

MA Contemporary Crafts — Interview

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