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MA Digital Fabrication — Overview

Our MA Digital Fabrication programme offers contemporary makers the opportunity to research, explore and experiment with emergent technologies, encouraging the development of individual design practice in relation to digital fabrication.

Digital fabrication has sparked a design and manufacturing revolution in which rapidly changing technologies are radically challenging what we conceive to be possible.

You will critically analyse contemporary innovations and inventions, considering the spatial, material and formal possibilities afforded by them in the development of your own approach.

This programme centres around research, and you will formulate your own thesis from within a broad field that includes digital work, product design, craft practice, material design, parametric design, generative design, hacking and scripting. 

Working within a robust critical framework, you will develop your own experimental and exploratory set of methodologies that will allow you to produce creative work with a strong conceptual base, capable of addressing future commercial development. 

You will confront the debates and opportunities generated by techniques such as rapid digital prototyping, and will consider how these techniques have become a catalyst for social change. 

You will explore how, with the reduction of manufacturing hierarchies and increasing democratisation, there has emerged a more courageous entrepreneurial attitude; one which capitalises on the opportunity to make without a dedicated production line, and maximises product customisation, giving rise to new forms of entrepreneur, inventor, designer and marketer. 

Sitting at the intersection of ideas, products, technology and manufacture, this MA programme is ideally suited to creatives from all areas of art and design who are intent on mastering and challenging the quickly developing discipline of digital fabrication. 

Find out more about the Graduate School.

MA Digital Fabrication — 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 Digital Fabrication — Staff

Kevin Jenkins

Kevin Jenkins
MA Subject Tutor

Kevin is an MA qualified product designer with 20 years commercial experience. He has always been fascinated by form, design, new technologies and materials. Alongside heading up our Product Design & Innovation programme, Kevin also runs Box and Pad Ltd, consulting in product design, furniture design, product visualisation and design development with clients in the UK, USA, Europe and the Far East. 

Box and Pad has designed products and fixtures and managed design development for projects for BT, The National Trust, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Topshop, New Look, Haagen Dazs,  various colleges, hospitals and academies.

He won Innovation of the Year at the British Sign Awards 2016 for his Shimmerdisc design. 

Jason Marks

Jason Marks
MA Subject Tutor

Jason is a designer exploring the links between the crafted object and the possibilities afforded by 3D printing and other technologies. He has a degree in 3D Design, specialising in ceramics and an MA in Design from Central St Martins. He is currently undertaking a PhD in Ceramics Manufacture.

His work has been widely exhibited and is held in public and private collections internationally. He also undertakes architectural ceramic commissions. He is passionate about ceramic materials and strives, through the use of technology, to produce new forms and appropriate motifs for the 21st century.

Jason has taught at a range of levels. He teaches across the 3D Design Crafts programme and delivers specialist teaching in computer aided design. He also works in our Fab Lab.

Dr Kim Bagley

Dr Kim Bagley
MA Subject Tutor

Kim studied a BA (Hons) Visual Art and an MAFA, both specialising in ceramics at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. She completed the first practice-led PhD in Ceramics at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham in 2014.

Alongside teaching and research, Kim has developed her own practice in sculptural and installation-based ceramics that explore and comment on social issues in South Africa and the UK.

Kim has taught at UCA Farnham, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, 318 Ceramics and Surrey Adult Learning. Kim has worked as a research associate at the University of Westminster as part of the Ceramics Research Centre – UK.

Kim contributes to teaching and learning across the 3D Design Crafts programme and delivers specialist teaching in Ceramics and Contextual Studies.

Dr Kim Charnley

Dr Kim Charnley
Senior Lecturer and MA Programme Leader

Kim Charnley is the Programme Leader of the Masters provision at Plymouth College of Art, overseeing the Graduate School Interdisciplinary Programme, a forum for practice-based research in art, media and design that is attended by all MA students at the college.

Kim completed his PhD in Art History and Philosophy at the University of Essex. He is a theorist who writes about a wide range of subjects related to contemporary art, photography, film and craft.

He is particularly interested in the way that communities, collectives and networks have become more visible across creative disciplines over the last two decades. This focus involves investigation of the politics and economics of contemporary creativity, especially of art activism and its histories.

Kim has edited and provided an introduction for Delirium and Resistance (Pluto Press), a collection of essays by the noted artist, critic and activist Gregory Sholette. He is working on a book entitled Sociopolitical Aesthetics for the Radical Art/ Radical Aesthetic series published by Bloomsbury Press.

Dr Stephen Felmingham

Dr Stephen Felmingham
Senior Lecturer, Academic Partnership and MA Subject Tutor

Stephen Felmingham is an artist and educator and has lectured extensively in drawing, painting, print and contemporary art practice on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across the UK, including University College Falmouth, Norwich University College of the Arts and Leeds College of Art. He studied at Middlesex University and the University of the Arts London (Wimbledon) where he completed an MA in Drawing in 1999.

He was nominated a member of the LAND2 Research Network in 2009, was shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize in the same year and was a finalist in the Celeste Art Prize, New York, in 2010. He speaks regularly both on drawing and art and design pedagogy and his work is represented in collections nationally and internationally and he has exhibited widely in the UK and in Europe.

Stephen exhibited The Violet Club in The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art in 2014, a body of work made in response to the Cold War bunkers of the Royal Observer Corps that still exist, abandoned, across the UK.

Dr Natalia Eernstman

Dr Natalia Eernstman
Senior Lecturer

Dr Natalia Eernstman is an artist, educator and researcher, specialising in (community) learning through artful and performative means.  She is a senior lecturer on the MA Creative Education: Making Learning and runs (research) projects in the field of creative education, community-engaged art practice, intergenerational learning and environmental art. She works in communities and with universities, often around climate change and bridging (social) science and art.

With over 10 years of experience Natalia is a skilled facilitator and she has run large-scale site-specific art events. She was part of the Education Department at Wageningen University in The Netherlands and holds a PhD from University Arts London / Falmouth University. 

Current collaborations are with the University of Gothenburg in a project called ‘Imaginative Disruption’. And she is in the process of setting up a CIC that connects children and their families in creative, collaborative learning to translate debilitating feelings of eco-anxiety in agency. She is also involved in organising the biennial symposium Making Learning at Plymouth College of Art.

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 Digital Fabrication — Student Work

MA Digital Fabrication — Students Say

MA Digital Fabrication — 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.

MA Digital Fabrication — Entry Requirements

MA Digital Fabrication — 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.

Fab Lab

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.

Digital Print Bureau and Equipment Resource Centre

Our Digital Print Bureau 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. Our highly experienced Equipment Resource Centre 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 Digital Fabrication — Interview

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