MA Material Futures

MA Textile Futures is now called MA Material Futures. We’ve always believed ‘textiles’ to encompass a broad approach to materiality, and to better reflect the multidisciplinary nature of our work we have changed our course title.

MA Material Futures explores the intersection of craft, science and technology encouraging students to look beyond existing boundaries to anticipate future needs, desires, and challenges. Taking materiality as the starting point of the design process we integrate high and low technological materials and processes, pursuing relevant applications across fashion, architecture, product design, and communication & critical design.

Observing and analysing how we live today allows us to consider how we can live better tomorrow. Considering the current and future context of design decisions is core to our ethos, combining social, political and economic inquiry to inform future, sustainable design applications.

This course is part of the Jewellery & Textiles Programme

Scholarships available:

WeTransfer Scholarships
WESLDET MA Material Futures Scholarship
Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships:
Home/EU | International
Jane Rapley Scholarships

Scent-ography by Amy Radcliffe, Graduate 2013

Scent-ography by Amy Radcliffe, Graduate 2013

Big Data: Designing With the Materials of Life video

Caroline Broadhead talks about the Textiles and Jewellery Programme

Reasons to apply

  • You’ll be exposed to new materials, processes, technologies and design methodologies and use materiality as a platform to critically interrogate our sustainable future with topics spanning smart textiles, new materials, interactive design, sustainable design, trend forecasting, branding, fashion, and craft futures.
  • You'll develop experimental design work alongside innovative design proposals and work collaboratively with MA Industrial Design, MA Design Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery and MA Communication Design students to critically interrogate the complexity of the global and local context of your work.
  • Our graduates continue to forge highly successful futures, whether it be working in the creative industry, setting up their own studios, or going onto further study or research roles within academia.
  • Our graduates regularly gain press coverage in UK and International magazines and journals such as Surface, Viewpoint, Frame, Creative Review, Elle Decoration, Crafts, Selvedge, Interni (Italy), Vogue Casa (Italy) and FORM (Germany).
  • You’ll benefit from collaborations within the creative industry. Previous partners have included Louis Vuitton, Nissan Design Europe, Stella McCartney, Samsonite, Graham & Brown, EDF Energy, Microsoft Research, Roche Bobois and Philips Design.


Course Leader

Kieran Jones (Acting)

Course Location

King’s Cross, London. Tel: +44 (0)20 7514 7023

Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course LengthFull time: 2 years (60 weeks)
Home/EU Fee

Tuition fees for 2016/17: £4,900 per year. Please note that fees for second year of study will be subject to inflationary increase.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course. 

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

International Fee

Tuition fees for 2016/17: £12,365 per year.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course. 

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

Start DateSeptember 2016
Autumn Term DatesMonday 26 September 2016 – Friday 9 December 2016
Spring Term DatesMonday 9 January 2017 – Friday 17 March 2017
Summer Term DatesTuesday 18 April 2017 – Friday 23 June 2017
Application Route

Direct application

Content and structure

The 21st century marks the beginning of a new textile revolution - one we believe is smart, invisible, sustainable, ethical and poetic.

MA Material Futures is part of the Jewellery and Textiles programme. The MA Material Futures ethos is to approach textile design as a form of industrial design but with a focus on the language and codes inherent to textiles. By exploring key contextual questions to interrogate, critique and propose new design concepts, we invite our designers to engage fully with the challenges of designing for the 21st century. How do we reconcile ecology and smart technology? With current progress in nanotechnologies, how do we engineer invisible functions with new aesthetics? How can biomimicry principles inform the design of resilient textiles? Will scientists become designers? With digital fabrications becoming mainstream, what future for craft? How can textiles lead to the development of smart interactive interface? Can textiles inform a new way to imagine architecture? These are examples of questions MA Material Futures will consider over the two year postgraduate programme.

Smart textiles, invisible performance, sustainable and ethical issues as much as poetics and aesthetics call for new design perspectives. Crossover with other design disciplines as well as with science and socio-economics are more pertinent than ever. Rapid changes in culture, economics and technology need dynamic designers who can propose and realise intelligent, responsible innovations with strategic thought, leadership and personal vision. The MA Material Futures course aims at equipping designers with critical skills to design for our future selves and provides a 'think-tank' in which to cultivate ideas, reflect on individual practice, and challenge the boundaries of textile design.

About the course

  • MA Material Futures lasts 60 weeks structured as two consecutive periods of 30 weeks each (i.e. two academic years) in its 'extended full-time mode'.
  • MA Material Futures is credit rated at 180 credits, and comprises 2 units. Unit 1 (60 credits) lasts 20 weeks. Unit 2 (120 credits) runs for 10 weeks in the first year and 30 weeks in the second year.
  • Both units must be passed in order to achieve the MA, but the classification of the award of MA derives from your mark for Unit 2 only.
  • You are expected to attend approximately 30 hours of study per week. Attendance is timetabled across three days each week, when taught sessions and self directed study takes place in addition to study outside the college. Year 1: Wednesday to Friday Year 2: Monday to Wednesday

Unit 1 - Design Challenge

This unit introduces you to key issues that will affect the short, medium and long-term future of designing for the textile and creative industry. A set of design challenges will be engineered to encourage you to develop your own creative agenda in response to and in anticipation of future scenarios. You will be exposed to new materials, processes, technologies and design methodologies and will use textiles as a platform to critically interrogate our sustainable future. These projects might include work with or on smart textiles, new materials, interactive design, sustainable textiles, trend forecasting, branding, fashion, and craft futures.

You'll be expected to develop experimental design work alongside innovative design proposals and be able to discuss and critically debate issues related to your practice. A shared programme with MA Industrial Design and MA Design: Ceramics, Furniture or Jewellery will enable you to work in multidisciplinary teams and to critically interrogate the complexity of the global and local context of design.

Unit 2 - Design Futures

This unit is all about developing and realising your personal design project, which has to be located within a chosen 'future'. During this period of mostly self-directed study you'll produce a body of comprehensive research and develop appropriate methodologies. The research element of your personal design project informs the creative process and is reflected in the Masters thesis, which is a critical evaluation of your design project. You're encouraged to take risks in the production of a body of experimental work before realising the final design work. Besides being original and innovative, what you produce will advance the discipline of textile design.

Note: The design briefs in unit 1 and beginning of unit 2 are different every year and may include industrial and research collaborations. As a result of these live collaborations, some of our external projects may start in unit 1 and be completed in unit 2.


Acting Course Leader: Kieren Jones
Course Leader (Maternity Leave):Caroline Till

First Year Leader: Nelly Ben Hayoun
Research Tutor: Professor Carole Collet
Associate Lecturer: Amy Congdon 



MA Textile Futures has established various links with industry in London and beyond, allowing students to work on international design projects and initiatives. MA Material Futures itself has contributed much to debate around design, both through the media and by organising and delivering papers at international conferences.

MA Material Futures students are expected to establish their own network of contacts and develop collaborations within industry as part of the development of their Masters project. Employers have included Adidas, Distance Lab, Banff New Media, Castelbajac, Donna Karan, Etam, Hussein Chayalan, Line Consultants, Louis Vuitton, Margiela, Media Lab Europe, Nicole Farhi, Speedo, Ted Baker, Design Lab, Trend Union and Nissan Design Europe.


Many MA Material Futures designers have started their own businesses including Linda Florence, Rachel Kelly, Elena Corchero and Jenny White and have won special awards and grants from the Crafts Council, the Nesta Pioneer programme and Texprint. Group initiatives such as 'Puff & Flock' and 'Is This Textiles?' have been recent high-profile successes.

Academic and research

Some MA Material Futures graduates prefer to develop an academic career and pursue PhD level research or teach in various institutions around the world, including the University of the Arts London, De Monfort University, and Queen Mary University (UK), Universidad de los Andes Bogota (Columbia), and Kaywon School of Art &Design (Korea).

Press coverage

MA Material Futures graduates regularly gain press coverage in UK magazines such as Surface, Viewpoint, Frame Creative Review, Elle Decoration, Crafts and Selvedge. Also in the International press including features in Interni (Italy), Vogue Casa (Italy) and FORM (Germany).


MA Material Futures graduates' work is included in international exhibitions around the world, including the Milan Furniture Fair and London Design Festival. Students have also been involved in major design exhibitions at key institutions such as the V&A, London and the Crafts Council.


MA Material Futures alumni are often featured in international awards including recent awards for Elisa Strozyk, who won the 2009 Young Designer's Prize from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, Elena Corchero, winner of the 2009 Blueprint 'Best Use of Materials' award at 100% Design London, Linda Florence winner of the British Design Awards 2009 for Surface Design and Elaine NG, winner of a Europrix Multimedia Award, 2010.

Industry links

MA Material Futures has established various links with industry allowing students to work on international design projects and initiatives. The course itself has contributed much to debate around design, both through the media and by organising and delivering papers at international conferences.

Students are expected to establish their own network of contacts and develop collaborations within industry as part of the development of their Masters project. In recent years students have benefited from collaboration with companies such as Louis Vuitton, Nissan Europe, Stella McCartney, Samsonite, Graham & Brown, EDF Energy, Microsoft Research and Philips Design.

For details of the wide range of careers support provided for students, please visit the Student Jobs And Careers section.

Entry requirements

MA Material Futures entry requirements are: relevant Honours degree; evidence of experiential learning equivalent to a degree; or 3 years relevant professional experience.

English language requirement

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you send us an English language test score together with your application to prove your level of proficiency. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please clearly indicate this on your application form. When you have received your test score, please send it to us immediately. The standard English language requirement for entry is IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one paper, or equivalent. For further information visit the English Language Support page.

Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the Immigration and Visas page which provides important information about UK Border Agency (UKBA) requirements.

What we look for

We're seeking imaginative, resourceful designers who have the potential to shift existing design boundaries, re-shape how we live, and create the textiles of tomorrow.

MA Material Futures suits both recent graduates seeking to develop their skills and expand their market awareness, and experienced designers wishing to challenge their careers. Primarily aimed at textile designers, it also attracts applicants from related design disciplines.

Students with a background in design, fine art, architecture, interactive design or product design are welcome to apply, provided they can demonstrate that their aspirations are compatible with the course rationale and the textile discipline.

MA Material Futures is demanding and challenging and will benefit most those who are prepared to question their contribution to the design discipline and who aim at becoming leading designers/consultants. Once on the MA course you'll be expected to demonstrate creative design skills, develop strategic design thinking, be independent, flexible, and prepared to respond to challenge with a mature and professional attitude.

Student selection criteria

We are looking for people who are driven and passionate about design and who keep informed about issues that affect the textile and creative industries and how they locate themselves within the global context of design. When preparing for your interview and/or writing your statement, make sure you state clearly the reasons for applying to MA Material Futures as opposed to another MA programme.

You should also provide your own vision of Material Futures; ie think about what will influence the way we design textiles in the future.

The interview and personal statement should evidence:

  • The ability to discuss your portfolio, through verbal or written means, demonstrating a critical perspective of your work
  • A clear understanding of your design context and an engagement with issues that affect your industry.
  • The ability to have an informed conversation about your role as a designer
  • Motivation, commitment and understanding of the ethos of the MA Material Futures course.

How to apply

You can apply for this course using our online application form – the link to this is below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • Referee details (this course requires two references, at least one of which should be an academic or professional reference). 

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form.

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the form, you will receive a confirmation email that includes links to where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

Personal statement

Your personal statement should answer the following questions (please note suggested word count for each question is 100 words).

  • Biography (What experience would you propose to bring to the MA course personally?)
  • Why have you chosen to apply for MA Material Futures rather than another Masters course?
  • What do you understand ‘textile futures’ to mean?
  • Tell us about the most exciting innovation you have come across in the field of textiles recently.
  • Describe something you believe will have an impact on the future of design. (This could be something social, economic, environmental or a breakthrough in science, for example).

Portfolio (international students only)

International applicants are required to submit an online portfolio consisting of several design projects as well as design development and sketchbook work. The portfolio should evidence the following:

  • Strong design and technical skills
  • A personal approach to developing a design concept (including research, design development and final outputs)
  • A knowledge and understanding of materials
  • A creative approach to visual communication and presentation.

Please note, you can submit text and as many website links as you need to, but the portfolio form does not allow you to upload files.

Start your application now

Applications can be submitted throughout the academic year. Places are limited, however, so we advise you to submit your application as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Deferred entry: Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.

Apply now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required.

What happens next?

We read and consider all application forms and personal references. Please note we give particular attention to your study statement and references.

Subject to your meeting the entry requirements and consideration of your application form, preliminary selection is based on your study statement and documentation of work and supporting information. You may then be invited to attend an interview. For candidates applying for external funding, interviews will be scheduled prior to funding body deadlines.

Can't attend the interview?

If you're a home/EU or international applicant unable to attend for interview, the MA Material Futures Course Leader would hope to discuss your application by telephone.

In the case of applicants unable to attend for interview and unable to discuss their application by telephone, a decision regarding the offer of a place on the course will be made on the basis of a review of the application materials. We keep notes about decisions made following the initial application review and the interview process.

Selection is by two members of staff (normally the Course Leader and one other), and offers of places are made on the basis of our selection criteria. Applicants are informed of the decision via either the School Office or the International Office.

Open days

Open days are a great opportunity to meet staff and students and to find out at first hand about courses, teaching and student life. Visit the open day section for dates and to book your session. Bookings can only be made online, not by phone or email.

Industry collaborations

Working with paying clients on live briefs will give you valuable commercial experience which may mean your work being taken forward for production or, if so desired, in the purchase of your intellectual property. All paid projects are conducted within a carefully developed legal framework, which includes student agreements to protect your work and help you realise its commercial value. 

Recent client projects in the Textiles and Jewellery programme include: Cool Diamonds | Swarovski | Nissan | Avakian | Topshop | Chow Tai Fook | Legle. Find out more about the Roche Bobois client project. 

Once you’ve graduated, you may be picked as part of a small team to work on a live creative brief, organised by our Business and Innovation department, under the supervision of an experienced tutor. This can be a valuable first step in working professionally in a chosen discipline and has resulted in graduates being hired by clients.

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

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